Dana Malstaff from Boss-Mom.com Journey from Author to CEO
Today’s guest is Dana Malstaff, CEO and founder of Boss Mom. She’s a mother, author, business strategist, and speaker, and she has a podcast as well.
Dana is the author of Boss Mom: The Ultimate Guide to Raising a Business and Nurturing Your Family Like a Pro, which has gone to over six figures in just a year. In this episode, she shares with us how she really came to build her business around her book.
With over 9,000 students in various courses and over 10 years of experience in content creation, community building, and business strategy, Dana grew the Boss Mom brand into a six-figure business in less than a year.
Her Boss Mom Movement is all about losing the guilt when it comes to raising babies and businesses at the same time, and believes that pursuing our passions and building our dreams while including our children in the process, is the best way to build thriving businesses and families.
I am grateful that I was there at the beginning of Dana’s journey in today’s episode we discuss how a book can become your brand and focus on your unique strengths and superpowers so you can build a tribe of loyal followers.
I have learned a great deal from Dana and I think you will too.
Here are the highlights of my conversation with Dana:
[01:27] The Conception of the Boss Mom
Dana would describe herself as the best kid any parent could ever want since she never rebelled. She was someone who always obeyed her parents so if something wasn’t right, she could always blame it on them. Luckily, they were always right.
Dana is also an easy person, calling herself a 110% person – either go big or go home. In school, she didn’t always have the best grades but she was all in it, trying to experience all things that have helped her entrepreneurial and parenting journey. At 29 years old, she was in a corporate situation until she finally decided to start her own business while eventually finding out she was pregnant at that time. And so, too, the Boss Mom was born. Presently, her son has just turned four and her daughter has just turned two.
[02:47] The Book and the Community
The Boss Mom initially sprung out of the idea of the guilt and fear she felt related to parenting and entrepreneurship that have been there for five years. Until two years later, she decided to develop a brand out of it by writing the book, with the help of Azul. Today, the book is set to hit the half-million dollar mark which is certainly not bad in just a span of two years.
The Boss Mom Facebook Group has grown to become a thriving community as well, with over 15,000 monthly engagement. Then, Dana went on to write more successes in her life – writing the second Boss Mom book, Confessions of a Boss Mom, getting nominated for awards, and getting to speak to various places. She is passionate about being able to wake up in the morning and being able to talk about things that she loves and cares about.
[04:21] Extracting the Idea
Azul recalls having this discussion with Dana about the topic of “expanding your reach.” Azul was amazed by how Dana envisioned the idea of dealing with the pressure of being an amazing mom and an amazing wife and overcoming that guilt. So the extraction of the idea process began.
Indeed, Azul saw that flicker of spark in her when Dana began talking about her family and business relationships. He adds that your love of family should not be separated by how much you can give them since you can love them equally. There’s no empty bucket for it. And so he thought how incredible this was. And so, when they began to talk more about this, Azul knew there was something bigger to Dana and that she cared about a lot more than just helping people.
[06:14] Content – Outside of Being a Parent
For Dana, writing a book is not only therapeutic, but it also helps you discover your brand. In fact, the more she had gotten into writing and developing her brand, the more she was able to hone in on those, just like when you’re journaling.
Then Dana realized it’s not just about wanting to be a stay at home mom and not wanting to feel guilty. But that she didn’t actually like the happiness part of her happiness and who she was as a person outside of being a parent.
And outside of being a woman, just as a human being, Dana realized she loves to create. She loves to see the product of her labor in physical form. She likes to build things. As a parent, she would do stuff for her children, like doing crafts and the just those things related to raising children. But she didn’t find complete fulfillment. Because of this, she felt bad about it and she felt she shouldn’t feel bad. But she ended up wishing to do other things. This is when Azul actually helped pull her out of this upon writing the book. She didn’t feel bad about writing a book.
Moreover, seeing her kids how she has done all this and making money out of doing the things she loves is something she thinks is very important for her kids to watch; rather than being miserable having done all those artwork, had she not pushed on to write this book. Either way, her kids would see this. So which of the two would she want her kids to see? A happy life or a miserable one?
[08:21] Brainstorming and Being Uncomfortable
So the book has really helped Dana. She recalls the time when she was working on her book and having Azul around to help her out. They went through a brainstorming process and he really pushed her to dig deeper. Dana found the importance of this process and how this has really helped solidify her experience. She adds you have to be comfortable with being uncomfortable in order for you to really be able to dig deeper until what’s left in your brain is that which you really care about. It’s that thing that persists, which ends up being that thing.
Sure, you need to create an outline or some sort of a list of what you’re going to write about, but it’s that moment of getting feedback and being in that state of being uncomfortable that the magical moment happens. Dana was so driven in writing the book that she actually launched the book in the middle of giving birth to her daughter. And that was her intention – to have the first half done before having her and doing the other half right after having her.
And she thought it worked out so much better that way because there are so many parenting experiences from having a second child that really became part of what was in the book. She was just glad that’s how everything happened.
[11:45] The Writing Process is a Relationship with Yourself
Dana explains how the writing process is a relationship with yourself. It’s your opportunity to know yourself and to connect with yourself. You’re able to really dig deep into yourself in a very logical way. As opposed to journaling, you’d just be writing whatever you like and that’s good enough. But when you’re writing a book, it’s a process. You’d have to have some mind-mapping involved. And thereafter, you would have to come up with the chapters and chapter ideas and some series of rearranging them and outlining them.
For her, the genius is in the process. It’s the clarity that you get by going through that process and really even just seeing God. She also stresses the importance of not rushing things, and she tells this about parenting too, is that being in a rush is the worst experience you can ever have. Sure, kids can get annoying most of the time and you can get frustrated, but you need to embrace that experience and learn from that moment. The same goes with writing.
Every month, Dana wants to experience a little bit of writing as her form of self-care – to go in and discover herself through what she writes. And out of that discovery, you get to create something beautiful. And you’d have the time to even make it more beautiful. And have the time to let other people know how beautiful this experience is so they get excited about writing too.
[14:07] Writing is Transformational
Azul adds how writing a book is transformational to the person. Yes, you’re giving out information. But there are some transformational moments that we have to find and that’s what he usually looks for when working with people. You’re not only growing as a person, but also, you grow in the industry, becoming a thought leader among people in your industry.
Azul often tells his clients to just trust the process even though it’s not clear. He doesn’t tell people what to do and what not to do. He would neither say it’s going to work. Instead, he just encourages clients to work together. Observe. And just trust.
And so, Azul got to see this from Dana as he helped her work on her book. He saw how the transformation happened for her, in her. In fact, to the extent that it has totally pivoted her entire business.
[16:03] What’s Next for Dana
Dana wrote the book Confessions of a Boss, which consists of stories from different people. And she realized the difficulty of editing other people’s stories. Sifting through the stories was pretty challenging.
Additionally, Dana created a podcast out of her Boss Mom brand out of wanting to help other moms who want to start their own businesses. This is catered to those who have this idea of starting their own business but have to deal with all the rigors and pressures that come along with it, since you’re practically doing all the stuff on your own – from making coffee to printing papers and whatnot to get to the top.
This gave Dana another idea of what her next book is going to be all about. And this is also something she can do keynote speaking on. And who knows where the road will lead her? But it’s definitely going to be big. All Dana knows is she can’t rush it. That’s not to say that she wants to be in the New York Times bestseller. But for now, she appreciates being a self-published author as she gets to learn everything about the process – from writing to selling and marketing the book.
More importantly, it’s Dana’s positive mindset that really makes her shine. It’s being able to see a million branches from a tree. It’s about not only seeing the seed, but being able to see the tree that’s going to grow fruit.
[21:07] Her Nuggets of Wisdom for Other Aspiring Writers
Dana believes everybody should write a book in their lifetime. Especially when you feel you’re stuck in your business, writing a book can help give you that clarity. That said, you have to be ready to work hard.
Write a book to leverage it for your business, but also write a book not only for this reason. But because your soul needs it and you need clarity, regardless of whether anyone even reads it.
Write a book if you’re so passionate about a topic that you just want the entire world to know and you believe that writing it is the best way for you to share. And if you don’t have one of those three reasons, just step away and come back to it when you’re ready.
You have to know why you want to write a book. If you wanted to write a book to make money, that’s a different thing. Making a book and making money can’t go hand to hand. But if the book itself is the business then you have to really build it like a business. You can’t just say they’ll find it if it’s a good written book and that’s totally not true. That’s just how it works.
[25:02] Dana’s Message to Other 29-Year-Old Women
Be honest with yourself about what you love and what you don’t like. Use every single interaction you have in your life to help you hone in on doing more of what you enjoy and less of what you don’t. Never spend any more time than you have to with people who don’t love and appreciate you because you have a choice you can either surround yourself in spaces that make you feel bad or surround yourself in spaces that lift yourself up. And that is truly a choice that you make.
Lastly, if you’re honest with yourself, you can do anything because you know your strengths and you know your weaknesses. You maximize your strengths and you get help with your weaknesses and then the world is your oyster.