In the first of this three-part series, I shared how I decided to become a freelance writer who stayed home with her kids. I told you my overarching goal was to be a WAHM by the time I was 30.
Here’s the thrilling conclusion to that story – I did it! Despite making a TON of mistakes, I had been writing for a tech blog, writing articles for a real estate investor, and a few other small projects when an editor friend emailed me. She needed someone about 25 hours a week to edit and write for her ghostwriting firm. That gig plus my other freelance work was just enough money to replace my paycheck. I took the day off from work on my birthday and wrote my resignation letter.
Everyone thought I had lost my mind to give up company health insurance, a gym stipend, free lunch every week, bonuses, and more perks. But I knew it was time to launch. I knew that my plans had matched God’s plans.
I quit my job and I would tell you it was sunshine and roses, but it wasn’t all the time. But January 24, 2011, was the beginning of something amazing.
But enough about me. We’re here to talk about how you can become a WAHM.
You have multiple routes – telecommute, start your own business, sell a direct sales product, tutor, teach music lessons, start a blog. There are many, many ways to be a mom whose work base is her home.
Craft a vision for your home enterprise – “what you do.”
We’re going to talk more specifics about types of work-at-home jobs and businesses in later posts. Today, I’m asking you to envision yourself doing that THING you’re good at and want to do at home in this exercise, even if you have no clue how it’s going to come together. Getting a vision for “what you do” is key to starting this mama biz.
What do you want to do and how will it help someone? Can you write a paragraph on that? No more than 200 words. If you’re too broad, separate the ideas. Write two paragraphs if you need to. I know someone who does clerical work and graphic design. Two different categories, so they need two different visions.
You need something to build your business on – a thing that other people want.
Maybe you’re like one of my very good friends who is good at making hair adornments for little girls. Maybe you make beautiful (and delicious) cakes.
Maybe you have an idea for a product that helps kids with special needs. Maybe you are really good at organizing other people’s lives and you can work as a virtual assistant or an in-home organizer. You have a skill that needs to be developed.
Here are three questions to help you brainstorm:
- What skill do you have that’s going to make a person’s life better?
How are you going to help someone save time, make more money, or ease their load? What satisfaction will you gain from making others’ lives better?
- When you can answer those questions in a few sentences, you’ve found your profitable skill.
What if I don’t make or “do” something? Girl, I got ya.
But what about you mamas that don’t make or do something? What if you’re good at selling something that makes your life better? You have a profitable skill – your passion for someone else’s product that will bless the lives of others.
Maybe you’ve had a breakthrough in your skincare routine with a particular direct sales product. Maybe you enjoy parties and jewelry or clothes. Those are good things, but your profitable skill is you sharing your passion for those products with your network.
Some of you ladies are just good at gab. I’m pretty good at it, but it takes absolutely everything out of me to go sell something. My daughter? She lives for it. She once sold bananas at the end of our driveway for $5/banana. She believed her product was worth it, and if you gave her 5 seconds she was going to tell you why. If you can chat, own it and help make someone’s life better with your gift for conversation.
Let’s make that profitable skill part of your daily life with a “what you do” statement.
I believe the best way for you to begin this journey is to be able to clearly describe what you do in casual conversation.
If you can develop a “what you do” statement, you can start building your home enterprise around that. It will define your business purpose and give you a clear vision.
Why a “what you do” statement is so important
In nearly all social situations, you typically experience three opening questions (even if they’re unspoken):
- What’s your name?
- What’s your connection to the group, event, or event organizer?
- What do you do?
All of this happens within 20-30 seconds, so it’s imperative that your opening statement is filled with value. You’ll want to use your “what you do” statement to turn the conversation back to the person with whom you’re speaking.
That’s the secret to using your “what you do” statement to your advantage. And a great “what you do” statement will do that.
It will make you intriguing, but what will make you more intriguing is your ability to get the person you’re speaking with to open up.
The real truth is that nobody really cares what you do until it helps him or her somehow. That may sound harsh but think about it for a minute.
Sure, some people who are genuinely interested in other people, but most people are looking for a few key things in a conversation:
- A connection/introduction to someone you know
- Information on solving a problem that’s keeping them up at night
- A way out of the conversation
It’s the way we’re wired. We ladies are hunter-gatherers of information. We’re always looking for someone to point us to good ideas, hacks, and improvements to our lives. You can build a huge book of contacts and close more sales or get more interviews when you understand this human psychology – it’s not about you – it’s all about them.
But you can take advantage of this trait by doing the opposite of what most of us do – get interested in helping others. Stop talking and start listening – after you deliver your “what you do” statement, of course.
Before I lay out the mechanics of a great “what you do” statement, I need to beat a drum for a second. For this statement to work to your advantage, you must back it with a genuine spirit of goodwill toward helping whomever you’re speaking with. Make this your mission. Go into every opportunity only expecting to help someone.
The quick way to craft a “what you do” statement
I have a much more thorough process for developing a “what you do” statement, but we’re just beginning, so we’re going to KISS (keep it simple, sister). I’m working on a “what you do” printable that will be available soon.
Until then, get started right now with this exercise.
Take that paragraph you wrote about your thing and how it helps someone else and apply it to this statement.
“I help people who need/want X with (a general statement about product/business).”
My personal intro statement:
I’m a writer and marketing consultant who helps entrepreneurs, consultants, and job seekers connect with people who want or need their product/services by clarifying their communications.
This statement works because it helps me turn the question around on the person I’m talking with:
- “Tell me about your business. What’s the most challenging part of communicating with your audience?”
- “What are you doing to reach your audience? Email, ads, etc.”
- “What’s working for you in your business? Facebook, blogging, etc.”
I’m then in fact-finding mode. I can generally get a next steps meeting or deliver some sort of resource to the person (referral, more info, etc.) after this conversation.
That’s what I want for you – a statement that makes it easy to start conversations on how you can help.
In Part 3 of “Mama, You Have Skills,” I’m going to help you transition to the next question in my 5 Honest Questions to Get You Started. We’ll talk about how to start making this vision a reality from a practical standpoint – training, resumes, products, etc.
How can I help YOU?
Do you have a question about starting a work-at-home business? I’m building a library of FAQs and plan to start a reader question column soon. You can either comment below or send me an email to amandacbrandon at gmail dot com. Be blessed, my friends.