Jill Koziol

Co-Founder and CEO of Motherly

Jill Koziol is the co-founder and CEO of Motherly, a wellbeing destination empowering mothers to thrive with expert content, innovative product solutions, and supportive community. Motherly engages an audience of 40 million+ readers and viewers a month, with on-demand parent education classes, Webby-award winning videos, The Motherly Podcast, essays, and articles, and a highly-engaged social media community.

She is also the co-author of “The Motherly Guide to Becoming Mama: Redefining the Pregnancy, Birth, and Postpartum Journey” and “This Is Motherhood: A Motherly Collection of Reflections and Practices.”

Jill is passionate about serving and empowering women and mothers because when mamas are successful, everyone wins. She is an advocate for families, female founders, and how to thrive with multiple sclerosis. Jill lives in Park City, Utah with her husband and two daughters.

Where did the idea for Motherly come from?

The short answer is that I cofounded Motherly simply because it didn’t exist and women were being significantly underserved by the parenting resources that were available to them back in 2015. The idea was born from a call with my now cofounder, Liz Tenety, an award-winning journalist and editor. She called to discuss the seedling of an idea she had for a platform that would speak to today’s modern mothers. On that first call we discovered we had a shared mission to support women as they become mothers and decided to build a next-generation brand that would redefine motherhood for the modern woman, that differentiated as woman-centered, expert-driven, and empowering.

What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?

I live and die by my calendar, scheduling every detail from work meetings to workouts to ensure I optimize every moment. The below is a typical day though increasingly I am having in person lunch or coffee meetings a couple times a week.

6:45am I start each day giving myself about 15 minutes in bed to check the news, emails, and my calendar for the day.

7:20am I’m dressed and ready for the day and in mom mode getting my daughters ready for the day and taking them to school

8am Call with my Chief of Staff to discuss any pressing matters and align on priorities

8:30am Workout

9:15 Email Check before returning to my home office

9:30 – 3pm Back to back internal and external video calls and meetings with hopefully a little time between to keep on top of email

3pm Pick up my daughters from school and bring them home for my husband and/or au pair to manage afternoon activities

3:30pm Email catchup, strategy work, occasional west coast calls

6pm – 8:30pm Family time!

8:30pm Final email check

9:30pm Shower & relax with my husband

10:30pm Bed, typically reading a bit before sleeping

How do you bring ideas to life?

I believe in sprints to timebox an idea, providing an opportunity to test and iterate, failing or succeeding quickly before scaling the idea.

What’s one trend that excites you?

Remote-first work policies. Motherly has been remote-first since our launch in 2015.

What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?

Timeboxing – I block time out for nearly everything on my calendar giving tasks defined periods to accomplish them – this allows me to stay focused and avoid multitasking too much.

What advice would you give your younger self?

I’d tell myself to lead authentically, not to try to be a man or anyone other than who I am, leading with a full heart as my most authentic self. It took me a while in my 20s to learn that people sense authenticity and they follow it.

Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.

Nearly 50% of today’s mothers are the primary breadwinner in their families – it’s a fact that many are surprised to learn and have difficulty believing. Because of this it’s a business and competitive imperative that we find ways to support working mothers in the workplace – our economic future depends on it.

As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?

Cancel meetings – at the start of each week I cancel as meetings as possible. If it can be accomplished with an email, the goal isn’t clear, an agenda not established, or someone else can handle it as well or better than me, it’s canceled.

What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?

Hiring great people and getting out of their way, seeing my role as helping to unblock them so they can be successful.

What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?

I believe that success is created when passion and persistence combine and that sometimes the key is to simply stay alive long enough to be successful. So while I fail in little, and sometimes big, ways each day, I see this as part of the journey vs failure. For example, we launched our first digital video class for parents in 2016 and it wasn’t successful because the market wasn’t ready, our audience wasn’t large enough, etc. So we killed it. But now in 2022 much has changed and we are now building the largest expert-driven digital parenting education platform.

What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?

I’ve had this idea for a few years and haven’t found a solution yet – with so many streaming services featuring original series I find it hard to know when a new season of a favorite show is launched. I’d love for someone to launch an app that I can flag series I love across all streaming platforms that will notify me when a new season is released. It would be great if it also made recommendations for similar series. If this happens to already exist, please send it my way!

What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?

I buy fresh flowers weekly for my home office and while it may seem indulgent, I find that it brings me joy and encourages mindfulness during the day, both important for me to find each day to motivate me.

What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?

Trello – I keep track of to-dos and 1:1 topics for my direct reports, as well as notes from meetings.

What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?

Reshma Saujani’s new book, “Pay Up”, is an important read on the future of women in the workplace. The ideas she outlines are things Motherly has implemented over the last 7 years, proving they work and can be scaled.

What is your favorite quote?

My favorite quote is, “there’s nothing like 10 years of hard work to look like an overnight success.” This has been a critical mantra for me and Motherly because I so often compare myself and our business to others that have been around for a very long time.

Key Learnings:

  • Success is created when passion and persistence combine.
  • Time is your most valuable asset and should be protected fiercely.
  • The only person that you can truly be authentically is yourself. Spend time figuring out who you are, not who you should act like.