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Episode 25: From Building Classroom Communities to Building Online Communities with Chrissy Somers

Mom of three Chrissy Somers describes what it was like when she left teaching, became a stay at home mom for all of 2 weeks, then decided to find a job. She looked at what the community needed and TA DA Families on the Fox was born! Listen in to hear how she transferred her teaching skills to entrepreneur skills!


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About Chrissy

Chrissy Somers is the founder + creator of Families on the Fox, a website serving families with + without children in the west + far west suburbs of Chicago by providing them with things to do and places to go. While Chrissy usually fills her days exploring new shops, eateries, breweries, and community parks, she also helps small businesses create local brand awareness through partnerships with FOTF. She ensures the families within the community know about all the cool new places to visit, both with and without children. In her short two years owning FOTF, Chrissy has built a name and reputation for herself in the Fox Valley area as a community advocate, and has a recurring column in a local publication where she gets to share her local insights with readers. Chrissy's approachability and honesty in all the things are gamechangers for this industry.

When she's not squeezing work between e-learning, potty training, and losing her sh*t, she is a hot mess mom to three young daughters and wife to her endlessly supportive husband, Tyler. She doesn't claim to have all the answers but always views her wine glass as half full. She shares her successes and struggles with her FOTF audience because she understands the pressures of society. We all wear several hats and have to cater to different roles in our lives, and Chrissy is a big advocate of removing the facade of pretending we have it all together. No one does. And that's PERFECTLY FINE.

Biggest Support

Her husband Tyler, told her to just go for it! She started building the social media following before the website even launched and it was a great success.

Remaining Courageous Throughout the Process

In her field, she’s competing against Yelp and Trip Advisory. She thought there was no way she could compete against these giant companies. Should she even spend time doing it? She kept hearing from community members how this was much needed and how excited they were for this. That encouragement was what really helped.

Families on the Fox Name

It was a long car ride and she was talking about the idea again. It was one of the first names that just came out! At first, they were all about it. The drawback is people assume it s a website for people with kids, but it’s more than that. There’s also an adulting guide for people to use.

Families on the Fox Events

They’ve done over 12 events. The purpose was to bring some income and to bring the community to businesses they might not have a tried before. The very first Winesday Wednesday was chaotic and learned so much from that event, but every attendee left that event so happy and guarantee it again for next year. Keep events going and keep bringing communities to small businesses.

Community Building

The part Chrissy misses the most of being in the classroom is the students. Somehow the students have figured out that she is the one behind Families on the Fox. She’s showing her students that they don’t have to commit to one single path for the rest of their life. She loves the community she has built. There is a private facebook group called Foxy Mamas for women who live or work in the Fox Valley area. There’s a meet up once a month which is nice for people to connect.

Being an Open Book

She started Families on the Fox when her third child was three months old and she definitely had postpartum. Being on medication to control your mental health was kind of a shameful thing in her family. She had the encouragement from a friend to seek out help after sharing with her the symptoms she was experiencing. Chrissy decided to use the platform she’s built on social media to share a post about general anxiety. She was nervous about losing her followers and reputation, but it turned out to be a blessing because so many people reached out.

She originally thought, " Do I hide some of this from my audience, do I hide the stress, or do I share those vulnerable sides of the Families of the Fox?" In the end, she decided to share it all because she knew it was going to make a difference for somebody.

Maintaining the Juggle

She will never have a great balance of everything in any given week, and it’s ok. Some days she’s a great entrepreneur, some day she’s a great mom.

How She Maintains the Core of Chrissy

Making time for her and her husband. Date nights are very important to them. Finding time for her girlfriends and take each of her girls on a date. She’s a very social person so she needs all of those social things.

Next for Families on the Fox

Big things! She’s working with the small business development center of Illinois and they are working on a national brand. She’s doing a national thing in the next six months to a year. When she first started Families on the Fox, she didn’t imagine it would go national, but after seeing the impact it has made on the community, she knew it had to go national. A fear she has is finding an authentic person to run something like this across the country.

Pushing Past Fears

Fear is what stops you from pursuing any dream or big idea that you have. Fear and failure are the number one things that usually stop anybody from pursuing things. If you think about it long enough and let that idea fester some more, there’s going to be a fire burning inside of you that needs to be released and that fire is the start of your next big idea.

Takeaway

Get past the fear. Think more about your idea. Think about what it could do for others and what it could do for you. Just jump in, feet first!

Event Curation

There were 3 different events scheduled before Covid happened. Two days before the shut down happened was the last event. After we found out the severity of Covid, they canceled all of the events. The event curation comes from teaching. You might have lesson plans for your students, but if they’re not ready for it, you might change your lesson plans. She sees what her community needs and wants and then an event is born.


Advice:

Always Ask for Help and Accept the help when it’s offered


Courage Song:

Dance Off by Idris Elba and Macklemore

Listen to songs on the Courage Up Playlist!


Book:

Girl, Wash Your Wash by Rachel Hollis

The E Myth Revisited by Michael Gerber



Connect With Chrissy

Instagram:@familiesonthefox

Facebook: Families on the Fox

Website: www.familiesonthefox.com


Connect With Ming:

Instagram: @mingshelby

Facebook: Ming Shelby

Listen to songs on the Courage Up Playlist!

Courage Up Facebook Community



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