"This fun tale is entertaining and inspiring in equal measure." Publishers Weekly
Come along for the ride, as Jamie and Brian Ratner show you how to build a successful business with your spouse.
When Jamie Ratner pitched her new idea for a family-friendly Groupon to her husband Brian on their drive to Pittsburgh for the Christmas holiday in their messy minivan, Brian’s response shocked her. He said, “That’s a great idea.” For the rest of their holiday, while his parents watched their two young kids, they worked late into the night on a business plan and timeline to launch what soon would become CertifiKID. Jamie was an entrepreneur at heart but had no business background. Brian was a partner at a Washington, DC, law firm whose practice was litigation not corporate law. They had no free time. The timing to start a business was far from ideal. They did it anyway.
More than a decade later, in ParentPreneurs, Jamie and Brian tell their rollercoaster story of how they built a multi-million dollar company through thousands of deals with small and big businesses for the benefit of their million plus members; cut a deal with Kevin O’Leary (aka “Mr. Wonderful”) on the ABC television show Shark Tank that was one of his biggest deals in 10 seasons; and navigated the Covid pandemic that sent their business to the edge of the cliff by making a risky pivot acquisition. They give an honest account from each of their own unique perspectives on the toll and rewards of mixing marriage and business at every stage. They provide tips and lessons for how to manage both, maintain work/life balance especially in this age of remote and flexible work, and accomplish your personal and professional goals.
This is a book for every entrepreneurial parent, whether you’re in the game or just thinking about it. It is real and uplifting, and it will inspire you to rethink how you view your work and determine whether you can start or build something new that will bring you greater joy and fulfillment.
Jamie and Brian show how parents can be successful entrepreneurs and entrepreneurs can be successful parents and spouses. And so can you.
Jamie Ratner is the CEO and founder of CertifiKID, a recognized best deal website for parents. Over the past decade and with CertifiKID’s recent acquisition of Macaroni KID, Jamie has grown CertifiKID from a regional deal website to one of the country’s largest parent-focused digital media and advertising companies, reaching millions of families nationwide and backed by an investment from Shark Tank's Kevin O’Leary. Jamie was named one of Greater Washington’s top women business leaders by Washington SmartCEO. A soccer mom and entrepreneur (aka “ParentPreneur”), she’s a leading expert in the daily deal, parent, and digital media space.
Brian Ratner is the cofounder and president of CertifiKID. He is also a founding partner of Hausfeld, a global litigation law firm headquartered in Washington, DC, where he serves as global co-chair of the firm and specializes in global antitrust litigation. Brian has been featured on the Washington, DC Super Lawyers and The Legal 500 Leading Lawyers Lists since 2014 and has been selected by Lawdragon as one of the 500 Leading Lawyers in America for the past three years.
Jamie and Brian Ratner live in Potomac, Maryland with their two children.
Foreword by Kevin O’Leary ix
Introduction: Jumping into the [Shark] Tank 1
1 Year 1: How to Build Your Business on a Four-Hour Car Ride 5
2 Year 2: The First Million 15
3 Year 3: Surviving Marriage, Parenthood, and Business 27
4 Year 4: Growing Pains 39
5 Year 5: The Messy Middle 51
6 Year 6: What’s Success Got to Do with It? 61
7 Year 7: The Disaster Area 73
8 Year 8: The Plateau 83
9 Year 9: Swimming with the Sharks 93
10 Year 10: All Paths Lead to Mr. Wonderful 107
11 Year 11: Part 1–Hoping We Don’t Have to File Chapter 11 119
12 Year 11: Part 2–Crazy Like a Fox or Just Crazy? 133
13 That’s a Wrap 151
About the Authors 171
The authors, partners in marriage, parenting, and business, detail the ups and downs of growing their company CertifiKID in this enjoyable blend of memoir and business how-to.... Each chapter covers a year, first in Jamie’s words then Brian’s, as they chronicle the launch of their site (on launch day 'we had sold five vouchers.... To say that Jamie and I were both floored and ecstatic would be an understatement'), the couple’s appearance on reality show Shark Tank (where they scored a deal with Kevin O’Leary), surviving the pandemic, acquiring ad company Macaroni KID, and raising their own family. Along the way come business tips for busy parents: 'Timing matters. But when you’re married with kids and have full-time jobs and endless responsibilities, the timing is never ideal to take a risk, right?' ... they offer a nice look at how differing personalities complement each other through high-powered deals and downtime at home. This fun tale is entertaining and inspiring in equal measure.
Family road trips normally can be taxing and frustrating. On one particular road trip in 2009, Jamie Ratner hit upon an idea and bounced it off her husband, Brian, as she often did. This one was an innovative marketing approach to fellow parents, offering economical packages for family experiences. Jamie, a security manager at a DC law firm, and Brian, a lawyer, undertook the challenge of growing their business, CertifiKID, from the ground up. Early success in the form of many CertifiKID subscribers came with its share of growing pains, like internet outages and flaky fellow business owners. Each chapter of the Ratners' book charts a year in the life of the company, building up to and including their splash on Shark Tank. This is a biography of a company that begins and ends with family, the narrative of CertifiKID flowing seamlessly through its founders' perspectives. Readers will find themselves pulled into the Ratners’ attempt to grab a piece of the American dream.
From the foreword: There are a lot of books out there, but every parent should read ParentPreneurs.
I've been a huge fan of Jamie and Brian for a decade and loved getting to see the secret to their success. I finished the book feeling inspired and motivated, which after the last two years is saying A LOT!
11/23/22, Success Magazine: Jamie and Brian Ratner talked about the balance between being business partners and parents in this interview.