Helping others get started working from home means that I get my share of questions from new online entrepreneurs. Today is different day for me as I get to ask Karri Flatla, author of Alpha WAHM Blueprint: An Empowerment Guide for Work-at-Home Moms, the questions. She offered to answer three burning interview questions about her recently released book and becoming the work-at-home entrepreneur you’ve always wanted to be. Hope you enjoy her answers to my questions below….ENJOY!
1. How do I bring my spouse on board with the idea of working from home?
This is such an important yet perhaps overlooked question women should be asking! In my book, Alpha WAHM Blueprint, I actually make a confession around this very topic; that is, I did NOT try to bring my husband on board at all in the beginning. In fact, I alienated him, and it’s only been in recent years that I’ve authentically made efforts to join forces with him (instead of forcing my vision on him).
When I first started my business in 2005 I was rebelling against the loneliness—and boredom—of staying at home with a new baby. While my husband worked hard on his own business, I winced at the thought of being “just a mom.” (Believe me, there is no such thing as “just a mom!”). But I was naïve and I wanted something to call my own again.
So I marched forward with my business plan, hardly consulting with my husband at all.
What I should have done was shared my curiosities about becoming an entrepreneur and discussed how that might “look” and feel in our new and growing family.
Starting a business—especially a business from home with children around—is full of unknowns. Don’t keep your partner in the dark! Your decisions as a wife, mother and soon-to-be entrepreneur impact everyone you love in more ways than you can possibly imagine at this exciting, all-encompassing, yet-oh-so-fragile time in your life as a budding entrepreneur.
It may sound trite, but communication is king when it comes to building your marital alliances! And trust me, you’re going to need all the support you can get during this (ad)venture!
2. I keep getting distracted by domestic duties (laundry, cleaning house, etc.) when I know I should be working (the kind you get paid for). How do I avoid this?
As a Type A gal who worships “clean,” I can relate. But in my home, dirty dishes and piles of unfolded laundry have simply become a part of the domestic landscape. And guess what? The world keeps on spinning …
Seriously though, here are some tips to ensure domestic duties don’t drive you to (unprofitable) distraction:
- Clean it once and clean it well. That means if the kids get crumbs on the floor at lunchtime, resist the temptation to sweep until the little mess-makers are in bed. As long as the counters and dinner table are wiped and dirty dishes are in the sink, you’re golden.
- Contain the mess. My house felt much less chaotic when I finally removed the kids’ toys from our main floor, which is where we eat and where I work! The lion’s share of toys is now in the basement rec room, and that’s where they generally stay. Just make sure your kids know that certain areas of the house are “no-toy” zones and stick to it.
- Sometimes good enough is good enough. I don’t care if you work from home or not, being able to eat off the floors does not define you as a mother; it certainly doesn’t define your success as a WAHM. Leave a bed unmade and the clean clothes unfolded for an extra day if it means you can, uh, put that important project to bed a little sooner.
- Don’t go it alone. It amazes me how many women still shoulder domestic duties that their spouse and/or children could and SHOULD be helping with. Teach your children when they’re young to be respectful of the environment in which they live and share with others. A 5-year-old can clean up her toys at the end of the day and bring her dirty dishes to the sink. A 10-year-old can learn how to wash his own clothes and yes, even fold them too. And for goodness sakes, why are you ironing your husband’s shirts? Let the man dress himself; he did it before you came along and got by just fine. (If he didn’t always match, so what?)
3. I miss the real-time social life of an office environment. How does one still find that working from home alone?
Some women tell me that this is the one reason they’re not sure about starting a work-from-home type of business. They believe that flying solo will be lonely and even de-motivating. Here’s the thing though: you’re only as lonely as you choose to be.
As a dyed-in-the-wool introvert who works from home, I’ve had to get out of my comfort zone (that being the computer screen) and seek out opportunities to socialize, online and offline. I have friends I meet for drinks or coffee maybe once a month here in my hometown, and it’s such a refreshing change from twitter and Facebook. Even if I think I’d rather stay home and vegetate on the couch, I put on some lipstick and head out the door anyway. Once I’m there and see a smiling face or two looking back at me, I’m so glad I made the effort. (And my husband and kids always survive a night without me!)
But I also have forged some online friendships that I cherish every bit as much as my offline ones. (Hi Tawnya!). Granted, making friends online can be a little more protracted because it takes more time to get to know someone without the face-to-face communication. However, between Skype, email and yes twitter and Facebook, I can honestly say it’s a rare occasion that I can’t “reach out and touch someone” when I feel the need.
You just have to make the effort; share some of yourself; show that you care; and be the kind of friend you want in your own life. It’s really that simple.
If you’ve not picked up Karri’s book yet, Alpha WAHM Blueprint: An Empowerment Guide for Work-at-Home Moms, I highly recommend doing so. It’s a MUST read for anyone wanting to be that ALPHA work at home entrepreneur.