Tailoring a Business Around Family: Schedule, Space & Situation (Working From Home)

Earlier this week I shared with you the fabulous book from Amber Carter, Money-Makin’ Mama: How to Generate a Steady Income as a Stay-at-Home Mom . I told you how much I loved her tips on organizing and prioritizing. So I am so excited to share this guest post with you from Amber. She is sharing more ideas on how to make being a work at home mom WORK! When you are done be sure to go enter to win a copy of Money Makin’ Mama  filled with more information on home to make it work for you too!

Tailoring a Business Around Family: Schedule, Space & Situation

by Amber Carter

I am truly blessed to stay at home with my kids and run a business. I’m not saying that it’s easy, but it sure is rewarding. The biggest lesson that I’ve learned from this whole balancing act of family & business is to keep my priorities in perspective; I’m a wife and mom first, and a business owner second. Therefore, my family does not revolve around my business; my business is tailored around my family. Practically speaking, this plays out in three realms: schedule, space, and situation.

The business caters to the family’s schedule. When I first started my bookkeeping business 3 ½ years ago, I had just resigned from a federal career. Because I was used to working a usual 9-5 job, I just assumed that I would have to be available to work (or at least appear to be available to my clients) from 9-5 everyday. Not only did this potentially set me up for failure, but also it just wasn’t honest. I had a newborn; I wasn’t available from 9-5. I might be available from 2-4am, but not 9-5. Then it hit me. Even though I don’t have banker’s hours, I do have advantages over the average business. I’m available at unconventional, yet somewhat predictable time frames. To be specific, I usually work from 6-7:30am (before the kids wake up), 1-3:30pm (their nap time), then from 8-10pm (after they go to bed).

I might receive an e-mail on my iPhone, at 8pm, from a client asking me to generate an invoice for an exciting new project. I can immediately respond, informing her that I will send it to her the next day. Of course, I can choose to produce that invoice and send it off within the hour, thus producing good rapport (by under-promising and over-delivering) and freeing up my schedule a bit the next day. I thrive off of this structured freedom.

The average 9-5 businesses can’t provide this kind of efficient service. My hours may be unusual, but they’re perfect for me!

The business submits to the family’s space. I have a 3 yr. old daughter and a 10-month-old son; this means lots and lots of toys. All over. With limited space in our home, that doesn’t leave much space for a “home office”. Thankfully, my line of work doesn’t require much space. All I need is my laptop, an Internet connection, and a scanner. All of my clients’ financial statements, receipts, invoices, and QuickBooks back-up files are neatly organized digitally using online storage. Not only is this secure and reliable (if my computer crashes, I won’t lose any information), it’s kid-proof! You won’t find my son gnawing on a bank statement or my daughter coloring castles on a Profit & Loss Statement because there are no paper records for them to destroy! My personal favorites are the NeatReceipts Scanner and DropBox online storage.


The business compliments the family’s specific situation. Schedules change. Commitments change. Budgets change. I started working with my first client when my daughter was 9 days old. At that time, our family budget was little more flexible and my free time was much more abundant. When we discovered that we were expecting another baby, I quickly realized that I still wanted to earn the same amount of money (actually a little more), yet my hours would be more limited. I wanted to remain the face of my business, but I knew that I wouldn’t have the time to be that contact person AND process all of the paperwork involved with gaining and retaining clients. It was quite the conundrum.

My solution was to hire a handful of other stay-at-home moms to assist me in updating my clients’ QuickBooks files. It saves me time and gives other moms the freedom to work from home, set their own hours, and not have to worry about answering phone calls from clients. A win-win situation for everyone involved!

When family situations change, it’s important to re-evaluate both personal and professional priorities and tailor the business accordingly.

For specific examples of businesses that work with particular family schedules and situations, check out my book Money-Makin’ Mama: How to Generate a Steady Income as a Stay-at-Home Mom.

  • Kristie Colley

    Thanks for the awesome post! I had submitted an email to Heather and am just wondering why I haven’t received a response? I sent it on 1/15 but haven’t received a response…

    • Hi Kristie,

      Did you have a question for Heather or was it relating to Money-Makin’ Mama? I’m happy to answer any questions you have about my book or working from home, if it’s related to that. Feel free to contact me at http://www.moneymakinmama.com. Here’s the direct link. http://www.moneymakinmama.com/contact-page/

      Hope you’re having an awesome week,
      Amber Carter

    • Heather @living on love and cents

      Hi Kristie!

      My deepest apologies! I am sure you can imagine my inboxes stay very full. I try to reply to all that I receive. I am not sure if I missed it or it went to spam. Can you please resend to livingonloveandcents at gmail dot com. I will be looking for it! Thanks for reaching out. Look forward to hearing from you. Thanks!

      • No worries Heather! I’m sure they are QUITE full all the time! I’ll go ahead and send it now! Thank you! :-)

  • Jill A. Collins

    Work from home opportunities are wonderful and much easier now than when I was young. I didn’t grow up in the generation of computers so our options were more limited, but some things never change. We had couponing/rebate clubs, where the housewives would get together and exchange coupons and rebates (already done with proofs and receipts attached) since so many were one per household. One could earn enough money in a year to pay for vacations and lots of family extras doing this back then.

  • amy v

    i’m currently a SAHM but would LOVE to find some way to make money from home! it’d be great to have even a little extra $ on my end. There seem to be a variety of ways to do that but it’s overwhelming. I do have a bs in education but just love staying home w/ my little guy.

    annae07 at aol dot com

    • Hi Amy,

      Have you looked into online tutoring, something like tutor.com? Or maybe even starting up a part-time tutoring business from your home? You could schedule tutoring sessions around your schedule (maybe in the evenings after your husband comes home and when kids are out of school for the day). Feel free to contact me with questions re: how to set up a business or any other questions you might have. Way to go for staying home with your little guy!!!

      Hope you’re having a great night,

      Amber Carter

  • Carmen Van Deursen

    Would love to start a little something soon to have a little spending money for my self. Sounds like a great book to get good ideas.

    • Thanks, Carmen!

      Yes, one chapter of the book lists specific ideas including existing product sales (Mary Kay, Scentsy, Strider Bikes etc.), existing service-based opportunities (existing franchises etc.), and ideas of both product-based and service-based business to start. Hope it helps!

      Amber Carter