Making Work at Home Work

Did you know that this week is National Work at Home week? I know many of you out there are WAHMs or have aspirations to one day become a work at home mom!

Mary Byers (herself a WAHM) quit the corporate world eleven years ago. She began a home-based business and raised her children all while making sure everyone had clean underwear and food to eat. She’s had her share of failures along the way, but she’s also has her successes.

Mary has written several books, but her latest book, Making Work at Home Work: Successfully growing a business and a family under one roof 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.

Mary says she “feels really privileged that I was able to write this book. I wrote it with Work at Home Moms in mind. There are so many unique challenges about working at home that only another work-at-homer can understand!

She says the most important question to ask yourself is: Why are you working?

Believe it or not, there are a lot of people who don’t know why they are working. Most assume that they are working for money. But when I talk to people about the topic, I hear a lot of different reasons for work. Some work for the mental stimulation. Some to keep their skills up to date. Others work to support their scrapbooking habit or to be able to purchase cosmetics at a discount.

There’s a big difference between working to put food on the table vs. working for the “extras” such as summer camp or a vacation. Both are legitimate but it’s essential to be honest about your motivation. Knowing what drives you will help you keep your priorities in order. When my children were young, I worked for the extras. However, instead of stopping when I earned enough to help with vacation costs I kept right on going, becoming a workaholic in the process. It didn’t serve me or my family. When I recognized my error, I was able to cut back on work in order to create a healthier balance. Now that my children are school-age and I’m working to help cover orthodontia, tuition and retirement, I’ve increased my hours accordingly.

Understanding why you are working makes it easier to make tough work-related decisions. Will you work on the weekends? Stay up late to get it all done? If you’re working to put food on the table, the answer will more likely be yes. But if you’re working for the fun of it, you may choose not to compromise family time by late night or weekend work. When you know why you are working, it gets easier to decide what kind of boundaries you’ll adhere to.

Excellent advice Mary. Let’s find out a bit more about you and how you first began your Work at Home career!

When did you start your business?

Why did you decide to start your business and how did you choose the type of business? The business found me, actually. I left full-time employment outside the home when I was expecting my second child. The decision to leave a job I loved was so agonizing I hadn’t even thought about what I would do after my son’s arrival. Colleagues began calling, however. “Would you speak at our conference?” “Would you write an article for our publication?” I said “yes” to everything and my business as a professional speaker and author was launched from our guest room.

What is your favorite thing about being in business for yourself? I get to work in my pajamas many days and have the freedom and flexibility to set my own schedule, making it possible to manage both work and family in a way that’s comfortable for me.

What turned out to be harder than you thought? Balancing work and family when my children were preschool age. I was always wondering when I would be able to find the next block of uninterrupted time to work. It was mentally grueling.

Looking back, what is one thing you know now, but wish you knew back then? That I’d still be at it a decade later and by business would be thriving. Had I known that, I wouldn’t have worried so much in the beginning.

Do you participate in any business groups (mentoring, networking, etc)? I’m part of several informal groups and have many friends who also work at home. We call each other for advice a lot!

As a business owner, it can be easy to work all the time – do you have any tips for balancing your business and your personal life? I finally have set office hours, which includes an ending time each day. Occasionally I’ll allow work to spill over into Saturday morning, but I try to limit this as much as possible.

What have been some of your best business successes? My first book was published in 2005 and I’ve written four more since. Adding “author” to my credentials was a dream come true!

What are you planning to do with your business in the future?
I’m taking on bigger projects which increases revenue and makes it possible for me to plan further out rather than chasing smaller projects that require the same amount of preparation but sometimes result in more stress. In addition, I plan to facilitate accountability groups for other at-home-entrepreneurs, which reflects my passion for helping other women succeed in a home-based business.

I’ve also launched a blog on this topic at

What one piece of advice would you give to work-at-home moms? Remember that your children are only young once. When my children were preschool age, the days seemed to last forever. Now that I have a 13 and 11 year old, I’m seeing how fast it really goes. There will always be time for work. There won’t always be time to snuggle!

Mary has also developed at Making Work at Home Work blog ring. She’ll be sending out helpful tips and monthly articles for your blog (and your personal use) as well as connecting Work at Home Moms. Go here to find out more info!

In celebration of National Work at Home week, we are giving away five copies of Making Work at Home Work: Successfully growing a business and a family under one roof.

To enter simply leave a comment on this post by Friday, June 5th. Five winners will be chosen at random and announced on Saturday, June 6th. This contest is open to US & Canadian addresses.

As always, don’t forget to earn more entries: subscribe to our Feed, sign up for our 5M4M Newsletter, add our 5 Minutes for Mom button in your sidebar, write a post and link back to this contest on your blog, and spread the word via Facebook, Twitter, or email! Please see our site’s Terms and Conditions of Use for a complete list of our contest and giveaway rules.

This post was written by guest contributor Amy Lathrop from Sprightly Amy Anne.


  1. says

    I would love this book! I’m working from home currently and I’m facing a lot of challenges and would love the insight and tips.

  2. says

    Whoops! Forgot to add that I am already a follower of the blog (and get your feed) and follow you on Twitter.

  3. says

    I’ve been working from home for7 years now. The last 2 years I’ve been co-managing a self storage property with my husband.
    It hasn’t been the best 2 years since I’m doing something I no longerenjoy. I work because I have to.

  4. says

    Wow, very impressive! I’ve been working from home as a freelance graphic designer now for 2.5 years. We’ve got a daughter with special needs so it was impossible for me to continue on in my corporate job and still be able to get her to all of her therapy appointments, etc. This book sounds awesome! Would love to win a copy!! Thanks for sharing this great post!!!

  5. says


    What year is this?!

    Excuse me but all moms are work at home moms……some more than others.
    Some stay at home moms work harder than women who have jobs outside the home. Some stay at home moms work very hard keeping up their home and taking care of their family; some of them work harder than some stay at home moms who make a second income inside or out of their homes. It has also been noted that some women who stay at home do little at all (but blog), while some women who work at jobs outside the home do little work inside their home (including take care of their children). Then there are the moms and non moms who do very little (if anything) at their jobs outside the home yet collect a pay check.
    In the end, all moms are working women….working moms….some just work harder.

  6. says

    I agree with Robin’s comment above. I have been a stay-at-home mom and just recently have been learning to be a sahm while also managing a wahm blog job. It can be tough–especially when my first priority is my children, home and family. I work and blog because I think it is fun, but now that my children are getting older I have had to change my motivation for “working” and that’s money. We want to be able to save more money and I am fully capable of bringing in extra income. My husband also fully supports me staying at home while working from home, but has been encouraging me to see the business side of blogging too.

    I would really like to read this book–Thanks for the opportunity!

  7. says

    woot! I really need this book – just started my own home business a few months ago and with three little ones at home, balancing is hard!

  8. says

    I would love this book, I am starting a new blog where this post would have fit in great, shame it is not up yet.

  9. Jinii Boren says

    I would love this book. I am a WAHM and always need advice on how to balance my life!!

  10. says

    Wow – this book sounds fantastic. I would have loved to have a book like this when I first got started with my business. There is a lot of challenges that we face with working at home!

  11. says

    This would be great to read! I work A LOT from home and only go into the office for two mornings per week.

  12. says

    Great post and interview. As a wahm, finding the balance is always difficult. The minute there seems to be peaceful co-existence between family & work, life throws a curve ball; schedules change, an unexpected pregnancy ;), or shift in spouses career. One things for sure – trying to balance certainly keeps us moms on our toes!
    I subscribe to your feed, and I tweeted this.

  13. PAMELA says

    I would love to have her book to see where I make my biggest mistakes, thanks for the giveaway, great interview

  14. says

    I just found this site and I love it. I work from home in order to show my daughters that I am making a life for myself.

  15. JDSG says

    The book would be so informative and useful for me as I try to juggle work outside the home, from home and family life. I am in a transitioanl stage which I hope to have complete within a years time.


    visionquest2020 (at) msn (dot) com

  16. says

    I recently became a SAHM and would love to find out how I can begin making money from home!! Anything that can keep me home for my kids is a blessing!

  17. Renee Concolino says

    Working at home always seems unattainable. I would love to read this book and determine if it is something I can accomplish.

  18. clemens says

    i am working to get little extra things here and there. oh and to pay bills. i want to read this.

  19. Lisa Martin says

    This book sounds like it could be very helpful. I have to work from frequently and I would love some tips on how to be more successful at doing so. I always find myself getting distracted!

  20. Pamela Callahan says

    I think this is a reality that more and more people are facing. The job market is terrible, more businesses are closing. Any insight that could be provided to just help get by should be appreciated by everyone!

  21. michele anne says

    This sounds like a great book…one almost everyone should read. woudl love to win it.

  22. Susan K says

    Am looking into working from home in the future -this could be a big help in figuring it out

  23. Rose A says

    If I don’t find a way to successfully work from home very soon, finances dictate I’m going to have to return to a traditional job (which I do like, but I want to be home with my son). I’d love the book, maybe it would give me an insight that I’m lacking.

  24. says

    As an author/illustrator working out of my home, time management is a priority to accomplish home, family and work duties. A mother’s greatest job is to nurture and strengthen her children and that requires balancing lots of other roles and tasks.

    I love the time each day to read to my little children their favorite books and sing songs because it’s vacation from work each day.


  25. Maggie M says

    I have a strong desire to be a work from home grandmother. I need the extra income because I am living on SS Disability. I was forced into early “retirement” as the result of two severe work injuries. I went from working 60 hours a week, to nothing. I have taken up hobbies that I enjoy, but I need to generate some income. I’m hoping that Mary’s book will provide me with some information and answers on creating and maintaining a business that I can do from home.

  26. Leilani says

    I would love to read this book. I’m really struggling with trying to make this transition right now.


  27. John Carr says

    Being a senior on a fixed income, I may just need to start some business out of my home.

  28. Diane Fisher says

    I would love to figure out how to work from home. Recent medical issues have made this more of an issue that it was, so winning this book would be a blessing.

  29. Barbara Rawe says

    Do I ever need this book! I am trying to work but there are so many diversions that side track me every day. Thanks for this giveaway!

  30. Aisling says

    I’d love to get some insights from a WAHM who’s “been there and done that”.

  31. Mollie G. says

    Would be nice to win this book, both to help ME get my priorities straight, AND to offer suggestions to my husband, who is currently unemployed and stressing about it… There may be something he can do to generate some income that we aren’t seeing??

  32. Brittany Rebello says

    I want this because when I finish my medical billing degree I plan to eventually work from home.

  33. Cassandra says

    I am sure this book will help me and give me some inspiration to continue pursuing my dual goals. Thanks!

  34. Letessha Williams says

    button on my sidebar and follow on blogger!