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!)

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…..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

Work That Works

The “sweet spot” is when this “life formula” adds up:

Committed Marriage + Physical Health + Mental Health + Happy Family Life + Your Work Is also Your Passion (+ your personal cup of tea hobby and interest)  = The Sweet Spot

Of course that never adds up perfectly.   We all have sick days, sick kids, yes even bratty misbehaved kids, something annoying about our spouse and many other things out of our control to lead to one or more elements of that formula taking over and dominating the equation.

However, there are a few things in that equation well within our means to tweak and adjust and find our way back to that sweet spot.  Of course marriage and health and family are lifelong journeys of learning with no shortcuts.  Every birthday brings new wisdom.

Work though.  Now that’s a choice.   Where to work.  How to work.  With whom to work.  When to work.

Even good work can go bad, at which point you chose to stick it out for the season or make a change.  You don’t have to stay stuck in bad work.

Work is always changeable in some way which is an incredibly exciting part of life.

“You can be anything” is what we tell kids but not as often do we tell it to ourselves.

Recently my church featured me in this short video during a series called “Stories from the Water Cooler”.   Last year I made the switch from working in a corporate 8-5 job that took me from my family so much to working for myself as a business consultant  and founder and director of a non-profit.  It’s a dream.  Honestly.  I don’t say that to brag.  I say that because I want this for so many people.   Not to do exactly what I have done but to find Work. That. Works.     I want for young dads to not have to fly all over God’s gorgeous creation climbing the proverbial corporate ladder selling something their heart isn’t into if it’s sucking their soul.   I want smart, talented moms to have work that flexes around their family needs.  I want baby boomers to be able to care for aging parents and still contribute their wisdom and gifts in the work place.  I want young singles out of college to be able to pursue the giant problems in our world with fresh new thinking.  I of course want firefighters to find their place in their crew and department where they can best serve…and perhaps even a side career love that fills them up after a night of tough calls.

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When you find work that works, you are best aligned to bring your best self and your best gifts to this world.  To your life, your marriage, your family, your community and more.  Ultimately, 24-7 COMMITMENT is about a commitment in all those facets of our life, including work.   It’s hard to be committed to work that doesn’t work.

Doing work that works is……

  • doing work that matches your natural and learned talents
  • doing work in an environment (office, people, team, online community) that matches your personality
  • doing work that fits with your season of family needs
  • doing work that fills your soul

If you aren’t already subscribed to my working mom email list, you can register below.   And yes, men are welcome too.  And you don’t have to know a firefighter to get in.  Because you all need to be finding creative ways to be home with your growing children as well!

For Two Years I Watched This Free Video Series

The best free training I ever received was this video series being offered by Marie Forleo.  Watch and learn.  If you want to take the next step in B-School, you won’t do it alone.  I’ll be offering personal coaching for those who sign up for the 24-7 COMMITMENT B-School group.  But it all starts with what you can learn in this series.

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Creative Work Options for Young Families

You’re likely to spend 40 years of your life in some form of employment.   And, those will be the best hours of each of your days that you spend doing “work”.

No matter how much you love your work, once you have children, you realize your most important title in life is Mother or Father.   You’re in charge of the development of a human being!  And maybe multiple.   This tiny person has the ability to leave a major impact on the world.    (So do you.)  But the ability to inspire and guide your own flesh and blood into young adulthood (and beyond if you are blessed with their respect) cannot compete against the next SAP implementation, process improvement or Product Iteration 4.0 you may be a part of.

Now step back and take a look at all those years of your life.
For only 1 of them are they an infant.
For only 5 of them are they home all day, every day.
And for the next 12 they are in school during their best hours and you get to spend family time together during morning rush hour, evening rush hour (I’m talking about your kitchen / bathroom rush hours) and the end of the day when your batteries are wearing out.
If you’re lucky, the weather cooperates for some of the weekends you have together that aren’t filled with catch up around the house, holidays and extra curricular activities.

Newsflash!   The cliche is so true.  They are only under your roof for a short time.

And thinking of teenagers who jump right into their own busy life by about age 13-4, you’re really talking about 13-14 years of time when they like to listen to your thoughts.   13-14 years out of 40ish years in which you will be in the workforce. If you have 2 – 3 kids, that may extend by a couple of years max.
So is it a big deal for you to take a step back from the ladder climbing for a season?    What about asking for a part time or reduced hours role? Or, finding a way to work from home entirely?

I want to break down some creative work options for families.  Personally I have been full time, part time, flex time, on ramping, off ramping, contract, self employed, overtime, travel time and everything in between.  So basically, I have a little firsthand experience to share here.

Option 1:  Alter Your Current Work Schedule

If your employer offers reduced hours, flex time or alternate work schedules, this is ideal.    You are valuable to your employer as that cost to hire a new you can be high with retraining and learning curves.   Consider approaching your boss.   This is by far the easiest to transition to as it requires no retraining and you can almost immediately find relief in your schedule to meet family needs.

So many kid related activities / appointments must happen between 8 and 5.   Teacher meetings, doctors check ups, phone calls to set up summer camps, tutoring and other programs.   If you can, create a schedule that gives you some free hours M – F between 8 and 5 to get those activities done.

When I worked part time while our kids were younger, I had co-workers frequently say things like “that must be nice” assuming my off hours were spent at the spa or on the golf course.   It was pretty easy to give them a dose of reality as I described grocery outings to the warehouse store because it was faster during off hours and picking up uniforms and dry-cleaning that filled my off afternoon.   Oh, and at less pay but that part was entirely worth it.   It was not about money but moments with family.

Option 2:  Take A New Position Designed for Part Timers
If staying with your current employer is not an option, take this as an opportunity to try something new that caters to part time hours.    One way to find this is to reach into your personal network of people who know your work quality and understand your time constraints.  It takes focus and discipline to crush a project while working part time but often what I found is that my efficiency nearly compared to that of a full time worker (for half the pay so be careful how you negotiate that!)

Option 3:  Become an Independent Contractor
It takes some planning, some sales and the ability to self-manage but independent contracting has never been an easier market to enter.   To begin looking for possible job fits for you consider these great sites.

Flexjobs.com,  Upwork.com and HireMyMom.com are all places you can find freelance work.  There are great projects for anyone with administrative, marketing, legal, finance / accounting, sales, project management, graphics / creatives, writing or technical skills.

Don’t forget to download our Step-by-Step workbook if this is the path you are considering.  It’s only 3 steps and it’s exactly what catapulted me and others to a work from home freelance consultant business.

Option 4:  Make 6 figures running your online business
Kidding.  Actually partially kidding.   This is my warning to not get suckered into the emotionally riveting email subject lines and sales pages promising quick wins and cash while you sleep.   Online marketing does work well but behind that are real people having real conversations doing real good in the real world.   What you need is an effective business model that matches your skills and serves a need for a particular audience. And then, perhaps some coaching / consulting from someone who has run a real business that leverages online marketing. I say it like it’s simple.  “All you need to do is…”  Well here’s one secret.  It’s just one foot in front of the other, trial and error and then you find that audience that craves your personality, product or service.   One of my favorite things is brainstorming and critiquing business ideas and growth strategies.  So I’ll be personally walking a select group of mom’s through   It’s your chance to pick my brain.

Option 5:  Start With a Direct Sales / Home Party Business
*If* there is a product you love, and you are only trying to replace a couple thousand a month, these can be good options.  It’s a ready made business.  You learn the system and follow the plan.   You must not be afraid of sales.  You must have a decent sized personal network and /or be ready to invest in marketing to grow an audience.  And you must realize, with a few exceptions of some long standing companies, this would not be a lifetime career but good for a season.   Also beware that while the hours are flexible, many jobs like this require a lot of evening and weekend work which may be worse for your family schedule.

I need to be honest and say that this is not my most favorite path.   I did rise to a director level in a direct sales company, while working full time and pregnant with my 4th child.  (Yes I figured out the system and LOVED the products and my passion for it attracted people to me naturally.)   Amongst the few things I didn’t like about this option is that you have to “sell the dream” that isn’t achievable by some.   It was heartbreaking to see people get super excited about the product and the financial freedom potential of becoming a consultant knowing that a small percentage truly get to the level I was or even higher.  So to set expectations, this path is great if you only want to replace $500-$1500 / month by the end of the first 3-6 months and are ok with the evening / weekend work.  But, you do build an audience and have a ready made following should you decide to launch another venture.

More on direct sales later.  We can talk a LOT about that if you need direction.

In case you are still leery of jumping off the ladder climbing path at your job, remember this:
This change in your work is only for a season.  Once you get beyond it, most people won’t even remember it.  In fact, most co-workers may not even know you only work part time or reduced hours if you continue to deliver great work.

You will learn a LOT about yourself as you optimize your work schedule and efficiency and learn new things.

It will be very refreshing to have a job you like to focus on that doesn’t press into your family time.  (Dare I call this the elusive balance everyone is seeking?)

You will never regret those moments home with the kiddos.   When you are refreshed and home on the couch with them by 3 PM and able to practice ABCs together when you aren’t completely exhausted.

If you ever want to go back to M-F 8-5 employment you will come back with a whole new set of skills and experience to share.

If you are worried about the reduced income that can accompany a reduced hour schedule or job change, be sure to factor in these unexpected benefits:

  • More time to plan healthy, affordable at home meals
  • Less stops for coffee and dry cleaning
  • More time to shop around for purchases instead of needing to make a rapid selection
  • Less spent on wardrobe

What’s your next step? If you want to explore the possibility of a career change to accommodate your family needs, let’s chat.   More resources for working moms at this link.   Or to tap into my brain for a business planning / brainstorm session go to LoriMercerCTO.com.

It’s a New Year of Hope Working Mama!

{In 2015, I left a 22 year career in a M-F 8-5 job that I didn’t hate but was constantly tearing my heart in two directions.  I am so blessed to be in a season where I can be home more for my 4 kids and still be contributing all my purpose and talents in a way that makes a difference outside of my home.   But these blessings don’t come without sacrifice and tough choices and seasons of discipline and focus and crazy unexplainable faith.   My heart is exploding to pour into women who are charging this same mountain.  And that includes a lot of fire wives who add to that the crazy fire life schedules.  Welcome to a new series at 24-7 COMMITMENT meant to encourage all you women out there who are crushing it at home and in the work place and need to hear more often that they rock…..and deserve that 20 minutes of peace they find with their headphones blasting and the treadmill churning while they pretend they can’t hear anyone around them!  Heart you ladies!!!  Lori @wifeonfire }

247commitment.org-workingmama

It’s been over a week since you spent 10 blissful days at home for the holidays where you finally stopped grabbing your phone to check work email and your joy was found in sticky fingers, precious arts and crafts you pretend are the next Mona Lisa treat and finally organizing that bin of outgrown clothes and basking in the accomplishment of getting your toddler to eat green beans. Your nest is organized and your clothes smell like your sweet babies nap time sweat.

Then reality hits. First day back after the new year. At first you do see the positives. Ok. Routine. We’re ready for this. Late nights and late breakfasts are fun for awhile but not so good on that nap schedule nor the waist line. And you do get to wear that new outfit Santa brought you while drinking from a new coffee mug decorated with tiny handprints and spritz on your favorite new scent. Fresh desk. Fresh planner. There is niceness in all that new.

But your whole heart and mind didn’t show up to the office because today, someone else got to wake up and snuggle your babies and / or see them off to school. It stings a little (maybe a lot.)  You compensate by crunching spreadsheets to see what you can squeeze out of your budget to spend every day at home with those adorable curtain climbers. While the rest of your brain is secretly reminding you that after 7.2 days full time at home, you’d miss the chase for that next new project bid and a reason to wear something besides comfy house clothes.

It’s a tug of war between the heart and the mind. You want both. You know you can’t do it exactly.  “You can have it all” is ridiculous because no one has ever really understood in your mind exactly how extensive your ideal “all” stretches.   Trust me.  I used to think we could have it all.  What you really want is to be able to do the right thing in the right moment with a heart that is confident you are serving with your gifts in the right place at the right moment, whether that be showing up in the 2nd grade classroom or taking a red eye to the west coast to make that important contact needed for your business.   That determined spirit inside you who’s already rocked these years birthing children and business projects all at once knows there is a way.

This applies to so many scenarios of mom’s working outside the home.  Corporate desk jobs.  Shift work nurses (although I’m so jealous of your ladies flexible schedules and part time options!).  Teachers (yes, jealous of your summers for sure but that school year M-F grind can be tough!).   Sales reps always on the road.   Small business admins.   Professionals.   Actually, I can’t think of a mom career this doesn’t apply too.   Even for me who runs my own businesses, mostly setting my own hours and working from home, still has to balance and navigate those priorities – is that email more important right now or can it wait?  Which travel do I really need to say yes to in 2016?

Women were made for motherhood and purposes way outside the scope of motherhood.   And….we were made to be able to get it all done well.   And all of us have really flubbed up that balance at one point or another.    Surround yourself with those who’ve been there and believe in you.  We hope you find that here.

It’s only a season

Firstly let me encourage you that no matter where you are, it’s a season. We are either entering a new season, content in a season, frustrated in a season or actively working to leave a season. Here’s what these seasons may look like for a woman with children who’s working a M-F 8 – 5ish kind of job:

Entering a new season:

– was just promoted
– had another child
– changed childcare arrangements (kids now in preschool part time or moved to a new provider)
– just cut back work hours

Entering a new season requires – a new plan, a new schedule, a new way to track tasks and events, training for all the newbies in the season – your new sitter, new team

Content in a season

– your boss rocks
– your schedule rocks
– the money rocks
– your kids seem well adjusted to the current mode
– your husband is managing this pace and routine
– or at least a couple of those things rock and you can tolerate the rest
– you have a side gig that’s fun and manageable and a good break from work

You feel like “you’ve got this” even when you know it’s just an illusion until the next chicken pox / bad project / sports schedule change shows up.   Still, you blissfully enjoy it.

Frustrated in a season

– constant tension between work and family schedules
– a boss who doesn’t understand
– projects that don’t light your fire
– fraught with illness, doctors appointments or some new “stage” of childhood that knows how to push all your buttons
– your husband’s job is high pressure at the same time as yours
– you know you have to keep working to pay off some bad debt
– you’re overwhelmed with all your tasks trying to work your day job and your hopeful side gig

In this season, you may find yourself wondering if you’ll ever be cut out for this life.  That negative self-talk can get ugly.

Actively working to leave a season

– you’re killing it in your routine
– you see a light at the end of a project tunnel and a chance for a re-org with a new team and / or boss
– it’s almost winter break / summer break / vacation time
– your kids are changing an age group – starting into school full-time
– you’re about to start / end maternity leave
– your dream job second job is growing to a point you can maybe leave your daytime gig
– You know you can hang on for _____ days

In this season you feel like you could take on the world and can’t wait to celebrate with that sweet reward at the end.

Will you join us?  A journey together to find our perfect moments no matter the season.  Less judging.  More encouraging.  And trusted advice as we go navigate.  No you can’t have it “all” but you can have all the perfect moments.