We believe that there is room for ALL of us to succeed; which is why we decided to talk to a few women we know who are KILLING IT at the work-from-home-mom game (even though as this post demonstrates, it ain’t always roses and rainbows) and ask them what advice they’d give to a group of women who are toying with the idea of giving it a go in creative and/or “Remote” fields:
Photographers, bloggers, YouTubers, MLM girls, clothes designers, nurtitionists – Moms who have figured out how to make it work from the comfort of their abodes are sharing their knowledge in the name of WOMEN HELPING WOMEN.
What a time to be alive!
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If you are wanting to explore a career in photography as a work-from-home mom, here is my advice: First things first, if you are still shooting on Auto, for the love of all that is holy, STOP IT!! I don’t care if you have to find a class, watch a few online tutorials or shadow a friend who knows what she’s doing, you need to start shooting manual and you need to do it now. You will never be able to develop your own personal style shooting on Auto and the only way you are going to get anyone to be interested in your art and in what you have to say is by finding your own style and voice.
There are several amazing resources online that can help you learn the basics as a beginner and challenge you as you continue to grow into a more confident photographer. One of my favorites is Clickin Moms . They offer classes, forums for discussion and tons of tools to help photographers, specifically us mom togs. You can also follow them on Instagram for quick tutorials, challenges and feedback on your work.
Next, shoot often and share everything. As a mom you have the best subjects to practice on – your kids! Need to practice shooting in low light? Stick your kid in the nursery, cut the lights and shoot! Want to explore family photography? Find a fellow rebel mama and schedule a session for her and her family next weekend! Take your camera with you everywhere and just shoot. Practice with different lighting, different composition, different perspectives and then, here’s the kind of scary part, share it all!
Even if it’s not perfect, even if you are unsure of yourself, share it! If you force yourself to show your work you will get the feedback you need to get better, you will hold yourself accountable to perfecting a skill and showing it off. Trust me, it works! By shooting everything and sharing it, not only will you become a better photographer, you will find what you are passionate about and then you can focus on building your portfolio and hopefully your business around what you truly enjoy shooting.
There are a couple different kinds of blogs that you can choose to start for yourself – whatever you decide should be perfect aligned with your strengths. If you’re a great writer, then your site should reflect that. If you’re a great photographer, then it should be a more visual diary to start. That being said, WHERE YOU START IS NOT NECESSARILY WHERE YOU WILL END UP. But you have to start. And if this is what you want, you should start now.
Blogging is a skill and the only way to do it well is to practice. Content and ideas are NOT FINITE. When I first started, I remember hating the thought that some “brilliant piece” I had in mind was going to be published and wasted on my viewership of 3 (my mom, my sister and my grandma). Looking back, my first post ideas were alright… but they’re way better now and that’s how it should be.
Embrace the beginning (ie. when nobody is paying attention to what you’re doing); it’s a gift. Use that time to experiment with your unique angle, writing style, subject matter, site layout etc. A .wordpress.com site is free to start so JUST START. Once you have a little content, open social media accounts for your site. Look at social media as an extension of your site. Carry over the voice. Look for images, articles etc that align with your brand. And then interact. Don’t buy followers. Get them by liking and commenting on content created by people whose attention you want to get on your own page. Tell the people who inspire you that they inspire you! The honest approach is the best approach.
(For a blow-by-blow of how we actually manage to pull all of this off, read THIS POST!)
Yolanda Gampp | “HOW TO CAKE IT” (TWO MILLION SUBSCRIBERS, YO!) | Mom of 1 (age 3)
Although I always believed that working hard and following my passion would bring me fulfillment, I never imagined it would turn out like this. I started developing a YouTube channel with an 8 month old in tow. Two amazing women, who developed a TV show that I was part of (and whom I am happy to call my friends) came to me with the idea that we should take our talents to YouTube.
I was at a point in my life where I had to start over. A self-employed cake decorator with no mat leave, who would often think to herself, “how am I going to go back to my business and be a mom!?” I was humbled to see that my friends, who had been trying to pitch me in TV land, were willing to take the YouTube dive with me. All three of us were new to this world.
My advice is, why not partner up with other amazing women? Women who believe in each other, applaud each other and share the same vision. The only thing better than one great woman, is more great women. (I know you agree with this, Nikita!)
I think that unfortunately, we don’t see enough of them getting along in this world. As a mom, I still want everything I once wanted, I just need help. Nothing wrong with that. Know how to ask, and know who to ask. It’s pretty hard to wear the superwoman cape every single day. Especially when a toddler is constantly pulling on it!!
Imagine my surprise when I thought my ship had sailed, and all along my friends were saving my ticket. It has been quite a ride…
NICOLE MANEK | “LIFE OF MANEK” | Mom of 1 (age 4)
The first step in starting a business is the hardest and scariest. Just jump in head first and try not to judge your work, let it grow and evolve organically, it may change a lot and you might not end up with the business you had in mind but trust that moving forward with an idea however it may change is enough.
For those Mamas who are interested in design or fashion I would say make what you love; don’t try to guess what people want or what the market demands. Create a product that you have faith in and genuinely think is awesome. Trust me, if you love it someone else will too.
From there carve out time for your business EVERYDAY, yes I know this sounds impossible but even if it’s two minutes to write an email or ten minutes to read an article, take time to keep your head in the game and be unapologetic about it. I felt a lot of guilt when my son was first born about taking the time to keep my business going and growing… looking back, the guilt was useless. I did it, it made me, my business, and my family better and stronger.
This is a quote I live by “Most people overestimate what they can do in one year and underestimate what they can do in a decade”. Go get ’em Mamas!
SABRINA GREER | ARBONNE AREA MANAGER | MOM OF 3 (10, 2 & 2mos)
Before getting into my home-based Multi Level Marketing (MLM) business, I was a corporate events Manager with a team of over 100. Badass? Totally! Conducive to family life with kids? Not so much.
MLM can be a great fit for moms that want to stay home with their littles while earning passive income for a very small commitment of time. You can fit it in between diaper explosions and nap-times, on your own terms from a smartphone. Sounds perfect right? Maybe even easy? Well, MLM is simple but not easy.
You must have incredibly thick skin to deal with the negative stigmas and epic rejection that come along with it. You see, the bonus in MLM is also the caveat. There are no needed qualifications, education or background to start which means of course you will have to deal with some weirdos and fight for credibility but it also means equal opportunity for all, plus, you can learn while you earn.
If you’re thinking of venturing into MLM, you want to be sure you find a company that aligns with your values (Vegan, cruelty free, etc) this way it doesn’t feel like selling but rather sharing something you genuinely believe in (if only Starbucks gave me referral commissions). You also want to make sure the company is legit and not a ‘pyramid scheme’ (a term that seems synonymous with Network Marketing). If the company has been around for a while and is a part of the DSA (Direct Selling Association) then you are good to go. It should require start up fees of less than $100, providing you with your own shopping website as well as some catalogs and samples. It’s pretty amazing that we get to turn an expense (all of that online shopping we do) into a business!
To be successful in this business, the main thing is motivation. If you are naturally motivated, then M.L.M. could be an extremely viable and lucrative option.
STACEY GREEN | STACEY GREEN LIVING | Mom of 1 (Age 9)
Firstly I would say is: clarity comes from action.
When starting out you’re going to be wickedly overwhelmed and feel like you don’t know where to start. There will be a list one hundred miles long and you’ll be paralyzed by fear. The only way to get past the fear and overwhelm is to do something. Send an email, hire a web developer, give a talk – just do something. And the more little “somethings” you do, the easier it gets.
Also, be prepared to invest in yourself in some kind of monetary way. Businesses cost money and even if it’s not a brick and mortar business it’s still going to cost something. Email marketing systems cost money, websites cost money, developers cost money, photographers cost money. Prepare to spend something on yourself and your business.
There is a strong possibly that you are going to start your business doing one specific thing and end up doing something completely different. I changed the direction of my focus 4 times before I finally landed on where I am now. You’ll learn and grow and fail and grow and that’s totally normal. Remember that starting a business doing something you love should be fun and if it doesn’t feel good, maybe you need to reevaluate.
I literally wrote an entire program, shot videos, created worksheets, made recipes and 3 days before launch shut it all down because it just didn’t “feel” right. (THIS PROGRAM, however, felt AH-MAZING! #shamelessselfpromotion)
No matter what you do, just remember… there really is no straight line to success.
We believe that the biggest thing we can do for the Women’s Movement that is currently underway is to do our best to help as many women as we can to achieve their goals. We are not in competition with each other.
We do not have to climb over one another to get to the top. We can literally just charge to the top together… So in the immortal words of Canadian Country music maven, Shania Twain – Let’s go, girls.
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Featured Image: “Follow That Woman” by Mikael Jansson via Vogue Japan, 2009
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