Behind the Scenes of a Successful Work From Home Accountant and Mom of 4

Behind the Scenes of a Successful Work From Home Accountant and Mom of 4

Have you ever looked down at your kids and just knownI can’t keep living the life like this?

That you HAVE to make a change and do something different. Whatever it takes.

Senica is just like you. She is you. She had a thriving career, working full-time government job as an accountant and the hours were long, hard and draining. The season (you know, TAXES… we all shudder) is when her door is shut and she gets to work. It’s also when she stops seeing her family.

But what did that mean for her kids?

Today, I sat down and discussed how this brave mom took life into her own hands. How she made the tough decision to leave the secure world of government to go off on her own. With no client base to speak of. No backup plan. Just a passion and a belief that she had to make it work.  Because for her?

Motherhood was worth it. The yearning to create something of her own was there and she knew she could do it.

Meet Senica, mom of four and owner of Simplified Accounting. Today we discuss how she made her business work thrive without one warm lead and what makes this an easily replicable system for you too. She shares her favorite moments of being a working from home mom and how different life is for her now and answers that ever important question – What advice would you give someone who wants to get out of the corporate rat race?

Our Favorite Moments In this Video:

“That first day that you aren’t at your job – you almost need a detox – that feeling is amazing. The details. The date. You will never forget it.”

“Get your first client, get your second client, get your third client and THEN rework your systems because you are now juggling.”

“Being a business owner you have to get out there, let people know you exist, get comfortable, even if it is just closing leads.”  Fun fact….. Senica’s leads come almost entirely from online networking and referrals from her online network.  And she does not have a huge facebook list or email list.  She basically knew exactly the type of client she wanted to target and went specifically for that.

“My first client came from cost per click ads on Google. The coldest lead you can possibly get and it really confirmed for me – yes. I can do this. I am going to make this work!”

Find a mentor!!!  Having a mentor a few seasons ahead of her in this space was key to not feeling alone, avoiding key mistakes and having confidence in starting her own business.

Show Links:

Senica’s Website:

Senica’s Facebook Page:

Mom of 4, 6-Figure Blog and What She’d Do if She was Starting Today

Mom of 4, 6-Figure Blog and What She’d Do if She was Starting Today

Have you ever sat and wondered, “Can I make money as a blogger?”  Maybe this is my exit path from my corporate job.

It looks so fun, right? To write about the things you love – sharing your passions and being creative and super helpful to your audience.

You CAN make money off of a blog but the game is very different than it was even just 3 years ago.   The internet has grown noisier.  There is content galore.  Getting the attention of the right audience is not as easy (nor necessarily free) like it was a few years ago.

Today, we share the story of an amazing mother who turned her passion into a full-time career, blogging about how food does NOT have to break the bank.

Meet Erin Chase, the owner and creator of She is the mother of four busy boys and her days are full. Running a thriving business and taking care of her family keeps her on her toes but she took the time today to share how she makes it work.

Like my path into online marketing, Erin started about 4 years ago when you could grow a Facebook page faster than a teenage boy outgrows his blue jeans.  And you could do it for free.   

She shares some of her insider secrets and most especially, what she would do if she were starting a blog right now today.

Our Favorite Moments in this Video:

How does a busy mom of 4 get so much done?   She runs 2 big brands ($5 Dinners and FreezEasy) and manages to network, host a great annual blogger conference and more.   This was one of my favorite secrets:   She eats the same food for breakfast and lunch every day. I didn’t see that coming.    Listen to hear more about eliminating some basic decision making to avoid decision fatigue.

4 Boys. That just sounds crazy right?   Erin humbly boasts that her house does look like Pottery Barn because she’s had to adapt a very minimalist view.   (I want that spirit!  Someone convince the rest of my family!)  Listen to a couple of her methods for her home life in this video.   Her suggested reading for this topic:   Josh Becker, Minimalist

So, it’s no secret Erin has made a very successful and profitable blog income.   She is one of those who can and does make multiple 5 figure incomes each month from a combination of advertising revenue, affiliates and her own products.   I’m certain I’ve never heard any other blogger come clean with where they think advertising and affiliate dollars is heading and what to do to protect your business from the decline that is happening there.

Serve well.  No matter what kind of business you are running, serving your audience well is key.  Running a Facebook page with hundreds of thousands of followers, and groups with tens of thousands, doesn’t happen by accident.  It happens by serving one person at a time with each post, video, and graphic you share.   

Here’s the good news.  It’s WAY faster to make a website, an online course or a membership site today than it was a few years ago.  Erin and I both suffered the woes of WordPress plugin incompatibilities and learning more about PHP and javascript than we’d care to.   The good news is that technology is not a barrier like it used to be.  But it’s also not as cheap as it used to be which is why you need a solid business model and not just a wish to dump your brilliant thoughts in a beautiful way onto Pinterest and hope they come.   Hope is not a strategy.

What’s the most valuable tool in her toolkit?  Ontraport.  By far.  It does everything from email to sales pages to membership site management.   There are many, many choices out there to run your website and online course / membership site but the power of doing that all from one dashboard is such a time and money saver.

Links mentioned in this episode:

Step-by-Step Workbook to Quit Your Corporate Job

Erin’s Website:  and  (the best freezer cooking system there is!)

Our free Facebook community for moms who are working to leave the corporate workforce and run their own freelance / contractor businesses.
How This Mom Quit Her Soul Sucking Day Job

How This Mom Quit Her Soul Sucking Day Job

Have you ever gone to work sick because your job was on the line?

Or you used all your sick leave taking one kid after another to the pediatrician?

Have you ever pumped your slightly feverish baby with a little ibuprofen and dropped them at daycare because there was an 8 am meeting about budget planning and you needed to be there to represent your team?  (You left after that and picked them up when the daycare called at 11 but still… guilt central.)

No matter how much you love your job, and even sometimes how flexible it is, these parenting moments are tough and will make you want to quit in a heartbeat.   But you can’t.  Because your family needs your income and quite frankly, you’d lose your mind staying home every single day.

You just want work that works for your family.

There’s never been a better time to seek work from home job opportunities.  There is acceptance in the market that high quality individuals with great skills can be found anywhere, anytime.

Today we share the zig-zaggy journey of one mom who went from 5 months pregnant and laid off to buying her new business domain literally from the hospital while she was in labor.

Meet Misha Hettie.  Wife.  Mom. Work-at-Home Business Owner.

Our Favorite Moments In this Video:

“You have to play a role to play the game in the corporate world.  It takes awhile to break out of that.  When your authentic you matches to your business work and your clients, it feels so natural.  If you don’t want to work with stuffy financial executives anymore, then design a business where you don’t need to attract those kind of people.”

“You don’t have to trade your corporate hectic job for even more hectic entrepreneurial life.   Take a talent you already have.  Accounting, Customer Service, Legal, Graphic Design, Technology.   Start broad and then narrow in on the specialty niche that matches your style and gifts.”

“There are lots of ways to make money.  They are in front of your face everyday.  But what is going to be the right way.  What is the way that’s going to be sustainable, that you can count on, that matches your talents and gifts.”

“Chasing money is never the answer.  Money follows excellence.  If you go do what you’re good at, the money will come.  But you must have the right business model.”

Links mentioned in this episode:

Step-by-Step Workbook to Quit Your Corporate Job
Misha’s Website:

Help! My Monthly Email Costs Are Out Of Control!

Help! My Monthly Email Costs Are Out Of Control!

If you are crushing it in the online marketing space, it’s likely that you have a big list and have learned that big = more expensive for many of the tools you need to use.

Welcome to the big leagues!  You’ve made it!  Now act like it kiddo.

(This article is an ever developing analysis as tool features are added and the race to be the best in the online marketing tools space is fast and furious.  I’m seriously impressed with how many great tools are out there.  So expect this to be an active and updated article as we watch the race.)

Currently the email marketing tool niche has so many players you can probably name 3 right now I’ve never heard of.  Awesome.  Because that means there is a big need and competition refines each other with better results for YOU and ME, the business owners.

One of the first hurdles I’ve seen those who have grown their list to 10k+ come upon are the costs of these email tools.

Suddenly over Black Friday weekend, you’ve got a big explosion and you’re hit with multiple $99 charges for email sends.

Or you launch this amazing free challenge and add 14,000 subscribers in 5 days (no income yet, just subscribers) and it bounces you up a tier in pricing +$300 / a month.

The cost of these tools can easily reach $1000 / month when you are sending 100,000 or more emails.

Hopefully if you are at this level of business you are making five figures a month minimum and can absorb the costs like it’s nothing.   Still, the wealthiest people I know watch their dollars closely and know they can optimize this spend.

Here are 5 tips to optimize your contact size and email send volume to maximize the value of your email marketing tool costs

Tip 1:  Scrub your list and reduce the size

But I worked so hard for all those followers!   Yes.  Yes you did.  Let it go, Elsa.   The person who subscribed 2 years ago may have moved on in life and no longer needs your product.   Perhaps you even have duplicate contacts.  The same person with different email addresses or old emails that constantly bounce.

Tip 2:  Segment your list by most engaged

Create a group / tag / list of contacts within your tool that are the most engaged and send your campaigns primarily to them as opposed to the full list.

“Most engaged” could mean:

  • Have opened at least one email in the past 60 days
  • Have clicked any link in the past 3 months
  • Have opened / clicked key emails / links in your bread and butter automated email funnels
  • Have purchased a product from you in the past 6 months

Tip 3:  Segment by Asking Your List What They Want

You could ask by subject matter that pertains to your topic.

Example:  If your topic is cooking related, ask if they are a beginnger, intermediate or advanced chef.  Or if they prefer chicken or beef.  Or if they are cooking for 1, 2 or 6.

Or ask them what medium they prefer to receive content from you.

Would they prefer a facebook click through instead of another email?    Segment based on where they came from.   And….set some facebook retargeting to reach those who are all over facebook.   If you can reduce your email tool costs by $300 / month, take that dollar amount and apply it to Facebook ads, marketing the same content, to the segment of your list who primarily comes to you through facebook.

Ask them if they would mind if you moved to a twice a month instead of weekly send.

You could also segment automatically based on their actions.   Product purchaser.  Blog reader.  Facebook skimmer.

Tip 4:  Simplify.  Reduce funnels, products, opt-ins and programs

Eliminate your lowest performing funnel / opt-in or product.  Now if it’s the lowest performing it may not reduce your email send volume by a lot but I’ve had a peek into some of your all’s cluttered up email marketing closets and chances are you’ve got some skeletons hanging around out there that need to go away.

Is there an ugly opt-in and ebook you made 2 years ago before we had all these fancy nancy tools?  Ditch it (or temporarily shut it down and put it on the “to be updated” project list.)

Is there a product that brings you more stress and less dollars?  Eliminate it.

You know the 80/20 rule.  80% of the results comes from 20% of the __________.   Apply this in whatever way makes sense for your market.

(And listen to this tough love….if you are thinking “but I have 27 digital products and all of them sell something!”   Trust me on this simplification thing.  What you focus on thrives.  There’s no way you can market 27 digital products unless you have a big team and have segmented your team into specialization areas.   No ones brain works well on 27 different topics AND it’s probably harder for your ideal client to find what they need as well.)

Tip 5:  Analyze Email Send Frequency and Top Opens / Engagement times and topics to reduce the number of emails you are sending

What time of day / week / month are your emails getting the most opens?   Eliminate the low openers and focus in on the hot times.

Do you have a 10 part drip campaign but emails 5 and 7 barely get opens?  Re-evaluate that message and eliminate or consolidate.

There is no “right answer” here so if you feel constrained, by all the “send emails on Tuesdays at 6 am EST” messages you see online, do a fact check on your metrics.   The question is what works for YOUR audience.   If you are targeting moms of little kids, an 8 pm email send could be perfectly timed right at the top of their inbox when they sit down for the evening and a little “me time”.

So, there are a lot of possible actions there.   I know what that means.  You’re overwhelmed and don’t know where to start.

Look at YOUR data.  And pick 2 low hanging fruits to get started.

If this is not in your bag of tricks, outsource it.

Fudge. I think I need a new email tool.

Did reading this make you realize you may be overspending?

Don’t want to dig through all the latest tools / options / feature comparisons?

Are you in the big leagues but haven’t yet stepped up to the big kid table with your tool?

Here’s a spreadsheet we keep updated with tools we feel are worthy of being on your radar and meet needs across the spectrum of online businesses.

It’s free.   (Send us your thoughts if you’d like us to add more criteria or tools for analysis!)

How Do I Choose the Right Tech Solutions for My Membership Site?

How Do I Choose the Right Tech Solutions for My Membership Site?

You’re a solopreneur or small business, not a tech guru.  But you’ve probably fought your way to this point with a lot of self-learning (pulling your hair out), a couple contractors who left you nervous, alone and waiting for a return message and hope and a prayer.

Your email opt-in might be singing along and you might even have an ebook for sale on your website.

But membership.  This is a whole new ball game complicated by the wide variety of apples, oranges (clearly different from apples but still a fruit), tangerines (not the same thing as an orange right but so close!) and pineapples (has the word apple but nowhere in the ballpark).

First I want to tell you this…..don’t spend a dime on technology and worrying about this until you know your market, know your product is a fit and have good list building going on.    Be sure you have surveyed your audience, including about pricing and services they’d pay for, and know you can earn back your first months expenses with your initial sign up offer.   This can get expensive fast and depending on which tech guru you talk to, can begin to cost in the tens of thousands of dollars.

What I like to recommend is starting with the right sized services for your market size and growth plans.

These decisions must be made carefully because changing your membership platform is not simple.   For example, once you get your members on a system with recurring charges, if you wanted to change to another membership system, you’d need to get everyone to re-subscribe again. Whoa!!!  Yes that’s a big hurdle.  Plus move all their data and access over to the new system and lose history of activity.  Soooooo…… choose wisely!

I hope this short guide of the tools you need and recommendation for your level of business is helpful!

The General Membership Setup

This overview is for someone who’s been doing online marketing for a season, has a decent sized list and engagement, is likely already making $3-10k per month online and is wanting to add a membership product line.

Read through this for an overview and if you are more of a beginner or more advanced, check out the next 2 segments.

Email Automation:

At this point you should have graduated away from MailChimp or ConstantContact to one of the more fully featured email automation systems with powerful rules engines such as Ontraport.  (If you aren’t there yet, here’s one of my favorite free list building programs.)

Website + Theme:

Hopefully you are already on WordPress.  There are themes that are highly optimized for more advanced membership sites where you want a forum, user profiles, etc.  It may be slightly advanced still at this level depending on your product price point.   Try to avoid changing themes if possible as it adds a lot to your project timeline and cost.   If you are feeling this membership product is going to be a mainstay in your business and you want a new brand and look and feel, start a new website with it’s own membership domain and a theme designed for membership sites.

Sales Page:

If you are using Ontraport, definitely create an Ontrapage sales page.  It so nicely tracks and integrates with all of your customers activity.  Every action they take is tracked in their contact record and you can automate abandoned cart follow up and more.

If you are not using Ontraport, there are many 3rd party sales page tools.  You must check that they include support for your member email automation and integration to your membership site.  Otherwise you will be watching for transactions and manually adding them to your membership system as well as manually checking for their payment failures and renewals.

Shopping Cart:

There is a lot of hype right now about SamCart and for good reason.  Any optimization on getting someone to click thru and buy is a good thing.  However it’s another $99 / month and another technology to integrate.  Consider the time and cost factor before adding it on.

Ontraport has an integrated shopping cart that automatically manages subscriptions, renewals and credit card failures.  Stripe is the payment system behind it which is super easy to setup with reasonable processing fees.

Membership Management:

What is this?   You need a tool to manage your list of paid, up to date customers, their logins and what materials they get access to on your WordPress website.    These are WordPress plug ins.   If you are on my favorite all in one path of using Ontraport, there is a simple plug in called Pilot Press which integrates seamlessly.

Pilot Press is not the most fully featured membership plug in but Ontraport integration really gets the job done well.   As a comparison, other tools like WishList Member include more advanced membership features which you would manage via Ontraport instead of Pilot Press.   My strong preference for Ontraport is to have one single dashboard to watch all of your customers interactions.  Their opt ins, email opens, sales transactions and membership activity.   Using a tool like WishList, you will go one place for membership activity, another place for email delivery and another place for sales transaction.

If I had to start today, I would look strongly at AccessAlly and it’s partner ProgressAlly due to their phenomenal user interface options, ease of use to set up a gorgeous course content and tag level integration to Ontraport.   (This comment bleeds into the next topic – Course Content).

Or…… don’t put this on your WordPress site at all and use a completely cloud solution like Kajabi.

Course Content:

This exists on your WordPress site and means “how do you display member content to your members?”    At a basic level you can simply create pages of content and set them to the proper member level.   Some themes have template pages for video pages or 6 week courses with a video / content page each week and a nice navigation built in.   Optimize Press is a theme that has been nice for this.

The newest favorite on the market is definitely AccessAlly with ProgressAlly which add “gamification” in ways that increase engagement with your audience, show progress trackers, badges earned and integrate directly to your email automation systems like Ontraport.

Cost Estimate to Build:  $0 DIY – $2500

You can totally DIY this if you want to spend the time.   Or hire a “done for you consultant” who can setup some or all of these components including things you may not be thinking of…. abandoned cart email sequences, reminder sequences for credit card expiration dates, etc.

Ongoing Monthly Cost:  $300 – $600

This the level of the online marketing game where it moves from hobby to business as the ongoing monthly costs begin to creep up.  But for good reason.  You are now using very scalable and advanced data management tools for your small business….which growing mountains of data!

For the more advanced online business owner

You’ve been there, done that, already have a team and are here to make some strategic decisions about technology and then get that project kicked off.

I first did a membership program analysis in 2012 when I implemented a BuddyPress website using S2Member and Aweber and  It worked.  It was clunky and had many check in points but I’m still bearing many scars from those years.  Technology has come so far.   In 2015, I did a new assessment of membership systems with one of my biggest pain points being ease of use for my customer support team to be able to assist with things such as upgrades, cancellations and lost passwords and access.

That’s when I landed on Ontraport.   Yes Infusionsoft can do all of these same things as well, very nicely, but Ontraport’s user interface was much simpler and more intuitive for my team to navigate.   Their addition of OntraMail and Ontrapages has allowed my admins to create gorgeous emails and pages from templates without the time and hassle of adding a designer.

This is why I’m a raving fan (and implementer of this system for many).   So this recommendation leans heavily towards the value of the all in one Ontraport solution, with just a couple “best of breed” choices where it makes a big difference for your clients.

Email Automation:

Everything is in Ontraport.  Your opt-in funnels, member email sequences and all the logic for follow up emails, including knowing when was the last time they logged into your membership site to send them a nudge to get back in there as well as tagging their personal preferences to further personalizing their email content delivery.

Website + Theme:

Recommendation is to build your membership site into it’s own domain and website.   This allows much flexibility, releases the burden off of your main blog / opt in site and allows for great expansion (or the ability to sell off a product) in the future.   Even though it’s multiple sites, they can be branded in a way that feels very seamless to the user.

Sales Page:

Everything in Ontraport.  You’ll probably even get good enough at whipping together a sales page on your own if you’d like!  Often I’ll do template pages allowing my clients to copy and tweak them for a special audience or offer.

Shopping Cart:

If you are at this level, and already closely watching your analytics and tweaking with A/B testing and tight copy changes, SamCart could be a good add on but not necessary.

Ontraport has an integrated shopping cart with easy to add upsells and cross-sells.

Membership Management:

Ontraport with Pilot Press is very simple and effective.  For more bells and whistles that also help with more course content management, I’m really liking AccessAlly and ProgressAlly as mentioned in the previous section.   Note…..this feels a bit “girly and fun” to me when I visit their website.  Trust me when I say your branding can make this as tough guy, professional or glitter covered as you’d like.   Yeah for good design!

Course Content:

This should be top notch at your level of the game.  Great usability makes a huge difference in getting people to access your content and how they feel about the quality of your product.  Every link working.  Intuitive ways to find the course overview, modules and where they left off.  Quizzes and engagement.

If you want to do an online forum, this is the level to introduce it.   There are many opinions and options on this topic in the world laden with Facebook Group addiction.  Don’t get stuck on this point.  If you really want it, pick an additional add on, with nice integration to your theme and membership module to offer forums on your website.   (Note that a 3rd party cloud forum may require a separate login for your users which isn’t ideal)

I’m still cheering for AccessAlly with ProgressAlly as my tool of choice in this space with integration to Ontraport.

Cost Estimate to Build:  Don’t DIY This $2000 – $10,000

Lots of logic here, many pages, designs and email sequences to write.  Hire a professional and use good project management practices to keep it all organized and on track..

Ongoing Monthly Cost:  $300 – $1000

This will very totally depending on the size of your list and number of emails you are sending.   If you want to keep your tech guru on retainer, expect another $600-1200 / month.

Measuring ROI

At this level of cost, you should be closely monitoring your metrics.   It could get complicated with so much data and so many sources.  Consider a dashboard reporting tool in addition.

Don’t Fear.  There is a Beginner Path Still Packed With Customer Value

The value of your membership program is in your content.   You just don’t want the technology to get in the way.  If you are just starting out and totally overwhelmed, this path is for you.   

It doesn’t list every last detail, nor all the options.  It’s an overview.

Email Automation:

At this level you can still get by with a tool like MailChimp or ConstantContact   (If you’re still list building, here’s one of my favorite free list building programs.)   If your list is big and this is your moment to step up the game, consider an intro level to to one of the more fully featured email automation systems with powerful rules engines such as Ontraport.  Plenty of room to grow!

Website + Theme:

Hopefully you are already on WordPress.  If not, nows the time to make the leap.   To keep things simple, consider that you could deliver an entire membership program via email and not worry about member plug ins or website updates.  Simple huh?

Sales Page:

This is one area not to skimp because it’s an important first impression and where conversions happen.   But don’t get hung up on the tool  The copy and the design are what’s most key.  There are a lot of free sales page plug ins for WordPress if you want to start there.

If you are using Ontraport, definitely create an Ontrapage sales page.

Shopping Cart:

You could start with a paypal button on your website 🙂  Just saying it could be that simple!   I’m not a huge fan of paypal for those moving big sums of money (I’ve been one of those people who’s had their paypal account frozen for 3 months before due to a big sales cycle!)   But for this level of starting out, you’re safe.  Call them just to be sure.

Membership Management:

Keep it uber simple with an email content only delivery system.   Go completely cloud based (but pay monthly fees) or just do a simple Ontraport / Pilot Press solution.   Take a recommendation from a trusted development guru (like you’re reading here) instead of taking a chance reading reviews on a random plug in.  You should definitely have a tech resource in your back pocket who has used the membership plug in you choose because you will have questions.   This is one area to NOT DIY and pay someone to setup for you.

Course Content:

Keep it simple at this level.   The hard part will be deciding because there are so many players in this market.  Again, pick a solution for whom you know a trusted developer.

The newest favorite on the market is definitely AccessAlly with ProgressAlly which add “gamification” in ways that increase engagement with your audience, show progress trackers, badges earned and integrate directly to your email automation systems like Ontraport.

Cost Estimate to Build:  $0 DIY – $1000

You can totally DIY this if you want to spend the time.   Or hire a “done for you consultant” who can setup some or all of these components including things you may not be thinking of…. abandoned cart email sequences, reminder sequences for credit card expiration dates, etc.

Ongoing Monthly Cost:  $100 – $300

You may still be operating at the hobby level but at these costs, consider if it’s really worthy of business mode.   Membership sites are such a good product but a little heavier to manage and operate.  So consider a simple, low key solution at this stage of the game.