We had the good fortune of connecting with Fiona Kong and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Fiona, every day, we about how much execution matters, but we think ideas matter as well. How did you come up with the idea for your business?
Home Sweet Homes began out of a need to solve a personal problem. After my son’s father and I split up, I felt disconnected from my 3 year-old whenever he was away at his dad’s home. And I could only imagine what my son was experiencing, how difficult and confusing things must have been for him. I thought and assumed there must be tools or resources out there to help young children better cope with parental separation, but after searching, I didn’t find anything that fit what I wanted.

Deep down, I felt that there was an opportunity and need to change the way co-parenting was approached. To do so in a gentle and loving way. I didn’t even know what I was looking for to be honest at that point. But, an impromptu purchase of a planner from a dollar store inspired me use it essentially as a family diary that traveled with our son. Our family found it to be so helpful that I decided other families out there could use it too given how prevalent co-parenting families are these days.

And so, I designed Home Sweet Homes to be a shared family journal and planner which allows families to truly put their child first, stay connected, all the while supporting a child’s mental health post separation or divorce. It is a vehicle where both parents and child participate and can share milestones, memories, as well as essential scheduling and calendar information.

Home Sweet Homes is more than just a journal. It’s something special a child keeps with them to give him/her a sense of family unity despite the circumstances and above all else always feel loved by both parents.

Please tell us more about your work. We’d love to hear what sets you apart from others, what you are most proud of or excited about. How did you get to where you are today professionally. Was it easy? If not, how did you overcome the challenges? What are the lessons you’ve learned along the way. What do you want the world to know about you or your brand and story?

I’d say what sets me apart is that I do things that scare me like moving cross-country with no job lined up and backpacking solo in Europe. It’s that combination of taking action despite the unknown that I find thrilling and full of opportunity.

I became both a single mother and unemployed in 2019 after being laid off from my corporate job. When the idea for my co-parenting journal came about, it was a tough and terrifying decision to jump in with both feet and start my business given the circumstances. For me, the stakes are so high because if I fail to figure out how to make this work, it means that I’ve failed my son and I would never let that happen and that’s what drives me every day.

Entrepreneurs often say building their business is the hardest thing they’ve ever done and it’s so true.The learning curve is so incredibly steep as you wear all the hats when you start out. So you just have to take it one step at a time and keep going!

To build my business, I’ve had to really evaluate then change my habits to better manage my time and mindset. I gave up listening to music for business podcasts, Netflix for educational videos and now start my day with meditation and/or motivational videos. I’ve also sought out a network and community of entrepreneurs which I feel is so important. Nobody can do this alone!

The entrepreneurial journey is one of constant growth and learning. The top lessons I’ve learned so far are:

1) Network and give as much as you take. Offer to help others and be as generous as you can.

2) Progress over perfection. This is a tough one that I know many entrepreneurs struggle with. Chances are, whatever it is you’re working on will never be perfect, so, just aim for 80% completion and move on!

3) And finally, believe in yourself! Being an entrepreneur is so grueling and lonely and self-belief is so important to carry you through for the long haul.

I’m incredibly proud of seeing how my creation, the Home Sweet Homes co-parenting journal has impacted and touched the lives of adults and children around the world that I don’t personally know. Divorce and parental separation can be a highly traumatic event in a child’s life, so being able to make the best out of a stressful situation while making a difference in someone’s life is such a special and rewarding feeling. I’m honored to be giving families a vehicle to make a meaningful and lasting impact on their relationships.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
I’d definitely have my friend drive up the PCH to hike Sandstone peak for a beautiful view. A hike around/to Griffith Observatory with a show at the Hollywood Bowl would make for a great day. Another to explore Southbay, riding bikes on the strand and stopping off at each of the piers. Downtown is worth checking out – flower market, arts district, and even driving down Skid Row. Seeing first-hand and how widespread homelessness and mental health issues are is something I don’t think we should shy away from. Seeing this side of LA serves as a reminder that all humans have a story and deserve to feel safe and loved.

I’m not a foodie or anything, but my favorites are Hama Sushi in Little Tokyo with the freshest fish, Providence for a high-end meal, Republique for the unique architecture, Han Bat Sul Lung Tang for comforting soup and Chaumont for the best chocolate almond croissants!

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
There have been so many people that have played a role in me being who and where I am today.

I’d like to dedicate my shoutout to my son, Emile and to all children of divorce/separation who are the innocent casualties of a relationship that’s ended. Hearing stories of the pain and hurt children have experienced and brought into adulthood is incredibly heartbreaking and one that I hope to address and change for the future generation.

I’d like to thank my mom, Lily, and my son’s dad, Laurent, for being people I can count on. To my early on supporters and believers of Home Sweet Homes (via my Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign), former managers, colleagues, internet friends and community, new business connections and friends, I am grateful to you all. And finally to Devin Tomiak, a friend and fellow entrepreneur who nominated me for this feature, and of course toNick Ramirezand you, Mike Bhand, part of the Shoutout series for giving folks like me an opportunity to tell and share our stories – thank you.

Website: https://homesweethomesjournal.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/homesweethomesjournal/

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/fionakong

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/homesweethomesjournal/

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