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Work-at-home moms: Challenges and rewards

Moms who have left behind an outside-the-home job often find themselves needing to (or wanting to) bring in some extra income. We found three stay-at-home moms who have discovered the best of both worlds — staying at home with their kids while working on a career and bringing in some income.

Jessica Murphy, owner of Rawkette

Jessica Murphy of Rawkette

Jessica lives in Canada and is the mom of a 3-year-old and a new baby. She is the owner of Rawkette, a custom hand-stamping jewelry shop. Before she had her first baby, she never really settled into a job she liked. “I often hated what I was doing 9 to 5 and when I was on maternity leave there was some anxiety about going back to selling cars,” she shared. “I felt like that was just not what I needed to be doing.” The more she thought about it, the more she felt like home was where she needed to be. When her first baby was around 6 months old, she decided to start her business. That’s when she knew there was no turning back.

She knew she wanted to create an at-home business, but deciding “what” was a different story. She had always enjoyed making jewelry, but knew that beading was too generic and was one of the most saturated markets out there. Inspiration struck when she ordered a hand-stamped necklace for her best friend. “I got it in the mail, opened it and I knew,” she remembered. “Right away. This is what I was going to do. I loved the personalization of hand stamping, and it gave me goose bumps that she would have this special piece and could wear it every day.”

Start-up funds weren’t overwhelming, but she had to learn the business herself. Figuring out the best place to order supplies, the differences between the types of metal she would be using and the different ways of finishing were things that she had to learn on her own. “I am constantly learning, but I think that’s what I love. I have found something I really want to do and learning and growing is what I love most with my business!”

She admits that her learning curve was huge. “I didn’t have a mentor, or big business behind me teaching me the ropes,” she explained. “I made mistakes, I refunded customers, I hit my thumb with a hammer numerous times. But nothing that really stopped me. I have a super supportive husband, which made a big difference. When I hit a roadblock we were a great team in figuring out what to do next.”

It’s challenging to find time to work with a new baby, but she’s gotten into a groove of working from 7 to 10 p.m. each evening. She mentioned that there are a couple of major challenges. “Balance,” she explained. “Finding a way to get things done with two little ones. Although I also think right now ‘growing’ my business is one of the hardest things. I have time to do current orders, but creating new items and advertising has been put on the back burner.”

The rewards, however, are immeasurable. Being with her boys at all times is the biggest one for Jessica. “I know they are only little for a short time,” she explained. “I want to be the one to see their firsts! All of them! My biggest priority is being home with them, and Rawkette allows that. I wouldn’t trade it for anything.” Another reward is that her work doesn’t seem like work. It’s something that she really enjoys doing. “I don’t cry on my drive to work, I don’t hate my 9 to 5 job, I don’t wish and wait for Friday to come,” she said. “I also have the ability to take a vacation when I want, close shop for a long weekend or work extra hard and save a little more for an upcoming trip. The flexibility is amazing. Did I mention I love what I do?”

Image credit: Jessica Murphy

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