Kay Kratochwill had her first paying client, plus two more potentials, and she was ready to make the leap.
She just needed one guy’s approval.
“‘Mom, you’re going to rock it!” 10-year-old Max told her.
Later on, recounting his support, Kratochwill’s eyes welled up.
“And that was the one person I needed to hear from,” she said. “Because my kid believes in me.”
With Max on board, just three weeks ago, Kratochwill lept — quitting her job at Monk’s in Verona to focus full-time on her own enterprise, Feed Your Business LLC, designing websites, promotions and marketing for other small businesses.
Monk’s was Kratochwill’s sole income: She’s a single mom of two, to Max and 3-year-old Lucia. The family is living off of savings, but that’s a finite amount of money. There’s a lot at stake in making her business successful.
“So frickin’ scary,” she said.
But, Kratochwill added, their life as it existed wasn’t sustainable — She’d wake up at 5 a.m., work on her business, get the kids up and out to school and child care, work a shift at Monk’s, come home in time to watch her son after school, pick Lucia up from child care, parent for a few hours, get them to bed and then work for hours again on her business.
“I can’t work 40 hours a day,” she said.
“This is going to give me so much more time with them,” she said. “Just because I can pick my hours and I can pick when I want to work, and play when I want to play.”
She’s also, to some extent, done this before. And succeeded.
Kratochwill and her then-husband started and ran the popular Pots-n-Tots food cart in Madison, which opened in 2014. Kratochwill learned hands-on about websites, social media, marketing and promotion as she worked to grow the business.
“It was so super-successful,” she said. “We were making money hand over fist.”
The couple’s business partnership, though, folded along with their marriage.
And now she’s using the knowledge and experience gained from running the food cart to help other businesses thrive.
She’s loving it.
“When (my clients) say, ‘Gosh, I got two new clients today, ‘ or ‘That event you promoted for us was freakin’ packed,'” it’s so fulfilling, Kratochwill said.
Her goal is to get back to working full-time — just, this time, for herself.
There’s fear in the risk she’s taking, yes, but no regrets.
Max and Lucia are worth it.
“They’re just my world, and that’s what I’m trying to give them now,” Kratochwill said. “I’m just going to fight my heinie off to try to give them everything they deserve.”