Monday, March 17, 2008

How Real Moms Learned to Mix Business with Babies-and How You Can, Too

Carin Walling is a working mom. Her day begins at 7:30 a.m. when she wakes up with her toddler twin daughters, Callie and Henley.

"We do breakfast together," says Walling. "Sometimes I go to the gym in the mornings and other times we play until nap time. When they lay down at nap time, that's work time for me."

Walling works from home as her own boss. She opened a children's store. But not the type of physical store you may be thinking of.

"I wanted to have a physical store and it didn't work out, he (her husband) said why don't you do this whole thing online," says Walling.

So she started the online children's boutique She says the started up was relatively easy. She paid another work at-home mom to design her website.

Plus, many of the manufacturers didn't require her to buy a supply of products up front. So there was very little start up cost.

Walling acts as the online middle man for companies that make children's goods.

When a customer makes an order on her website then she contacts the manufacturer of those products. "Most of the time the manufacturer packs it up and ships the items directly to the customer," says Walling.

And that means she doesn't have to fill her home with products to be shipped out.

"I have one bookshelf of merchandise and that's it," says Walling. "I think my husband would go nuts if I had more than that."

Walling is part of a growing number of parents looking for creative ways to be successful in business without sacrificing time with their children.

In a survey by Pew Research Center, 1 in 5 women surveyed said they would prefer not working at all outside the home. The spring up of online stores, like, it is creating a new avenue for parents.

Walling says she was shocked by the online network of work at-home moms, who are are all trying to help each other.

"Almost everyone I work with, with the exception of the large manufacturers, are work at-home moms," says Walling.

She regularly blogs on her website with a network of other work at-home moms about their struggles, their successes, and their suggestions.

She has found that many First Coast moms have developed creative ways to have it all.

"I have a friend who has an online business here in Jacksonville," say Walling. "She drops her kids off at preschool and goes to Panera with her laptop to work."

For her online store, Walling has worked out a work schedule that suits her. "Usually in the mornings I squeeze in a good half hour of work," says Walling. "Then two to three hours of work at nap time. And another two to three house at night."

The key to Walling's success is getting people to go to her store with all the choices online. She trades links with other websites to increase her visibility.

She also works with Google to increase her "google rating" which will make her website come up toward the top of the list in searches for children's products.

But she says the best part of her job is, "just being there for my kids and not missing out." (Via - The Milk Memos: How Real Moms Learned to Mix Business with Babies-and How You Can, Too)

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