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Q&A 4Her – Julia Butera, Owner of Hope. Health. Joy.

Julia Butera was climbing up the corporate ladder in the fashion industry and reaching the goals she set for herself when in the fall of 2010, her foundation cracked when she was told that she had Stage 4 Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. The diagnosis came on her son’s 5th birthday and it was especially devastating because the year before on his 4th birthday, she was traveling the world negotiating clothing prices. It was then and there she decided it wasn’t worth it and took a break from her job to receive treatments.

During that time she started to make homemade jams for friends and family. They were received so well she decided to permanently leave her position and go into business. Julia wanted the business to mean much more and go beyond her so she decided to dedicate it to the community who gave her a second chance at life and at being a mom. 75% of the profits of everything sold are donated to The Leukemia Lymphoma Society. Hope. Health. Joy. just expanded to soy candles and has many hopes for growing the business.

Julia, who recently won 3rd place in the Volusion Mompreneur Makeover Contest, took time out of her busy schedule to talk to MyCity4Her about her business and shared insight on the things she would have changes when she first started, how she defines success and more. Read the full interview below!

Did you ever imagine yourself achieving what you have?

No, I never thought there was something else out there for me other than sitting in my office’s cubicle plugging away on behalf of someone else’s company. It was fear of the unknown and failure that kept me there, but now that I broke through that there is no turning back!

What in hindsight would you say you underestimated about your industry or business and why?

I definitely underestimated the power of marketing. I thought if you build it they will come and that could not be further from the truth. You really need to lead everyone to you. I am so lucky that I am in the age of social media where it is a lot easier for me, who has no formal marketing experience, to market my brand. I am also so lucky to have partnered with a great e-commerce provider, Volusion, who guides me every week with great advice or tips that push me in the right direction.

What is the best business related advice you have ever been given?

Be open minded to change your business plan if something is not working out the way you expected. Your business can not grow and evolve if you can’t.

What do you love most about what you do and why?

I love being able to work for a cause that is so close to me and give back to many who need it. Before I created www.hopehealthjoy.com and was at my corporate job I felt like I was working towards my next day off or 5 o’clock when I could go home. I wasn’t working towards making a difference in the world or being a part of something bigger then me. Now I am working towards something beyond me- bettering people’s lives and it so motivating. There is no 5 o’clock and I am not looking for it.

What if you knew then what you know now –would you do differently and why?

I was so scared then to make any move that I just kept plugging away at something that I knew wasn’t right for me. I know now it is not so scary but brave to put yourself out there. Just by doing that you are reaching a level so many have not and the benefits out way the fear of failure by so much.

When you’re not working how do you like to spend your time?

I love to bake! Especially for my 6 year old, who loves everything I make. Most recently I made pancake muffins with hope. health. joy’s. strawberry jam in the middle. It was a big hit.

How do you define success?

Not by who has the biggest bottom line or the biggest house, but what kind of person you are. Not by what has happened to you (good or bad) but what you do with what has happened. Do you respect the people that work so hard for you, do you share your personal failures to help better others, and do you give back to the communities that made you what you are? If all those are a yes then you have achieved success in my eyes.

If you had to share one final thought with our audience of thousands of women in business –what would it be?

Go for it! The worst mistake is being afraid to make one.

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