Updated: Aug 17, 2022
These days, with working from home being easier than ever, more and more moms are becoming "mompreneurs."
Today's interviewee is Rachel Roy. This lady really has a lot going on when it comes to being a mompreneur! She has a craft store online, does homesteading, and is an author!
I met Rachel about a year ago in a blogging group on Facebook, and was impressed by everything that she is doing. Since we considered homesteading ourselves before our move to Germany, I found her blog to be a wealth of information.
Here is my Q&A with Rachel, I hope that you enjoy!
Can you tell me a little bit about yourself and your business?
Hi, My name is Rachel. I live in the northeastern corner of Vermont, US known as the Northeast Kingdom. It is very rural and I, like many people around here, have multiple streams of income.
My husband is a millwright and welder. He sometimes works for others and often for himself. I began my foray into business by keeping the books for him. Now we continue that, plus we have income from our hobby homestead, Second Time Around Homestead, with local sales of baked goods, canned goods, fresh eggs, and crafts. I also am an author and have been focusing on my serial stories on the Kindle Vella platform.
How did you decide to start your business?
2. I have had a variety of jobs through the schools (I'm a middle school Humanities teacher, also) but I was looking for a way to make some side income from the crafts that I enjoy doing. There isn't a large market here for crocheted or knit items, but as we started our homestead and began selling eggs I looked into farmers markets.
Simultaneously, I used my writing experience to start our blog, www.secondtimearoundhomestead.com. I researched what else I could sell, and soon found that I could easily sew these totes from repurposed feed bags, thus earning money when I sold them and keeping the "waste" from the landfill. Shortly after, Vermont passed legislation banning single use bags and so my audience grew exponentially as people needed reusable shopping totes. I love the funny animal pictures, and the beautiful photographs on many of these bags.
How old are your kids?
My children are all teenagers now (19, 18, 17, & 14) and more independent, allowing me more time for "my" projects.
When they were little I used my crafts for us to give away for holidays and special occasions. As they got older I was able to start selling on a small scale. Likewise, I was not able to do very much writing when the four children were younger.
This past December I learned about the Kindle Vella platform. This allows me to publish in a serial format (publishing episodes to a series, much like watching a tv series with an episode each week). I don't need the entire series/book complete but can publish as I go and based off reader feedback. I dusted off three short stories I had written for my children when they were MUCH younger, and I began my first series Growing Up As Fairies. I now have 6 series, two children's, two nonfiction about homesteading, and two adult fantasy romance.
I wish that Vella had existed when my children were younger and I probably would have been publishing for years. My children were at home with me until they were all in school and then I began working full time in the school system. I could not find the time to care for all of us and our animals and write, but had I known about serial fiction then, I might have. I absolutely recommend it for any wannabe authors now. If you can adjust your writing to episodic format (shorter episodes rather than chapters, and more action/cliffhangers) I highly recommend you do it.
Best yet, you can take these completed vellas, edit them a bit, and then publish them in ebook and printed formats after they have been complete on the Vella platform for 30 days. I am in the process of this for my Fairies series. Currently I am in final editing and illustrating, release will hopefully be this fall.
Are your kids in childcare or at home full time?
Currently, I have one child moved out and three children at home. My children are older and more independent now.
How do you balance your work with your family?
Balance is something that I struggle with. Especially as I have these creative bursts and start a few new projects (hence having four active vellas right now and only two complete) at a time. Almost always that is also when other people ask if I can help with a project and I say yes.
Currently my days focus on marketing my writing, animal care (I highly recommend chickens as a start to homestead animals, they are so easy going and require very little work in moderate temperatures), family care, and prepping for the school year.
I have not found a good balance with continuing my writing, but I hope to buckle down and achieve some good writing soon. Likewise, I really struggle with a balance of time for me for exercise and fun. I do make a point of crocheting while watching tv with my husband (or at boring meetings). I continue to seek out reading assignments like book reviews for a little extra cash or for that section of our blog.
Any tips for other moms looking to start a business?
To achieve the best balance I try to keep a bit of a schedule. For example, I tend to grocery shop on Monday mornings, it's not as crowded as the weekend, but then I am prepped for the week. If I'm not in a writing mood I tend to do some meal prepping then to carry me through the week. (Cooking dinner is not my favorite activity, but I do think it's important to have fresh made food at home more often than not. It's healthier and cheaper.) I try to do my marketing first thing in the morning while drinking my hot caffeine. This allows me to ease into the day, and I use schedulers to spread my posts out through the day/week/month.
I have also learned that I must grant myself the same grace I extend to others and I don't expect myself to get everything done nor to do all things perfectly. I can only try my best and make it work. You must find what works for you. Some people achieve the most when they can be free spirited and follow their desires and inspiration. Some people work best with a time-blocked schedule. I'm somewhere in the middle. If it's quiet in the morning and I have a great idea, I'll put off marketing and write. Likewise in the evening when I tend to write if I just can't find the words, I'll create promotional graphics instead.
I highly recommend streamlining some multitasking into your day. This might be for meal prepping to make the rest of the week easier, this might be a schedule of accomplishing laundry while listening to an audio book while gardening, housekeeping, etc. whatever works for you that can be done efficiently.
Lastly, I recommend networking. It may be networking for work projects or it may be a network of peers to vent to and bounce creative ideas off of. I recently asked only of my writing circles for their opinions whether I should change my works to a pen name before returning to the classroom. I don't need their advice, but it's helpful and it has created a thread of conversation about each other and we bonded. I have another friend that I can message anytime to vent or celebrate our families. She will always listen to me (and I her), offer advice, or a joke, or a high five depending upon what I need. We need to be a network of support for each other.
If you are interested, you may find me and my author links through this linktree: https://linktr.ee/authorrachelroy or stay up to date with my homestead activities here: https://www.facebook.com/SecondTimeAroundHomestead/
Book reviews, author interviews, and other posts can be found on our blog: www.secondtimearoundhomestead.com
It is great that Rachel had time at home with her kids to be able to raise them while they were young, and that she has the opportunity to work on her own projects now that they are older.
This really shows balance (even though she thinks she doesn't have any!) over the seasons of life. As we move through changes in life and our kids get older, then our priorities change.
Having both a little one and a 19 year old myself, I understand the changing seasons of life with kids myself, too. If you have littles at home, not to fear. This time with them is precious, and it passes all too quickly.
You can find time in life for both yourself and your kids, and as they grow you will have more time for your business and your own ventures, just the way that Rachel does now that her kids are all teens.
To read more about Mompreneur life, check out these other blog posts: