Work at Home Profile: Jo-Lynne/DCRmom, blogger and blog designer

AVATAR Name and type of Business:
Musings of a Housewife, DCR Design, Chic Critique, Reviewsings

How long have you been in this business:
I’ve been blogging for 3 years and designing blogs for 1.

What is the biggest challenge about having your business and family under the same roof?
Balance. :-)  I fear I work too much.  Let me rephrase that.  I’m quite sure that I work too much!  But I love it.  I’m just not sure that my family loves it as much as I do.

How have you managed child care (if applicable):
I’m the childcare.  We don’t feel that at this point I’m making enough to allow for regular childcare, although that would be lovely.  My children are aged 9, 6, and 3.  My 9-year-old is in full day school, and my 6-year-old is in half-day school.  My 3-year-old attends preschool 2 mornings a week.  I try to use that time to work.  I would rather run errands in the afternoons with my girls; that way at least I’m interacting with them, even if we’re not doing activities that are FOR them.  I work at night after they go to bed.  And I do a lot of work when they are around, playing, watching TV, entertaining themselves.  They do that very well.

What is your favorite part about being in business for yourself? Least favorite?
I just love making my own hours and making my own rules.

What is the biggest mistake you’ve made as a work at home business owner/employee?
I don’t feel like I’ve made any grand mistakes yet.  I’m pleased with how things are going.  The only thing I could do better would be to have set working hours, but that’s very hard to do because our days are not highly structured so I just try to grab work time whenever I can.

What is the best decision you’ve made as a work at home business owner/employee?
I keep meticulous records.  Come tax time, it’s complicated because I have so many different revenue streams, but I have good records so my accountant (i.e. my husband *grin*) can figure everything out.

What advice do you have for anyone considering starting a work at home business or job?
Have a plan.  Keep good records.  Love what you do.  And don’t let your work run your life!

Working from Home With Children

at home

For most people, working from home sounds like a dream come true – you can be available to the children and make money at the same time.

But as most parents quickly find out, it isn’t always that simple. There are many considerations when you work from home and child care is a big one.

Work time is not “Me Time”: When kids are with the nanny or at school, resist the temptation of using daytime hours for personal leisure. The days of leisure are generally gone when you have two kids and working from home. That said, it can be tempting to use work time as “me time.” In my personal case, this only leads to stress with work piling up and needing to be done off hours- hours that should be spent with your kids, your spouse, or yourself. My evening hours are sacred family time, so I do my work during the day and keep evening hours reserved.
Kirstin Sanders, Director of Public Relations, Orca Communications Unlimited, LLC

Inevitably, a child will have a blow up while you are on an important phone call. Your youngest will suddenly become clingy and need you to hold them non-stop, when what you really need to do is be typing up an important ‘emergency’ memo.

It will happen.

So the best plan of action is to have a plan in place BEFORE it happens.

How do moms and dads who don’t put their children in fulltime daycare, work from home and keep their children occupied or watched while they work? There are two options: have someone help, or do it all on your own.

When deciding which option to choose, consider your work habits and also how your child fits into this. You know your child best, so make the decision that is best for you and for them. Most people enjoy the thought of working from home because they like the flexibility of being able to be available for their children, when they are needed.

For some parents, they find that their children and/or their job create an environment where interruptions aren’t a big deal. If you aren’t on the phone with your job, there is no need to worry about the children’s noise level. If your child plays well independently, keeping them occupied while you work may come easily.

For other parents, they are lucky to find privacy in the bathroom, let alone when an important conference call is taking place.

Some suggestions and options others have made work:

The simplest answer, when you are facing it alone, is to schedule your work around the times that your child is napping, or playing quietly, or after they are in bed for the night.

Stay stocked on kid friendly activities: play-doh, crayons and paper etc. Set up a little table near your working space that your child can play office on. Give them their own “in-box” and add things for them to do into it. Check out: Independent Play Activities on about.com

Hire a part-time student If you live near a college, you might try finding a student who attends part time to come over during the day for a couple of hours. Be sure to use that time for those work items that demand your full uninterrupted attention. Other options: hire a neighborhood child after school, swap time with another mom one day a week to take care of pressing things

Set a timer for yourself and your child. Help your child to understand that when the timer is ticking, they need to work quietly. Once it has gone off, they may request help from you.

Keep favorite DVDs set aside for only those times when you need a distraction for your child (don’t hate. sometimes, it’s necessary – and besides, it allows me to still be available to my child)

Allow yourself flexibility. Things are going to come up. Children will get sick. Something will get broken. Know when you need to take some work time off.

And most importantly, don’t forget to stop and play. One of the many beauties and benefits of being a work at home parent is having a built in playmate. Take a break and play with your child. Go for a walk around the block. Put on some music and dance. Make a work of art out of play-doh.

Remember why you came home to work and learn what works best for your family.

Sound off: How do you work from home with children? With school almost out, older children will be home, which provides another issue – how to entertain them while you work.

photo source: alizzze

Free Web Radio

photo: alvazer

Do you listen to music while surfing the web? Working on your computer? Cleaning the house?

One site frequently overlooked when discussing social networking, Last.fm, also lets you listen to music and connects you with people who have the same tastes in music.

From the About Page:

Last.fm is a music service that learns what you love…

Every track you play will tell your Last.fm profile something about what you like. It can connect you to other people who like what you like – and recommend songs from their music collections and yours too.

…and as you use Last.fm, you make it better for you and everyone else.

When you recommend some music to a friend, or you tag it, or you write about it – even just listening to it – you shift the song’s importance on the site. It’ll be recommended to different people, because you’ve listened to it. It’ll move up our music charts and maybe more people will hear it because you thought it was good.

Listen to your favorite musicians; find new favorites. Share them with your friends and connect with others.

My Last.fm page.