Tonya Stout’s Story: How “Moms” allowed me to balance work and family life, pursue my passion.

Tonya Stout’s Story: How “Moms” allowed me to balance work and family life, pursue my passion.

My story isn’t your ‘typical corporate career’ path.

It all began with a seed that God placed in my heart when I was in elementary school. I never had the desire to climb to the top of a ‘corporate ladder’ or break through the proverbial glass ceiling; my dream was to move to Nashville, TN, to pursue a career as a singer/songwriter in country music – way before ‘country was cool.’

Growing up in a blue-collar town, with mostly farms & factories, the seed of working hard for a living was deeply planted in my Indiana hometown. I graduated from Ball State University with a degree in Business Education. The reasons I chose an Education degree was so I could have the summers off to play in my band (that was my young, wrong way of thinking) and a degree in business could open a lot of doors in any field, including music. Eight years after graduating from college, my husband, my daughters and I uprooted from Indiana and headed south to Nashville, Tennessee.

Although I knew the odds were against me of ever getting a song recorded by a country artist, I still grabbed my guitar, played around town at songwriter venues such as the famous Bluebird Cafe, and began writing songs on music row. I had heard it was a “ten-year town” and, sure enough, after ten years of writing songs, yes, TEN YEARS, things began to blossom.

I’ve had songs recorded by Grammy Award winner, Billy Dean, along with country duo, Joey + Rory, and other independent artists. One of my songs I co-wrote has been played nationally on The Today Show with Hoda & Kathie Lee, and on The Andy Cohen Radio Show. I also recorded a singer/songwriter EP that is available on I-Tunes, Amazon, Spotify, Pandora, etc. and created a company called “Nashville Comes to Town – songwriters playing it forward,” where we perform in different cities and give back to the community.

Although I’m grateful for all of my musical accomplishments, the music industry has evolved from pressing a needle against the vinyl to listen to an old 45-record and songwriters being able to making a living writing songs, to low CD sales because listeners now download or stream songs illegally and a single doesn’t pay the creator much for their work of art. So, along with pursuing a passion like mine, I’ve always had to figure out a way to generate an income to contribute to my family and not be the stereotypical ‘starving artist.’

I’ve held many part-time jobs alongside of my music career, and before working with Moms Making Six Figures, I had a tiny taste of that ‘corporate’ career and knew, without a doubt, that wasn’t my gig. Funny how a corporate part-time job is really full-time hours, but part-time pay, while not having a quality of life or time to spend with the ones you love.

My childhood friend introduced me to Moms Making Six Figures and I was a little skeptical about it, but trusted her. My friend did not work for them, but she knew one of the executives who did, and she thought it might be a good fit for me. She was right.

My husband and I researched the business model and loved the part of the ‘residual income’ piece which is much like a songwriter who receives ‘mailbox money’ when their song is played. Not only has this part-time job allowed me to still be fully involved in the lives of my husband, and three daughters, I also have the time and flexibility to still write songs and play at songwriter events.

It was pretty refreshing to receive a nice check after my first month of working with “Moms”, and not having to wait ten years! The support that all of us women/men, give to one another, is how the ‘corporate’ world should be. Not only do we water our own seed, we love watering each other’s seeds & what a beautiful garden we have.


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