A "WAHM" Case Study
SBI! Review by a Work at Home Mom

Crystal

I know so many moms who would love to say they work at home. I'm happy to say that I do. My name is Crystal Maleski. I'm a very busy mom of four teenagers.

In the past, I enjoyed a very successful professional career as an occupational therapist and rehab manager. While I loved my career when I was single, I found the stress of working long hours when I had small children was very taxing. The stress is now gone.

I Started An E-Business by Accident

I would love to say that I had a master plan in place, but I started working from home quite by accident.

My passion is cooking, always has been. I still read cookbooks like most people read novels. When I'm tired, trying a new recipe or cooking for my family always invigorates me.

That love of cooking was the seed for my business. My friends would often call me for cooking advice or for ideas about what to make for dinner. I had so many requests for dinner ideas that I started sending out a weekly e-mail with dinner ideas.

I had no idea then that those e-mails would open up a new world for me, the world of working from home. Since my recipe e-mails were so well-received by my friends, I figured that other people might be just as interested.

The Birth of an E-Business

Some people want to start a website but they don't know what topic to write on. I was different. I already had a topic: easy dinner ideas.

What was hard for me was trying to figure out how to build a website. I am not a techie person.

Up until a few years ago I didn't even know how to download pictures from my digital camera. I'm not kidding; I just kept buying memory cards!

So, if I was going to build a website, I had to find a company that could teach me how to build one.

The Hunt Began

I ran across SBI! in my initial research on how to build a website, but to be honest I didn't select it at first. I thought why would I spend $299 a year on a website when there were much less expensive options on the Net?

So I went with another company, but within the first week I knew I had made a mistake. I couldn't understand their directions and my site looked terrible.

That's when I revisited SBI! and ordered their program. It was the best decision I could have made.

I now know that that $299 yearly subscription covers much more than just a site-builder platform. It encompasses many tools that I would have had to pay for separately using other companies.

More importantly, though, SBI! taught this very non-techie person how to build a successful e-business.

Working From Home with Kids

There are definitely many advantages to working from home. I love that I no longer feel stressed when one of my kids wakes up sick and needs to stay home from school. I can take care of them and still work on my business.

My schedule is my own. I can throw in a load of laundry, meet a friend for lunch, or go for a walk on a nice day.

To be a successful WAHM, however, takes work and discipline. That is a challenge sometimes when you are juggling family and business needs. My solution? I have a to-do list and I turn off the television.

In the beginning, when I was learning something new and very different from my normal routine, I carved out some quiet time away from the kids for about an hour each night. When my husband was watching television with the kids, I went into my office and listened to the Action Guide (which has both text and video formats).

What I liked about the Action Guide is that it take things slowly, step by step. At no time did I feel like I was over my head.

Building a Site 10 Minutes at a Time

Crystal and Family

I work on my website every day.The better my website provides what my visitors are searching for, the more money I make.

I've often joked that I could write a book titled, "How to Build a Website 10 Minutes at a Time," because that is how I did mine.

Having four kids involved in a lot of sports doesn't leave me much time to work on my website right at home. So, I take it on the road with me.

I'm the mom sitting at a swim meet with my printed-out Action Guide, a highlighter, and my to-do list. Or you can find me sitting at volleyball practice with my laptop.

I also travel a lot, out of state, with my kids' sports teams. In the past, I have sent out newsletters from Missouri, posted site updates from Minnesota, and built new pages in Georgia. I love that I have the flexibility to work when I want from wherever I am.

Going Beyond My Expectations

Starting an e-business with SBI! has been fun, rewarding, and very exciting. My very first e-mail about easy dinner ideas went out to about 35 people. Now over 1,600 people per day visit my website. I also have over 7,500 subscribers who want to read my my weekly e-newsletter.

People are surprised when I tell them the low cost of running my online business. As I told my cautious husband, there is almost no risk compared to opening a store with a physical address. I don't have to pay rent, or pay employees, or cover day care expenses.

Because my website, Make Dinner Easy, is growing so well, I'm receiving requests from other businesses and websites to hire me as a social media consultant (for example, how to use Facebook, Twitter, etc. for your business).

The income from all of these ventures has led me to start discussing the need to incorporate under a new business name with my accountant. All of this from a simple act of sending a few friends an e-mail with easy dinner ideas. It's still seems amazing to me!

A Surprise Benefit

What I didn't expect was the friendships I would develop with other SBI! owners. There is a very active and helpful community forum for SBI! members. It's a safe place to ask questions, get help from experienced people, and when you're ready, give advice.

There are also learning conferences throughout the year, such as the "By SBIers For SBIers" conference that I went to in Chicago. And depending upon your location, there are informal get-togethers of SBI! site owners.

Friendships may even turn into business relationships. I'm currently writing an e-book with two other SBIers who have sites that are complimentary to mine.

If I Can, You Can!

I started a website with absolutely no knowledge about building a site. I didn't know anything about graphics, or how to build a site that can be found on a Google search. Now I am a successful e-business owner who even teaches other ones to do the same.

Best of all, this is a way for me to work at home doing something that I love and I can still be available to my family. I wake up excited every morning. There is nothing like the sense of accomplishment that I feel when I learn something new or master a new skill.

SBI! has given me the platform, the knowledge and the tools that I need to be a successful "WAHM" who is having lots of fun.

Crystal Maleski

http://www.makedinnereasy.com/