Full transparency here: I’ve never taken the leap from being a work out of home mom to a work at home one.
But because the backbone of my coaching philosophy is to begin with envisioning what your dreamiest work from home set up would look and feel like, what I can offer as advice to mamas wanting to take such a step is to instead of thinking of it as a big leap…
Think of it as a few bunny hops instead.
Here I offer the gems I’ve collected along the way from all my own little business bunny hops that got me from being a shoulder pad wearing advertising exec to (quickly looking down at my current get up) crazy, techno-coloured, tribal patterned tights wearing work at home mama who enjoys herself a sweet little calling coaching moms to their own bliss-filled side hustles.
For the five years after University, I put my communications studies degree to good use working in advertising agencies. Much to my dad’s chagrin I did not become a TV news anchor woman.
The ad agency world? Totally a fun gig for a twenty something year old. Always different things to do which allowed me to pick up a few handy dandy business skills I still use today.
And a weird part of me kind of dug the eye-twitch inducing deadlines and, the botox-like remedy to all them tics, the Friday afternoon beer cart that got pushed around the office to our happy to our finally allowed to be wearing jeans selves and the pretty swanky client schmoozing parties complete with chocolate fountains and gold lacquered mimes.
In retrospect, the real gift here was it opened my eyes to how crucial my yoga practice was to my ability to contend with the mucho stressful office environment. Especially on Wednesdays when newspaper ads were due.
So on Wednesdays I would find myself running around the office calming myself down by breathing Ujayi breath, which makes me sound just like Darth Vadar’s kid sister, freaking everyone out, but able to keep it together.
Eventually I decided that everyone should breathe as a I do so I signed up to get trained as ashtanga yoga instructor with the intent to pursue it as a side gig.
I began teaching at lunch time after work ‘board room’ or ‘hallway yoga’ in our city of many oil and gas company headquarters along with popping up at local studio classes and non-creepy people’s homes for private sessions.
But my favourite was the office folk.
My heart told me they needed it most.
And how it sang like Enya when witnessing their shoulders drop a few earlobe lengths with a simple cue. And how they looked like they just stepped out of an oxygen chamber when coming out of svasana? Adorbs.
After talking with my fee-yance at the time (Craig), and getting the thumbs up from him we could indeed afford this bunny hop, I put in my two weeks’ notice and was literally moved to tears with how happy and supportive my work family was about my decision. (Or maybe they were just happy to see the heavy breathing lady go.)
WAHM Transition Tip #1:
Pay attention to what you’re passionate about and the why behind the passion.
For me here was yoga but the deeper passion was this helps me. This can help them too. I still carry the essence of this why in my work today. Sharing what works for me and delivering it to who needs it most in my world – mamas!
With your ‘why’ securely strapped in, ease in to the steps to prepare yourself off hours as much you can. Get the extra training you might need, read up a storm on your chosen area, dabble a bit by working gratis for friends and family to see if your heart sings and your energy doesn’t strain.
Basically, don’t quit your day job until you got your support systems in place to see that you’re not overwhelmed with stress and distractions that can muddle the clarity you need right now to either hone your craft or design your position in your chosen area of work.
Then the time I came I discovered teaching yoga full time is totally not sustainable.
Dudeman, anything more than three classes for me I was spent. And that was me in my physical prime.
So I started dreaming up another side hustle to bring in extra income and preserve my energy – making hemp oil-based soaps. And then I began selling these practically edible bars of suds to my yoga students and then finally the general public at farmer’s markets.
It was around this era my little Hempress in training was born. I continued making soap and lug her to markets. She would often nap under the table on a bed of hemp leaves while I hawked my not so sophisticated subliminal marketing techniques to the stoner culture at large.
This bunny leap to an alternate stream of income that was primarily motivated by the fact we purchased land in the boonies we wanted to homestead on and everyone there was either a yoga teacher, potter, doula or massage therapist so I had to think outside the yoga mat anyway.
WAHM Transition Tip #2:
Once you’ve had an inkling of your area of passion, meditate on how you can stand out and make yourself unique and communicates your core values.
Even if this isn’t your forever gig this is a perfect opportunity to practice creative niche making, communicating to your tribe in a language they use and understand, paying attention to gaps in the market place and playing with different income streams and platforms.
Unbeknownst to me was that if you threw a bar of handmade soap out the window in these neck of the woods we just moved to, not only would you hit a yoga teacher, potter, doula, carpenter or massage therapist on the head, you’d also hit a soap maker on the head.
That and Baby Edie got a croup attack from what I believe from getting greeted by too much post-production essential oil fumes after coming in from the cold. Mama intuition, ya know?
So I sold my soap biz and invested the earnings on spinning equipment and a new laptop and began honing my skills on both the crafty and online marketing front.
I soon got comfortable selling my goods on etsy with two different shops: one for handspun art yarn and the other for handmade clothes.
My favourite aspect of marketing I discovered was writing in my blog and the connections I started establishing with my readers. Many of those who’ve been reading since back in the day so I’m deeply honored they’ve witnessed major parts of this slow motion leap from my sitting in a open-concept cubicle desk to training mamas just like me to start up a heart-centered business that speaks to their souls.
WAHM Transistion Tip #3:
Start getting comfortable online as soon as possible. No matter what sort of business you start up you’ll need to have a blog, or some other sort of web presence, to attract and connect with your right people. If it helps, start with a private blog to get your toes wet but don’t delay your declaration to the world at large that Mama Means Business by starting to collect the precious gold that is email addresses from those who are digging your style, values and ambition.
Then a crafty mama’s worst nightmare began rearing its ugly head – crafting burnout. I wanted to save some of that creative going ons for trinkets and get ups for my own little ones and, ahem, my big self.
So when the resentment for orders started coming in, I heeded my business coach at the time’s advice – leverage your precious mommy hours by creating and selling ecourses.
There is a lot of leg work at the beginning. Especially if you go the route I went of doing everything yourself.
These days I have my dream team to help me out with technical and logistical aspects of offering an online learning experience but though it was exhausting creating the first rendition of Backwoods Mama Sew Camp it was pretty darn tooting awesome to wake up to pay pal notifications that someone has purchased, and was currently diving into the course without any need for my intervention from that point on.
WAHM Transition Tip #4:
Consider ways you can incorporate a leveraged income component to your offerings.
Half of your efforts, no matter what you end up offering, will more or less be devoted to marketing so to have something to market that’s pretty much on auto pilot is perfect for mamas that want to spend a good chunk of time cuddling with their kiddos on the couch before making dinner like I like to do. Time flies when you cuddle.
At a certain point I wanted to go deeper with my work. I returned to that big why I had a taste of while I was still clunking along in my clunky high heel shoe wearing corporate days.
There was a shift in me to move from creating to preaching the deeper importance of creating the time and space for self-care, creative play, meditating on these ‘big why’ aspects of our purpose in life as well as simplifying our days to highlight was truly important.
Now that I was comfortable with creating and marketing my ecourses, finding and hiring talent that pick up my no-talent there slack, I got certified as a Simplicity Parenting coach as well as a creativity coach. Those two married together got this little love child called Mama Bliss Coaching.
I find coaching to be pretty darn awesome for a couple of reasons.
- One, I get to talk to my long time readers and really hear what they’re struggling with and get to use their own words in my sales pages and program ideas.
- Two, it’s a life skill that’s enhanced so much more than my business model and income streams. My relationships are stronger, I have tools in place that lift me up when I’m feeling weak and I’m more inclined to always have a coach at my side on some aspect of my business or personal life. That last bit kinda makes me feel like Oprah. LOVE any moment I feel like Oprah.
WAHM Transition Tip #5:
A huge part of coaching is listening. Whole body listening. When exploring your new career path or next transition bunny hop, see if you could hop (ha, ha) on the phone with who you think you’d like to work with on a business capacity to deeply hear what their struggles are, what sort of support they’re seeking, what sorts of investments they’ve made so far to alleviate the pain from their pressing problems ( or not so pressing) and then be open to the ideas these conversations might bring forth.
And if you like the sound of idea of coaching, consider what area of your expertise or passion you could coach someone who’s a few steps behind you on or how one on one attention could be offered in something you’ve created already.
Like a poet, you might just be a coach already but don’t know it!
Then take a bunny hop of some sort!
The leap from corporate to ‘it’s jeans day everyday’ isn’t always so clear cut and dramatic.
But it’s always hopping fun and usually an unpredictable journey that you could never guess the destination you’ll end up at or the character, and life skills, building adventures you’re sure to have along the way.