Hope for Becoming a Virtual Entrepreneur
I always wanted to own my own business and “be the boss”. As a teacher, this prospect felt quite distant. In my sixth year of teaching, however, all of that changed. I was going to be a mom for the first time that summer and needed to figure out childcare in a town where we had no family. Maybe I’d work from home. How hard could that be?
I’m a techie at heart with a background in design and found myself making a critical decision with my husband when we started having kids. After teaching math for six years, I was going to stay home with my little man.
That’s when I started leaning back on my passion and my design degree. I studied architecture design at MIT and soon after completed a masters program focusing on instructional technology. Little did I know that what started as a few graphics and an Etsy shop would eventually connect me with a local parenting blog when I moved back to the Rio Grande Valley as a parent of two.
I have always leaned towards finding my place in the world by trying to help others and do something that matters. Along the way, when I have struggled with “what I’m doing with my life”, it almost always boiled down to the fact that what I was doing just wasn’t that important.
Teaching and being a mom matter. That’s a no brainer. Teaching fired me up and got me going every day thinking about how many kids I could convince that math was cool.
But what else could matter as much?
A Budding Entrepreneur
Getting started as a graphic designer once I had a newborn meant jumping at every opportunity to create and really selling myself short most of the time. I believed in myself but wasn’t sure others would. Looking back now, there were times when I absolutely worked for free, barely covering my expenses. This is what so many graphic designers do, especially since it’s such a saturated market. I yearned to create and this was filling my need to work and contribute to my family.
Now I know the value of my work, and I know the value of my time. Having kids means learning a new way of life and wondering where all the time has gone. Raising kids means making choices about how to spend time with them and balance work as well.
Sales were important, but something that used to make me squeamish. I have found now that when it’s tied in to something I believe in and am passionate about, my heart is all in. It has been scary to put myself out there and market what I do – graphic design and now blogging and running the RGV Moms Blog.
Taking Myself Seriously
Working from home has meant a constant struggle and exploration with boundaries. Where in the house should I work? First it was a little corner closet where I would try and work really early in the morning and then late at night. Ideally the kids would be sleeping. This wasn’t always the case. Mostly they all napped at different times and woke up throughout the night for years.
Then I moved into the kitchen so I could watch and interact with the kids while hoping to sneak in a few minutes of editing here and creating there. That was a bust.
So I bought a cute little desk and claimed a corner of the living room. This was a huge step in the right direction but that, too, did not last. By this time I had my third son, born before my oldest turned three. Now working from home meant leaning more and more on my husband, my mother, and my mother-in-law to help watch and play with the kids so I could steal a couple of hours of work here and there to fill orders and manage the blog. It really does take a village.
Finally a Blogging Mom
I started blogging with my first born, just so my family could see pictures and hear funny stories. Secretly I dreamed about having readers that sought out my stories and couldn’t wait to read what I was going to post next. So when my friend asked if I’d join her moms blog in early 2014 I couldn’t think of a better hobby.
The hobby quickly became much more than that. I still remember my husband asking me beforehand how involved I was going to be. He knew me too well. I don’t just sit on the bench. I was all in. First a contributor, then an editor, then I partnered up with my friend to be co-owner of the blog and help manage every aspect of it.
Our moms blog is a great platform for reaching local moms. I feel like we have a tremendous opportunity and also a great responsibility to connect moms and really develop community. This is something that matters. This blog is important and it is serving a greater sphere than just my own.
The WAHM Reality
In my mind, working from home was going to be quite romantic. We’d craft all day long and read books every hour on the hour. We do read lots of books, so there was some truth there. They’d patiently wait while I took a business call and they’d understand when I had to work on a graphic for half an hour. We’d work in tandem, all of us. Me and my boys.
Instead my house is noisy, chaotic, pretty much always littered with toys and play things, and I love it. Sure, I wish I could keep it all clean and that they could do the same.
I also work on shutting off work for dedicated family time. This has been one of my biggest hurdles. It’s hard, y’all. I think everyone can relate to the struggle with electronics invading our lives. When every single aspect of your work is tied to your phone and computer, it is even harder to unplug. It also looks like I’m doing nothing to most people, so that’s another thing.
I shied away from talking about my work for so long and worried family and friends just wouldn’t understand or give it value. It isn’t a career that fits in a neatly packaged box. I now feel courage to embrace what I do and talk anyone’s ear off about it if they are willing to listen. I love that I have been afforded a chance to raise my kids and carve time out of every day to manage my virtual entrepreneurship.
I hope that any woman considering a similar path knows that it take commitment. It takes a village. But it also takes belief in yourself and many, many cups of coffee for late nights and early mornings, and it is all very much worth it.
Doesn't Anastasia's story leave you wanting more! Me too!! When we teased Anastasia's blog last week, she received a virtual standing ovation from the internet - it was heart warming to see. She has obviously touched so many lives - I am honored she lent her story to our Sister Stories of Hope.
You can connect with Anasatsia here:
RGV Moms Blog -
Pink Texas Designs -