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:   SimplifiedAccount.com

Senica’s Facebook Page:  https://www.facebook.com/ChicagoSimplifiedAccounting/

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 5dollardinners.com. 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: http://www.5dollardinners.com/  and MyFreezEasy.com  (the best freezer cooking system there is!)

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…..mom 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:  UncommonlyGoodBiz.com

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!)

VIEW MY REAL TIME EMAIL TOOL ANALYSIS
Unqualified Doubt Monsters

Unqualified Doubt Monsters

Take a step. Learn. Adjust.Take another step.

No one has all the answers.

There.  The secret is out.   Does that make you feel better?

No CEO.  Not Donald Trump.  Not your boss.  Not that big time face you see all over the internet raking in “multiple six figures”.   And certainly not me or you.

It’s because as we build our businesses the world is changing at a maddening pace around us.   And we can’t possibly know it all.

All you need to know is your mission and the next steps.  And when you are big enough, how to outsource those steps that aren’t your strength – like website building or graphics creation for example.

Still, that doubt monster creeps into your head.   Literally the moments upon which I was sitting on Marie Forleo’s couch ready to shoot a video about how her B-School program grew our 24-7 COMMITMENT audience to more than 100,000 followers, I questioned what I knew and what I had to share.

Don’t listen to that doubt monster!   If you have a vision and dream on your heart, you’ve got the tools in front of you to make it happen.

When I started doing all of “this” (my first blogging and website creation and social media marketing) I didn’t know how to use Canva or place a Facebook ad or write the best copy for an email or setup an email auto-responder.   I didn’t even know exactly what product to create nor what to price it.

And it was super easy for me to look at others who had made it big and think they had some lucky breaks or insider secrets they weren’t sharing.

Now I know the truth….. it’s actions.   And testing.  And learning.  Then adjusting.  And acting again.

And boy can that seem like a long process…..unless you put yourself in a community of learners doing the same.  Then you get to accelerate that test / adjust cycle with what you learn from your peers.

B-School was one of the best tools and communities I could ever put myself in to accelerate that learning cycle and produce faster results.

And this year, B-School starts at the same moment that my current favorite Pastor and Author is releasing his 4th (5th – long story behind that) book called “Unqualified”.

UNQU_IG2-1024x1024

In his own words Pastor Furtick shares this:

I am unqualified. And so are you. This is a book for anyone frustrated with your failures and fed up with your weaknesses. It’s about coming to terms with the good, the bad, and the unmentionable in your life – and learning how to let God use you in spite of your mess.

Sound familiar?   I have messy parts of my life that aren’t figured out yet right now.  I have 100,000 social media followers and still some messes.   I have 15,000+ email subscribers and occasionally doubt my ability to connect with them.   Our non-profit generated  well over 6 figures of revenue last year and there are moments of frustration.    They don’t go away ever because we are human.  But we learn how to navigate that battlefield in our mind.

So decision time is here for B-School.   You can register only from Feb. 17th through March 2nd.  And then it’s closed until next year.

Because this is such an important message, for everyone who joins my B-School team, I’m going to give you a copy of this new book “Unqualified” and…. one more book that will be personally selected based on your needs.  While I’m an avid book reader, I’m only about giving you the best of the best that’s going to propel you forward.

So we’ll have a little one on one chat about your business and goals, I’ll gift you with another favorite book that’s perfect for you, and get off and running on those ACTIONS.

if you’re like me, you want to research decisions like this completely.

Learn More About the B-School Program

If you’re like me, you want to research these decisions thoroughly.   Go ahead and look at this link.  I think it will help.

All the B-School Modules and Bonuses are here
The Leap from Corporate Executive to Non-Profit Founder and Director

The Leap from Corporate Executive to Non-Profit Founder and Director

This is a story 22 years in the making.

There’s no such thing as an overnight success.   I kept wondering what was that secret that all of these successful business owners were NOT telling us.   Truth is there is no secret.  There was no one thing.  No one big break.  There were breaks but after them came hard work.  And there were great successes and before the victory dance ended they were on to the next project.

Because the secret is that once you do good for people, you immediately want to do more good.   Yes you can create business models with residual income but that doesn’t mean your work ends and that you don’t keep serving your audience.

It took me 22 years to figure that out and finally take the scary leap to running my own business.  I hope you can read this and shorten that cycle by a lot.

As a mother of 4 kids, married to a firefighter with a crazy schedule, and having spent 20 years in corporate America in a very high travel, international executive kind of role, our life was way too busy. And my corporate work, while challenging and profitable, was not fulfilling to my soul. It was boring. I loved the people and the company was so honorable and well run.  But the products, well, industrial and just not so inspiring.  And I needed something more flexible. Where I could be more creative. Be home more for my family. And that meant something more to the world than moving around more spreadsheets and data.

I really craved making a difference in the world in a bigger way.

I was feeding my creative juices by doing side consulting for non-profits helping them setup their websites, social media and marketing strategies. I started FirefighterWife.com in May 2012 as an example platform of my own so I could test out the techniques I was teaching them. I really thought I’d exit corporate America as a freelance techie business consultant. But then FirefighterWife.com exploded and the need for this mission became so obvious and so urgent that I knew I had to focus there. The divorce rate in the fire service is quoted as high as 75% and my stories from our early years of marriage were really resonating with people. They wanted to know how we did it. And were so grateful to connect to women (and other firefighters) who understood their life.  Basically, I’d open my email, cry, pray for that couple and immediately think….I can’t keep helping all these people one by one via email.  We really need resources here.

But talk about overwhelm. Now I’m a mom of 4, wife of a firefighter, with a nearly full time corporate gig (I reduced to 80%) *and* a suddenly giant social media platform to manage. And I had no clue how we would fund it, but I knew these people needed a support system no matter what.

When I made this shift to focus on the non-profit, I was already in a very high dollar business coaching program for my consulting work.  You know what happened?    I got kicked out.  They said I’d only make $20k per year as a non-profit and was no longer a match for their program. Ouch. Talk about losing faith and feeling frustrated. But I really needed structure and a system and jumping into B-School in early 2014 was my “last chance effort” to find that.

What kept me going?   Every single day I was getting emails and messages from wives, husbands and couples that said “I needed this 3 years ago when my wife left me.”

or “You saved my marriage, how can I help you do more?” or “I thought my marriage was good but we are so much stronger now. I didn’t even know I needed this.” or “I finally have girlfriends who understand my life. ” (and I personally felt that! I’d been praying for a best friend and suddenly I have fire wife friends all over the country!) And here is my favorite, “Ever since my wife joined the Fire Wife Sisterhood, our sex life has improved.” And it was true! When girls connect, they talk about intimate things, like mom guilt and depression and anxiety and weight loss struggles and sex. We encouraged each other in our marriages and our sex lives got better (we really think this is why all our husbands let us meet at our first national weekend getaway because they had to meet these friends we were all talking about who seemed to be responsible for the improved sex life.

I truly believed we were onto something incredibly special. We knew how to make a safe, encouraging online community to connect like minded people and improve their lives. There HAD to be a way to make this sustainable. I am a Christian believer and I just didn’t believe God would pull together something so good and let it just not bear more fruit.  But I really needed to find the steps to make this all come together. My whole life balance and this business.

In 2015 we converted to a non-profit called 24-7 COMMITMENT so that we could serve not only the wives (FirefighterWife.com) but also the firefighters.  Because working on marriage takes two people.  And we ended the year just shy of $200K in funding, over 100,000 people on our social media channels and over 5,000 registered members in our online peer support communities.  And over 300 people who have attended our Commitment Weekends.   I hate bragging in any way but want to show you these numbers so see that it’s the real deal.

This has become my passion.  But you all have a story like this in you.

 

How Do YOU Take That Leap?

You have to take the steps.

Carve out space in your life to do them.

And don’t lose sight of the GOOD you were meant to do in the world.

And, having some tools to help you through is mandatory.

Watch the Free Video Series That Pushed Me Off That Cliff

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