Mom Making Money: Work Habits that work so your focus can be on your family
Updated: Jun 4
Today we're looking at strategies for being an intentional mom and income provider. Now it just so happens that I love business, so this is a super fun topic to me!
Most moms have to at least contribute to the family income. Whether single or married, the cost of living these days demands a lot of creativity in making enough money to pay the bills. Even most stay-at-home moms and homeschool moms I know are making some type of income.
What's On the Podcast for this Topic:
The first half of today’s podcast, I share a list of tips and tricks that I have done to make income while momming. Then the second half of the podcast, we listen to the last part of the conversation between one of my grown daughters, Becca, and me, as we discuss juggling an at-home business and raising kids.
What Making Money and Being a Mom has looked like for me
I have had to help our family financially for all the years I’ve been a parent, up until recently. But, wouldn't you know it, when we finally are at a place where my making income is optional, God calls me to do more with my Practically Speaking MOM ministry. In fact, I am spending more time than ever "working from home."
I had a college degree in speech communications but once I had kids, I wanted to be home with them. So, first I kept other children in a home daycare. That was definitely the most difficult of all the forms of income I've tried. Then I started selling things – first it was Usborne Childrens Books and I adored every minute of that because I love books, especially children's books. But, I spent more buying the books than selling them. I still love Usborne Books!
Then I found Mary Kay. I was not the girly type, I hardly ever wore makeup and when I did, I didn’t wear it well. I certainly was no one that women would want to take image advice from. But I fell in love with the opportunity it created for me to help women in such impactful ways, because I figured out that when women take off their makeup in front of you, they tend to open up about their life. I loved being able to bring them hope from God's word for their life stuff. I loved inspiring them to let God lead their life. I loved sharing financial hope with them too so I began building a team and, before I knew it, I had earned my first free car and the income that comes with it just by loving on people. Not by looking perfect or knowing everything about glamour, but by genuinely caring about women's self-perception, confidence, and offering them a way to stay home while still making money.
Learning Customer Service Skills taught me how to be a good friend & taught me how to visit with people (the art of making a friend)
To be perfectly honest, before working in sales, I didn’t really know how to be a good friend and I also was very uncomfortable in one on one settings and in small groups. Oh, I could speak in front of large crowds, no problem. I was occasionally speaking to women’s ministry groups or at Christian women's retreats as the Practically Speaking MOM, as I had always been called to minister to women. My makeup business was another opportunity for me to encourage women, motivate them to choose to have a standard of excellence in their actions and in their decisions because their family deserved both a good role model in their mother and they deserved the ripple effects of being led by a person who was making wise choices in their life. I absolutely loved inspiring women to do this. And over time, I earned three more cars.
I was especially drawn to moms and wanted to help them in every way I could to grow a strong family while growing their business. I wanted them to see that they were setting an example for their children in how to live life. I just was hooked on helping them straighten out their lives financially and relationally, by getting straightened out spiritually.
I was discovering, through this time, that most moms passionately desire to have a strong family, but just don't know where to get solid parenting principles, nor how to apply those principles to their specific situation. God was increasing in my heart a passion for giving moms hope and guidance utilizing a combination of my education in communication along with what the Bible teaches us about how God demonstrates His love to all of us, His children.
Each step along the way I have been surprised by the next step God would ask me to take in my Practically Speaking MOM ministry.
He inspired me to write the four books I have so far: Wearing All Your Hats without Wearing Out
When Littles are Loud
Clash in Your Home
And then He asked me to take the step of being a blogger and then the crazy step of being a podcaster! I wonder what He may ask of me next. I have no idea. But I have come to love listening for His voice and taking leaps of faith with Him!
Tips for Making it all Work
I want to share some specific things I did to make it all work - raising seven children, homeschooling, and earning income.
#1 Allow God to be the CEO of your business
By far, this is the most important step in juggling income and parenting. Let him lead your income. Follow his gentle voice speaking to your heart. He knows better than we do on whether to make income, what income to make, how many hours to spend a week working, and when it’s time to cut back (because there are absolutely times when you need to drop work like a hot potato and focus only on your family). Let God guide you through all of it. He is our source for all we need from direction, to energy, to income - He provides it all. Let your family see that you are always following His lead.
#2 Get your household systems in place.
We can’t thrive in chaos. I know it takes extra time to get a laundry system or a meal system or a chore system running smoothly, but do you know what takes more time? Trying to thrive when you don’t have systems in place. that takes a lot more time and costs a lot more frustration and exhaustion. Even more than that, if we don’t get organized with these have-tos, we aren’t freed up to focus on the hearts of your children and that simply must remain a top priority. I would encourage you to go back and listen to the episodes on Time Saving Strategies for busy households or I also have it as a download all the parts of it as one complete workshop on my website, www.PracticallySpeakingMOM.com. It’s a $4 download & also in my Resources section of my website are the power point slides that go with that workshop, those slides are there for FREE. You want your systems to be on autopilot as much as possible so that your focus can be on relationships – relationships in this order: God, marriage, kids, others. These are foundational building blocks for a solid family life and if you don’t get these relationship cornerstones in place, above everything else, your house will start to crumble.
There's one more "system" that is essential to have in place for your family to thrive even while you are working. This is a bit different of a system - it's the system of shaping your child's character. For my kids' future, for their peace, for their favor with professors and employers, for my peace, for our home to function, we needed to have a relationship where I have character standards for the kids and they are open to growing. Responsibility, honesty, follow-through, respect... if you get your children on a trajectory of personal growth (see Raising a Luke 2:52 Kid) then you will be amazed at how your family can thrive. But, you have to commit to the time and consistency that it requires to get this system going.
#3 Focus on People over Profit.
We spend most weeks on this podcast learning about the relationships within our family, because that’s the key to a strong family. And it is no different with your business. Learning to love people sincerely & valuing them is the key to a strong business as well. My mom and I began our MK businesses at the same time. We both earned cars pretty quickly and grew lots of other women to have successful businesses, not because we were good at makeup and skincare (although we did take learning our business seriously) but because we put people ahead of profit. My mom is a fun-loving, carefree person who never was one for being organized in her business and yet she was successful. She actually has gone on to earn over ten free cars and has made a good income for decades from her business. I was the opposite – very organized and rather boring. Two opposite people who both achieved success in an organization because of one main focus – love people consistently. I would recommend any John Maxwell book to help with this topic or one I’m reading now, that was recommended by my friend Debbie, called Love Works.
#4 Success Habits.
These are something I talk about in my book Gaining Momentum: Preparing Your Student for a Career with or without college. Habits are so important for all success in life because we don’t waste any time arguing with ourselves about whether we’re going to do the thing or not. Habits are the things we’ve made non-negotiable in our life – we have completely embraced the behavior. Developing success habits saves so much time.
Here’s some of mine (I've got several more, so I may make another podcast episode about this in the future): *A color coded master schedule: This is making an ideal week schedule made with color coding. I start with my gold God time & church time & teaching the kids about God time. I box off this time on each day of this ideal week chart I'm making. It's like writing out a goal. Red for marriage time. Blue for family time – be sure it contains both meaningful bonding time as well as chore time and any other important things such as schooling or chauffeuring, etc. Then green is income time. I broke green into two parts -prep & learning and then people time. Remember this is a GOAL schedule to keep you on track, to reduce you're having to think throughout the week. However, you are not a slave to that ideal schedule; at any moment you may need to jump ship from income-making and focus on that child that needs you. Learn to stay alert for teaching moments or bonding moments or God moments that need to supersede income moments.
On the podcast, I also talk about:
*6 most important list and the book Eat that Frog
*9 to 9 is people time.
*What to do with the kids during phone calls - The Phone Call Treasure Box
*Set goals & Pray pray pray. Hold your job loosely. Remain always tuned in to your children’s hearts.
#5 Involve your kids in your work – there’s many great life skills for them to learn:
From Customer Service, they learn... prompt responses, de-escalating an upset customer, giving generously, preparing lovely packaging that feels like receiving a gift, cheerful attitudes, being a blessing to everyone God brings into your path each day
From Money Management, they learn... budgeting, paying taxes, record keeping, setting financial goals. Waiting to purchasing something until you’ve reached the goals. PRAYING about the goals. I don’t know how many times, when we really needed me to bring in some money through my Mary Kay business, that I would figure out our family budget, identify the exact amount that I needed to make that month, and praying about it with the kids, even when the amount seemed unrealistic, and so many times, my sells would be within the dollar amount or very near the amount we had been praying for. My prayer was always, something like, “Dear Lord, you know what we need. My budget says that we need x amount. It would be such a blessing if you would help me to work my business in such a way as to provide for this need and we will give you all the glory. But Lord, we know you will take care of us no matter what our income is and we will love you and praise you either way.”
As I learned to budget, set goals, map out how I was going to reach those goals, and get the family in on praying for them with me, it helped them to be okay with my working some also. They were anticipating how God was going to bless us that month. They were in on the process. Then I taught them to budget and set goals in their lives as well. They each had a notebook and envelopes. As they earned money, they would divide it up into categories: Tithe, Long term savings (untouchable until college or home), short term savings (spend it on things you’ve planned ahead about), spending (this amount), Car, Youth activities. I also had them take Dave Ramsey’s high school finance course. They developed money habits that have protected them from a lot of difficulties that many their age fall into. Yes, they drive old cars, but as Dave Ramsey says, “We live like no one else so we can live like no one else.” I would highly recommend his Financial Peace University or the Total Money Makeover.
There's lots more ways that our kids can grow from working along side us:
*They learn work ethic, reliability, and stick-to-it-iveness - to push through even when it's tough, to get up and make it happen no matter what you feel like doing, being resilient when someone is discouraging, learning to go over, under, around, or through any obstacle that comes your way.
SO, we’ve talked about lots of ideas today and hopefully some of them will be helpful to you. But Mom, there is something that I desperately want you to know.
God is going to provide for your needs. You want to have a "no matter what, I'm providing" mindset about your child's HEART. "No matter how busy we are, no matter what stress exists, no matter what demands are pressing in on me... I will provide for the heart of my child, no matter what."
No one else can monitor their heart like you can.
No one else can nurture their heart, search their heart, discover their heart, shape their heart like you can.
Please don’t ever compromise their heart for any amount of money. Please do whatever it takes to treasure this dear soul that God has entrusted to you. There will be time for accolades and accomplishment and career fulfillment down the road when they’re older. If income making jeopardizes your relationship with your kids, as it sometimes did with mine (sometimes I was too busy and missed important soul issues), please vigilantly watch for this in your family, and leave wide wide margin of time for your children. You know I want to tell you so much right now about what kids need, but the fact is that I do that on most of the other episodes. This episode is about the real issue of mamas needing to make income for their family and so that has been the focus of our day. Wouldn't you like to hear more on this topic of juggling family and work, let me know. I love this topic and have so much more to share.
Listen to this week's podcast so that you can also hear the conversation between Val & one of her grown daughters, Becca, as they talk about their experiences with being income producing moms! Click here to listen
Resources: Book Val mentioned: Eat that Frog
Val's consultant site to Usborne Children's Bookshttps://u9822.myubam.com/
Val's consultant site to Mary Kayhttps://www.marykay.com/vharrison1
One of Val's podcast episodes to help with household systems:
Val's podcast episode calledRaising a Luke 2:52 Kid