Tuesday, August 25, 2009

New Book: So You Want to Be a Work-at-Home Mom

Home-based businesses are estimated to be a $427 billion-a-year industry. In recent studies it was found that as many as 105 million people in North America alone were working at home. Considering this information, it is obvious that home-based businesses can be successful and authors Jill Hart and Diana Ennen will help you succeed with your own.

So You Want to Be a Work-at-Home Mom details all the basics of starting a business in a spiritual, motivational, and comprehensive manner. From deciding what type of business to start to keeping your family and faith first, this helpful tool details every aspect of establishing a business. With proven success tips utilized by the authors and others who own work-at-home businesses, this inspiration approach will provide you with the resources you need to start your own home-based business.

So You Want to Be a Work-at-Home Mom includes:
* Detailed information on types of businesses to start
* Ideas and assistance for setting up, operating, and marketing your business
* Definitions and descriptions of work-at-home terminology and processes
* Help for developing your Website
* Explanations of the business nuts and bolts, including bookkeeping, taxes, and more

About the Authors
JILL HART is the founder of Christian Work at Home Moms, CWAHM.com. Jill is a co-author of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom. Jill has published many articles and is a contributing author in Laundry Tales, The Business Mom Guide Book, I'll Be Home for Christmas, and Faith Deployed. She holds a bachelor's degree in human development and family studies. Learn more about working from home at http://www.cwahm.com/work-at-home/ .

DIANA ENNEN has been a leader and mentor in the work-at-home industry since starting her business, Virtual Word Publishing, in 1985. She is the author of many books, including Virtual Assistant the Series; Become a Highly Successful, Sought After VA and Words from Home: Start, Run, and Profit from a Home-Based Word Processing Business. She resides in Margate, Florida, with her husband and their three children.

Below is an interview with the authors of So You Want To Be a Work-at-Home Mom – Jill & Diana.

have questions they are happy to answer your questions anytime. Leave a comment below or email Jill@cwahm.com or Diana@virtualwordpublishing.com

How long have you been working at home?

Jill Hart - I've been working at home since 2000. I had to go back to work full-time for a brief period in 2003 when my husband got out of the Air Force. At that point I got even more serious about making my business work and I've been home full-time since then.

Diana Ennen – I’ve been working at home since 1985, when my son was born. He’s now graduated college and already working towards his own career. I absolutely love it. I can’t imagine doing anything else.

What types of businesses do you operate?

Jill Hart – I run Christian Work at Home Moms, CWAHM.com, a website full of free resources, job listings and information about home businesses. I also write articles and books (yes, more books to come!) and am a blogger for sites like Time/Warner's Christian Momlogic.com and a member of the Guideposts blogger team

Diana Ennen– I’m the President of Virtual Word Publishing. I’m a virtual assistant and specialize in marketing & publicity. I’ve also written numerous books on how to start a VA business and offer PR and VA Coaching.

Tell us about your book? How do you think it can benefit those who want to start a business?

Jill Hart - The book has been such a "God thing." He orchestrated the entire sequence of events - from putting Diana and I together as co-authors to bringing us to the right publisher. The book is a hands-on practical guide for anyone who wants to build a business from home. We cover topics ranging from how to select the right type of business for you, to how to get started, to how to market and grow your business.

Diana Ennen - I think one of the best features of our book is that it’s not only informative, but motivational as well. You’ll feel like friends are helping you on your journey to success. Also, we discuss numerous types of businesses to start and provide proven methods to achieve success. We also often hear how starting a business can be so overwhelming. That’s why we pay special attention to all the how tos. We feel very confident our book will help, not only those starting a business, but those already in business wanting to expand it.

What types of businesses are featured in your book?

Jill Hart - We have such a great range of contributors - everything from direct sales companies like Southern Living at Home and Avon to unique product-driven businesses like BSM Media and GrillCharms. These woman are amazing and give readers a great insight into how they've grown their businesses in very different ways.

Diana Ennen - We cover everything from direct sales companies to specialized areas such as medical transcription and virtual assisting. Also, Jill shares detailed information on starting a community based membership site. We think you’ll get a lot of helpful tips too from such work-at-home powerhouses as Maria Bailey and Lesley Spencer Pyle.

Do you have any tips for success for Christian entrepreneurs that you’d like to share?

Jill Hart - I think my favorite tip - shared with me by one of our contributors, Tammy Degenhart, almost ten years ago is that working together benefits everyone. She told me, "Jill, what you give to others God brings back tenfold" and I've seen that hold true time and time again. It may not be in financial gains and it may not look like what we expected but God is so faithful in that when we work together there is no competition - it's a win-win situation.

Diana Ennen - Do what you believe in and use your own skills and prior experience to find the business that’s just right for you. Research/Research/Research. The more you research, the better your business. Continue to market and be out there. So many once they find a few clients stop marketing. You need to get out there continually. You then become the go to person when someone needs services or products that you offer.

What are some of the challenges that you see with those starting or operating a business?

Jill Hart – In my experience, I've talked with many women who get frustrated because success doesn't come easily or quickly. Working from home may sound easy, but in reality it can actually be just as hard as working outside the home. There are many unique challenges, especially when working at home while raising children. If women don't prepare themselves, they can become discouraged and disheartened.

Diana Ennen– One of the major challenges I see is losing belief in yourself that you can do it. That’s why I think a faith-based book will be so beneficial. Even when times get tough, you can rely on your faith to forge ahead.

With the economy, do you believe it’s still a good time to start a business? Why?

Jill Hart – I think it's a better time than ever. The internet is so much more widely used than it was even nine years ago when I began my website. If people do their research and find a company that fits them as well as their budget this can be a great time to break into the work-at-home field.

Diana Ennen – Absolutely. In fact, I think there’s never been a better time. You might have to work a little harder, but it absolutely can be done. Plus, there are so many businesses who need us more than ever because of the economy. For example, with virtual assistants because businesses are downsizing they are seeking the help of a VA to help on an as needed basis.

Your book is written from a Christian perspective? Tell us a little about that and how you feel that makes it so unique?

Jill Hart – My faith is central to who I am and therefore central to my business. I began Christian Work at Home Moms because I wanted women to have a safe place where they could discuss not only business things, but also talk about an area that doesn't get talked about a lot in business circles - how our faith affects our businesses. The book is written in a way that doesn't hit anyone over the head with our faith, but it's true to who we are and talks about things from the vantage point that we see life - through the lens of our faith.

Diana Ennen – There are so many books out there today on starting a business. However, few have the Christian mom in mind. We provide a lot of scriptures and examples of how you can use your faith to help you. Our hope is that not only will your business thrive, but it might just give a little boost to your faith as well.

Learn more about the book at Beacon Hill Press or SoYouWantToBeAWAHM.com.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Grandpas Make the Best "Mannys"

When my 2nd daughter was first born, I wished I had a nanny between the hours of 3 and 6 a.m. Those are my morning hours when I work here at LBPR and she often needed me as well. (My daughter now sleeps during this time.)

Well, when my dad came for a visit, (he's a wicked early morning person too), he hung out with me while I worked and held Lauren! So, I got to experience the convenience of a "Manny" for two days!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Work-at-Home Childcare Strategies

I recently partnered up with Making Work at Home Work as a blogger.

The following article is about "Work-at-Home Childcare Strategies."

My current childcare strategies are:
* I have a very supportive husband who is a teacher! So he is always willing to care for the kids if I have a meeting. Right now, our 2.5 month old is very attached to mama and won't always take a bottle. So you can imagine the chaos of trying to soothe her! My husband pushes up his sleeves and deals with it. I'm very blessed to have him.

*My sister lives about 25 minutes away and has watched my toddler in the past.

Author, Speaker Mary Byer's created this program after the release of her book, Making Work at Home Work: Successfully growing a business and a family under one roof, to help other Work at Home Moms (WAHM) conquer some of the struggles that she herself has been through. Mary says, "I feel really privileged that I was able to write this book. I wrote it with Work at Home Moms in mind. There are so many unique challenges about working at home that only another work-at-homer can understand!" I would like to encourage you to explore their website for some great advice and some much-needed encouragement. If you would like to become a Making Work at Home Work blogger, go here.

Work-at-Home Childcare Strategies
I wrote part of my first book with a toddler on my lap and some of my second with a child standing behind me on my office chair running his fingers through my hair. I’ve packed for overnight trips only to come out of the bathroom and find that while I was in the bathroom, my son unpacked my bag for me. I’ve shown up for client meetings with childish scribbles defacing my meeting notes. And I once bribed my kids with raisins and a later trip to McDonald’s so they’d sit quietly during a meeting when a sitter cancelled at the last minute.

Despite the stress, I wouldn’t change a thing. But if I had to do it all over again, I’d be more deliberate about planning for childcare rather than assuming I could easily juggle a business with my mothering duties. As you consider the child care issue, the following tips may be helpful:

Give yourself permission to arrange for child care in addition to your presence at home. Many work-at-home moms have trouble with this simply because they are home precisely so they can be available to their children. Some believe it defeats the purpose if they utilize outside child care resources. But working from home without any child care makes your job as an at-home CEO more difficult. Figure out how much and what type of care you are comfortable with, then stay within the boundaries you’ve set for yourself. It is possible to be fully at home and effectively utilize additional child care. The two are not mutually exclusive.

Be flexible. What works for one season in your family’s life may not work indefinitely. Trust your instincts about what’s working and what’s not, and pay attention to what your children say about the caregivers you’re dependent on. Be responsive to what they reveal, and consider your needs as well as theirs. It’s possible to find something that works for everyone, though it may take perseverance to do so.

Be creative. I love the idea of paying my kids to keep themselves busy while I work. (They love it too!) I wouldn’t have thought of this on my own, but I’m inspired by the mom who shared the idea with me, and I’m actively looking for other creative possibilities. This idea reminds me to be willing to explore new options as my child care needs continue to evolve.

Have the courage to do what’s best for your family. Because you and I are different and our needs and circumstances are not the same, our solution to the child care issue should also be different. That’s okay. Too often we look at what other women are doing and adopt the same solutions for ourselves without considering that our values, resources, and experiences are not the same. Your strategy needs to take into account your family’s situation and any unique circumstances that influence what’s right for you.

Seek support. Because the parental pact is so important, be sure your husband is comfortable with what you are doing. Even if he’s not interested in helping you decide what’s best or interviewing potential sitters, keep him informed. This keeps things running smoothly and lends itself to family harmony.

If financial resources are tight, trade child care services. Find another mom who works from home with whom you are comfortable exchanging babysitting services and develop an exchange agreement that allows you to regularly watch each other’s kids. Make sure you find someone who’s reliable so you can count on the regular work time this option provides. While spousal support is important, teaming with other work-at-home moms is valuable, too.

Reevaluate your needs occasionally. As your business evolves, your child care needs will likely change, too. More work may necessitate more child care. A business that’s seasonal may require periods of outside child care followed by periods of no assistance at all. As children age, they will be more able to look after themselves, perhaps eliminating your need altogether.

When my children were preschool age, I evaluated my needs on a day-to-day basis. It was stressful to have this issue continually hanging over my head. As I’ve entered a new season of mothering (the school season!) I’m now able to identify my needs on a monthly basis, which causes far less anxiety. If you’re in an early season of mothering, hang on! The child care puzzle gets easier to piece together as your children mature.

Work-at-home moms tell me that child care is one of their most pressing concerns. If it stresses you too, know you are not alone. Give yourself permission to proactively address this issue in a way that works for your family. When you do, you’ll be more likely to be a satisfied and effective at-home CEO.

Mary Byers is the author of Making Work at Home Work: Successfully Growing a Business and a Family Under One Roof. You can learn more about making work at home work by subscribing to Mary’s free blog at www.makingworkathomework.com.