Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in personal development but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Jennifer Mackinnon, Founder of Practical, By Default, located in Westville, NS, Canada.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

My name is Jen, and my business is Practical By Default. It's an online business that helps working moms juggle their careers, homeschool, and life. My readers and clients are working moms who know that homeschooling is right for their kids, and they know that working is the right choice for them. What they aren't sure about is how to manage it all? How to fit in all the roles they juggle in a way that makes sense for them? This working homeschool mom lifestyle can be lonely and difficult. I provide a place to get your questions answered and the support you need through both my website and my online community. I also provide guidance through courses, e-books, memberships, and coaching.

Tell us about yourself

I live in Nova Scotia, Canada, and before I started my business, I was a homeschooling stay-at-home mom. I returned to the workforce, working full time while continuing to homeschool both of my kids. I found it very overwhelming. I had no idea what I was doing; I was exhausted and burned out. All my friends were either working moms or homeschool moms, but I didn't know anyone doing both.

I felt very alone like I didn't fit in anywhere, and I didn't know where to get help. I searched high and low for the support I desperately needed, and when I couldn't find it, I decided to share my own journey in hopes of finding other working moms who were on the same path as me. After working and homeschooling for 14 years and I can honestly say you can be successful at work, give your kids the education that is best for them, and (do I dare say it??) have a house that is reasonably pulled together most of the time.

I'm no longer falling into bed burned out every night and feeling like a failure. Instead, I celebrate the wins of the day and remember tomorrow is a new day. I believe every working mom can enjoy their career and give their kids the education they want while enjoying life. You just need the right support, the right resources, and tools.

That's why I created the Working Homeschool Mom Club. I got tired of feeling like I was the only working mom who was homeschooling. I use my experiences to create courses that encourage working moms with the supportive community, tools, and done-for-you resources they need to work and home educate their kids.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

One of my biggest accomplishments is that my free Facebook group for working homeschool moms has now grown to over 25,000 members. I'm proud to be the host of a smaller community, my Working Homeschool Mom Coffee Club, which is a safe place on the internet to reach out and learn from others and get a helping hand - judgment free! We know the internet can be a harsh place for moms, creating this safe haven is definitely an accomplishment.

The members of my community are working moms from around the world with various situations, backgrounds, and cultures. The groups are an amazing place to find encouragement and inspiration and get your questions answered.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest parts of being an online business owner, besides being lonely, is being pulled in all the directions at once. I don't have a team, so every decision I make falls on my shoulders. There is a lot of uncertainty, second-guessing your decisions, and self-doubt.
And because the internet never closes, it is easy to feel that you need to be available 24 hours, seven days a week, especially because I do a lot of coaching.

I had to learn to:

  • Set boundaries and say no.
  • To be willing to make mistakes and not get it right the first time or even the fifth time.
  • Invest both time and money into my own professional development.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

  1. Choose something that you enjoy and fills a need. Do your research, learn as much as you can, and keep trying new things.
  2. Schedule working and non-working hours. A business becomes personal very quickly, it can feel like your baby, and it is easy to get sucked into spending all of your energy on creating, building, and working both on and IN your business. You need to take breaks, take time off to rest, recharge, and connect with your friends and family. Work to live, not live to work.
  3. Invest in yourself, in your education, coaching or mentorship, networking, etc.; support and guidance are important! Having a place you can talk things through with those who understand what you are trying to do and how you are trying to do it can be a sanity saver!

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Running a business takes hard work and persistence. Understand that the "to-do list" never ends. There is always something else to do, so be sure to celebrate every win you get, even if it's just doing a happy dance in your living room or buying yourself a cup of coffee. Try not to take it personally when friends and family don't support you or "get it." That's okay. Just because they don't understand doesn't mean they aren't in your corner.

With that in mind, make an effort to find your community of those who do get it and can provide you with the much-needed guidance and support you need.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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