How I Became an Accidental Entrepreneur
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At the beginning of our marriage in 2003, we had a lot of debt. Over $80k, to be exact. It seemed insurmountable, but with some great resources (more on that later), and God’s provision, we were debt free within three years. And we did it without high paying jobs and while continuing to tithe 10% of our income.
New Mom Syndrome, or Something More?
Around the time we became debt-free, our first son arrived and my health began to decline.
Over the course of the next few years I struggled with a variety of mysterious symptoms that my doctors chalked up to being a new mom. After three miscarriages, I was diagnosed with hypothyroidism, eventually receiving a diagnosis of Hashimoto’s–an autoimmune thyroid disease.
While it explained a whole lot, it didn’t make me feel any better. My endocrinologist managed my medication levels and reported that my lab results looked great. And yet I continued to feel terrible.
Our New Crunchy Lifestyle
Unable to accept feeling that way for the rest of my life, I finally started my own research. Over time, this led to a major overhaul of our entire lifestyle.
♦ Diet: We cut out gluten and (most) refined sugar, and focused on eating real food and avoiding processed junk.
♦ Doctor: We found a holistic MD who addressed my overall health, and who took a closer look at my thyroid function.
♦ Products: I began to DIY items like toothpaste, deodorant, lotion, cleaners and more.
♦ Essential Oils: It might sound cheesy, but essential oils revolutionized the way I took care of my family. I was hooked!
And with that, we were officially crunchy.
How I Became an Accidental Entrepreneur
After feeling well again (hooray!), I needed a way to organize all my new resources. I also wanted a way to share them easily, to save others the trouble of hunting down great gluten-free recipes, natural products, and home remedies. Thus, Yankee Homestead was born.
And before I knew it, my interest in essential oils also turned into a thriving business that I run from home.
No one is more surprised than I am–I genuinely expected to be a non-working, stay-at-home-mom for the entire time we had children in the home. I see motherhood as a great calling; I embraced it and honestly felt fulfilled as a mom.
Don’t get me wrong–being a mom is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. But it’s also highly rewarding, and I was committed to staying home with my children. I knew I’d never pursue a career outside our home.
But as my two “accidental businesses” grew, I found myself really enjoying them, and looking for ways to maximize my financial contributions to our family.
I had become a work-at-home-mom. A mompreneur. A money-making mom.
From Money Saving Mom to Money Making Mom
Back in those early days of marriage as we struggled to escape a mountain of debt, I stumbled across a helpful little blog called Money Saving Mom. Maybe you’ve heard of it? It’s now one of the biggest blogs on the web.
God used Crystal Paine, aka Money Saving Mom, to encourage and inspire us to pursue financial freedom, stick to our budget, live frugally, and give generously.
She taught me how to use coupons to my utmost advantage, saving us hundreds of dollars each month. My father in law used to say I could squeeze six cents out of a nickel. My friends called me the Bargainizer.
After we got out of debt, moved to a new area with a much higher cost of living, and added three little people to our family, I continued to find encouragement in Crystal’s tips, resources and encouragement.
Crystal is very serious about intentional finances, intentional family and intentional business, so when my little businesses began to grow, I looked to her as an amazing example of working from home done right. I scoured her blog for tips and inspiration. I followed her advice and her example.
Earn More and Make a Difference
Which is why I’m so excited to tell you about Crystal’s new book Money Making Mom. I’m currently reading a pre-release copy (it releases on November 3rd) and am so inspired!
This is exactly the book I could have used as I started a blog and a direct sales business. And it’s exactly the book I need now, as I take those two businesses to the next level.
It’s filled with practical suggestions, personal experiences and lots of encouragement to equip every woman to help support her family, pay down debt, and build a bigger cushion for emergencies and generous giving.
If you have even the tiniest of inklings to start a business or even to simply contribute to your family’s finances in some way, this book is for you. As you read, you’ll gain a clear vision of exactly which steps to take and the pitfalls to avoid.
You’ll be inspired to earn more–not to have more, but to make a difference.
My Big Goal
I must confess that we’re currently carrying a bit of debt. When we moved from Texas to Northern Virginia six years ago (in 2009), we left a very low cost area and landed in the most affluent county in the nation.
Thankfully, we’d saved up enough for a large down payment on our home, and we paid cash for a small SUV. We continued to live as frugally as possible, despite the much higher cost of living.
But it turns out that real food is much more expensive than processed junk, and holistic doctors do not accept medical insurance. Plus we’re now feeding three growing boys!
This year our property required a few major repairs. And our car–that same small SUV we’d paid for in cash–died quite unexpectedly around the time of Baby Bro’s arrival, requiring us to invest in a new, larger vehicle.
The good news is that the income from my two businesses–this blog and my essential oils business–is covering those expenses. My next big goal is to use that income to completely eradicate the car loan (for the new vehicle) and the home equity loan (for the repairs), and then to pay off our entire mortgage.
It’s a big goal, but reading Money Making Mom has renewed my passion to get back to complete financial freedom, and to move beyond that to living more generously for others.
What About You?
For me, it’s a blog and a direct sales opportunity. For you, it might be something completely different–maybe a hair salon, interior design, cake decorating or a new product.
Whatever it is, Money Making Mom will help you identify your skills and talents, your passion and knowledge. You’ll be encouraged to do what works for you, and equipped to get moving!
You’ll also be inspired to live generously. Actually, that’s the whole point of the book, and its what I love the most. This isn’t just another self-help, get rich book. It’s a book that will light a fire in you to use your God-given talents and gifts and desires to make a difference.
So that’s the story of how I became an accidental entrepreneur. What about you–are you struggling to get out of debt? Thinking of starting a business? What’s your next step?
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Great writing, Kathleen! Crystal has always inspired me, too. I look forward to following your path to financial freedom!
Thanks, Leah! 🙂
I found myself resonating with so much of your journey. I also have hypothyroidism, have followed Crystal’s blog for years, and now run a blog and am writing a book. I love how you’ve found your big goal to reach for. I wish you all the best as you’re working toward it!
Thanks, and likewise, Sarah! 🙂
What a journey! Thanks for sharing it with us! I love to see how God is at work in other people’s lives – and how He is using Crystal to inspire so many! I’m staying at home and am working hard at turning my 2 business (blogging and custom books) into a full-time income. That’s big dream…and it may still be a ways off, but it’s nice to meet other moms and bloggers who are dreaming big as well!
I agree! Best wishes to you with your blog and custom books endeavor. 🙂
I can certainly feel some of your pain. My daughter (who was 4 at the time of diagnosis, now 12) was diagnosed with Grave’s (autoimmune hyperthyroid), but also had the antibodies to Hashimoto’s (hypo) as well. She’s currently in the hypo state and it certainly takes an integrative med approach for her to feel her best, I don’t rely solely on lab results and ranges.
Thank you for sharing your inspiring story of being debt free and striving to get there again, along with your “accidental entrepreneur” journey. I’m at the starting line…
I’m glad you’ve found an effective approach for your daughter, Jennie–it can be tricky. Best wishes to you at the starting line; you can do it! 🙂
Kathleen, this is Jody from college. I was a few years behind you but involved in the same ministry. Just read your article via MSM. Small world! We just settled in Winchester, VA after many years of moving around for my husband’s medical training. It was great to read what you are up to!
So nice to hear from you, Jody! Welcome to Virginia! 🙂
I appreciate your story Kathleen; it confirms my motto of the last several years. “Enough. Discovering Joy Through Simplicity & Generosity.” I saw it on the cover of a church bulletin. It spoke to my heart in a good way.
What a great motto, Dolores! 🙂
I am a great grandmother and a grandmother just getting interested in E O I enjoy your stories and tips very much thank you ..Gail Enochs ,
What an experienced you had and glad you made a success through it.