You may remember Tori from a guest post I wrote for her blog, ThesTORIbook, where I offered tips on how to promote healthy eating habits in young children. I’m thrilled that she is now paying us a visit to discuss how she left a grueling work schedule to start her own business from home. Her current employment affords her the ability to manage her own hours and clients while spending plenty of time with her one-year-old son. Please help me in welcoming Tori to Sleeping Should Be Easy:
Sleeping Should Be Easy: You run your own business from home. Tell us what it is that you do.
Tori Johnson: I am the proud owner of my own public relations, marketing and event consulting company, Tori Johnson PR. I also consider ThesTORIbook a second job because I spend quite a bit of time nurturing it.
SSBE: What did you do before you launched your own business? How did you decide to start and take the plunge?
TJ: Prior to launching my company, I was the Vice President of a PR agency out of Dallas, Texas. I worked long hours, and work-life balance was non-existent. While on maternity leave with my first son Luke, I started having the same concerns that many mothers face about returning to their jobs. Not only was I unhappy, but I also wasn’t willing to sacrifice all that time with my husband and child.
When Luke was seven-weeks-old, I had a big awakening. I have some heart troubles and had to get my pacemaker replaced. It was a pretty tough time with a new baby and not being able to use my arm.
I can still remember the day like it was yesterday—my mom set Luke in my lap so I could feed him with one hand. While I was sitting there looking at my new baby I knew that it was decided: I was going to figure out a way to still do what I love in terms of work (PR and marketing) but have the amount of time that I wanted to raise a child and be a better wife.
SSBE: As a work-from-home mom, how do you balance dealing with your clients and taking care of your son?
TJ: It wasn’t too difficult balancing everything when Luke was a baby. I’d basically work whenever he was sleeping. Now that Luke is a toddler and only takes one nap a day, it’s more difficult. Essentially, I try to split my day into three’s: one activity for work, one activity for Luke and one activity for mommy.
My husband and I also decided to put Luke in a Mother’s Day Out through our church starting in September. So he will go there two days a week, from 9am-2pm, which will give me time to complete client work and maybe get a workout in!
SSBE: What financial steps did you take before making the leap?
TJ: The financial consequences were definitely something that I worried over at first. I basically took a good look at our expenses (including new baby expenses) and then looked at what my estimated income change would be until I could get my business built up.
Since I wasn’t making as much, I just made some small lifestyle changes: buying less clothes (well, if I’m honest I should say buying less shoes), cooking from home versus going out to eat, making my own baby food, purchasing generic when possible, and looking for free activities around town for entertainment are a few examples.
SSBE: How is your current job different from your previous one? Do you work the same full-time hours or have you scaled down to part-time?
TJ: It’s worlds different. I used to work well beyond full-time hours and frequently worked on weekends. Now, I work a few hours a day on most days and don’t work weekends unless I have an event.
SSBE: How did you find your first clients?
TJ: My first client was a doggy daycare and spa owned by a friend of my husband and me (I love dogs so this was a perfect fit). I have been blessed that all of my other clients have been from referrals.
SSBE: What advice could you give other moms interested in running their own business or working from home?
TJ: I’d definitely say do your research and take risks. Some of the greatest rewards are gained from the biggest risks. Also, be sure to take some time for yourself to recharge, whether it’s reading a good book or even enjoying a glass of wine.
Thank you Tori for sharing your reasons for and process on how you started your own home based business. Hopefully other moms looking to do the same can be inspired, whether she’s a working mom eager to transition from career to work-from-home, or a stay-at-home mom looking for a way to work while still being able to be with their kids.
Have you ever considered working from home or running your own business? If so, what steps have you taken? What obstacles keep you from pursuing this goal? In which field would you ideally enter as a work-from-home mom? What questions do you have for Tori?