Monday, October 31, 2011

WAHM - Meet Rebecca Stenberg: WIC Breastfeeding Peer Counselor

~What is the name of your business and what do you do?

My name is Rebecca Stenberg and I work part-time, mostly at home, for my county’s WIC office as a Breastfeeding Peer Counselor. I also coordinate our county’s Breastfeeding Coalition. WIC (Women-Infants & Children) provides Federal grants to States for supplemental foods, health care referrals, and nutrition education for low-income pregnant, breastfeeding, and non-breastfeeding postpartum women, and to infants and children up to age five who are found to be at nutritional risk. As a Peer Counselor, I provide primarily over-the-phone breastfeeding support and referrals. I also teach a breastfeeding class and provide at-home visits when necessary.

 ~Tell us how you decided to begin doing what you do and how it has changed your life.

Everything I thought about my life changed after the birth of my first daughter. I had a son at the age of sixteen and never even thought about breastfeeding him. But, eleven years later, when I had my daughter, I never doubted that she would happily snuggle at my breast. I didn’t anticipate the myriad problems we would encounter. Our Lactation Consultant saved our breastfeeding relationship and I continued to nurse her past her second birthday. But, more than just breastfeeding, this sweet little girl refocused my priorities. I had been enjoying an engaging and successful career as a project manager in a major city and my circle of friends included the best and the brightest in government and non-profit. I was going places and having a wonderful time in the process! But when I held that little girl, as so often happens with mothers, I understood that life as I knew it was over. Although I desperately wanted to stay home, I took some time weaning off of that life and worked part-time for a couple of years. But when daughter number two came along, I was done. The pull to be home was so strong. The pull to help other moms and babies was even stronger! I knew God was leading me to my “higher calling” and my bags were packed.

Becoming a Lactation Consultant seemed a logical fit, but it wasn’t nearly as easy as I thought to gain the education and experience necessary to qualify me to take the certification exam. Working for WIC allowed me to get the training I needed to start helping moms with breastfeeding. I primarily work with mothers over the phone, from home, but also teach a class once per month and now can also do home visits if needed. Over the past three years or so, I’ve been able to attend several training sessions and became a Certified Lactation Specialist. I also earned enough hours to qualify to sit for the exam last July. (I am currently waiting to find out if I passed.)

~Tell us about your family…kids, husband, pets, etc

My talented husband, Steve, and I met in college and have been married for more than 13 years. We have a 20-year-old son and four daughters, ages 8, 5, 3 and 1. My husband works for a local manufacturing plant as a supervisor and, although their industry was hit very hard by the recession, he has been able to maintain a stable-enough salary for me to stay and work at home. We live in rural Wisconsin, not too far from St. Paul and Minneapolis, Minnesota, and enjoy the outdoors, gardening, cooking, hiking, boating, and swimming. My husband and I both agree that our children are the greatest blessings of our lives. Watching all of our children together brings us more joy than we ever could have hoped for!

~Tell us about how you are able to do what you do and balance your family life…how do you make it work?

Working from home isn’t nearly as easy as everyone thinks it is, but it does seem to work best for our family. The work I do is primarily on the phone and does take a bit of concentration. I’ve learned that I can’t take care of a child’s needs, or even cook or clean, while I’m on the phone with a client. I try to do my phone calling when the house is quiet and my children are busy. On a typical day, I get kids out the door for school and then reserve the morning for a few household tasks, errands, or play dates with my two youngest. Around noon, I put the baby down for a nap, make lunch for my 3-year-old, and put her at a table with lots of art supplies. Then I “work.” I use an online program to track clients and keep notes. I find out which moms need a call right away and try to be on the phone as much as possible during this time, so that we’re not interrupted. If I need to do a home visit, I try to arrange that when my husband will be home. Then, late at night, I’ll hop on the computer again to finish charting my notes from each phone call. I also use evening hours to do my work for the Breastfeeding Coalition, scheduling meetings, creating educational materials, etc.

Of course there are days when my grand plan fails miserably. The cable man comes and wakes up the baby. A friend asks me to watch her kids. Someone needs to go to the doctor or dentist. Any number of things can ultimately make the day go wrong. Although I have to “check-in” nearly every day for my job, I don’t always have to put in a lot of time. Some days I work for three hours, other days, only one (or none). My husband’s job is very stressful and he’s often busy in the evenings, so I can’t always count on that time to get my work done. My house suffers miserably, and sometimes the kids suffer a bit, too. More times than I’d like to admit, I’ve had to resort to unsavory tactics to avoid being a parent so that I can work – putting in a movie, bribing with treats, etc. Once I even locked myself in my room, while my daughter threw a fit out in the hall, so I could finish up a phone call.

There are days when I wonder, “Is it worth it?” But the answer is always, “Yes!”

~Do you do anything in addition to your at-home business?

I’m currently on the Steering Team of a new MOPS (Mothers With Pre-Schoolers) chapter. I also serve on my church’s Nursery Committee and attend regular Bible studies.

~Is there any advice you would give to other WAHMs or those that aspire to work at home?

- Be realistic about your time. Think about how much time you’ll need to do the work that you want to do. Can it be done while doing other mothering or household tasks or do you need to have dedicated time? What will your day actually look like (do some trial runs)?

- Once you know what kind of time you’ll have to invest, have a conversation with your husband and children about how things will change. It may seem small, but even a little change is change. Talk about how your working at home will affect the family, whether it means someone else has to pick the kids up from school or your husband needs to cook supper five nights a week. My children have benefited from me working at home in ways I never anticipated – they’ve had to become more responsible than some of their friends, they are good at entertaining themselves, and they are very helpful with younger siblings. However, there are days when they hate hearing that mom has to work. There have also been times when I’ve had to be away for a few days for trainings. My husband sacrifices greatly to be the stay-at-home dad while I’m gone, or to bring the kids with and entertain them at hotels. Including everyone in the discussion and planning ahead of time helps everyone gain control over a new schedule.

- Try to find a friend to exchange childcare with, or find a daytime babysitter. There are times when I need to work out of the home, without my children. Finding friends in similar situations (WAHMs) has been wonderful. I’ve also found many homeschooled children in our area that can get away for a couple of hours to play with my kids while I work.

- Unlike many WAHMs I know, I’m unable to do most of my “work” during evening hours. I use this time to organize my home life as much as possible. It took me awhile to figure this out, but if I spend a little time to plan my life as a wife/mother, my work time is less stressful. I try to plan meals a week or two in advance. This has saved money, time going to the store more often than I really need to, and time trying to figure out what to cook. I try to really clean the kitchen every single night so that it’s ready to go the next day. I also use a simple housework schedule from Time-Warp Wife. Every day is dedicated to one part of the house – Monday is bathrooms, Tuesday is bedrooms, etc. It sounds so simple, but this is saving my house from falling apart!

- Don’t ever forget why you wanted to stay at home in the first place. Being clear about WHY you’re doing what you’re doing helps keep you from losing focus. I find it helpful to actually write out benchmarks that indicate whether or not I’m meeting my goals. During a particularly busy week, I discovered that I had actually paid more in childcare than I earned – definitely NOT meeting the goal! When things feel like they’re not going well, it helps me to look at that list and actually be concrete rather than relying on gut feelings. And check in with your husband and family to see how they’re doing. I am often surprised to hear the lengths to which my husband will go in order for me to be successful as a WAHM.

Friday, October 28, 2011

WAHM - Meet Terra of Master Creative Designs

~What is the name of your business and what do you make?

My business is called Master Creative Designs and the bulk of my business is personalizing labels for 3 different sizes of Hershey’s Chocolate Bars for just about any occasion, event, holiday, etc. that you can think of. J  I also make personalized mintbooks, & waterbottles.

~Tell us how you decided to begin creating what you do and how it has changed your life.

I saw an ad in the back of a magazine, 7 years ago, for a company that offered computer software to help you personalize candy bars.  I loved the concept of creating favors and gifts for my friends, and building it into a business!  I really wanted to jump in and start right then, but with small children and a tight budget, it just wasn’t a good time.  I kept that opportunity in the back of my mind for 4 years, and when my 4th child was 2 months old, I was offered a “deal” I couldn’t pass up, and decided now was my time.  So while I am technically a “dealer” for another company, I solely drive this business to make it what it is.  They are my idea’s, my creativity, my time, and my paperwork (ugh, my least favorite part!)   And the longer I do this, the more I’m inspired to create my own designs and add to my collection of items.

~Tell us about your family…kids, husband, pets, etc

My family is my life.  My husband Mike and I have been married for 15 years in November.  We spent the first almost 3 years of marriage in a small town outside of Omaha, NE.  We have lived in Sioux Falls for 12 years now and love it here.

We have 5 sassy, rambunctious, and beautiful children, who keep life interesting and it is NEVER boring at my house.   Arianne is 13, Noah is 11, Gracie is 8, (she told me tonight that she is going to sell chocolate bars someday to pay her way through college…and I’m pretty sure she will.)  Zachary is 3, and Sierra turned one yesterday (the 27th of October).  We also have a Dachshund (weiner dog) named Jack Jack, after Jack Jack the wonder baby in the movie “The Incredibles.” 

~Tell us about how you are able to do what you do and balance your family life…how do you make it work?

I am able to do this business because of my incredible husband.  He helps out extra around the house so I can work on my orders, and go to craft shows.  He has also become somewhat of an expert when it comes to putting bars into foil pouches and placing them in the clear sleeves just the way I want them.  And my older children also love to help out where they can.  However, a majority of the things I do are done in the evenings while my children are sleeping. 

~Do you do anything in addition to your at-home business?

I am fortunate to be a full time stay at home mom.  But when you ask that, the term *taxi driver* did pop into my head. 

~Is there any advice you would give to other WAHMs or those that aspire to work at home?

You never know until you try!!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

WAHM - Meet April of Enchanted Dandelions

~What is the name of your business and what do you make?
I’m April, and I’m owner of Enchanted Dandelions, where I offer ecofriendly products for babies, children and the home, all handmade by me.  Some of my wares include flaxseed hot/cold therapy packs, cloth diapers, natural baby teethers, baby bibs and burp cloths, wool dryer balls, aromatherapy sachets, bean bags, and so much more.
~Tell us how you decided to begin creating what you do and how it has changed your life.
I’ve always enjoyed crafting and sewing as a hobby.  When my daughter was born, I started making various things for her.  My friends loved what I had made, and started offering to pay me to make things for their own children.  Their support inspired me to open up an Etsy shop, which I originally did so just for fun.  However, a few years later, I’m now a single parent, and I’m so fortunate that my shop has grown to where it allows me to provide for my little ones.  
~Tell us about your family…kids, husband, pets, etc
I’m a proud mama to my three little Sprouts, ages 6, 5 and 3.  They are my inspiration and my motivation to always keep pushing forward.  We live in a small town in the foothills of the gorgeous Blue Ridge mountains, which is great for us, as we love the exploring the outdoors.
~Tell us about how you are able to do what you do and balance your family life…how do you make it work?
Hmmmm.... lots and lots of coffee, and very little sleep. >.<  Even after all this time, I really don’t have a magic formula on how to get everything done (which explains the mountain of dirty laundry!)  I try to get as much done as I can while the Sprouts are sleeping or at school.  And when I do have to work while they are home, I try to include them as much as possible.  They love helping me pick out fabric, and pack up orders.  
~Do you do anything in addition to your at-home business?
 As a family, we love going on adventures- hiking, geocaching, exploring local parks.  I also love to read whenever I get the chance, and poke around thrift stores.  
~Is there any advice you would give to other WAHMs or those that aspire to work at home?
Sounds cliche, but never give up.  It’s a LOT of work, and there will be times you feel like walking away, but I’ve found that the more you put into your business, the more you will get out of it.  So never stopping asking yourself what you can do to make you business better.   :)

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

WAHM - Meet Tricia Anson of Gettin' Crafty Too

~What is the name of your business and what do you make?
My name is Tricia Anson and my business is called Gettin’ Crafty Too. My friend Emily Robertson and I make handmade accessories for all ages. We have a huge array of hair bows, flower clips, flower pins, button clips, with three different types of headbands available to clip your accessories onto to mix and match for added versatility, and more. We make bows with ribbon, felt, and even duct tape! Recently, we started making bottlecap bows and corker bows as well. Our flower clips and pins are made out of artificial flowers, felt, and fabric. We are working on tons of new products and ideas—including pacifier clips and some fun things for little boys are in the works as well.

~Tell us how you decided to begin creating what you do and how it has changed your life.
I have always been a “crafty” person and had a passion for art and just creating my own things as well as a great interest in the business world. I took art all through high school and was the president of the Business Professionals of America club and class my senior year. However, after getting an associate’s degree in business management, getting married, and having my son all before I turned 22, let’s just say my craftiness was not on the forefront of my priorities! However, my friend, Emily Robertson, and I started trying out some hair bow ideas just for ourselves because, well, we’re both on pretty tight budgets! It turns out, we were pretty good at it and just for fun, we would post pictures of our creations on facebook. We kept getting compliments and some friends were asking if we were selling them, so we thought, why not?! Thus, Gettin’ Crafty Too was born as a way to earn some extra income for our families. We chose that name because we always said we were “gettin’ crafty” whenever we were making bows and it just seemed perfect!
                We launched our facebook page and started an Etsy shop in mid September of this year, and boy, it has been exciting! We have learned so much and come up with so many new products in the short time we’ve been selling and it has sure kept us busy. We’ve done a couple craft fairs, have a handful more scheduled, and we are currently working on opening a new shop to sell from on Learning to balance my 13 month old, housework, and other responsibilities has been quite interesting, to say the least, and the business has been a whole new dynamic to Emily and I’s friendship as well. A lot of heartfelt discussions are had while “gettin’ crafty’ and though it is challenging, it has been extremely rewarding to have other people love your handmade creations.

~Tell us about your family…kids, husband, pets, etc
                I am a mother to an amazing 13 month old, blonde haired, blue eyed, little boy named Noah and I’ve been married to my best friend, Benjamin, for three years now. I am 22 years old and I love being a stay at home mom. My husband and I teach the Primary Church every Sunday at our church for kids ages four to eight and we just love it. Our church is just a block away from our house and it is a second home where we are thrilled to be raising our baby boy and, hopefully, more children in the future! Being a stay at home mom is one of the most important things I believe I can do for my family, so being able to help with our finances (besides being a cloth diapering, homemade everything momma) with our business not only fulfills my creative needs but helps my husband make ends meet. 
Emily has been married to her husband, Justin, for two years and is 23 years old. She is a full time nanny for a great family and plans to be a stay at home mom when the time comes as well. She also teaches Children’s Church at her church on the south side of Chicago and loves working with little ones—she is ”Auntie Emmy” to my little guy.

~Tell us about how you are able to do what you do and balance your family life…how do you make it work?
                The balancing act is an everyday, on-going learning process but as long as you keep your priorities in line, it is doable. Some days, I get chores done during my son’s first nap and bows made during his second nap—and then some days, I get a nap instead on accident! My husband has been amazing with wrangling Noah to let me get work done if I’m behind or even (gasp!) helping with chores! Emily and her husband come over in the evenings frequently and as soon as I put the little dude to sleep, we get working while our hubbys play video games. Works for all of us! Emily takes a lot of the computer work home with her and edits pictures while she nannies. I am truly blessed to have such a great support system to keep this business going without losing sanity!

~Do you do anything in addition to your at-home business?
                I am a stay at home mom, but two days a week I babysit three of my friend’s boys at her house. Luckily, two of them are seven and nine so they go to school, but her two year old and my one year old hang out with me all day. I usually use the time at her house to get products made or try new things when the boys are occupied.  
                Emily nannies for a little girl five days a week, and as I said before, she brings a lot of the computer work with her to get done as she can. We both work for great families who are really supportive which is a huge help.

~Is there any advice you would give to other WAHMs or those that aspire to work at home?
                Plan, research, and be realistic. It is exciting to start something of your own—it becomes almost another child, but it will quickly fail if you do not do your research and set real goals. Realizing that your first month, really, your first year is not going to be amazingly profitable is key. Otherwise, you will soon get discouraged. Research other businesses, research pricing, research ideas, research marketing, research everything! Knowing what you are spending and how much you need to price things to actually turn a profit is something a lot of newcomers fail to do and that will bring you straight to failure. Numbers aren’t fun, but they are important. As long as you stay knowledgeable, keep short term goals to reach, have a good support system, and like what you do, you can definitely be successful and have fun doing it! The challenge is refreshing and it is amazingly rewarding to know you can accomplish such a thing yourself!  

Monday, October 24, 2011

WAHM - Meet Stacey Schumacher of IttyBitty Lydi

~What is the name of your business and what do you make?
IttyBitty Lydi
~Tell us how you decided to begin creating what you do and how it has changed your life.
When my daughter, Lydia was about 6 months old, I started making tutus for her and friends and family were loving what I was making. Soon people started to ask if I could make one for them. Of course, I did! Soon after making tutus, I also started Designing Hats/Headbands to match the tutus. Every Little princess needs a matching flower in her hair :) I have to say- after deciding not to go back to work at the Bar I worked at prior to having kids, I prayed EVERY night for something I could "make" or do to bring in money to help out with the bills...after about 6 months it kind of all just happened!
~Tell us about your family…kids, husband, pets, etc.
My husband Kurk and I were married in March of 2003, 5 days notice before we got married in our house, by the Army Chaplain. He was to be deployed and we were not sure how  quickly he would we had to work FAST! Luckily, he was only gone 2months at that time. He then deployed to Iraq in 2005-2006 upon his return, I soon found out I was pregnant with our now 4 year old Lydia. (After trying for 4 years to get pregnant unsuccessfully) in 2009-2010 he was again Deployed  but this time to Kuwait. He returned to us in April 2010 and our 2nd daughter Kalyssa was born in Dec 2010 (you do the math ;) We also have a Lab/ Boxer named Sydney Lou, she is the girls best friend. We recently found out she has bone she is getting spoiled and loved on as much as possible
~Tell us about how you are able to do what you do and balance your family life…how do you make it work?
Its a struggle to tell you the truth. My husband works crazy hours between his road construction job, and I never really know when he will be home to help with the kids.I do have a few VERY special Friends that will come and help out in exchange for products when I have an upcoming show (thank you Chrissy and Stacey and Karri!) I do work quite a few late nighters after the girls go to sleep
~Do you do anything in addition to your at-home business?
I work part time at Elegant Mommy here in Sioux Falls and run after a 4 year old and 10 month old. I also have a passion for Photography so that fills in any gaps I may have
~Is there any advice you would give to other WAHMs or those that aspire to work at home?
Just DO IT! If you THINK there is something out there that people may want, try it!  You may be surprised where your path leads you!

Friday, October 21, 2011

WAHM - Meet Shelly of Shelly Rose Designs

~What is the name of your business and what do you make?
My business name is Shelly Rose Designs, sometimes referred to as Green Belle as that is what I named my shop on Etsy...and can’t change now my Etsy shop is “The Green Belle Shoppe by Shelly Rose Designs.  I often label my dryer balls as Green Belle Dryer Balls by Shelly Rose Designs.  I know confusing right?  I make a bunch of things but have limited what I sell to baby blankets, scarves, cowls, and dryer balls.  I make all items with as much natural materials as possible, i.e. all my dryer balls are made out of 100% wool, and all yarn is either cotton, wool, silk, blends.  
~Tell us how you decided to begin creating what you do and how it has changed your life.
I started creating when I was a child really.  I was always writing, painting, coloring...and as soon as I learned how to crochet, I was making barbie doll dresses.  I took a break from the crafting part in high school and college where I got the impression that “real art” was painting and sculpture and such.  I first went to college and majored in something practical though as art is  I started in psychology and math, then changed to pre-pharmacy, biology, and chemistry.  I liked it all, but was never really satisfied.  So after having my first child (and many years of working in management at a large craft store) I finally majored in Fine Arts with minors in Art History and English (I love reading, writing, and poetry).  Well to my surprise I loved it and was happy.  I started staying home full time when I had my third child.  We just couldn’t afford 3 kids in day care.  

I started getting restless and got back into my crafts.  I started quilting which I love, but it very hard to do with babies.  Then I made a couple of totes and pillows.  My husband as always told me I should sell my stuff so I found Etsy and sold my first quilted handbag.  Then I got back to my yarn roots.  I love yarn as I can take it everywhere with me and the only “machine” I need are my hands and a hook.  I can crochet while the park...and my kids’ athletic events, etc.  I was making scarves and baby blankets when I ran across some wool dryer balls online.  I had seen the plastic ones so I knew about dryer balls, just not wool ones.  So I made a couple and then a couple more and then on a whim put up a set on Etsy.  They sold!  So a few more and a few more and some experimentation and improvements and it literally just took off.  In 4 months I had my first retailer and now I have 10 and am so grateful!  I am looking at expanding a bit, but not a ton right now as I don’t want to overburden myself and have no time for my family.  I also pride myself on getting an order out within a week, and shorter for smaller orders.  I figure that if I don’t like to wait, my customers don’t either J There’s the balancing act again.  I’ll be able to add a lot more when my youngest goes to school.
I love helping my family out financially.  It isn’t much, but it is more than nothing and every bit helps now days. I feel good about it and take pride in being a stay at home mom and a work at home mom more now.  Having a creative outlet doesn’t hurt either!
~Tell us about your family…kids, husband, pets, etc
I have been married for 8 ½ years to my husband and have known him for 14 years this fall.  I met him in my first class in college actually--math class.  Five years later we married and had our first baby  boy 9 ½ months later J; then another little baby boy 2 ½ years later and finally a baby girl 2 years after that.  My family is my life and is great.  My husband is probably my biggest fan and my kids love helping me make dryer balls or helping me pick out yarn for a baby blanket.  I cannot wait for the day to teach them how to crochet, then they maybe they can open their own shop and make some money for themselves and learn some business aspects. They know that I don’t go to work like daddy but they do know that if I make x amount of dryer balls I get to buy this.  Once my son asked for $10 for a DS game and I told him he could earn it by making a couple of dryer balls J
~Tell us about how you are able to do what you do and balance your family life…how do you make it work?
My family comes first of course and my business right behind that, but as long as I take the off times when my family doesn’t need me and balance them, I seem to make it work.  That means that some days I only have 5 minutes here and 10 there which means I am rarely idle.  I never watch a whole movie and if I do see most of it, you can bet that I made a few dryer balls or crocheted something while watching, in fact my office is a corner in the living room.  I keep most of my yarn and supplies upstairs, but I do all my work and my computer is in the living room so I can play with my kids at the same time.  I use my time to the fullest and take my yarn everywhere!  I am suspect that I may be that “weird lady” who knits/crochets all the time...except that I only in my early 30’s and not a grandma (no disrespect intended J).  
~Do you do anything in addition to your at-home business?
I don’t have a “real” job outside of the home job, but I do a lot of other things.  I take care of my daughter all day while her brothers are at school.  I do all the shopping, running around, taking kids to sports practices and games, dr.’s appointments, some lawn work, cooking, cleaning (you get it J) to give my husband a break since he works out of town often.
~Is there any advice you would give to other WAHMs or those that aspire to work at home?
Find something you love to do and do it well.  As you can tell I just kind of fell into it myself but I think I was meant to do this.  I crafted and did art my whole life.  My job to get me through college was working at a craft store and eventually in management in that craft store which taught me so much about the business aspect.  The funny thing is that with all those majors I never picked business.  My best boss ever told me I should major in business and management as I was good at it and I told him he was crazy.
...and look what happened I went into business...crafting!

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

WAHM - Meet Rebekah of Rebekah Scott Designs

~What is the name of your business and what do you make?
Rebekah Scott Designs. I sew and design purses, children’s shoes and purse accessories including some hair accessories. 

~Tell us how you decided to begin creating what you do and how it has changed your life.
I grew up West River in Philip, South Dakota. From a very young age, I was always playing in mom's sewing scraps; I could spend hours designing Barbie clothes and hats for my friends. Around the age of ten, I was sewing stocking caps and selling them on the playground to friends. I give my mother all the credit for teaching me how to sew.

I again really got excited with sewing and designing when my graduation gift for college was a serger from my mom and dad. I continued to save money at Christmas by sewing purses for my friends and family. Word spread fast and soon I was getting calls from people I had never met placing orders for purses. I started small until it took over my life and I knew that this was something God had prepared me for all my life and it was time to embrace it!

To this day, I am still amazed at God's goodness and His grace - I love designing and would not want any other job in the world. So, with God’s and my husband's incredible encouragement and support, I decided to launch Rebekah Scott Designs.

~Tell us about your family…kids, husband, pets, etc
I have 2 kiddos, Gus-4 and Ivy- 18 months.  I love being a mom, I started this at home to remain at home with them and getting to see all their firsts- and so far so good, haven’t missed a single step!  My husband embraces my wild ideas still and loves to see my succeed, we still think my goodness how did we get here?  I met my husband at church camp 16 years ago and he still turns my head!

My immediate family is absolute essential in my business. My mom is my most full time employee other than me and my twin sister is my sales leader, she is so good at it.  My dad helps with my display units and weight for shows and trailer trouble ;)  and the rest of my family including inlaws just make sure to spread the word! 

~Tell us about how you are able to do what you do and balance your family life…how do you make it work?
Well we balance and then we re-balance and then we re-balance.  That’s our life. I am very self-disciplined by nature so I lead a “tight ship” as they say. We have a very scheduled day at home here so my children understand what happens now and then next, that way I can keep sewing and running our home.  Good thing my children don’t know any different, they just know mommy sews and I get to play.  I have rules about work:  No turning the machines on Sunday and no work from 11:30-1:30pm before lunch, ball time and nap time.  As long as I am consistent they are too J.

~Do you do anything in addition to your at-home business?
Is there anymore time?  Ha!  I do love to decorate my home and make old things new-er.  And I love farm life, so I try to help with cows and feeding men during harvest and that sort of thing. 

~Is there any advice you would give to other WAHMs or those that aspire to work at home?
Write your ideal day out and your total vision for your company, what exactly do you want to see in your future?  Be disciplined and do something everyday to make the “dream” bigger or one step further to your ideal lifestyle- one email, one phonecall, one google search, something.  Ask God to work out the details and ask to be His vessel onward, nothing is possible without His tail winds.  He gave us wings, but He controls the wind.   

Monday, October 17, 2011

Childbirth Professional Day: Meet Marilyn Hildreth

1. What is your Childbirth Profession?

 I have been a maternal health RN since 1975 having worked in a NICU Unit, Pediatric Intensive Care Unit and Labor and Delivery, Postpartum and Newborn Nursery.  I have been honored to be present for over 5,000 labor or births.  I have been a certified childbirth educator through International Childbirth Education Association (ICEA) and Lamaze International.  I have served on the ICEA Board of Directors as Education Chair and Faculty for numerous ICEA Workshops, I have served as Instructor for Lamaze International Labor Support for Nurses Workshop, been a Certified Doula since 1999 through ICEA and DONA International, a Doula Trainer for ICEA and DONA International, and am an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant

I am currently serving on the Coalition for Improving Maternity Services (CIMS) Leadership Team, and  I am also serving as Chair of the CIMS Mother Friendly Nurse Recognition Program.

I am also a consultant for health systems that are working towards CIMS Mother Friendly status.

2. Describe your profession and why someone would want to choose your profession for support in pregnancy and/or childbirth.

Childbirth is a beautiful place to help empower women to find their voice for the rest of their life. 

3. Why did you get started in your profession?

My life verse from an ancient book Titus 2:2 is for older women to instruct younger women on how to love their husbands (children).  I believe older women have a responsibility to teach the younger women life skills.  Childbirth offers the perfect opportunity to do this.

4. In detail, what is your personal childbirth philosophy?

Childbirth is a life transforming time in a woman's life.  During this rite of passage a woman is able to find her voice for the rest of her life for herself, her children and her family.  I believe childbirth is a time to empower women to speak up for their wishes and for what is best for them.  My job is to respect that woman and honor her wishes.

5. If you could tell all pregnant women in the world something, what would it be?

Trust your body/your instincts.  It knows what to do.

6. How long have you been in your profession? Are you certified? If yes, by who?

See above

7. Do you have a business name? How can people contact you for pregnancy and childbirth support?

Yes.  JM Birth Consultants International 
People can contact me at or call at 605-691-5808. My website is Visit the site for a listing of workshops and video resources

8. Where do you practice?

I practice all around the world: Qatar, India, South Korea, Canada, along with many hospitals throughout the US. I live in Brookings, SD, however, and I do a lot of work with the hospital there.

Friday, October 14, 2011

WAHM: Meet Lisa Rolfson of Lisa's Bowtique

~What is the name of your business and what do you make?
Lisa’s Bowtique. I make handmade accessories, such as hair accessories, jewelry, tote bags and hats. I also work full time at 1st Financial Bank in collections management.

~Tell us how you decided to begin creating what you do and how it has changed your life.
I decided to form a business as I made accessories for my 3 daughters. I got compliments and my friends and family urged me to start a small business…and I did! I have my items at 2 vendor locations, Elegant Mommy and Salon Capella, and I also have my personal inventory for vendor booths and online sales on my website I also have a Facebook page with over 50 followers so far! I love my side business and I enjoy hand crafting each item I make. I love the creativity and it is one of my “stress busters!”

~Tell us about your family…kids, husband, pets, etc
I have been married for 5 years to my husband Ryan. We have been together for 9 years and have 3 daughters…Elizabeth 11, Sayda 8 and Sophie 3. We also have 3 dogs…Saint Bernard – Hannah and 2 Yorkies – Spike and Ella.

~Tell us about how you are able to do what you do and balance your family life…how do you make it work?
My husband and I work together to make our schedules work for ourselves and our girls. He also has a side business making metal art with his sister – Metal Junkies. We are busy and don’t have much down time, so we do a lot with the girls along with us and make it a family affair! It’s not easy to have 2 full time jobs as well as 2 side businesses, but we have fun and stay busy!

~Is there any advice you would give to other WAHMs or those that aspire to work at home?
There is a lot of satisfaction and enjoyment in creating something on your own and selling yourself and your business. You feel a sense of accomplishment, achievement and success when you have built something on your own to be successful. It can be overwhelming at first, but it is well worth all the effort in the end. I enjoy dealing with my customers and talking about my creations with others! It’s fun to do something that makes others smile.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

WAHM - Meet Glam My Baby's owner Aron Larson

~What is the name of your business and what do you make?
Glam My Baby, I make blankets, legwarmers, reversible bandana dresses and reversible bandana skirts, and new product this fall winter hats!

~Tell us how you decided to begin creating what you do and how it has changed your life.
I was on maternity leave after I had my daughter Annika, she inspired me to make girlie things for her and then the ideas started flowing.

~Tell us about your family…kids, husband, pets, etc
I am married to a wonderful man named Steve, we have 2 sons, Korbin 12, Stellen 4, daughter Annika 2, and one on the way due end of March! We also have a German Shepherd Bali Mae.

~Tell us about how you are able to do what you do and balance your family life…how do you make it work? 
I am learning to use this fabulous app that syncs to my blackberry called Cozi which will text me reminders and allow to me do all my family members appointments, games, school events and remind me about snacks and dress down days at school!! I am also learning the importance of keeping the kids on a schedule after we get home during the week to keep things running smoothly!  My husband and I approach the kids in a team effort and my 12 year old is a fantastic entertainer!  I sew in my spare time and absolutely find it as my passion as it makes me feel so delighted to finish every item I sew!

~Do you do anything in addition to your at-home business?
I am a Sr. Systems Engineer for Great Western Bank and have been with them for 12 years and a full time cruise director for my family!

~Is there any advice you would give to other WAHMs or those that aspire to work at home?
Finding something that you truly enjoy doing will not make it seem like work, and that in its own self is rewarding and successful.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Time for Gratitude - Fall

We have reached my very *favorite* time of year!! I can’t even tell you how much I love autumn.

I love having all our house windows open and letting the cool breeze sweep through. I love seeing the changing colors of the leaves. I love seeing the combines in the fields and watching corn husks scoot across country roads in the wind. I love the delicious apples. I love the smells. I love….well……everything.
Last week we went to the pumpkin patch (well, really, it is a little farm south of Mitchell – we go there every year) to load up on pumpkins, gourds, and anything else that looked cool for fall decor. We aren’t really into decorating for Halloween - just fall and Thanksgiving - so, we didn’t need to be concerned with what kind of pumpkin would be best for carving. This is a good thing, because the kids were SO excited that they just picked up whatever pumpkins and gourds they could carry and loaded up our wagon. They also each picked out one big pumpkin that Randall or I had to carry.

Once they got all they could, we loaded up the car and headed back home. Much to the kids’ delight, they got to decorate the house and porch however they wanted to. I gave them some ideas, but they were the ones who had the final say and did it how they wanted. The porch was transformed into our very own “pumpkin patch” as Vienna calls it. They were much less interested in the inside of the house – I guess I should have expected that from an almost four year old and a 22 month old.

Nevertheless, the porch looks fantastic, and I’m so proud of them both – especially Vienna. Porter had fun kicking things off after Vienna had them “just so”, but instead of getting angry, she just asked him to not do that anymore and picked it all up again and re-set it. It was SO much fun watching them get into the spirit of the season and work together…well, in their own way, anyway.

I’m looking forward to as many autumn walks as we can fit in before the weather gets too cold, pointing out the lovely fall colors to the kiddos, and relishing every crisp day we have before it gets too “crisp” to enjoy it this way.

Happy Fall, Everyone!

By Evie DeWitt