Hi, I’m Ryan, the gal behind Secrets of a Work at Home Mom.
I am THRILLED to have you here! My goal is to empower you to start your own journey to work from home success.
I am THRILLED to have you here! My goal is to empower you to start your own journey to work from home success.
The idea of blending my years of teaching experience with my love and expertise of online marketing came naturally to me. Combining my extensive background in business development and promotion provides you access to a multi-faceted approach to starting your business. What does that mean?
It was actually, Joe, my husband who came up with the name for my blog because our family and friends constantly want me to share my secrets on how I am able to successfully work from home. That is how Secrets of a Work from Home Mom was born. I am ecstatic to be able to share my juicy secrets and tidbits with you in hopes that you too will be able to find success while working from home.
There are so many fun things I want to share with you – some might even call them secrets so you can start the work at home career of your dreams. Before we get into the technical stuff allow me to share a little bit more about myself. I mean its only right that if we are going to share lots of late nights, early mornings and coffee dates that you get to know me better. Six years ago I started my work from home journey shortly after I gave birth to my son. One look into his gorgeous, trusting eyes and I knew I had to do everything in my power to stay home with him. Truth be told that is not an exaggeration. Tyler and I were separated for six hours right after I gave birth to him and once the nurse put him back into my arms I thought there's no way I could leave him. A moment I will never forget was talking to my husband while he was sitting on the edge on my hospital bed about my desire to start a business from home. Surely, he thought I was being hormonal or high from new born baby smell but I will never forget his response “Ryan, if that's what you really want to do it then let's do this. I got your back – today, tomorrow and always” That's my guy. My Joe. God broke the mold when he created Joe. My ride or die since day 1. There will be an entire blog post dedicated to his support from day 1. Yes, an entire blog post because I feel its so important to have good support when starting your own business. Plus any excuse I have to gush, I take. I mean…SWOON!
Back to our regularly scheduled programming….me! Prior to give birth to Tyler I was a teacher for the New York City Department of Education. Sorry for being so blunt but our maternity leave program sucked. If I were ever to run for political office my platform would be to a complete overhaul to this country's maternity leave or lack there of program. Oh goodness I'm getting off topic. Basically, I lucked out because Tyler was born at the end of the school year therefore I had the entire summer home with him. As soon as we got home from the hospital I got to work on my business – I'm not kidding. From day 1 I was serious about staying home. My goal was crystal clear. I wanted to be home with my son while still bringing in an income to help support my growing family. I HAD to find a way to be home with my baby and QUICK!!! I only had two verrrrrry short months to figure it out. As I said, staying home without an income was not an option for us. I needed to bring in money asap or I would be back to stapling bulletin board paper by the end of August.
A Business is Born
Those late night feeding sessions were dedicated to researching different ways to make money from home. Every nap, every moment my husband wanted “guy time” with our lil guy and every time the Grandparents came to visit I focused on starting my business. The one area that stood out to me the most was opening an Etsy shop. I mean I just spent the last nine months buying every possible baby creation I could find so why not try to recoup some of that money by opening my own shop. BOOM! My first business was born. My Mother could give Martha Stewart a run for her money so I knew I had some creative genes just waiting to make their grand debut. Since I just had a baby I decided to open a baby accessory boutique. Everyone around me was having babies, most of which were girls, so I felt I had a built in audience I could easily market. During my college years I studied Marketing in addition to my education program. Marketing is something that has always fascinated me and now I was able to put that fancy college education to use in a new platform. C'mon I have to keep my parents happy because if you think they were thrilled that I was spending a huge chunk of my savings account to start a business I really knew nothing about while raising my first baby instead of going back to a very secure job as a teacher than you probably never met my parents – hahaha! Actually, my Mom was incredibly supportive. While I was growing up my parents owned a restaurant which allowed my Mother to have a very flexible schedule. Flexible schedule = an amazing childhood filled with the BEST memories. My mother knew I was desperate for that same flexibility and with that I had a built in support system from day 1.
Ok, now what?
Business plan was written, youtube videos were watched and supplies were on their way it was time to get serious. Yes, let's get serious. Time is not on my side. I started creating hairbows and may I just say I wouldn't let my dog wear this creations. They were awful! At the time I started my business Over the Top bows were the top trend and the profit margin was high. Sadly, my talent level was not on par with my competition. I needed a plan B, however, I barely had a plan A. Panic started to set in but then we went to have Tyler's newborn photos taken. In my photographers studios gorgeous photos of beautiful babies wearing stunning headbands lined her walls. That's it! I'm going to switch to headbands. That worked as a temporary solution. I was able to promote myself on a Etsy in a way that allowed me to make quick sales. It wasn't perfect, but it was enough to get Joe to agree to an extended unpaid family leave. My leave would be extended by eight weeks but it would not be paid.
The Power of Facebook
August 2, 2011 the day I learned the power of Facebook. At that time business pages were booming! Pages were coming right on to people's feeds and networking opportunities were everywhere! I signed my boutique up with a modeling agency which pairs child models with boutiques. The model didn't get paid, but instead got to keep whatever products were sent for free. In return I got gorgeous photos I could use to brand, promote and style my business. If this type of arrangement fits into your business model I HIGHLY recommend it. Through the modeling agency I was able to connect with other shop owners. Hmmm I guess its about time I share a secret since that's kinda the whole point of this blog, right? Ok here's your secret your competition are not the enemy instead reach out to your competition for networking opportunities. My Facebook page looked amazing thanks to my new professional photos, I was forming great relationships and I was promoting my business with every breath I took.
I now belonged to several boutique promotional groups which hosted giveaways, like chains and sharing opportunities similar to IG telegram pods today. During my first giveaway, which I only gave away a $10 credit to use in my shop, my page grew from 266 people to 1586 people. Yes, I gained 1320 new Facebook followers from my very first giveaway. These particular giveaways were advertised my target audience. My sales increased dramatically, but to be honest I was sick of doing the same thing every one else was doing. Now that I was on the road to success I wanted to introduce new products to my audience, There were whispers that a new craze was about take over and what was that craze? Bubblegum necklaces. Remember I mentioned that my Mother could rival Martha Stewart well one of her creative passions included jewelry design. Over the course of a week I learned how to make necklace, reinvested my profits to purchase new supplies and launched my new product line. HOLY GUACAMOLE. I completely SOLD OUT. I had 15 necklaces available to purchase and each and every one sold the second I put them up for grabs. This experiment transformed my business model.
I continued to participate in monthly giveaways to help gain new customers for my business. My numbers grow so rapidly it was almost too hard to keep up. With the successful launch of my necklace line I decided to revamp my business. Before that I had one weekly sale where I posted my new items for the week that were available to purchase. Each week on Tuesday's and Thursday's I hosted an online live sale. You had to be present and on my page to participate or you wouldn't be able to purchase a necklace. My sales exploded with this method. It was exciting which built anticipation. My customer base now started growing through word of mouth. Personally, I believe your business is a true success when someone recommends you to their friends and family. You have to build a trusting relationship for that to happen, which is something I do not take lightly. My bi-weekly sales continued to be successful right up until the third major Facebook algorithm change in the early Summer of 2014. Once that change hit it was time to redefine my business and strategy
Introducing my Facebook Group
By this time I had a second child, my daughter Simone, born in July of 2014. It was extremely important to me that I was able to connect with her the same way I had with her brother thanks to my flexible schedule. When I returned from my maternity leave in the Fall of 2014 my Facebook business page was all but dead. No one, including my family, were seeing my posts in their feeds. I was distraught. What was I going to do? There was no way I was giving up, but how am I going to get people to see my items. One of my boutique buddies suggested starting a Facebook group. That's exactly what I did! I ran a week long add informing people I was moving over to a group format due to the new Facebook changes. Roughly, 1400 of my 24,000 followers joined my group. By looking at those numbers you might think I was upset, but I wasn't. WHAT?!?! Am I crazy? Nope. At that point I had a core audience. My target audience was even more targeted and those customers followed me over. Simply because I had 24,000 people doesn't mean those people were engaging. My Facebook group was the greatest thing to EVER happen to my business.
My Facebook group allowed me to get to know my core group of customers in a brand new way. They were able to add pictures of their littles rocking my designs right to the wall. I was very much a part of their life as they were very much a part of mine. Once again I had to change up my business strategy. Engagement now became a huge focus for me. I wanted my group to be hyper engaged. There were six daily prompts I used to boost engagement plus storytelling, meme sharing etc. etc. My group grew from 1400 members in October to well over 3000 members by the new year. This time no mass giveaways were involved instead I ran a focused, engaged group my customer base was eager to join. My followers knew so much about me and even though it was a business it was fine. I was now selling a lifestyle not as much as product even though I was still hosting my weekly sales. Thankfully my methods proved to be a success and I was back to selling out at every sale. My group gave me so of the greatest memories of my life.
On Good Friday last year I broke my pinky playing catch with my kiddos. In case you aren't its very difficult to create necklaces wearing a hand splint. Thankfully I was far enough ahead that I could continue hosting sales for at least a month. My customers, who were now more like family, were so worried and they had every right to be. In July of 2017 it became clear I would never fully recover from my injury and I sold my business. A roller coaster ride is the only way I can describe the process of selling a business you built from nothing. In my heart of hearts I feel my business was a success because I treated it like my third child. I nurtured it from creation, launched it and then wanted the whole world to see how fabulous it was. How was I supposed to trust someone to care for my baby? Once again I changed my business strategy but this time it went against every grain of my being because I had to treat it like business and leave emotion out of it. Selling my business took a toll on me. Yes, I got lucky and was able to sell my business where not many boutique owners have that opportunity. I saw so many of my friends, too many of my friends have their businesses destroyed by Facebook. Watching the destruction of so many businesses taught me a HUGE lesson and that is never, ever trust a third party to host your business. You must self host. I will get more into that on the blog.
The entire time I ran my jewelry business I kept thinking to myself maybe there's supposed to be more I'm doing, a bigger purpose, something more than just selling a product. It became apparent while running my business that there was a market for helping other people start a business of their own. Almost everyday I would get a message from someone in reference to starting their own business. I would get messages from the sweetest, most endearing new Moms hoping to learn the secrets from someone who knew what to do. Now looking back I find it interesting that no matter how busy I was that if I got a message like that I would stop everything to respond. Something about sharing business advice, strategy, planning, promotion, launching, the entire process spoke to me. Education was the missing component to my business. Teaching people new things gives me so much joy and fulfilment. Could I possibly find something where I could incorporate my love of teaching with my years of experience of working from home? YES! That's how Secrets of a Work from Home Mom came to be. Before I wrote one blog post, had one coaching client I already knew this was my next step. The final step. Everything before this blog was building up to it. The years of teaching gave me the experience to share information clearly and with finesse. The years of running my own business gave me the tools needed to help others not only start a business, but to start a profitable business…..my secrets. The Secrets of a Work from Home Mom.
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