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.
Carrie Willard is a wife and mom of 7 homeschooled kiddos. She’s a minimalist, bookworm, Francophile and obsessed with personal growth.
What jobs have you had in the past?
The last job I had was over 20 years ago as an assistant manager in training at a Starbucks in downtown Atlanta. I loved my job! However, I went on maternity leave when sciatica made it excruciating for me to walk. Five days later, my first child was born. I never looked back. There was no way I could leave him! I have worked from home ever since.
I was a blogger, podcaster and Amazon author for 15 years. I loved blogging and podcasting because they meant creating helpful content for my audience.
In the last couple of years, however, it became increasingly difficult to earn sufficient income from those endeavors. The juice wasn’t worth the squeeze, if you will! So I was looking for something else to add to my blog, perhaps a physical product.
Meanwhile a blogging and fellow author buddy of mine, who I had admired from afar for some time, wrote about this magical lip color that didn’t come off. She had just earned the company car and at that moment, I was carless! With 7 kids, that’s not a great situation to be in! Hubby and I had gotten out of debt and paid cash for our last two cars, but a series of unfortunate events had led us to donating THREE cars to charity in a matter of 6 months. I didn’t want a car payment, but I didn’t want to be homebound either! When I heard that it was possible to earn a car lease reimbursement (with kiss-proof, all day lip color, no less!), I jumped in.
How long did it take to get to where you are now?
I flew through the ranks in my company. It actually took me by surprise! I think the reason I was so successful, so fast is because I was so focused on a big goal. Interestingly, I was raised in a direct sales household. I remember going to Tupperware parties with my mom and watching her have success in that and other companies. So I knew what was possible. But, I always told myself a story that I could never do it! I’m extremely introverted and didn’t think I could ever do sales.
I had also just come through a very difficult time in my life personally. My 7th child was a 27-weeker preemie who arrived after a terrifying pregnancy and birth, along with a 3-month NICU nightmare and more health problems after he came home.
That experience left me with crippling social anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress. I knew I had to do something dramatic in order to change how I felt. I was desperate to feel like “me” again. And I knew that things would only change if I made a drastic change in my life. It sounds weird, but this business healed me.
With 7 kids at home, 5 of them homeschooling (the eldest graduated and the baby is off the hook for a bit!), I’m obviously quite busy! I love what I do, so it’s a challenge to compartmentalize my work day and not be on my phone too much.
It’s also challenging when I want so much to help women who join the business succeed, but I see them sabotage or suffer from a lack of confidence.
Having complete control over my schedule and income are so important to me! I value freedom so much. I also love working with a “girl gang” of like-minded women who are goal-oriented, positive and hungry. They inspire me every day!
My goal for 2019 is to help my team hit a million dollars in sales. We’re already halfway there!
You always hear that it’s important to “know your why”. But it’s even more important to have a vision of WHO you want to become. Why? Because goals don’t always come when you think they will. Do you want to be known as a person who shows up despite immediate results, or as someone who quits when things get challenging?
It’s also crucial to focus on ACTIVITY goals, not RESULTS goals. As an example, I can absolutely control how many Facebook Lives I do, but I cannot control how many new customers I get each week. I can control how many people I follow up with, but I cannot control how many new distributors join my team. Focusing on my activity means I get to celebrate myself each week, instead of feeling discouraged about things that require the action of others (which is out of my control!).
Tracking my activity! I have a weekly tracker that I send to my business mentor. Everything that can be measured can be improved. That little bit of accountability motivates me so much. [PM butts in! Here’s something I wrote on the benefits of tracking your time.]
I focus on the income producing activities. When you are using social media for business, you aren’t consuming social media like most people do. You are in the business of CREATING content. This means no scrolling! [PM butts in: great perspective!]
Also, I go live on Facebook every single day to provide valuable content to my audience. I cannot go to bed unless I have spoken to one new person about my business. And I exercise every day to keep my energy up. And last but not least, meal plan! [PM butts in: You knew I would, right? YES. Meal planning gives you hours per day!]
Find Carrie online
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Thanks so much for the opportunity to share my story!