BY PHIL CUSTODIO
Clarkston News Editor
In Kristin Ostrander’s senior year at Clarkston High School, 1997-1998, she had the chance to write columns for The Clarkston News.
“It was the highlight of my week. I still have many of the articles I wrote saved in a scrapbook,” Ostrander said. “The Clarkston News has always been dear to me. I will never forget what it felt like to be a published writer at 17 years old. That opportunity lit a fire in my heart for writing that has only grown over the years.”
She married shortly after high school, started a family, and went to work, exploring the early Internet commerce websites.
“With my husband (Ben) working commercial construction, work was always feast or famine,” she said. “I decided to work from home because I had small children and wanted to stay home with them. I’ve been in e-commerce now for 15 years with the vast majority of that time selling on the Amazon platform.”
In 2003, Ebay was still taking paper checks, she said.
“Sometimes there weren’t any images, or we’d upload pictures scanned from cameras using film,” said Kristin, who used the online auction site to sell some of the kids’ toys and clothes. “It’s a different beast now.”
By 2009, Amazon was more lucrative for someone working from home, she said.
“It started slow, with little kids underfoot,” she said. “One strategy was the 15-minute hustle. I had a little boy like Dennis the Menace meets Curious George. When I had a little window of time, I thought, what can I get done? It took small steps in the right direction. As they grew older, I had more time, but I still work on the 15 minute hustle.”
She grew her business from $100 to $1.2 million in revenue in 2018, though not without setbacks, she said.
“While the business was fairly small in 2010, my husband had an accident and couldn’t work for over a year,” she said. “This sent us into financial ruin including home foreclosure. My business was small but I was determined to keep it going to put food on the table during this difficult time.”
By 2014, she was participating in online Facebook sellers groups, which were new. Mommy Income, her second company, was offering nationwide workshops, online courses, and strategies for online selling.
“Livestreaming was clunky at the time, but I would put on a live show every week. People still crave meeting one on one, even in online business,” she said. “I’ve taught a live streaming webcast every Monday night since 2014 and that show has also become a podcast in the past 18 months. Others were hearing of my online success and reached out to ask for help with how to start their own e-commerce business. I began to teach classes and mentorship programs to help others find the same success.”
She teaches what to do today to get one step closer in business and life.
“Not how to make a million, but how to make the next $40,” she said.
She and her business partner have an inventory prep center in Lapeer to prepare all inventory receives, but she still maintains a home office.
“With Wifi and a laptop, I can do my work whereever I am, even from Jamaica, as long as the Wifi is working,” Kristin said.
She also creates audio-based podcasts for I-tunes and Google Play, for passive listening while walking or driving, and uses Youtube and other platforms to broadcast live.
“Youtube is still a perfect place for online education,” she said.
Now with kids growing up and two businesses established, she’s written a book, “Dream Big Step Small,” set to be released in June, with preorders in May.
“The message of the book is a mix of tough love, actions plans, and inspirational tales of how I’ve gone from the depths of foreclosure all the way to a seven-figure business by taking small practical steps,” she said. “I feel The Clarkston News gave me my first real opportunity to be successful at something I loved doing. It’s my story mixed with practical steps for everyone, particularly moms, how I did it and how you can do it, too.”
For more information, call 248-935-5893, go to Mommyincome.com and Kristinostrander.com, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
BY PHIL CUSTODIO