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How Saralyn Ward Built A Community Of Purpose-Driven Mamas

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Saralyn Ward

Parenthood is anything but easy. Those of you raising kids know that to be true.

It’s full of highs and lows. Moments of joy — and long periods of exhaustion.

As a father, I know I get tired after a long day. But, it’s that much tougher on mothers out there.

That’s why I wanted to highlight Saralyn’s work at The Mama Sagas. It’s time we give moms their due!

Check out my interview with her and give us your thoughts in the comments.

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Saralyn Ward: “My mission is to help women (especially mothers) thrive and live their most fullled lives.”

Give us a brief background of who you are for those that don’t know. 

Saralyn Ward is an award-winning writer, fitness professional and TV host whose passion is to inspire and empower others to live their best life. In June of 2018, Saralyn edited, authored and published Amazon’s #1 New Kindle Release in Babies and Toddlers: The Guide to Survive Motherhood: Newborn Edition – the first truly interactive and comprehensive resource for new moms. She writes for several publications including Today Parents, Thrive Global, Huff Post, Colorado Parent Magazine, Dance Magazine, elephant journal, 5280 Magazine, and Women of Denver Magazine. In 2017, Saralyn’s writing was honored with a Gold Medal by the Parenting Media Association.

She is the force behind The Mama Sagas: a digital video series and blog that uses stories to break down stigmas, building a village of compassionate and purpose-driven mamas. Saralyn was named an Official Artist of the 2015 New York Television Festival when The Mama Sagas video series was selected as a finalist in A&E Network’s Create360˚ Unscripted Development Pipeline Competition. Saralyn’s on-screen credits include commercials and fitness DVDs for companies such as Honda, Perkins Restaurants, Comcast, Boppy, Reebok, and SELF magazine. Most recently, as the weekly parenting contributor for Colorado’s Everyday Show, Saralyn offers tips to survive parenthood on live morning television.

When she’s not collecting stories or falling asleep over edits, you’ll find Saralyn with her husband Tom, climbing mountains or skiing down them, and trying to remember that the two little girls that call her mom are not the boss of her. You can connect to Saralyn on Facebook or LinkedIn.

In your current role, what do you help people achieve? 

My mission is to help women (especially mothers) thrive and live their most fulfilled lives. The transition to motherhood can be really challenging because it comes with a huge identity shift that many women don’t expect, and the resources to help us heal our bodies, minds and spirits after birth can be hard to find. By creating community and reimagining “the village” for a digital platform, I’m connecting women with the resources, information, and support they need to realize that motherhood doesn’t have to be a sacrifice; it can be an opportunity to discover our true power and potential, both individually and collectively.

How did you go about this career path? 

I fell into it! I’ve always been a writer, since Mr. Miller taught me about “color words” in 5th grade. I studied Integrative Arts and Dance in college, and wanted to pursue a career on the Broadway Stage. But an injury sidelined me, and I started using Pilates to rehabilitate. Eventually I began teaching Pilates, and then teaching Pilates instructors. I also managed an online fitness community and website called MyGroupFit, which taught me the basics of digital media and marketing.

For a decade, before I became a mom myself, I was working closely with pre- and postnatal women in a Pilates setting to prepare for and heal from birth, and noticed that there was so much changing for them besides just the physical. When I became a mother myself I realized how profound the matrescence shift was, and how isolating it could feel. I remember one particular night at 3 in the morning, I was rocking an inconsolable baby who had reflux and tongue tie, and didn’t know what to do to help her. I felt desperate but had no one to call at that hour, had no family nearby, and couldn’t find any information online. Everything I found was either long, dry and clinical research articles, or sugar-coated, overly-generic and not super helpful. I remember looking down at my phone and wishing there was some kind of digital community of moms and credible experts I could tap into right then and there, from the palm of my hand. I wanted quick answers, that were easy to understand and easy to access, and entertaining. So, eventually, I set out to create that very resource.

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Describe one or two moments in your life that shaped who you are today. 

1) see above, 2) the birth of both of my children. I always say, I literally wouldn’t be where I am without them.

What are aspiring and current entrepreneurs and freelancers missing when it comes to your area of expertise? How do you help bridge that gap? 

I see a lot of postpartum fitness content out there, and a lot of content about caring for baby, but there’s not a lot of good, evidence-based information on healing the postpartum body after birth. I take a more holistic approach to creating content for new moms. Yes, they want fitness and weight loss content. But you can’t exercise the way you want to until you address diastasis recti (the abdominal split) or healing the pelvic floor – otherwise you’ll create longer lasting problems. I aim to create resources that help mom heal her body as well as care for baby, and address all the other issues she faces in the postpartum period – like how to go back to work, how to find childcare, how find mom friends, and more.

Regarding your core products and services, what can you tell us about it? Why should we care? 

The United States is really lacking in our approach to postpartum care. Our maternal mortality rates are higher than other developed countries. We traditionally expect women to return to work so soon after birth, before their bodies have even healed. We don’t often provide support for breastfeeding or therapy to heal the pelvic floor. These are all things that women have to seek out themselves, at a time when they are trying to figure out life on no sleep with no time, and a new baby. It’s no wonder that postpartum depression affects 1 in 7 women and postpartum anxiety rates may be even higher. Also: for the baby to thrive the mom has to thrive. In the postpartum period, the Mom-Baby dyad functions as a unit and when one struggles the other struggles. We need to make access to information and resources available for all moms who need it in the postpartum period.

Saralyn Ward - Mama Sagas

If you were just starting your business today, what would be the first 2 or 3 things you would do to market yourself and your product/service? What would you do differently today vs. what you did to begin yours previously? 

What I would do differently: I wouldn’t hold back. When I started The Mama Sagas, I thought of it as a passion project instead of a business. I didn’t expect to make money doing it, and I didn’t plan to reach a lot of people. I didn’t know if I had the skills to make it what I wanted to. I waited for about a year and a half for someone to come along and say “I like your idea, let’s run with it,” instead of figuring out how to build the business myself. What I know now is that by holding back out of fear or insecurity, we withhold our divine gifts from the world. The moment I decided to stop waiting, believe in myself and figure out what I didn’t know, my business grew much faster than ever before, and in ways I could have never imagined.

What’s really killing it for you as a marketing channel today?

Content has always been the bread and butter of my strategy. Every mom has a story, and motherhood is the great equalizer. No matter who you are or where you come from, or how much money you make or how well-known you may be, motherhood is HARD. And we all have one big thing in common: we all want the absolute best for our kids. I like to share stories from across the spectrum of the motherhood experience, and build community through 1st-person stories. I often reach out to influencers and even celebrities to share their stories, because, strategically, if they share their story with their following, it only helps advance my mission to reach more moms.

What is your biggest revenue driver?

Currently my book, The Guide To Survive Motherhood: Newborn Edition. However, I’m including this book into The Better After Baby Jumpstart program, launching June 17, and I anticipate that will be the biggest revenue driver.

Featured Resources

* Hey Moms (and Dads)! Want to teach your kids about money? My buddy, Matt, has an awesome resource for you.
* Check out how this mother makes $200K per month in online sales. I interviewed her this week on the Hero Story Facebook page and saved the video for you to watch.
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