Yesterday I was at Starbucks getting some work done without interruption for a couple of hours while the kids played at my mom’s house.
I’ve also been tweeting a bit while watching the cute lifeguards my kids enjoy their swimming lessons. I’m enjoying the summer with my kids and trying to work a little less and enjoy this time.
This morning I got a message from a Twitter follower, Victor Hernandez. He asked:
@vhernandez But also…what is it exactly that u do? U & other WAHMs tweets have me intrigued – always home, w/the kids, successful
Unlike most of the people I network with online, Victor is someone that I know offline. We met around 15 years ago through mutual friends. It’s quite obvious to me that family and being a great dad are huge priorities to him. He’s just that kind of guy. It makes perfect sense that he would ask me this question.
I thought about responding, but attempting to answer in 140 characters or less seemed a little daunting so I asked him if I could post the answer here.
The Work At Home Mom Lifestyle
If you read my blog for any length of time, you know how grateful I am for the lifestyle I have. I don’t make a ton of money, but I have what I consider to be truly important: time freedom. I’m able to raise my kids myself and be the breadwinner for my family – as well as a full time mom.
I started my internet business in 2003. I stumbled around, made a lot of mistakes learned a lot of important lessons, then settled into my niche when I launched a podcast. I listened closely to businesswomen like Alice Seba, Kelly McCausey and Lynn Terry, who had what I wanted: they were work at home moms making a full time income from their business.
My path was different from that of many mom bloggers. In fact it was only recently that I embraced that designation. I consider myself to be more of an internet marketer than anything else, although I have in the last year put more focus on my parenting blog.
That’s because I came to the internet with the goal of earning money. I didn’t launch a blog just so I could write.
This is how many mom bloggers get started. They enjoy writing, they need the outlet, the creative expression, the social aspect. I was on the front end of blogging and in fact there weren’t that many people blogging at all. When I started, the average person had no idea what a blog was. It was far less social. Most bloggers were business people who did it for the increased exposure. So, my perspective reflects that.
Not long after I started my first website, I joined SoloSmarts. I was serious about earning money online and knew that I had better get smart so as not to spin my wheels. I didn’t have time to mess around.
The thing about being a mom who works from home?
You get really good at making your work time count.
Here’s an example.
Last weekend when my kids were with their father, I sat down and in a couple of hours, wrote two weeks worth of blog posts. I now have three weeks of content scheduled to publish on my other blog even if I don’t touch a keyboard.
When I started my business, I understood the concept of passive income.
I’ve made an effort to focus on activities that produce passive income for me.
I know the phrase is overused – but you know what I mean. I focus my time on activities that require up front investment of time but that require less maintenance to keep the ball rolling.
This lesson was really underscored for me when I became pregnant with my fourth child and became very ill. Looking at the computer was intolerable so I did little or nothing to build my business for almost three months. (According to my midwife, a pregnant woman’s eyes are more sensitive to the flickering lights of the screen, so it made sense that this triggered my nausea.)
And yet during that time period, my income remained constant. Many people don’t have the luxury of building their business slowly, they need “right now” money. When I started, my family needed my income but I wasn’t the sole provider.
Now as a divorced woman, I’m exceedingly blessed to not have to get a full time job outside the home to support my kids! I am deeply grateful for that.
Now to answer the question of “What do I do?”. I usually tell people “I’m a writer”, because saying I’m an affiliate marketer, information product creator, podcaster, and blogger is too confusing.
What I Do:
- – Create information products (digital products like ebooks, instruction videos, etc) for sale
- – Partner with other people in joint ventures (increased exposure for a share of profits)
- – Smart networking with like-minded people in my niche
- – Build my email lists so I can market to people again and again
- – Create affiliate websites (which promote affiliate programs that earn commissions) that rank well in search engines
These are the things that make up the bulk of my income. I also do a little bit of coaching and ghostwriting when I can.
What I love about what I do is that one: I can do it anywhere (I can publish blog posts from my phone) and two: I can work anytime. There have been plenty of early mornings working before the kids get up and late nights working after they’re asleep, don’t get me wrong – but most days I can squeeze in my work while they’re busy doing other things.
Of course, this lifestyle has its challenges too.
There are times I crave (for a few minutes anyway!) to get a job where I have a steady paycheck instead of an income that is variable, where I show up at a certain time and leave, where I’m told what to do, etc… some days that seems easier.
But mostly that’s due to poor planning on my part, or it’s caused by stress that comes from something else in my personal life. I couldn’t imagine doing anything else than what I’m doing.
I’ve written more on this topic in these posts:
That’s my story.