Kayla Giovinazzo never intended to be the owner of a multimillion-dollar meal-delivery service. In fact, when she was introduced to her husband by a mutual friend in 2015, Giovinazzo worked as a department manager for a large national retailer. As she and now-husband, Jamie, became more serious, she started to help him organize and streamline the workflow for his small meal-prep business. Eventually, she left her corporate job to work with him full time.
With their combined efforts, the company grew from a team of three employees—using rented kitchen space—to an enterprise touting more than 100 employees and two bustling distribution centers based in New Jersey and Georgia. In 2016, their company, Eat Clean Bro, earned its first $1 million in revenue, shipping out a couple of thousand meals a week. Fast forward to 2020, the company now sends out tens of thousands of meals weekly and is pacing to hit $15 million in sales.
After starting the company, the Giovinazzos waited four years before they decided to have their first child. Now a mom of two, Kayla has credited remaining conservative with business decisions and finances to remain successful.
"Something that's really important to remember, especially when you become a mom, is that being conservative is really important. Teaching your children that just because you have it doesn't mean you have to spend it is super important," she says. "They don't need a new outfit for every single day of the week. Being grateful for what you have and realizing the differences between a need and a want is something that I've really wanted to make sure my children understand."
Courtesy of Jamie Giovinazzo
Although Kayla's parents aren't entrepreneurs, she credits much of her success and her work ethic to them. Her dad, formerly a conservation scientist, is now a member of the Eat Clean Bro team. "It's the most exciting thing that we've ever been able to do. I love spending every day with him. My mom was a teacher and is now helping me raise my children, which is incredible."
Despite the risks involved with self-employment and funding their entire operation, Giovinazzo enjoys the benefits and flexibility of being her own boss. "Owning your own business definitely gives you more financial freedom because you can take what you have, and if you're creative enough, and smart enough, and work hard enough, you can continue to multiply that."
Three Tips for Moms Who Aspire to Be Entrepreneurs
Five years into her self-employment journey, Giovinazzo has learned quite a few lessons and has some tips for aspiring mom entrepreneurs.
Make Sure Your Partner is on Board
Starting a new business requires a joint effort from your partner as there's definitely a ton of work involved. According to Giovinazzo, it "requires a lot of cooperation." For both Kayla and Jaime, though, it's worth it.
"Our mindset is to work really, really hard now so we don't have to work as hard when we'd like to retire. And we are—as a company and as individuals focused on things like our 401K, IRA accounts, and just making sure that everyone is thinking about the future."
Be Ready For Some Guilt
Giovinazzo advises moms to prepare for some feelings of guilt when working as an entrepreneur. "After having my first child, I realized that I needed to split my time. I had to get done all the things that I always had to get done, but now I just had to work more quickly in a more limited amount of time so I could get back home to him faster. If you can figure out how to manage your time, it's almost like you're managing your money as well."
In order to effectively keep the mom guilt at bay, she suggests implementing major time management and structure to feel like all the boxes—for home and work—get checked for the day. "When it comes to splitting the time between your business and your children, it requires you to do a lot of mental juggling and time management. Setting specific times for work and time for your family duties and doing your best to adhere to your schedule can help ease the guilt."
Any feelings of guilt now, though, Giovinazzo says, will hopefully pay dividends for the future. "Saving for my children has become a priority for me for sure. Just saving for their future and making sure you're living a modest life so that they can have the benefits later."
Slow and Steady Wins the Race
Earning $15 million in sales doesn't happen right away. Giovinazzo advises people to "start with a small investment of your own and grow it slowly a little bit at a time."
"Remember that slow and steady wins the race. [Success] is not something that happens overnight. You're going to work hard for years, and if you're not investing back into your business and focusing on growth, you're never going to come out on top at the end of the day."