When Micah Enriquez, our NJMOMpreneur of the Week, was a little girl, money was tight, so she realized that if she wanted a Barbie playhouse, she would have to make it. Utilizing some old bookshelves and “throwaways” she found on a visit to the local scrapyard, Micah got to work and made a playhouse she was proud of. Crafting has always been her thing, and even more evident when Micah, now an attorney and mom of two living in Wayne, was looking for a creative outlet to satisfy her soul during the pandemic. She researched content creation, filmed DIY crafting videos for users to follow along, and launched Make it with Micah on TikTok, YouTube, and Instagram. And now she’s living her dream—Micah recently gave notice at her day job so she can focus all her time and energy on her wildly successful and lucrative business (she even has her own Etsy shop). We chatted with Micah to discover how listening to her “gut” and being true to herself helped her business take off, her proudest mom moment, and the one place on the Jersey shore that pleases everyone in her family.
Tell us a little about your family. My husband, Ryan Enriquez, and I have been married for six years. We have a son, Marcus (17 ½), from a previous relationship, and we also have a daughter, Sophia (2). We love living in Wayne. It’s close to the city, has excellent schools, and is convenient to everything – plus our home is part of a lake community with a little beach where we can boat and swim.
Tell us a bit about your career background and what led you to become a content creator. I did my undergraduate work at Rutgers, though at times it wasn’t easy because as a single mom, I’d sometimes have to bring Marcus to my classes with me. After graduating, I got a job in social work because I wanted to help other women the way I was helped while on public assistance. Eventually, I realized that I could help more women (with things like scholarships and getting financial aid) by becoming a lawyer, which would also put me on the path to better provide for my son. I went back to school, got my law degree at Penn State, took the bar, and worked for major law firms. When I had my daughter in August of 2019, I had to reevaluate my situation and find a job more conducive to being home with the kids. Shortly after that, I began working for a group that publishes legal guidance for lawyers.
Early on in the pandemic, I was working from home, doing remote learning with a teenager, caring for an infant, and trying to manage everything else — so I needed to do something that was just for me. I thought if others could become content creators, I could too. Because I love making crafts and I’m good at it, I decided to make it my “thing.” I researched everything I needed to know about becoming an influencer. After about six months of market research and learning what cameras to use, how to upload a video, film, and edit, and the best ways to grow my numbers to monetize it, Make it with Micah started to gain traction. It’s grown so much that I recently gave notice at my day job and living my dream. I always knew I could do it, but I didn’t realize I could succeed this quickly.
Have you always been creative? Please explain how you got your skills. I wasn’t born with a lot of money, so I’d have to make it myself if I wanted something special. But, luckily I’ve always been creative and could figure out how to turn things that were “nothing” into something special. When I was young, my older brother and I would go to the scrapyard to find things I could use on my projects. DIY has always been who I am, but as far as the business end of things, as with any skill, it takes practice and repetition to be good at it. Almost anyone can create content, but becoming a content creator and monetizing takes work because you need to figure out who you are, who your customer is, and then analyze every aspect of your business to grow it.
What is something you hope your children take away from seeing you go after your dreams? I want my daughter to know that she doesn’t have to wait until her children are grown to follow her passions and that she can have it all. I want my son to understand that his wife’s time and dreams are as important as his own. The night before I was to take both the New Jersey and the Pennsylvania bar exams, I was so worried I wasn’t going to pass and extra stressed out because I had a job offer on the line that would disappear if I didn’t pass, and 8-year-old Marcus said, “I am so proud of you, and I have no doubt in you.” He saw the hard work it took to accomplish all that I have, but his belief in me and those words from him are up there with some of my proudest mom moments.
What is your proudest business moment as a content creator? I’m so proud that I could get monetized on three of the biggest platforms in the world in under a year. And I did it with a full-time job, as a mom of 2 children on opposite ends of the age spectrum, while helping to care for my elderly father-in-law, all during a pandemic. It shows that as women, we can accomplish whatever we put our minds to, though with a lot less sleep.
What is the best thing about being an entrepreneur? What is the most challenging thing? The best thing about being an entrepreneur is that you get to be the master of your ship, especially in content creation, where you are the creative director of your own business. I can plan out what I want to post and when to post it. The most challenging thing is all the sacrifices you have to make in terms of sleep and time with friends and family. But, hopefully, these are short-term sacrifices for long-term gain.
How has the pandemic affected your business? The pandemic is a big part of why I decided to start my business, so it’s been very good for me. People were stuck at home, looking for something to do to get in touch with their creative side. I’ve saved so many messages from people who tell me they appreciate what I do because they’re now crafting with their elderly mother or their children, or they’ve lost their jobs and need an affordable creative outlet, or I make it easy for them to add some unique, low-cost touches to their home. All of these messages mean the world to me — they’re priceless!
What would have been helpful to know that might have made things run more smoothly in the beginning? If I had been true to myself from the get-go, I would have found my audience sooner. Initially, I was looking at what other content creators were doing and thought I had to create the trend of boho-style crafts. Still, once I stopped trying to fit a specific mold and started doing the high-end, glam, bold color things I like, my numbers took off. When you are true to yourself, it comes out in what you’re doing, and I think people are drawn to that.
What are your favorite things to do or places to visit in NJ with your family? We love the lake in our community to swim, relax and hang out. Sometimes there’s a food truck there and bonfires, too. We’re also big fans of the shore, especially Point Pleasant. Jenkinson’s Boardwalk is a crowd-pleaser for us because there’s good food, entertainment, music, and alcohol, so everyone gets what they want. And curling up together at home for movie night is the best. I’ll make popcorn and a treat board with snacks, and we vote to choose a family-friendly movie that works for all of us.
What is your best advice for a MOMpreneur just starting? It’s imperative to have a conversation with your significant other and your children so that they know that your dreams matter, too. Set the expectation so that everyone is on the same page and let them know that Mom will still support everyone in their activities and passions, but they need to support Mom’s dreams, too.