Julia McConnell leads the Family Creations team as its founder and CEO. After working in the egg donation and surrogacy industry for several years, she was inspired to create the standardized procedures that have become central to the mission of Family Creations: delivering professional, compassionate services to each and every client. As the leader of this unique organization, Julia brings to the table a perfect combination of extensive managerial experience and dedication to children and families that uniquely equips her to support intended parents, surrogates, and donors as they engage in the journey toward family. She finds great joy and fulfillment in helping people build their families through the miracle of third party reproduction. It’s an incredible blessing to be able to take part in this amazing process every day!
In recognition of her work with Family Creations, Julia was named one of America’s Top 30 Entrepreneurs Under the Age of 30 by INC Magazine, and she was also featured in the article “Success at Every Age” in ForbesWomen Magazine. When she’s not trailblazing in the surrogacy and egg donation industry, she loves spending time with her own family. She is married to her amazing husband Keith, and they are immensely proud of their two beautiful daughters.
Where did the idea for Family Creations come from?
The name “Family Creations” conveys the most important thing we want our clients to understand, which is that they are not undergoing a clinical process. They are creating a family and everything that goes along with that.
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
As a mother who also runs a company, I say there is no typical day. However, I certainly have my routine. These days, we’re never disconnected from work. I check my emails and messages before the girls are up in the mornings. Then I get them dressed, fed, and off to school. By the time I get to the office, I’ve got a to-do list as long as my arm.
My staff is highly trained and highly professional, so for me, it’s a matter of making sure the ship is sailing smoothly and handling whatever comes up.
How do you bring ideas to life?
In most cases, I would say it’s a matter of necessity being the mother of invention. You come up with an idea to improve the process or solve a problem and then bring it to your team and say, “What do you think, and how do we make it happen?”
What’s one trend that excites you?
Our business is very reputational. A lot of attention is being paid internationally to the potential for exploitation of poor women as surrogate mothers. All of our surrogates are fully supported throughout the process and based in the US. We applaud intentional efforts to protect vulnerable young women from exploitation.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Learn from the mistakes of others, not only your own. When I was younger, I never dreamed I would be in this field, but I took a job in college with someone who is now one of our competitors. I loved the job but saw how the company was not being run as efficiently as it could’ve been.
I opened Family Creations vowing not to make the same mistakes they had.
What advice would you give your younger self?
All your hard work will pay off. When I started Family Creations at the age of twenty-three it was a leap of faith. I had no idea whether or not I would succeed. Looking back, I was mostly making the right decisions. I just didn’t know any better. Now, I do.
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
Sporty Spice was the most underrated Spice Girl.\
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I am constantly asking myself what we can be doing better.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Sweat the small stuff. I don’t mean to be a control freak, but we are in a business in which a lot of the people we deal with are emotionally vulnerable, and the last thing we want to do is to increase their anxiety level by getting something wrong.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I didn’t follow my own advice from question 5. I corrected it by not making the same mistake twice. As you can see, I don’t like to dwell on failure.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
We have become such a service-oriented society. I would like to create a company that provides the everyday services that are currently part of the gig economy to be provided by salaried, insured workers.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
A Burberry raincoat marked down from $800. It’ll last forever.
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
It sounds old fashioned but Facebook is a very important part of my life, both personally and professionally. As I said, our business is reputational and so I am very attentive to how people are reaching out to us.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
LION: A Long Way Home by Saroo Brierly. It’s the true story of a little boy from India who got separated from his mother and ended up in Tasmania, Australia. It has a lot of great things to say about the meaning of home and family.
What is your favorite quote?
You can’t be all things to all people. It’s hard to go by so I have to remind myself.
The key to running a successful business is striving for perfection, not attaining it.
Be attentive to what you can learn from your competitors.
Understand what makes your business different from others and strive to be the best at delivering those unique services to your clientele.
Believe in the importance of what you do.
Mario Schulzke is the Founder of ideamensch, which he started a decade ago to learn from entrepreneurs and give them a platform for their ideas.