In Conversation with Author Julie A. Stamm
Describe your mission in a few words?
My goal is to normalize disability. Through my children’s book, I will support the children and families that suffer from a chronic illness.
What made you take the leap?
When looking for materials for my young son to relate to in terms of having a parent with a chronic illness (eg. Multiple Sclerosis), I found it impossible to find something that I felt accurately portrayed our life and how strong we can be together.
Did you always know you wanted to be an entrepreneur?
I don’t think I could have predicted the twists and turns my life would eventually make but I am grateful for each and every one because they have led me to where I am now; which is where I need to be and can live a life I am proud of.
We always learn the most from our mistakes, share a time with us that you made a mistake or had a challenging time in business and what you learned from it?
When the book was first released, we decided to purchase 50 copies to send to ‘influencers’ and celebrities to hopefully get a ‘buzz’ circulating. While I am very grateful for the feedback and support we have received, I wish my approach was different. I wish I had more faith in my work creating its own following. The feedback from the people that the book was created for is what makes all of the hard work worth it. I have had people use my book as a tool to tell their children for the first time about their battle! I have had children ask and learn from it. While to Jack, I am perfect, it was nice to have other children understand that each and every one of us has something we must tackle; however, it is our choice to decide how we fight! I choose grace and dignity.
What is the accomplishment you are the most proud of to date?
I am proud that my son knows that we will change the world together. As silly as that sounds, Jack is helping other children understand the battle their parents fight every day. Parents have used our book to tell their children about their diagnosis. Parents have used our book to show their children how relatable they are. Our book is comforting parents. Our book is raising awareness. Our book will normalize disability.
When hiring for your team, what is your go-to interview question? Please share any hiring tips you can share from your experience?
When we hired our illustrator, Sean Laven, we had known him for many years but we really liked the fact that he himself is also battling a chronic illness (Lyme disease). It was a testament to the product that even though the book was about a different disease, he found it relatable and comforting.
How has your business or industry been impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic?
We’ve had to adapt like everyone. Our live events have been pushed or moved to a virtual platform. I miss the human contact and connections one can make by interacting in person but I am glad that it hasn’t slowed our movement.
What’s next for you? What can we expect to see over the next few years?
Book number two and three! I’m so excited to create this series. The feedback has been moving and motivating. Having confirmation that this is filling a clear hole in the market has been the greatest of validations.
What is the biggest lesson you have learned in 2020?
2020 has reaffirmed how resilient we can all be. I would never have predicted the world we are living in now but I do appreciate the forced slowdown and reassessment of priorities of who and what matters.
What do you know now that you wish you knew when you were first starting your business?
Don’t doubt your work because of a few rejections. If you believe in something passionately enough, go for it! Your product might not be for everyone but if it makes you proud then I deem it a success. It is not up to others to determine whether or not you deserve the backing. Also, once you prove them wrong and success follows, they will be the first to be knocking on your door.
How have you managed to stay grounded this year?
My son and partner. They both are there each day to remind me why we are doing this and why we are working so hard to make this as successful as it has been.
Do you believe in work/life balance? What are some of your best tips?
My partner and I both work from home, throw in a four-year-old and every day is one giant relay race. We tap in and out between work and entertaining him. I wouldn’t miss a minute of it. My best tip would be to take time for yourself. It is so easy to become overwhelmed and overworked. Slow down, breathe, mindlessly scroll, call a friend, have wine… whatever makes you feel a bit less stressed, do it. We only get one chance at this game of life, make your moves matter.
What are your top 3 tips to stay productive each day?
1) Remember why you started on this path
2) Allow yourself a break
3) Focus on the end game
What does being an Entreprenista mean to you?
Being an Entreprenista means joining an elite, talented, and inspiring group of women that support one another. We live in a world where, all too often, we see other’s success as our failure or competition. It is refreshing and motivating to embrace and thrive alongside such an impressive group. I feel very fortunate to be featured and to have you believe in my work and help me spread awareness about chronic illnesses and Multiple Sclerosis.