Anyone who’s listened to Best of Both Worlds knows that Sarah and I are both into planning. Sarah in particular is a big fan of fancy planning products. That made Tonya Dalton a great guest for us. Dalton, a mother of two, is the owner of inkWELL Press, which produces lovely planners and planning systems. She runs productivity training programs, and hosts the podcast The Productivity Paradox (where I have been a guest!)
Dalton is very much running a family business. Her husband runs a lot of the operations. Her kids (now 15 and 11) have pitched in too!
Dalton’s entrepreneurial journey turns out to be an intriguing one. Years ago, she started a jewelry wholesale business as something to do on the side while her husband was traveling internationally for work. She was running this small venture when she and her husband had a rather pivotal conversation. He told her he was feeling sad about missing time with their kids during his corporate travels. So Dalton vowed to make her business big enough that he could work for her and earn the same salary he was.
It is a testament to her skill and ambition that within a year she was able to pull this off. Dalton’s husband came to work for her business.
Sarah mentions in the episode how much she loves this story — because it is entirely different from the usual ones. You know how these go. Man decides he needs to earn enough to allow his wife to stay home. Or perhaps Mom announces that she really wants to stay home and Dad needs to go find a different job that allows that. In Dalton’s case, Dad wants to have more time with his kids, so Mom builds a business that is big enough to provide for that.
But Dalton’s story doesn’t end there (because, you may wonder…where is that jewelry business?) A few years ago, Dalton decided that jewelry wholesale was great for putting food on the table, but wasn’t really the stuff of her dreams. So she spent a year figuring out what she wanted to do. She journaled. She asked herself questions to see what she felt strongly about. She then asked follow-up questions to find out for sure. She realized that she loved planning and she loved teaching, and she wanted to figure out a way to tap these interests.
So they shut down the jewelry business and launched inkWELL Press. Because she’s been so drawn to planning and the planning process, she has a lot of energy for building the business, and it has grown accordingly.
Anyway, it’s a fun episode, and I hope you’ll give it a listen! As a bonus, the Q&A is fascinating too. We got a letter from a listener who works on the technical side (coding and such) in a manufacturing plant. She is very good at what she does, and because of that has been nudged to move into management. There are reasons to do so — technical salaries don’t rise quickly, for instance — but also reasons not to. Namely, she loves doing the technical work. She does not love meetings.
We talk about the issues to consider when moving from the technical side to the management side, and whether there are ways to combine them, or develop more of a career ladder on the technical side. I would love to hear thoughts from people who’ve made this move (in any field — teachers becoming principals, doctors becoming administrators, etc.) or people who have decided not to as well.
In other news: Goodreads is running a give-away of Off the Clock! There are 75 copies available, so if you know someone who would like to enter, please send them over. Also, if you are a Goodreads member, please consider leaving a review or rating, or marking that you’d like to read the book. Thanks!