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I'm a former corporate employee who decided to ditch the 9-5 and start my own business.
Now, with a lukewarm cup of coffee in one hand and a toddler on my hip, I'm sharing all my best business, branding and website tips.
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I had the pleasure of interviewing Jessica Flannigan, who is a work at home mother and blogger/editor for Live the Fancy Life. Her interview was insightful and informative and her personality really shines through – I think you’ll enjoy it too!
p.s. Scroll down to see photos of Jessica’s office space.
What is your name and age?
Hello! I’m Jessica Flannigan from Live the fancy life and I’m a whopping 31 years old now. I seriously forget my age often. I can’t believe I’m no longer in my 20s. 🙂
Explain how you are a WAHM. Are you self-employed owning your own businesses, do you work for another company?
I’m self employed as a freelance writer for magazines and blogs, a blogger and editor at Livethefancylife.com, photographer and I do some event planning as well.
If you own your own business, what is the name of your business and what do you offer/sell?
I’m the editor of livethefancylife.com, a lifestyle blog with a focus on parenting, diy projects, party planning and home decor. I’m also a freelance writer for magazines and a paid contributor on several blogs (besides my own). To add to it, I do some communications consulting with several companies I’ve worked with in the past. I photograph children and even get to do some event planning in my career. Yes, a jack of all trades, but just the way I like it.
Did you always plan to be a WAHM? If not, what made you decide to work from home?
No, I definitely didn’t plan for this. A series of very fortunate events brought me to this place and it is perfect for our family. Our childcare situation changed and I was very overwhelmed working/commuting for 10 plus hours each day with little time for my son, family and myself. As a freelance writer and blogger, I had some paid work already, but as soon as I left my day job, the doors started opening immediately.
How long have you been a WAHM?
I just hit one full year on June 28, 2013! So exciting! We joked that if I didn’t make money after a year of working hard, I would probably look at going back, but when you put yourself out there, work hard and try, try again, things really do happen.
How many children do you have and what are their ages?
We have one sweet 2-year-old son named Bodhi.
What is your workstation setup like? (ie. In the kitchen, room to room, in an office/study, etc.)
I have an office exclusively for my work. I feel so lucky to have that dedicated space. It’s definitely one of my favorite spaces in our home.
What days/hours do you typically work?
We have childcare three days a week and I work during my son’s nap on one of my two days with him. I dedicate Tuesdays 100% to spending time with my son though. It’s wonderful. I track that special day on Instagram using the hashtag #TuesdayswithB and I love going back to look at some of the fun things we’ve done.
Do you have a nanny/mother’s helper while you work?
Yes, I could not do it without help. I have my in-laws providing childcare at their home while I work in my home office.
How does being a WAHM affect your husband/partner?
I honestly think it makes life easier for both of us and our son. I’m home when things happen like having a sick little boy who just wants his mom. I can often get dinner started early and try to throw in a load of laundry during “breaks.” It provides much more balance for our family and so much more peace in our lives. And the best part, of course, more time with our son since our weekends don’t have to be fully dedicated to getting the house cleaned and laundry done.
What are some of your frustrations with being a WAHM?
Being completely honest, it is really hard for many reasons. But, my number one challenge and frustration is that everyone, and I do mean everyone, keeps saying “I heard you aren’t working anymore.” That is simply not true. I would argue I work harder and get to support my family financially doing what I love. I’m just not at an office for 9 hours a day and commuting another hour. I’m also not following other people’s rules. I get to make decisions that work for my family and my business. I help support our family financially and by being home to handle things that come up in a household with children. I usually simply brush off the comments, but there are times when it stings a bit.
What is the single most gratifying part of being a WAHM?
For me, the biggest positive and the number one reason we are doing this is for family balance. I get an extra full day with my son each week and can focus all of that time on fun and playing. But, the most gratifying part of my work is that I absolutely love what I do in every way. I’ve always wanted to be a writer and I am a paid writer by profession now. It’s amazing.
Describe a typical day in the life for you as a WAHM.
Because my career is comprised of so many elements, there is no typical day. A big blogging or magazine writing day starts with Curious George in bed with my husband and son, lots of cuddles and a giant mug of coffee. Then we all get ready, drop my son off at his grandparents home and I make another cup of coffee. I start my day with emails followed by social media for that day’s blog posts and responding to comments. I usually try to write and photograph several blog posts in one day to make it a bit more efficient and the day flies by. I also try to squeeze in several contributor posts on these writing days. A photo shoot day looks completely different and the days I meet with clients are such a rush trying to get to their office meet, commute etc… I try to limit how often I’m traveling now that my business is at full capacity. I try to make time for a walk or a trip to the gym on lunch breaks and always try to throw in laundry whenever I think of it.
What food/toys/technology/etc. could you not live without as a WAHM?
Oh goodness. Definitely my iPhone, laptop computer, desktop computer, camera, music and animal crackers. I also LOVE coffee and it really is a cup of comfort on hard days.
What advice would you give to a mother working outside the home who wants to transition to being a WAHM?
For me, the thing that made it less scary is that I started doing this work long before I left my day job. I was writing for magazines on the side and maintaining my blog and I knew my blog had potential to earn income. I knew I would have at least a certain amount of income when I left. I had no idea quite how much amazing work that would come my way or how much my writing career would grow. That was a very pleasant surprise.
What sacrifices have you had to make in order to be a WAHM?
I often feel like I’ve lost the respect of others, but honestly, it really doesn’t matter. If working a corporate job for someone else during the hours they dictate on the days they request with very little time off to spend with my family and many rules equals success, I’m not having it. I financially support my family as much now as I did before, it’s just doing what I love, so for some reason people don’t think of it as working. I also lost some time with friends in this transition since traveling to and from work, lunch breaks with colleagues etc… can be so much fun. I miss those interactions and friendships and honestly, those friendships fade quickly if you don’t work at it.
What are some of the misconceptions you feel exist towards WAHMs?
This has been the hardest thing for me. I think there are many and it was a bit unexpected for me. I’ve found that so many people think you don’t actually work. It’s so funny because I literally don’t know if I’ve ever worked harder at something in my life, only now, it’s doing work I love 99.9% of the time. I do love it, but it’s hard work and it can be emotional since it’s my business and it’s me and my brand. I don’t think that a man who quit his job to start his own business with great success would be told “So I heard you’re not working anymore.” I’m just a bit sensitive about this particular misconception lately…
What sounds do you like to hear the most while working?
Music, breeze coming through the window, rain and the sound of my space heater in the middle of winter. That’s an odd one, I know, but it’s somehow comforting to me.
Is there anything else you want to share about life as a WAHM?
Doing what you love and earning and income doing it is absolutely amazing, wonderful and a total dream-come-true. It’s also work. I honestly believe anyone can do it with a lot of hard work. You just have to start somewhere and start before you’re at the point when your day job is getting you down.
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