By Anne Marie Clear
Here are my tips for "work from home" moms.
- Be willing to take chances - looking for guarantees are a great way to get stuck.
- Understand that no matter how much support you receive, no-one but you can
make this happen. You must do it yourself.
- You can succeed if you don't give up. Develop staying power.
- Don't freak out when you make a mistake. Learn and move on.
- Get very comfortable being out of your comfort zone.
- Learn all you can about marketing and then do it.
- Get a business coach. Even if you only talk once a month, it will keep you on track and help you see your "blind" side.
- Become an expert in managing money. Attend carefully to all the details.
- Most important of all, have fun. Why else do it?
My Story: How I became a Coach
I am a coach, a group leader, a facilitator of seminars and an aspiring writer. I came to my profession by being in the right place at the right time and by my willingness to leap into the unknown. I was a stay at home mom with a two year old son and another on the way. I felt very personally challenged in parenting my son. He was a hand full and then some. So I read every book I could find on parenting - literally dozens. After my second son was born I began attending parenting classes at my pediatrician's office. The woman who taught the classes invited me to join an organization called The Family Education Center. Here, I met lots of wonderful people and attended more classes. My kids were now ages 2 and 4 and we had just returned from a month long trip to Greece. The Family Center asked me to teach a topic called, "How To Travel With Kids," at the next meeting. Without giving it much thought I said yes. This decision was instrumental in the course my life took. Sitting in the group that day was the head of the organization. When my teaching time was over she literally grabbed me by the arm and pulled me into a private room and said, "What are your plans for the rest of your life?". I was too stunned to even respond. She continued on saying, "I want you in my advanced studies program starting next week. I don't care what you have to do to make it happen, just be there."
Joining the advanced studies program required lots of juggling with schedules as well as help from my husband. Three months into the program another woman was offered the opportunity to start a brand new parenting center in a town up north. She was afraid and turned it down. It was immediately offered to me and again, without thinking, I said yes. I began teaching a weekly, two hour class for about 25 parents. Half the time was spent teaching an education topic, the other half was spent counseling parents in front of the group. I stayed in this position for 6 years. Many of the mom's that attended my parenting classes were interested in learning more, so I offered to lead a woman's support group. Again, I had no experience, just a willingness to keep reaching for what I wanted. As with the parenting classes, I learned on the job from my many successes and failures.
By now my kids were 6 and 8 and we were moving to a new community. I had to let go of all my work. Starting over in a new place felt a little daunting, but I did not let it stop me. I made up a flyer for a women's group and posted it all over town. Within two months the group was filled and within a year I had 3 groups. My groups were very successful because of the strong focus I placed on education. Every week included new skills and knowledge in addition to the support offered. Again, I set my work hours around my kids schedules. I offered two day time groups while they were in school and one evening group when my husband was home to take care of business.
Eventually I wanted to take my work further, and that required an education. So, when my oldest son was in 6th grade and my youngest was in 4th grade, I went back to school. I earned my B.A. in Humanities and then I went on to get a M.A. in Counseling. I continued to lead groups and do workshops while I was in school. I added to my skills by becoming a Licensed HeartMathÒ Trainer and an Accredited Provider of the Emotional Competency Inventory.
Today, I work from home coaching clients over the telephone. My clients are equally divided between men and women. My web site has even brought me clients from foreign countries. Additionally, I lead a very special coaching group which I developed called, coaching for Success and Balance. I offer this in weekly, and monthly formats for groups of women, groups of men and mixed groups. I am also a partner in another startup company that offers seminars and coaching to schools and business organizations. So my experience in business spans from the deeply personal - working with parents and individuals - to the broad areas of training and development in business. Along the way I had to learn what marketing is, how to market, and even more important I had to learn to love marketing. It is the life blood of any business person and therefore essential to learn.
My boys are now almost all grown up. My oldest son, at age 19, no longer lives at home. My youngest son is a senior in high school. Working from home allows me precious time with him that I wouldn't have if I worked in an office. Until my kids became teenagers I did not realize how fast they grew up. I am deeply grateful for having had the opportunity to be a stay at home mom and a working mom.