Moms In Business: Stacey Crew - Piggy Makes Bank

Moms In Business: Stacey Crew

Moms In A Blog is proud to present this week's Mom In Business:

Stacey Crew – The Organizing Mama

Stacey has a newsletter and invites you tosubscribe and return often to find real solutions to your real life challenges, recommendations of complementary sites that can also assist you, and support in your efforts to get organized and stay organized.

You can order Stacey's ebook HERE

What made you decide to be a work at home mom?

I wanted the flexibility that comes with not having to show up at an office and the time with my kids after school. Although there are pros and cons. One con is that I do pay a lot for health insurance every month because I’m  self-employed. Being a single mom also poses it’s challenges. I always say, thankfully I’m organized otherwise I would get nothing done!

What is the nature of your business?
I’m an Organizing Expert who focuses on moms-to-be, new moms and busy women. My background is marketing and publishing but once I had children I wanted to do something that would allow me the flexibility of making my own hours. I also sell my books and products on my web site

What made you decide that particular business?
Personally, I had gone through the natural accumulation of stuff that happens when you get married, merge two households, have children, buy a bigger house, etc. When I realized, I mean truly realized, that we bought a bigger house just to hold more Stuff, and that I was spending most of my time managing the Stuff, I became annoyed and frustrated. I began a process of decluttering; removing EVERYTHING that I didn’t love, need or want. The process was cathartic to say the least. Clearing my clutter (emotional and physical) has made way for me to focus on what I really want to be doing: Spending time with my children and writing.

What has been your biggest challenge?
Reconciling the fact that I do need to work when truly I would love to focus all my time and energy on my kids. So I’ve found something I love to do. It’s still hard though because there are times when my kids want me to go on a field trip and I have to say no because I need to work with a client or meet a deadline. It’s the typical mom guilt, but I have structured my business so I can be there for them at the bus every afternoon and spend quality time with them.

What has been your biggest success?

Personally: Surrendering to motherhood. Although I wanted to have a family, I underestimated the emotional responsibility of truly being there—everyday—for my children. It takes a lot of thought, deliberate effort and patience to grow children into productive people. It’s a privilege!

Professionally: Self-publishing two books, with one on the way through a publisher: The Organized Mom, due out 2009, published by Adams Media.

What is the best way you promote your business under $10.00? under $50? worth it at any cost?
Many years ago, I did marketing for a small consulting firm. It was necessary for us to find creative ways to market the business on a small budget. I read the book Guerilla Marketing, Secrets for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business. Well, 20 years plus later, Jay Conrad Levinson is still out there and now promoting Guerilla Marketing on the Internet. For me, I promote my business through online communities, speaking engagements (some of which I am paid for), strategic partnerships, and staying in touch with my database through weekly newsletters (I use for less than $50 per month).

How do you balance work and family?

It’s not always easy, but there are some routine things that my daughters and I do. We have a sit down dinner at least 5 nights a week. My girls are old enough now to help in the kitchen. One sets the table while the other chops vegetables. To earn money, my girls have chores like emptying the dishwasher, taking out the garbage, making their beds (of course) and tidying up their rooms, which is great discipline for them…with the reward of spending money.

Work wise, I have a list of what needs to get done during the day, which means if it doesn’t get done that day, I’m then behind. I allow some wiggle room in the event I get a call from school or something unexpected comes up. Having goals truly helps because you quickly begin to realize what is not contributing to your ultimate goal, which means you can more easily let go of items on a To Do list.

The balance comes in that I make time for exercise and something fun each day. Without it, I think I’d go crazy.

To what do you attribute your success as a WAHM?
Routine. I’m deliberate about what needs to be done everyday. Otherwise, I could get lost on the Internet and not find the exit ramp!

What impact has blogging made on your career?
Blogging is a great way to express your thoughts and recommendations in a timely manner. It also gets the discussion going with other bloggers/readers. I’ve enjoyed connecting with like-minded women on the internet.

Can you recommend any resources for WAHMS who are just starting out, or perhaps trying to make the transition from the workplace?
If you don’t know how to say “No, thank you” you need to learn. Start out with “Thank you for offering, but I’ll need to think about that.” The last thing you want to do is over commit yourself, get yourself in the middle of something that your gut told you in the beginning wasn’t right for you, or say yes to a monetary expense when you haven’t done your due diligence.

Local organizations are great if you’re focused on servicing your town/city. I’ve found networking with complementary businesses to be extremely effective. Online resources work well too. I most recently discovered Facebook as a business networking tool and other Web 2.0 tools. and have become recent faves too.

Remember that the bottom line is we’re looking to be profitable. Therefore, selling our products and services needs to be the primary focus. There are many great books and free seminars online out there to decide what will work best for each person. Talk to people who have gone before you, who have proven success, and who keep their word!

What can you tell us about your other ventures.?

Currently I’m promoting my book, The Organized Mom, that will be on bookshelves in 2009. I’m excited about the book because it’s a truly useful tool to help moms organize room-by-room.

Is there anything else that you want to share with the readers?

Don’t let others discourage you if you have a strong belief about what you’re doing. You may just be ahead of the game, a pioneer! And sometimes that is a lonely gig, but well worth it!

What is one thing you can't do without in your business?
My computer, of course! Or if I had a Blackberry, it may be that (getting closer). Sometimes it’s nice to get away from email for a little bit.

What one thing should be avoided at all costs?
Print advertising. I should explain. For a small business, budgets are generally very tight. It’s important to really weigh the costs of whether a $200 ad will at least pay for itself…and how about the time and effort to make the ad and place it. We seem to be moving to online communication and networking as a way to “sell” products and services. There have been too many times where I’ve spent money on print and haven’t gotten the return on investment (ROI). Networking with complementary businesses and referrals has always brought me business.

What's the biggest business killer?

Lack of understanding of how an organizer can truly help someone. I believe there’s still a perception that organizers come in and “clean up.” Yes, we do that some, but there’s much more to it. An effective organizer will create a plan for you based you and your family’s needs and they will help you set up systems so you can keep up with the them. Of course, there’s the decluttering stage too, which is necessary so you are not organizing stuff without assessing first off whether or not you love it, need it, or want it.

What advice do you wish someone would've shared with you when you first started out?

That generally getting where you want in your business probably takes twice as long as you think it will…so do what you’re passionate about and then it won’t feel like work; it will feel like fun and fulfillment.

Thanks for a great interview, Stacey.  We can't wait to read your book when it comes out.