Growing Pains and Profitability

Growing Up to Become a Professional Social Media ManagerIt’s been quiet around here for quite some time, and while you may wonder if I’ve fallen off the face of the earth, or you’ve forgotten I existed, I’ve not stopped thinking about all of you.

You have dreams and my desire to help you achieve them hasn’t changed.  And I know that if I’ve struggled with something in my business, chances are one of you, my awesome readers, has, is or will struggle with it too.  So here goes…

(Breathe Heather)

The raw and honest truth…
I’ve been quiet because, to be raw and honest with you (as I’ve always been), I felt like a fake.

  • I’ve worked my tail off for 13 years so I could be a stay at home mom, and now I am a working mom.  Did that mean my family, mostly my kids weren’t the most important thing?
  • Was I selling out on myself and my dreams?
  • Was I ever living my dream if I was willing to leave it for a paycheck?
  • Was I a failure in my home based business if I took a job?
  • Was I giving up on all I’d worked and sacrificed time with my family for?
  • Was that giving up on my dream if working toward my dream had helped me to get that dream job?
  • Would you, my readers, students, and online friends, think I’ve “cheated” on you by getting a job that paid me more than what I was making in my business?
  • How could I talk with you about being a home based business owner when I was no longer one myself?

Stepping Back with a Sanity Sabbatical

After accepting the job at FatWallet, at first I tried to keep things going on CleverMarketer, but I ended up having to take some much-needed time to step back and adjust to the changes in my life.

I needed time to learn how to be a good working mom.  The most simple things overwhelmed me, like figuring out how to get myself and 3 kids out the door on time every morning without having someone end up in tears or making 3 trips back into the house for things we’d forgotten. 🙂

I also had to learn the whole money-saving, bargain hunting retail world that FatWallet is a part of so I could blog about it and converse in social media without sounding like an idiot.

My step back was a bit longer than I originally anticipated it to be.

Stepping Back In with a Dream Manager

I work for one of the most amazing companies out there, and one of the benefits we are offered is a chance to work with a dream manager.  I started with the dream manager program in mid December, taking some time to really evaluate what I wanted my life to look like.  No surprises here, but the confusion I had around what I wanted to do with CleverMarketer were a huge part of that process.

Through that personal evaluation I learned I was no longer content to let CleverMarketer stall.  CleverMarketer is my journal of all the good and the bad business decisions I’ve made for the last couple of years.  Leaving it to linger and languish felt like letting a piece of me die.  And even if my circumstances had changed, I have a lot of things I’ve learned while doing my job, traveling to blogging conferences, and new experiences I’ve had that I want to share, teach, and help others with.

I realized that I was letting self doubt kick my butt.

Isn’t it funny how easily self doubt can settle in when we’re not paying attention to it? When I finally stopped to answer all the questions and doubts in my mind I realized how ridiculous they sounded!

  • I’m great at what I do and I love it!
  • I’ve always been a working mom, it’s just the location of my office that’s changed.
  • I love my kids and family as much as I ever have and I’m more focused on them when I’m home than I was before because I’ve learned to separate my work and family time better.
  • The skills I learned to market CleverMarketer are the same skills needed to market a multi-million dollar business like FatWallet!
  • I loved being a home based business owner and I love being an employee too.
  • I’m still a business owner even if I have a job.
  • I made more with my marketing skills in 2011 than I did in my business in 2010, 2009, 2008, 2o07, 2006, and 2005 (probably combined) and more than half of this year’s income came from my businesses even though (as you know) I wasn’t active in them for the second half of the year!
  • I am happy, but I’m not content with letting CleverMarketer stall any longer.

Strategically Moving Forward with a Goal and a Business Mentor:

So for the last month, as part of my assignments in the dream manager program, I’ve been working with a business mentor to help me clarify my goals for CleverMarketer.  I’m excited about the things I’ve spoken with him about and where I see CleverMarketer going in the future.  It’s a process and I’m smack-dab in the middle of it right now, open to what will become of it, and what won’t.

But instead of following my gut, and flying by the seat of my pants as I’m always doing, I’m using the new skills I’ve learned working as part of a marketing team for a big company:

  • What is my goal?
  • What are 3-5 possible ways I can reach my goal?
  • Which way is the best way for me giving my resources of time and money?
  • Why is this the best choice?
  • What challenges do I anticipate?
  • What is the return on my investment of time and money that I want to receive?
  • How will I measure success?

One of the biggest things I’ve learned through the growing pains of working for a big company is that everything boils down to profitability! I was building CleverMarketer to make money using my skills to help others, so when the opportunity to make more money, doing the same things came across my plate, it only made sense to take it.   You’re in the business to make money too, or you wouldn’t be reading a post on a marketing blog!

It’s important that we get tough with ourselves and question how we’re spending our time and our money, to make sure it’s on the things that are moving us closer to our one most important goal.

Your Take Action Assignment:

Your time and money are valuable.

I received an email from one of my first clients and readers on CleverMarketer this past weekend.  She wanted to let me know she was canceling her membership because she was cleaning up her finances and was eliminating the things that aren’t a fit for her in her business right now.  She was concerned that I might think she was angry.  Quite the opposite. I can’t express in words how proud of her I am!

She’s questioning things, evaluating them against her goals, and taking action.  I’m giving her a standing ovation!

Your assignment, after you comment and share this post in social media of course :), is to evaluate what you’re spending your time and money on and eliminate the things that aren’t giving you a good ROI and helping you to reach that goal!  Get brutal with your budget and stingy your schedule.  Share with us in the comments, the things you’re going to eliminate.

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Comments

  1. Julie says:

    The month training call seems to be really a nice thing, thanks for sharing it. Anyway, I don’t think that you should have to feel like selling out yourself and your dreams while being a working mom. You should have t be proud that you can manage all the things!

    • Thank you Julie! I’m coming to realize more and more that taking this job is just another path of achieving my dreams.

  2. Hi Heather,

    good to hear from you again. I was wondering where you were, so I am glad to read this post today. Congratultions to making some uncomfortable decisions and to sharing them here frankly. Not many would do the same, I guess.

    Well, we all are in business to make money. Hm, are we really ? Money comes from the desire of making money yes, but isn’t it more a by-product of giving more in value than we intend to ask for in payment ? This is what “marketing” is all about eventually, isn’t it ?

    I am so glad for you to hear that you found to yourself and that you found people who were able to guide you.

    I wish you the best of success !

    Be blessed

    Oliver

  3. Hi Heather, I’m sorry I missed your call.

    I don’t think you should feel like you cheated. It can be a tough gig, this motherhood responsibility and building a business.

    I’m proud of you and always will be. Sometimes we have to choose things that present themselves at certain times. It’s just the way it is and there is nothing wrong with that.

    xo

    Jayne

  4. Hi Heather,

    It’s great to hear from you again! I missed the call but I can most definitely benefit from evaluating my business and my time spent by asking the questions that you’ve posed.

    I started to get really on target and focused and then resistance hit (as it always does as the start of progress) and I allowed myself to become side tracked and overwhelmed. As a result I haven’t put anything into practice that I was about to as I was getting on target and focused.

    Thanks for the inspiration!
    Stacy

  5. Mika says:

    Good to read your posts again. I guess that’s only what we get from self doubt, failure to move forward.

  6. Nicole Schuman says:

    It’s really a good attitude that your always looking forward. This is very good article.. Keep up the good work! 🙂

  7. This is a really interesting post for me because I am in the middle of where you were not to long ago and seeing how you have moved in what will be my next steps really enlightened me.

    I am working a 9-5 I dont like and starting to build my home business. I am seeing modest money coming in through the home business now, it pays the rent but I could not live off it. Its just nice.

    Now, I have the chance to go for a better job which pays a LOT more but I know it will take up a load more of time and because of that the progres of my own business will suffer, I dont want the other job, all I want to do is have my home business working for me but that will take time.

    I am at a stage where I need to decide which of the 2 options I go with and I dont want to regret which ever decision I make.

    Self doubt is awful!

  8. Chezzianne says:

    Hello Heather…Of course a lot of people will love to win the 2012 Biz Blog Planner…Anyway, We are glad that you are back and we really enjoyed your post here…

  9. Mirana says:

    A great and helpful piece of information. I would like to read a realistic account of the ups and downs of starting a small business from home. I am happy that you shared this helpful information with us. Please stay us informed like this. Thank you for sharing.

  10. The key thing I think you meantion is been able to track success, this is something that people need to think about doing as once you measure success and realise that you have hit the goal you set yourself motivation hits a high and you are able to really push yourself towards the next goal

  11. Alexia says:

    I agree with your idea that we sometimes need to take some time off to think. Another is to follow the advice of the mentor.

  12. Yep, I love these point you mentioned here, specially is the sentence “Your time and money are valuable” – take action is the way to use our time effective.