• Health
    Home And Business Finances For Work At Home Moms

    How To Find And Compare Health Insurance Plans

    I became the primary breadwinner for my family in February 2009. My husband and I had agreed that he’d quit his job as an International Sales Rep to go to graduate school at night and be a stay-at-home dad by day. I’d continue working at a Minneapolis-based non-profit. Three weeks after we made that transition I got notice at my full-time job that I’d be laid off. It wasn’t immediate, thank God for that, but a few months later I did lose my job and with it, my family’s health insurance.

    In the months between receiving notice of the impending lay off and actually losing my job and its benefits my husband and I debated whether we could really launch an at-home business and whether I could really become a work-at-home mom. One question overshadowed much of the conversation. ”How will we pay for health insurance?” I was petrified of buying our own. I really knew nothing about how to do it or what it would cost, but I was convinced that it would be thousands of dollars per month and potentially out of financial reach.

    Because of my fear I actually buried my head in the sand for the first year after I was laid off. We opted for COBRA coverage through my previous employer and qualified for a federal subsidy to the premium. Eventually that COBRA coverage and federal subsidy came to an end and I had to figure out what to do next.

    How to Compare Plans
    I couldn’t procrastinate it any longer. I had to sit down at the computer and figure out what my health insurance options were as a self-employed, work-at-home mom. Like any Type A woman would do, I made an Excel worksheet to track all my options and crunch all the numbers related to each plan. Once I started loading information into my worksheet, my fear melted away. Knowledge really is power.

    The most valuable numbers I looked at while comparing health insurance plans were the minimum and maximum out-of-pocket expense annually.

    Minimum out-of-pocket expense. I looked back at our medical history over the last few years and decided what I’d expect us to need in terms of the number of doctor’s office visits and prescriptions in a year’s time. In addition to paying our monthly premiums I assumed that we’d have these other basic medical expenses. For some plans we would pay co-pays for office visits. Other plans had co-pays for prescriptions. Some plans required us to pay 100% of the expenses out of pocket. I considered the total amount of premiums we’d pay annually and the cost of our essential medical expenses to be our minimum out-of-pocket expense.
    Maximum out-of-pocket expense. The maximum out-of-pocket expense is the plan’s annual deductible amount. In most cases there is an individual deductible that applies to each individual family member, plus an out-of-pocket maximum per family. I listed both of these numbers in my Excel worksheet.
    With those two annual numbers clearly identified for each different policy we were considering, I could easily compare plans side-by-side. My husband and I decided on a plan that fit our monthly budget and was a comfortable amount of financial risk for us annually, should we ever have to max out the plan.

    Finding Plans
    The first place I looked for plans was an online health insurance rate quote site. I normally don’t like those sorts of online quote sites, but I found them to be surprisingly useful in getting me started. I reviewed every plan suggested by the websites I visited, then took my research a step further.

    I jotted down the names of the insurance companies that offer plans in my state (there were only 3 or 4). I went to each of those companies websites directly to look for any other insurance plans for individuals. I discovered a few plans that seemed like good fits for my family, but had not been mentioned in the quote sites I’d visited.

    Before making a final decision, I called the customer service line for the two companies whose plans we were seriously considering. I inquired about dental insurance (which is difficult to buy apart from a health insurance policy) and confirmed my understanding of how each plan worked.

    We ultimately decided on a hybrid plan – a high deductible, but no health savings account because it offers standard co-pays for office visits, prescriptions, two urgent care and one emergency room visit annually. Beyond those things, we are responsible to pay 100% of everything else up to our deductible. My biggest surprise – our premium, as a self-employed family, is only slightly more than what we were paying in subsidized COBRA premiums.

    How have you navigated the waters of finding and securing health and dental insurance for your family? What advice and what questions do you have?

  • Products
    Productivity Tips For Work At Home Moms

    Must-Have Products, Aids, and Resources for WAHMs of Special Needs Kids

    If you are a work at home mom of a special needs kid, you have been charged with a special task. You have to keep your business afloat while also providing your child with the extra support and assistance that they need.

    Instead of getting discouraged by everything that is on your plate, keep in mind that you are a superwoman.

    However, even superwomen need a bit of help from time to time, and the following resources are must-haves for WAHMs of special needs kids.

    More Than a Mom
    More Than a Mom: Living a Full and Balanced Life When Your Child Has Special Needs, is a Mom’s Choice Award winning book by Heather Fawcett which shows moms how to lead a fulfilling life when their child has special needs.

    The book is full of personal stories collected by over 500 moms of special needs kids, but it is also full of practical strategies for managing your life with a special needs child.

    Thanks to the author’s extensive research, you can learn how to find specialized daycare, how to stay organized, and how to advocate for your child.

    Got Milk?
    Remember the Milk is a critical organizational app for anyone with a busy life. It allows you to organize your to-do list based on how important the tasks are and whether they are for work or for home.

    You can even even look up items on your to-do list based on where you are at that moment. for example, if you are dropping off your son for his occupational therapy session, Remember the Milk can remind you that you need to make copies of a work document at the copier that’s just around the corner.

    Food Shopping Zen
    In addition to caring for your child and running your business, you also need to feed everybody, and that can be challenging even if you are not running a business. Zip List helps you keep your grocery list and menu plans in order.

    The app links to several recipe sites including Martha Stewart and Food.com. Once you have chosen your recipe, the app will download the necessary ingredients to your shopping list. This is critical for moms who have special needs kids on special diets. If you want a similar app that also focuses on saving money, check out Grocery iQ instead.

    Duplos to the Rescue
    Duplos
    The classics like Lego have endured the test of time for a reason. Duplos are simply large Legos that can be easily handled by kids who haven’t mastered their fine motor skills. Your child can build, destroy, follow plans, sort by color, and more with Duplos.

    Along with art supplies and sensory toys, Duplos are a must-have for any mom but especially for moms of special needs kids.

    Seek Out Champions
    When you have a child with special needs, you need all of the champions you can get for your cause. The National Association of Parents with Children in Special Education (NAPCSE) can be an invaluable resource. This organization has a reference library, resources that can help you understand your child’s rights, and forums where parents can share ideas, accomplishments, and struggles.

    Financial Help
    Possibilities is a financial resource for parents of children with disabilities. This organization has over 100 parents centers located around the country, and at those centers you can learn more about your child’s disability and about financial resources that may be available in your community.

    A Tablet
    Tablets are critical for all sorts of skill building and are great when you need something to occupy your child’s time while you work get some work done. There are tabletmany affordable tablets on the market and several that are durably made especially for children. If a new tablet is out of your price range, look for a used iPad or repurpose an old phone into a gaming device for your child.

    While you child can use the tablet to watch movies or play games, they can also use it to build valuable skills. There are all kinds of apps for special needs kids, and they focus on everything from communication to social interaction to reading and math skills.

  • I Love You
    WAHM Entrepreneur Success Stories

    Nothing Says “I Love You” Like Long Term Care Insurance

    As my anniversary approached last year, I considered many different gifts for my husband. But after facing a personal medical crisis, I knew the best way I could show my love and devotion was to offer him something more practical than romantic.

    So I purchased long term care insurance for our family.

    (I can see you turning your head to the side and thinking, “Whaaaa?” )

    I realize that not only is the idea of long term care insurance unromantic; it is one of those needs that seems far down the list of important family care items. Health insurance is critical, life insurance too – but long term care insurance? Is that really necessary?

    It is, and here is why. While health insurance will cover medical bills incurred by a hospital or a doctor, if you need more extensive care once you leave the hospital you will discover that long term care is going to be incredibly expensive.

    What do I mean by expensive? Well, a home care aid for just eight hours a day can cost from $40,000 to $70,000 a year – a staggering expense if you are too ill or injured to work, or if your spouse cannot work because they are caring for you. Nursing homes are even more expensive – almost $80,000 a year and even more if a specialized facility is needed. (Check out these other staggering costs.)

    I watched this happen to a friend. Her mother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and needed some in home care because she was no longer allowed to drive. At first a home health aid was only needed for a few hours a week, but after an incident of leaving a pot on the stove and nearly starting a fire, the mother-in-law was forced to move into a nursing home with a specialized Alzheimer’s ward.

    Without the long term care insurance the mother-in-law had purchased in her 40s, my friend’s family would have been forced to make compromises in her care – the $250,000 the mother-in-law had in savings and stocks would have amounted to less than three years of nursing home care.

    I do not wish that for my family. If I am sick, or incapacitated, I very much want my family to know that I am safe and secure and getting the best care available without burdening them with huge bills or debt.

    While at my (delightfully young) age the prospect of needing long term care seems far away, I was shocked into acknowledging the necessity of it by a cervical cancer scare. When I thought about what would happen to my family without my income – with the additional burden of having to pay for my care – I was honestly scared. I began researching long term care insurance to make sure that never happened to those I love the most.

    Here is what I discovered; first, long term care insurance can be a tricky bit of insurance coverage. People who have less than $300,000 in assets above and beyond the value of their homes might not find it cost effective; after all, those with limited assets are typically covered by Medicaid.

    It is also not inexpensive; the price can range from $150 to $250 a month or more, as you age. Luckily, long term care insurance is considered a medical expense and is tax deductible, although it depends on age (for a breakdown of the tax code, this article is helpful).

    If you decide to purchase a plan for yourself or a family member, a lot of research or a great (and trusted) insurance broker can go a long way to helping you make the best choice. I am so glad I took the time to choose the right plan for my family.

    When I presented my husband with my gift, I knew I had married the right guy when he got it right away. He knew my gift was a sign that I wanted to care for him and the kids, and that I chose it because I love them. The most precious assets I have are my family, and I want them to be cared for, no matter what.

  • woman
    Family And Kids

    Nothing Says “I Love You” Like Long Term Care Insurance

    As my anniversary approached last year, I considered many different gifts for my husband. But after facing a personal medical crisis, I knew the best way I could show my love and devotion was to offer him something more practical than romantic.

    So I purchased long term care insurance for our family.

    (I can see you turning your head to the side and thinking, “Whaaaa?” )

    I realize that not only is the idea of long term care insurance unromantic; it is one of those needs that seems far down the list of important family care items. Health insurance is critical, life insurance too – but long term care insurance? Is that really necessary?

    It is, and here is why. While health insurance will cover medical bills incurred by a hospital or a doctor, if you need more extensive care once you leave the hospital you will discover that long term care is going to be incredibly expensive.

    What do I mean by expensive? Well, a home care aid for just eight hours a day can cost from $40,000 to $70,000 a year – a staggering expense if you are too ill or injured to work, or if your spouse cannot work because they are caring for you. Nursing homes are even more expensive – almost $80,000 a year and even more if a specialized facility is needed. (Check out these other staggering costs.)

    I watched this happen to a friend. Her mother-in-law was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s and needed some in home care because she was no longer allowed to drive. At first a home health aid was only needed for a few hours a week, but after an incident of leaving a pot on the stove and nearly starting a fire, the mother-in-law was forced to move into a nursing home with a specialized Alzheimer’s ward.

    Without the long term care insurance the mother-in-law had purchased in her 40s, my friend’s family would have been forced to make compromises in her care – the $250,000 the mother-in-law had in savings and stocks would have amounted to less than three years of nursing home care.

    I do not wish that for my family. If I am sick, or incapacitated, I very much want my family to know that I am safe and secure and getting the best care available without burdening them with huge bills or debt.

    While at my (delightfully young) age the prospect of needing long term care seems far away, I was shocked into acknowledging the necessity of it by a cervical cancer scare. When I thought about what would happen to my family without my income – with the additional burden of having to pay for my care – I was honestly scared. I began researching long term care insurance to make sure that never happened to those I love the most.

    Here is what I discovered; first, long term care insurance can be a tricky bit of insurance coverage. People who have less than $300,000 in assets above and beyond the value of their homes might not find it cost effective; after all, those with limited assets are typically covered by Medicaid.

    It is also not inexpensive; the price can range from $150 to $250 a month or more, as you age. Luckily, long term care insurance is considered a medical expense and is tax deductible, although it depends on age (for a breakdown of the tax code, this article is helpful).

    If you decide to purchase a plan for yourself or a family member, a lot of research or a great (and trusted) insurance broker can go a long way to helping you make the best choice. I am so glad I took the time to choose the right plan for my family.

    When I presented my husband with my gift, I knew I had married the right guy when he got it right away. He knew my gift was a sign that I wanted to care for him and the kids, and that I chose it because I love them. The most precious assets I have are my family, and I want them to be cared for, no matter what.

  • student
    Marketing Your Work At Home Business

    4 Tips for Writing a Blog Post When You’re Out of Inspiration

    Some days the words flow like a river. Other days they’re stuck behind a dam. But if you’re running a blog, you don’t have the luxury of waiting until inspiration strikes. A successful blog depends on consistent, original content that keeps its audience engaged. That means even rainy days need to be answered with some sort of blog post.

    But, bloggers are also keenly aware of the importance of quality in their content. Even one bad post can cause readers to reconsider whether they want to devote their time to your regular blog postings. A lack of inspiration isn’t an excuse to publish a post that provides nothing of value to readers. So how do you overcome this paradox?

    For beginning and amateur bloggers, this is a serious challenge. But seasoned bloggers and content managers all have their tricks for maintaining quality content even over stretches when the passion is reeling, whether from exhaustion, stress or a dry well of creativity. When you reach these obstacles, there are at least four things you can do to press on in a meaningful way.

    1. Compile Q&As

    If you have a steady stream of readers, you have a great blog post to fill gaps. Encourage readers to send you questions and let them build up until you’re ready to publish an entire post dedicated to responding to those questions. I take a similar approach on AskMissyWard.com, where questions related to affiliate marketing can be submitted for future blog posts.

    With the questions submitted by readers, your format and content are essentially chosen for you. All you have to do is fill in the blanks.

    1. Offer commentary on recent industry news

    What’s the latest buzz in your industry? What about new innovations, companies, opportunities, etc.? Just by keeping up with the news that’s relevant to the blog you’re curating, you should be able to cobble together some quick paragraphs that brief your readers on industry news while offering a space to editorialize. Once again, the industry’s recent news creates the format and directs the conversation for you.

    1. Create a post covering tools and resources to solve a specific problem

    If you want to flex your expertise without draining your creative drive, focus on a single problem or challenge within your industry and provide readers with a game plan for overcoming that challenge. Identify tools and resources both online and offline, as well as any professional guidance you can offer. As people flock to search engines in search of answers to their current problems, you could earn a lot of traffic over the coming months and years.

    1. Curate a weekly roundup

    Whether you offer commentary on industry news or not, roundup blog posts are both easy to write and valuable to readers. By keeping a pulse on the industry, you can put together a weekly post that condenses the biggest news and articles from across the industry into a single post on your blog. This helps solidify your status as a viable news source while keeping your blog active and fresh.

    Running an effective, useful blog isn’t always the easiest job, but it’s rewarding when you can continue to deliver valuable content to your readers. Use these tips to keep things fresh, even when you’re short on ideas.

    Do you have any other tips for creating content when you’ve hit a brick wall?

  • social-media
    Work At Home Mom Issues

    Who To Trust in Internet Marketing

    Having been an online marketer for 8 years now, I’ve fallen for my fair share of “this product is the new greatest thing” emails. When I am introduced at local meetups as an “expert” in my field, people always start asking me if I know X, Y, and Z marketers because they are supposedly the “gurus” of Internet marketing. 9 times out of 10, I have no idea who the people are. And yet I know the people I really trust to teach me about affiliate marketing. People like Shawn Collins and Missy Ward from Affiliate Summit. Scott Jangro from Shareist. And hundreds of others to numerous to even name.

    Why do I trust those people more than I trust all of these others that I keep hearing about and that I see selling products? How can you tell who to trust?

    In working on the Affiliate Marketing Plan launch with Todd Farmer the last few weeks I had to do a lot of soul searching about how to reach the people that want to be reached about affiliate marketing education but not come off like one of those “gurus” that I don’t trust. Here are some of the realizations that I came to:

    It’s okay to sell a product or service and make money from it. That’s why we are all here. Just because someone is selling something doesn’t take away the trust factor.
    But along with that, it’s not all about selling. The people I trust give just as much for free (if not more) than what they sell. It may be in speaking at conferences, writing blog posts, or even just retweeting important information. But they are giving and not always just selling.
    When someone is trustworthy, they don’t have to pay everyone to spread the word about what they are doing. Referrals and affiliate programs are nice, but people talk about true experts just because they believe in what they are doing.
    Trust is built fastest when a personal connection is involved. We all use mass mailings. But how many people take the time to respond to personal emails and tweets or leave comments when you write a blog post? I can’t tell you how many times Shawn has left a comment on one of my blog posts just to continue the conversation. He wasn’t selling or dropping links. He was genuinely responding.
    I will admit that I have become pretty skeptical about people always trying to sell me the next big thing in online marketing. That has caused me to pull back from responding to a lot of offers. At the same time, I want to expand my network and exchange information with people. Because of that, I have to trust others. It’s just a matter of trusting the right people.

  • business-woman
    Home And Business Finances For Work At Home Moms

    How Do I Choose A Financial Institution?

    With the turmoil in the world and in the economy right now, many people are moving their money out of the big banks. However, how you decide where to move your money? Here are a few things you should be looking at before you change banks:

    1. Fees. I hate fees. I personally use a small local bank and credit union, and neither of these charge fees for the majority of their services. According to Bankrate.com, about 3/4 of large credit unions offered free checking with no strings attached! I also don’t want a bank that charges me to talk to a teller or to use a debit card. You have to ask yourself how important fees are to you.
    2. ATMs. If you use your debit card to get cash, you need to make sure that you have access to your money where you are. For us, our small bank has joined an ATM network, so we can access our money nationwide (without a fee). Some online banks will even reimburse you for fees incurred at bank machines. All of those non-network ATM fees can add up very quickly, so if you use an ATM card, you need to make sure you are taking your money out of an in-network bank.
    3. Branches. If you like face-to-face service, you are going to want to pick a bank that is close to you. However, if you do most of your banking online, this may not be a deciding factor.
    4. Customer service. For me, this is a make or break service for a bank. If you treat me horribly, I will move all of my money. I remember several years ago where a bank blamed me because their online bill pay service was not paying my bills on time (yet, everything was set up correctly and should have been issued on time). Needless to say, as soon as we could, we moved everything out of there.
    5. Technology. Most banks offer online accounts and bill pay. However, you have to do a little more searching if you want a bank that has mobile banking if that is important to you. Some of the bigger banks even let you scan a check in with your cell phone for a deposit!
    6. Ownership. Right now, this is a huge sticking point for a lot of people. Many big banks are owned by shareholders. Their main goal is to make as much money for them as they can (which means that money is coming out of their customers’ pockets). Many people also blame the big banks for the financial crisis we are in right now. Nonprofit credit unions are owned by the customers and give back to their members with consumer friendly products and services.
    7. Financial Products. Most banks/credit unions offer saving, checking, borrowing, and online banking. However, depending on what your current situation is, you may need more than that (for example, a mortgage loan or a small business loan).
    8. Rates. You want your money getting the most interest as possible. Also, you want the lowest rate on your loans. We belong to the credit union we do, because they offered us an interest rate that was 4% lower than what Toyota did when we bought our Prius! As you can see, comparing rates is very important!
    9. Safety. Most bank and credit union deposits are deposits are federally insured to $250,000. However, if you are making deposits in larger amounts than that, this is something you need to look into.
    10. Communication. How do you want to reach the bank? Online? By Phone? Chat? In Person? Make sure that your bank has a way to reach them that you are comfortable with.

    Everyone has different wants and needs. There is no single answer that works for everyone. You may need to use several institutions or maybe one big bank depending on what your situation is.

    How do you choose where you do your banking? Do you have any advice you’d like to add?

  • hat
    Productivity Tips For Work At Home Moms

    Swimsuits in the Snow (Or: Not Planning Ahead)

    This weekend I took a picture of my kids in the snow holding their brand new swimsuits that we just bought at Target. I thought that it would be a funny picture showing the juxtaposition of the weather and what we were shopping for. The more I thought about it, it was actually a snapshot of how you deal with a lack of planning and what the costs might be.

    We’re heading to Florida for part of winter break. In Indiana, it’s REALLY cold right now and actually snowing more than usual. My tween/teen daughters all of a sudden told me that their bathing suits from last summer do not fit anymore. But we leave in less than a week!! Where were we going to find swim suits in the middle of the winter in Indiana?

    I tried shopping online but that was a bust. The girls are at ages where their sizes are in limbo between kids and adults. Anywhere that shopped online that could get it to me quickly might not even have the right size when it arrived and then we would be stuck.

    We tried local places we thought might have them. The lady at JCPenney looked at us like we were crazy. Dick’s Sporting Goods had a selection of about 4 different “Sporty” suits that my girls refused to wear and I refused to pay a fortune for.

    I ended up going back online and searching for places that might have local pickup. I got lucky that it looked like Target had a good selection. I was able to narrow down the selection online to try on in-store plus use my new Target REDCard to save a little on the purchase. The kids didn’t LOVE them and I didn’t get a huge deal, but they like them enough to wear them and my husband didn’t choke when we bought them.

    Because I didn’t plan ahead at the end of the summer season (knowing that we were going to need summer clothes in December this year), I ended up spending a lot of time and extra money on something in a week where both time and money are precious commodities.

    It’s a good lesson about running a business as well. When you plan ahead for what you know is coming down the road, you will save yourself both time and money. Whether that is pre-writing blog posts and emails, paying annually for services rather than monthly, or not letting little tasks pile up, one of the best things that we can do for our future business is to plan better today.

    And what about those times that you do not plan ahead? You do the best that you can to work smart. You do a little research but might have to cut your losses when you come to the understanding that you just have to get it done. You pick an option that may not be the best you could have come up with if you had started earlier, but still one that you can live with. Then, you don’t look back! You are okay with the fact that not everything in life can be planned perfectly.

    As for us, fortunately all the shorts still fit and there is plenty of sunscreen in the closet. All I need to find are some sunglasses and flip flops and we will be on our way!

  • face
    WAHM Entrepreneur Success Stories

    WAHM Success Story: Rae Hoffman of Sugarrae, Inc.

    Rae Hoffman is the owner of Sugarrae, Inc. which she founded in 2002 and is also the Co-Founder of PushFire.
    Sugarrae owns a variety of affiliate websites across a wide range of niches while PushFire provides various SEO Consulting services.

    The Sugarrae Agency also co-owns successful website publishing company MFE Interactive.

    Rae is a work at home mom with four children.

    Check out her take on being a WAHM entrepreneur below.

    What made you start your business?


    I fell into online marketing completely by accident. In 1997, my oldest son suffered a massive bilateral stroke that left him severely handicapped. I founded the first national support group for parents and families of pediatric stroke survivors to ever register with the American Heart Association as a result. After a few years of running that website, I found affiliate marketing and began to lean search engine optimization (SEO). Luckily, I was good at it. I’ve been self employed ever since.

    How did you finance your business in the early days?


    Back then I had no money, so I did everything I could by myself. If I didn’t know something, I’d spend whatever amount of time it took to learn it. When I couldn’t substitute my time for cash, I would sell whatever I could do without on Ebay. To pay for my first Yahoo listing (several hundred dollars) I ate hotdogs and macaroni and cheese for almost an entire month. Whatever money the business made in the early days, I reinvested that money back into it.

    What is your average workday like?


    I get up in the morning and get my older kids off to school. Then I come home and feed my youngest (8 months old) his breakfast. At 9 am our nanny arrives and I head into my home office to work. Some days I work a ten hour day. Some days I might decide to take the day off completely. Most days I get at least 4-6 hours per day in. Then I run errands or take some “me time” before relieving the nanny at 5 pm and diving into our nightly family routine.

    It took almost a decade to be able to have such an open schedule though. If you’d asked me this question eight years ago, I’d have told you that I worked at absolute minimum 10 hours a day, every day, including weekends – and without child care. I didn’t get much sleep back then LOL.

    What has been your biggest challenge as a WAHM Entrepreneur?


    I think my challenges have changed over time. In the beginning, it was hard to have any semblance of balance and I dealt with some “mom guilt” (both self-imposed and imposed by others) at spending every spare second I had building the business. But I believed it would give me more freedom down the road (and thankfully I was right).

    These days I think my biggest challenge is growing my company as much as possible within the confines that I want the company to remain being based out of my home. I opened a physical office at one point several years ago and learned that I much preferred working from home.

    What has been your biggest success as a WAHM Entrepreneur?


    I recently got remarried, but for several years prior I was a single mom. My business was already very successful when I became single again. I felt very good about not only being able to support my kids and give them a great lifestyle, but that I also was able to do it while having the freedom to spend time with them when they needed me to. So I guess to me, my biggest success is that I now have “time wealth”. And I deliberately worked very hard to get to the point where I did.

    How do you stay motivated when working from home?


    It can be hard sometimes. I go through bouts where I don’t feel like doing anything. I think all entrepreneurs do. But for the most part, knowing that I have not only children but also employees who depend on me keeps me going.

    How do you balance your work and family?


    For a long time, I didn’t. Work seemed to be constant. But, I’ve learned that having a dedicated home office helps me keep a more balanced line between the two. When my office was in the corner of my kitchen, it was too easy to constantly be “checking on something”. But now I go into my office to work and come out when I’m done working for the day. It’s definitely been the key to regaining a balance between the two for me.

    What has been your most successful marketing tactic for your business?
    Search engine optimization.

    What is your favorite productivity tip or tool?


    For me, it’s definitely Skype Premium. It allows me to stay connected to my employees even though they telecommute. I use it for business meetings, planning sessions, networking and for social interaction during my workday.

    Who do you admire most and why?


    From a personal aspect, my 14 year old son. He has dealt with more than most adults ever will and always survives.

    From a business aspect, I have a lot of admiration for Missy Ward and Christine Churchill. Two strong women, each with different styles, very successful careers and both being genuine, “real” people that I’m proud to call good friends.

    What is something most people would be surprised to know about you?


    I’m terrified of birds. Absolutely, completely (and I know irrationally) terrified of them.

    Where do you see your business at two years from now?


    I’ve been trying to figure that out myself for the last few months, LOL. I’m not really 100% sure yet, but I still see it being successful and having its focus remain on keeping me time wealthy. I’ve got a few new ventures in the works. I guess we’ll all simply have to wait and see.

    What advice would you give to aspiring WAHM Entrepreneurs?


    To simply go for it. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t let people bring you down. Don;t worry about what other people think. Don’t wait for the “right time”. Decide you’re going to go for it. And then do it with everything you have.

    For more info…
    To learn more about Rae, you can check out the Sugarrae website or follow her on Twitter.