I once said to someone, “I just do better when I work for myself.” They kind of giggled. Being a Millennial speaking to a Baby Boomer, I could guess the kind of conclusions that were jumped to. No, I don’t think I’m too good for a boss. I don’t think I’m just so special that I know more than everyone else. I mean, when I’m being my own boss I bust my ass to be better. Working for myself makes me work harder. Setting my own personal goals makes me want to reach them. In a work setting, I tended to put my best self on the back burner and just surrender to whatever the boss said. Being my own boss was exhilarating and I made so much more money! The thing is, I don’t know if I would have discovered my capabilities if I wasn’t forced to find a work from home job as a stay at home mom. Here is the rundown of how I created not one, but two money-making incomes while being my own boss as a stay at home mom. (No MLMs involved.)
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A quick run down
After giving birth to my first baby, I really wanted to find a way to make money while I stayed home with her. Are you ready for it? I tried MLMs and you know what? I was pretty good at them. However, they weren’t my true calling. It was very simple for me to snap a bikini picture and praise the shake that helped me get there. I could set up parties and chat up the company blah, blah, blah. The thing was, there was something missing. Passion.
The photography business
I bought my first camera for a few hundred dollars and started doing free shoots for friends and family. Then I put a few adds on Craigslist doing sessions for $30. I even did boudoir photo shoots for a while! GASP!
From $30 to $50 to $100 to $160. I kept scaling my photography business until I eventually had an all natural light in-home studio in our big house.
I was booking weddings every weekend for $1,000 to $1,500 — which was still significantly lower than the majority of my competitors.
Eventually, I walked away from photography. But that’s a story for another time. This post is going to dive into all the things I did to create a successful photography business, being my own boss, and being a stay at home mom all at the same time. The lessons I learned from being a photographer helped me be even more successful when it came to my next venture.
The blogging business
I kept telling Tom for years, “I feel like writing is what I’m supposed to do.” For years, I had this gut instinct telling me that being an author, that writing was my calling. It was what I was supposed to do in life. So I would randomly try to write books. With no actual idea or purpose. After chapter 1, I would just burn out. I’ve probably written about 30 one chapter books by now.
Then one day, I decided to start a blog. My aunt had actually brought the subject up to me years before and I politely brushed off the idea. Big mistake, right?
I started to learn just how much earning potential there was with a blog and I wanted to be a part of it. What started as being a stay at home mom had turned into a homeschooling mom and I was desperate for an income that allowed me the flexibility I needed.
Now I am easily earning a few thousand dollars per month from the blog and I don’t plan to stop there. I believe in it so much, that I created a course to help coach other people who want to be their own boss and make money from home with a blog. Check out my blogging course.
So what did I do to create 2 successful
Do your research
Before getting started with an entrepreneurial gig it’s so important to do your research ahead of time. What’s the market look like in your area? Is there a ton of other people around you doing the same thing? What are they charging?
When it comes to something like blogging, where you are working online, get familiar with other people that are in your niche. If you are wanting to do health coaching, check out other health coaches. See what they teach. Check out their prices. What do their sites look like? How about their social media?
Before you even get started with something, I think it’s so important to do your research ahead of time so you can get a better jump start than if you were to just start without having any comprehension of what you are doing.
Something that is important to remember is that after you have researched…you need to start. Don’t spend a full year researching and then tell yourself you are being productive.
As unfortunate as it is, sometimes the best teacher is from the mistakes you make along the way.
Don’t be afraid to take the leap and jump into the semi-unknown.
Start marketing yourself
When you are ready to launch, don’t be afraid to launch big. If you have a product or a service, offer it to friends at a discount or totally free in exchange for a review.
Tell everyone on Facebook, let your family in on it. Hang up fliers in your town (if it fits for you). The more you let everyone know, the more likely they are to start telling others about you. In fact, from simply sharing my photography business on Facebook I was able to reach new wedding clients, shoot for local fashion shows, work with local businesses and scale my business to a whole new level.
Now with the blog, I promote myself on Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest and through email marketing. I dive completely into this subject in my Fun Sized Blogging Basics course and give you a full behind the scenes look at how you can promote yourself and your business better with social media.
If you keep quiet about your business that’s exactly what it will be..quiet.
Find a schedule that works
Being my own boss and a stay at home mom definitely had it’s setbacks. I mean, how do you work on your own business when you have little ones crawling all over you all day long? My best advice to you is…ya just gotta make the time.
When I was doing photo shoots, I would have the kids in one of their rooms playing while I did a session in our home studio. Editing the photos was something I had to wait to do until they went to bed. Yes, there were nights where I was editing with a toddler in my lap and I was usually up until midnight but gosh
These days, with the blog and homeschooling, I set my alarm for 5 am and get started writing before they wake up. When they do get up they make crafts, play downstairs or watch a learning show until we start school.
Setting a schedule is going to look different for everyone, but it’s so important that you carve time out of your day for yourself and for your dream.
Invest back in your business
My biggest mistake when I was being my own boss as a photographer? Not treating my income as a business income. Even now, I struggle.
When I would bring in $2,000 from a wedding, we would plan an impromptu trip to Mexico. Sometimes I would take $1,000 that I had “lying around” and put it toward a student loan.
We had nothing in savings.
I never planned to put any back into the business.
We still lived paycheck to paycheck.
Don’t be like me. Create a budget that works for you and your business. Pay yourself first with a good savings account, invest money back into your business and then, when you have some left, add it to your personal budget.
Where am I currently investing?
- Email marketing
- Canva membership
- Teachable course creator
- Tailwind scheduling for Pinterest
Another thing I did wrong with photography was not getting myself more training. I watched a lot of online tutorials or free YouTube videos, but the truth is, I should have been doing a lot more.
Before I started the blog, I took a course all about how to start blogging. Unfortunately, that particular blogger has taken this course down to pursue new things.
I was honestly so grateful to have that course though that I wanted to make one of my own that shared a more hands-on approach to take all of the guesswork out of running a blog. Check out the Fun Sized Blogging Basics Course!.
Courses I have/am taking:
- Affiliate Marketing for bloggers – This is an awesome guide about how to get started and how to be successful with affiliate marketing. Check it out.
- Blogging Planner – To help you keep every single thing about your blog together and organized, check out this Blogging Planner by Carly the blogger behind Blogging Like You Mean It.
- Building a Framework – Building a Framework is the best course for getting a new blog up and running. I purchased Building a Framework early on in my blogging career and it completely changed the way I blogged. Learn more.
- Food Blogger Pro – Food Blogger Pro has everything you need to create a thriving food blog. Made by the creators of Pinch of Yum. See the course.
- Fun Sized Blogging Basics – I took every single question that didn’t get answered for me when I started blogging, and I answered it. Get started with 5 FREE lectures.
- Making Sense of Affiliate Marketing – Michelle makes over $50K per month with affiliate marketing alone. Learn all of the best tips in her course. Check out the course!
- Pinteresting Strategies – Learn the best methods for growing your Pinterest that no other blogger has talked to you about before! This helped grow my traffic huge AND it’s super affordable! See the course.
- Pitch Perfect Pro – Pitch Perfect is a course I took hosted by successful blogger, Jenny Melrose. She will walk you step by step through how to pitch to brands and what to do once you’ve got them. Start pitching.
- Rachel Hollis Business Coaching – Yup! The woman behind the book, Girl, Wash Your Face has her own business coaching program that you can join! We are 5 months in and I have already learned so much!