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Monday, November 02, 2009

Spotlight on Mary Byers and Jill Hart, the Work at Home Girls

Today, I wrap up my focus on the Work at Home Girls by bringing you a feature interview with them both and links again for you to get connected with other work-at-home women and moms.

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Mary M. Byers successfully juggles both a freelance writing and speaking business and her responsibilities as a wife and mother of two school-aged children.

She is the author of Making Work at Home Work, The Mother Load: How to Meet Your Own Needs While Caring for Your Family and How to Say No...And Live to Tell about It. Byers is also a columnist for two professional trade journals and edits two others. She lives in Chatham, Illinois.

Jill Hart is the founder of Christian Work at Home Moms, and co-author of So You Want To Be a Work-At-Home Mom. Jill is the co-host of the live internet radio show, "The CWAHM Network," and the publisher of Jill has published many articles on sites like and She is a contributing author in Laundry Tales, The Business Mom Guide Book, I'll Be Home for Christmas, and Faith Deployed.

She holds a bachelor's degree in human development and family studies. She resides in Nebraska with her husband and their two children.


by Mary Byers
Published by Revell

As of 2004 nearly three million self-employed women worked at home, and women continue to start home-based businesses at twice the rate of men. Many of these women left the workplace by choice in order to stay home and raise their children. And though their numbers increase each day, resources for this growing market of entrepreneurs are scarce. Making Work at Home Work shows moms how to develop an entrepreneurial mind-set without sacrificing their families. It covers important topics such as developing a successful business philosophy, balancing time between work and family, setting realistic goals, and handling the challenges of being both "Mommy" and "CEO" while running a profitable home-based business. In addition to including her own experiences, author Mary Byers profiles real moms with home-based businesses who offer their hard-won advice.

by Jill Hart
Published by Beacon Hill Press

Home-based businesses are estimated to be a $427 billion-a-year industry. In recent studies it was found that as many as 105 million people in North America alone were working at home. Considering this information, it is obvious that home-based businesses can be successful and authors Jill Hart and Diana Ennen will help you succeed with your own.

So You Want to Be a Work-at-Home Mom details all the basics of starting a business in a spiritual, motivational, and comprehensive manner. From deciding what type of business to start to keeping your family and faith first, this helpful tool details every aspect of establishing a business. With proven success tips utilized by the authors and others who own work-at-home businesses, this inspiration approach will provide you with the resources you need to start your own home-based business.

So You Want to Be a Work-at-Home Mom includes:
Detailed information on types of businesses to start
Ideas and assistance for setting up, operating, and marketing your business
Definitions and descriptions of work-at-home terminology and processes
Help for developing your Web site
Explanations of the business nuts and bolts, including bookkeeping, taxes, and more

Readers, buy your copy of
Making Work at Home Work or So You Want to Be a Work at Home Mom today!


1.What was the inspiration behind teaming together to present the information you share in this manner?

I knew Jill’s book So You Want to be a Stay At Home Mom was being released and I contacted Jill about how I could help her promote it. She’s been great about featuring my writing on her website, Christian Work at Home Moms ( and I wanted to return the favor. We scheduled a phone conference to brainstorm together. The teleseminar series was the result of that call.

Jill: It's been such a blessing to work with Mary. It was amazing to both of us as we talked through our experiences and the areas that we felt were our strong points we found that we complimented each other. God has developed different areas in each of our lives and businesses. What an amazing God we serve!

2. How long did it take you to establish your at-home business, and what were 1-2 hurdles you had to jump in order to successfully get things started?

Mary: I left full time employment outside the home to be with my kids. When others learned I was no longer working, they started calling to see if I was available for project work. So, my business really started itself. The hurdles I faced were juggling the needs of very young children (my son was a newborn when I started) with client needs. And I also had to overcome the superwoman syndrome which led me to believe I really could handle everything all at once. I’m glad I don’t believe that anymore!

Jill: I started working at home part-time and within a year I was at-home full-time. I've done whatever it took to stay here - data entry, direct sales - while building my business. One of the things I struggled with in the beginning was truly treating my business as a "business." In the beginning, my website was just a fun project that I hoped would help me find a way to work from home. Once I realized that I had a business right under my nose I began to treat it as a business (and not a hobby or project). That was when I started seeing true growth in the business.

3. How long did it take before your business became profitable? What would you do differently if you could start over again?

Mary: Because my overhead was so low, I was profitable almost from the beginning. But I think my “profit” the first year was somewhere around $3,000. So I certainly wasn’t rolling in the dough! If I could start over I know exactly what I’d do: I relax more, worry less and spend more time enjoying my children. Had I known I’d still be in business over a decade after I started, I wouldn’t have worried nearly as much as I did in the early days.

Jill: My experience was much like Mary's. I brought in an income within just a few months, but it wasn't enough to even buy groceries. :) If I could start over I would outsource more from the very beginning and leave myself more time to do some of the tasks that can only be done by me (writing, etc). I would also strive to have more confidence in God (and in myself because of Him) instead of constantly doubting.

4. If you were to describe yourself using an ice cream flavor, what flavor would you be and why?

Mary: Neapolitan—the ice cream that blends vanilla, chocolate and strawberry together because that’s what a work-at-home mom is: a blend of wife, mother and entrepreneur all under one roof!

Jill: I love Mary's answer! But, I consider myself Cookie Dough. You're not sure how it can possibly be any good, but one taste reveals that maybe the Creator knew what He was doing after all! :)

5. If someone were to ask you to give them 2 things you wish you knew when you started your at-home business, what would they be?

Mary: That it would be the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Balancing work at family without the support of regular childcare is difficult. I’ve talked to so many moms who are relieved when they realize that it’s not them—it’s the path we’ve chosen. It’s hard, but it’s manageable. But we have to be willing to look at things differently than a woman who works outside the home from profit. Also, I wish I had known that my times of self-doubt would be great periods of self-growth. Now, when I’m scared about solving a problem, I see it for what it is: a chance to increase my value to clients. I still have moments of doubt, but they don’t mess with me emotionally like they did earlier in my career.

Jill: I would encourage them not to compare themselves with other moms or other business owners. God has a path for each of us and we have to trust that He knows what's best for us. I would also encourage them to make sure they have a support system in place. Especially in the beginning, it takes a LOT of time to get the foundation of a new business built. If you have people in place to help you - in business, with the kids, etc - things will go much more smoothly.

6. What is your most recent book/publication or an upcoming book/publication coming out soon? Where can we find it?

Mary: Making Work at Home Work: Successfully Growing a Business and a Family Under One Roof is available online. Also, readers are invited to follow my blog at

Jill: So You Want to Be a Work-At-Home Mom: A Christian's Guide to Starting a Home-Based Business. Readers can find it online or ask for it at your local bookstore. Readers can learn more about the book and find some out-of-the-book resources at

7. Do you have any parting comments for my readers?

Mary: Trust yourself. God has given you what you need to be successful in all the roles you play, even when you’re scared or doubtful.

Jill: Don't be afraid to ask - Ask God when you need help, reach out and ask other moms when you need a question answered, and ask others how you can help them.

* * * * *

Thank you, Mary and Jill, for being in the spotlight with us.

Readers, leave a comment for your chance to win a FREE autographed copy of Making Work at Home Work.

Make sure you also leave your email address (name at domainname You won't be entered in the drawing without it. If you wish to comment but don't want to be entered, say so when you post.

And if you want to make certain you don't miss anything, check the box that says 'email follow-up comments to:' when you leave a comment and they'll be sent to the email address associated with your blogging account. That way you'll be notified of any comments and will know when the winners are announced each time.

This week, the contest is open to US/Canada residents only.


Giveaway Lady said...

Hi, please enter me in the giveaway. This sounds like a very interesting book. Thanks for the review:)
esterried @

Anonymous said...

Please enter me. I am a stay-at-home Mother and would very much like to read this book.

Martha A. said...

I have read Mary's book, but not Jill's they sound excellent! martha(at)lclink(dot)com

Tiffany Amber Stockton said...

We have a winner from this drawing and that is:


Congratulations! I have emailed you for your mailing information so Mary can send out your book.

As always, thanks to everyone for your continued support.