WAHM: work at home mama
January 18, 2012
View/download a large PDF of this graphic here.
I’ve had a lot of friends lately ask me about how I ended up as a work-at-home-mama. It’s funny, that’s precisely the reason I started my own business, so I could be this one day. Pair that deep-set need with a desire to run full force with my own creative passions and here we are.
I was cleaning out my hard drive today and happened upon hundreds of file folders containing five files… two JPEGs, two PNGs and one Illustrator file. I had to smile. I made $10 on each one of those files. Truth be told, I probably made -$25 on each one if you value my time at what I value it at now.
But that’s how I got started on Day One. I was working at the University of South Florida managing the development efforts of the Women in Leadership & Philanthropy program. And I wanted so badly to do something creative and still make a difference. I was newly married and knew becoming a mother was in my near future. I also knew I wanted so badly to be home with my child(ren) to have something different than the 8-5 grind as a mother.
On that same note, I also knew that I wanted my own outlet. I wanted to be in charge of my own success, income and time. So Emily Ley Paper was born.
If I wasn’t deeply embarrassed of them, I’d show you my first logos : ) Let’s just say they involved flowers, thick script font and multiple colors (yech!) I’d designed my own wedding paper pieces around a wedding logo and loved the idea of branding an event, a love story and a pairing of personalities. So, my first Etsy shop was born. I sold my custom designed wedding logos for $10 each. I’ll never forget the first time one was featured on the Etsy homepage. I was over the MOON!
But it wasn’t the income that made that first Etsy shop and those first designs worth it, it was the honing in on my own personal style, the wonderful relationships I developed with those first brides and the confidence I started to gain in my own self-taught abilities that made the difference.
I took those designs, fine tuned them and developed the Emily Ley Paper Wedding Collection that was featured on my first website. I didn’t sell one wedding directly from that site. But I received HUNDREDS of inquiries and worked with TONS of brides on custom designed wedding suites because of their visibility and my polished presentation. I kept my Etsy shop open and continued to receive orders that way.
Fast forward almost four years and my path has changed even more. I’ve stopped accepting custom stationery and wedding orders. And I now devote 95% of my working hours to Making Brands Happen. With just a little moxy and a lot of faith + bravery, you can create your own destiny. I work four days a week at a job I truly love. I work my tail off. But I love every minute of it.
Delight yourself in the Lord and He will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4. I used to have this taped to my computer screen. The only way I balance all of this is by constantly reconnecting to my core. I’m blessed with amazing girlfriends who encourage this every single day.
So as this post nears becoming the longest post ever… have you ever thought of becoming a WAHM? There are a million ways to do this. And you can go one of two routes — bring in a full income (which I do) or add to your family by bringing in a part time income. Either can be achieved, but it takes hard work and a lot of faith to climb the staircase before you even see the next step.
Have you identified your talent and the paths that might lie ahead for you? Many of you reading this are MTH’ers (Making Things Happen) and know my story that started in Watercolor, Florida. I encourage anyone with a big dream to attend MTH. It changed my life. And my path.
So take a look at a little flowchart I designed. Pick your passion and get started.