Getting Real with Shadra Bruce

I love being a work-at-home-mom (WAHM). There is nothing better than being your own boss and having all the flexibility with your family that you want. Once I left the corporate world, I never looked back, and I’m thankful every day that I don’t have a Monday through Friday, 9am to 5pm obligation. Or the cubicle. Or the atrocious boss.

With that being said, my WAHM life is not all roses. There are luxuries that I don’t have, like health insurance (although after 3 years, that is finally changing) or paid vacation (which means when I want time off, I double the work the week before or I take working vacations). Yet there is this assumption that I sit at home all day in my pajamas, eating bon bons as money magically appears in my checking account to pay my bills. Granted, there are some days where I’m so busy that I don’t even have a second to get dressed, but I’m not sitting on the couch enjoying snacks. I’m working my butt off, and people rarely understand that working at home comes at a cost.

When people hear that I have my own business with my husband, which I absolutely love, and get to spend my time simultaneously working and traveling with my family, they want to do what I do. I’m always happy to share what I did, what worked for me, what they can do to get started. But you know what? I’ve never had anyone follow through and actually roll up their sleeves and do the work to break away from corporate America.  They ask for the secret ingredient to a successful business, shocked at my ability to achieve the work-life balance that so many seek, but aren’t willing to put in the work to get their themselves.

While I am perfectly happy to share my road to success and how I got to this point, people often don’t like the answer. They don’t want to know that my business started with crappy side projects to build a good reputation. Nobody wants to hear that it all began with writing for our local newspaper – 800 words, every week, for two-and-a-half years for FREE, or that the first year I worked full-time, went to school, and started building up freelance writing on the side – and only made $1200. And no one wants to do what I did to get the first references that got me the better jobs (I wrote 125 testimonials in one weekend and only bid $100 for the job, effectively making about 22 cents an hour, when you count the fact that Kira and Dave had to help me write them to meet the deadline)/ Or clothing descriptions for an online catalog company that I wrote by the thousands. It’s not glamorous, because I’m not a YouTube influencer that shot to fame. With the millions of people on YouTube and millions of others blogging, one in that million actually become successful without years of dedication.

I’m not trying to deter anyone from attempting the work-at-home-mom life or from building a home business. It is the life I wanted for myself and my children, and I’ve never regretted it. I have incredible memories that I would have missed had I been trapped in a cubicle somewhere. However, this is no MLM scheme or instant success story. Many moms want what I have, and they can certainly have it -but it takes dedication, discipline, and support from children that may still be too young to understand why it’s after dinner and mommy is still sitting at her computer.

What I can say, is that it is worth all the stress and the tears. It is worth every moment I questioned if I was actually doing the right thing for my family, because money is tight when you quit your job (or get escorted out – but that’s another story). My first year, I made $1200. Last year, I made 6 figures. We’re so busy that Dave works in the business full time, Kira works with us, and even Parker and Anika have been able to make extra money working for us.

With the right amount of passion, you can do the job you love and be with the people you love, every day, but passion alone doesn’t pay bills. You also have to be disciplined, willing to keep learning, and flexible enough to change along the way.

I’m more than willing to answer any questions, but you have to be ready to hear the answers.