Welcome to a series exploring how real-life moms work alternative jobs in order to work and mom the way they want or their family needs. For many, this means working at home. For some it means jobs with flexible schedules. For others it means more traditional business hours, but owning their own business. As we examine the different ways moms make it work, you’ll see a lot of creativity and hopefully be inspired to make your job, traditional or not, work best in your life.
Leah is a work-at-home mom living in the Bay Area, California with her husband and teenage son. She is an Associate Market Manager with Monat Haircare and has a blog, Freedom & Coffee, the goal of which is to help everyone to eliminate the toxins from our lives with easy switches, both home-made and purchased. Leah enjoys traveling, reading and researching nutrition and health, and her passion is to help as many women as possible to have the financial and time freedom to stay at home to raise their own children.
I have been researching nutrition, health and detox for years, as a part of my contract work for other companies. In my research I have learned so much, that when I talk with family or friends, I almost always have a suggestion of something natural they can do to resolve their health issues or an idea of how they can go a more natural route. I had all this good information in my head, and I was only able to use the parts of it that applied to other peoples’ products or businesses.
About a year ago I met AnnMarie Michaels of the blog Cheeseslave, and she encouraged me to write my own blog, and offered to mentor me. I jumped at the chance! I am a bookworm, so I had also read a lot about network marketing and other ways to work from home, and I am a strong believer in multiple streams of income as well as saving money on taxes.
For me, the flexibility of working from home just makes sense, and I love that I can tackle projects on my own time, run errands during the day, and meet fantastic people from all over the country—not to mention helping people get (and stay) healthy!
How long did it take to get to where you are now?
I have struck out on my own just in the past year, but I was able to build quickly using the strategies I have learned working for other businesses. I was given training on both traditional and social media marketing, and I learned so much of what I know now over the past 10 years. I am able to use all of this knowledge and experience in blog posts and discussions with people today.
Everything in my life has led me to the place that I am now, so in all truthfulness, it has taken me a lifetime to get to where I am! Even as a child my mother was very health-conscious: she didn’t allow processed foods or added sugar in the house until I was five years old! She had me drinking raw milk and eating carob in place of chocolate before anyone else knew about that stuff! All of these things have brought me to this place in my life.
It’s funny, when I was working for others, my challenge was always motivation. Now that I am working for me it is the opposite: sometimes I am up at night with all my ideas for things I want to do, blog posts I want to write, research I want to dig into. I truly love my job now, and the challenge has changed: now I have to limit myself to working hours. I sometimes find myself working from my phone when I should be relaxing or spending time with my family. Work is so much fun that I seldom want to take a break!
It’s also always a challenge to work on your own because your income depends on you. You must be smart and think of ways to create residual income – working smarter, not harder. And first starting out, income is not the best, but it’s fun to build it to a livable level and then build it higher than anything that would have been possible with an office job.
For me, the biggest advantage has always been the flexible schedule that allows me to be there for my son. Raising him and being there when he needs me is my top priority—much more important than income. I could have worked in Engineering here in the Bay Area, and that would mean a much more substantial income. But it also would mean 60-80 hour work weeks and missing my son’s childhood, so I decided to take a different path.
I believe God has rewarded me for that choice by always providing: I live in one of the most expensive areas in the world, and I was a single mother for more than 6 years, yet I was always able to work from home and make my son a priority. I have my own home to live in and a great car as well as plenty to eat and some money in savings. I am very blessed to live in this country and make my own way, on my own time. I want every mother to have that same opportunity to never miss a moment of her children’s lives.
Now I’m still building my blog and other streams of income. I have delved into several network marketing opportunities that I am so excited about.
One is a naturally-based haircare line that is truly revolutionary: it is helping people grow back their hair from thinning and balding, helping repair and restructure damaged hair, and truly helping people get back the hair of their youth. Before working with this company, I never realized how important our hair is to our self-confidence and our image. I’m so excited that I can work with this company to not only help people get the best hair of their lives, but also to help other moms use it to gain financial freedom and stay at home with their kids while making a great income.
And the tax deductions from a home-based business can’t be beat! So, my goal is really just to build my streams of income and different business pieces into a sustainable, residual income that can support my family for years to come.
First of all: start now. What are you waiting for? You can make your side hustle something you do in your spare time until you build it to a point that you can quit your full-time job, but if you wait, it will only take longer to get to that point.
The main thing to remember is that a work-from-home business is just like other businesses: it takes time to build a clientele and to build your income to the level that you want. I truly believe that everyone should have some kind of work-from-home side hustle–if only for the insane tax benefits.
Sometimes people join a network marketing company and think they should be making six figures in their first year. While that has happened for some, it’s not a realistic expectation. It’s still work: it’s not a magic bullet. Consistency and persistence are key. Working for yourself will test you: you will want to quit, and you will think you can’t do it, but that is part of the process of growth. If you stick with it, you will come out the other side a person who is so much more confident and knowledgeable than before.
And the company you choose to work with is very important. It’s great if you love the products, but that is only one part of the equation. If you want to have success, there are several factors to consider. Here is a link to my webinar that talks about how to choose the side hustle that is best for you.
I honestly think this looks differently for everyone. You need to find your own rhythm. For me, working from home full-time is how I am most productive: I feel stifled and trapped in an office setting. For others, it’s hard to focus when you are at home (though I think this is something that can be developed with self-discipline).
What I have found is that working for myself on the things that I truly love and have a passion for is what makes me the most productive. Take ownership of your business: you are truly working for yourself. When you internalize that, you will be productive, because not working is only cheating yourself.
Allow yourself to take breaks and work within your own limits. If I need to write a blog post but I’m just not “feeling” it, it’s not going to be good. On those days I work on something else and pick it up again the next day. Be disciplined and consistent but know your limits: balance is everything.
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