September Feature: Tonya Parker

  • Name: Tonya Parker
  • Name of Company:
  • Years in Business: 1
  • Hashtags you live by: #singlemomchiclife  #truth  #goals

  • WHY: Tell us why you started your business/blog – etc: I started my blog after publishing my book Single Mom Chic about my experiences as a former single mom. I received so much feedback from readers about how they were inspired by the book and I wanted another way to connect with readers on a more personal level.
The Easy Questions:
  • When you were a kid what did you want to be when you grew up? A counselor. I am a school counselor and I love it.
  • What was your first business idea? My daughter and I had an online designer consignment business.
  • What do you wish you knew before starting your business? That it takes time to really build your business and clientele. We had an okay first year but I was very impatient.
  • What did you learn from your worse boss? How not to treat people. I always want anyone who works with or for me to feel valued and feel a connection with what we’re presenting to to the world.
  • What’s your highest level of education? Master's Degree
  • Who inspires you and why? Oprah, Steve Jobs and my daughters. I love Oprah’s story of survival and success and I admire Steve Jobs’ dedication and laser like focus. I admire both of my daughters for their creativity and authenticity. They aren’t afraid to think differently.
  • Top 3 books to read this summer? Here’s to Us, Grit, and The Mindfulness Key
  • What are you currently reading? All 3 listed above.

Let’s Talk About Business:
  • What was your strangest marketing experiment? A giveaway. I didn’t know that people actually make a living entering giveaways. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I thought it was more organic. I was a little disappointed when a man won my first Single Mom Chic giveaway. I was hoping it would go to a single mom.
  • How do you maximize social media? I am a little late to the Instagram party but I am loving it. I am still growing a following but I love connecting with other moms and bloggers. I know there are ways to increase your following but I love that mine has grown organically. I am all about authenticity. I use Facebook a lot as well.
  • What did you learn from your biggest failure? Don’t give up, find another way.
  • How important is it for you to do your best? Very important. I pride myself on always giving my all.
  • How do you feel about failures?  What does it mean to fail? I think that failure is really a route to success. You can’t fail if you don’t try and you can’t succeed without trying which will inevitably lead to some failure.
  • Any money saving tips? Be minimalist but invest in quality. You aren’t really saving money if you are constantly replacing things. Spend more time doing and less time buying. I am working on that second tip myself.
How do you do it?
  • Where do you find inspiration? Everywhere! News, social media, print, friends, coworkers, etc.
  • As a (single mompreneur / mompreneur) how do you balance?  Organization and scheduling. I plan out my days and keep myself on a pretty structured schedule.
  • How is it being a (single mompreneur / mompreneur) running a business, working, or going to school? I was a single mom for 13 years and it was tough to balance it all but I did. I got two kids through school and into college and finished three degrees myself.
  • What advice would you give other (single mompreneurs / mompreneurs)? Build your team. I talk about that in my book Single Mom Chic. I couldn’t have made it through my single mom journey without support from my friends and family. You don’t have to do it alone!
  • With the kids and other things happening in your life, where and when do you find the time to work on your craft/business/ study? I make it a priority and post to social media daily and write blog posts on the weekends. I have a full time job but I used to teach part time at the local community college. When I moved I decided to let that go and make blogging a priority so now I have hung up my professor hat and blogging is my other job.

  • What’s it like dating and being a single mom? I wrote a whole chapter on it in my book. It’s probably one of my favorites. It was definitely interesting and I have 13 years worth of stories. I think it is a little more difficult because you have more to consider. It isn't “is this person good for me” it’s “is this person good for us”.
  • Challenges?   I was definitely less forgiving in what I would accept in a long term mate because I had to make sure my daughters had the best person in their liv
    es too.

  • Sometimes you have to make tough decisions whether it’s personal, family, relationships or business. Do you ever feel misunderstood? Give examples or details. Not really, I am pretty straightforward and very decisive.  I am kind of the go to person when someone else needs to make a tough decision.
  • How important would you say is having a support system?  Who’s a part of your circle? Again, building your team is a chapter in my book. I think it is essential. My parents, my brothers, my best friend and her husband, coworkers and other single mom friends were all a part of my team.
  • Have you ever felt judged being a single mother? How? When? Sure, It is one of the reasons I wrote the book. I wanted to show other single moms that you didn’t have to listen to the naysayers and your children aren't doomed to be statistics.
  • What’s one thing you’d like all of us non single moms to know about single motherhood? Sisterhood is essential. If you have a circle of friends don’t exclude single moms. They have as much to give as anyone else. My relationship with my married best friend was reciprocal. We did a lot of family activities together but I had their daughter over for play-dates and sleepovers as often as they had mine. It was a give and give relationship. Oh, and don’t worry they don’t want your husbands. Single moms want single guys!
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