Entrepreneur Spotlight: From Preschool Teacher to Work-at-Home Mom
By Cheryl Hatch, preschool-plan-it.com
Tell us about your websites, www.preschool-plan-it.com and www.the-preschool-professor.com. When and why did you start your sites?
Preschool Plan-it was my first website. It has been a website just waiting for a time to happen! When I first entered the early childhood field in the mid-1990’s, I began accumulating so many ideas for activities for preschool children.
In 1995, I decided to write some helpful booklets for parents of preschoolers and some themed books for preschool teachers. I wrote up outlines and a few table of contents. Well, making a decision and taking action are two different things!
In 1996, I entered college to earn a degree in early childhood. Between family life, working full-time, taking classes at night and on weekends—publishing booklets went on the back burner.
Fast forward to 2010. I was organizing my files and realized how many preschool themed activities, ideas and articles I had created and saved. NOW was the time to rethink the booklet idea again. However, I also realized that as teachers, we have very little, if any, budget money.
So my challenge was: How do I provide my years of accumulated one-week themes at NO COST to teachers?
Hmm! I discussed this dilemma with our oldest daughter and her response, quite frankly, stunned me. It kind of went like this:
Daughter: “Mom, you can provide your preschool themes AT NO CHARGE to teachers but still earn money!”.
Me: “WHAT??!!! How is that possible?”
Daughter: “Mom, have you ever thought of starting a website?”
Me: “ME? Build a website?…..(cue cricket sound).
She told me that I could build my own website or hire someone to build it. She told me that there are many ways to monetize a website. And so the “how to build a website” research began.
For you as a Mom, what are the most important benefits of having an online business?
For me it is the time flexibility and freedom it provides. Our adult daughters live 1 ½ hours away. Finding a day that works to visit required balancing their individual work and college schedules and my own set work schedule. But, not anymore! My online businesses ARE my job now. That means I can work on them when I want and work my schedule around their days off! In addition, we are expecting our first Grandchild this fall. Having an online business means I’ll have more Grandma time!
So far, what has been the biggest challenge for you?
I began developing preschool-director last year and also purchased the-preschool-professor. The biggest challenge for me has been learning to manage my time between the three websites. When working from home, it is easy to become distracted by the telephone, the nice weather, our adorable dog, or Facebook. I am learning the importance of setting “office hours” and sticking to them.
Why did you choose SBI! to build your website / online business?
When my daughter suggested a website in the summer of 2010, I went into hyper-research mode. I knew NOTHING about building websites, nothing about “code.” I knew how to find websites, not create them! I did not want to depend on someone else to build my site for two reasons:
- That, from what my research showed, can be pricey.
- I knew a preschool website would be a work in progress adding articles and themes often!
Therefore, I needed to find a company that was affordable and had good support (support that could almost “hold my hand” through the techy parts).
Through my online research I found SBI! It seemed to be exactly what I needed and met my two requirements.
- They provide tutorials in the form of the “10 Day Action Guide” to follow. They also have Forums where I could ask questions of other SBI! site owners.
- The site is affordable. The cost was $199.00/year or I could pay monthly…and that included the cost for the domain name, web hosting, email, help with understanding keywords and many other things I knew nothing about!
SBI! showed me, through the Action Guide, how to research a niche and determine if it was a viable one and then how to build a quality site over time.
With the rise of mobile traffic, what steps have you done to give your visitors the best experience on their smart phones and tablets?
I literally just clicked 2 buttons! SBI’s “Mobilize It” made my site mobile friendly in 2 clicks!
Has your life changed since you started your site? Can you describe these changes for us?
Absolutely! Mark Twain once said, “The secret to success in life is to make your vocation your vacation.” Running my own websites allows me to do that. I am passionate about everything preschool. My websites allow me to share my passion and knowledge to help early childhood educators provide quality care for tomorrow’s world leaders! My websites allow me to spend time with my husband and children and soon, grandchild. My websites allow me to do what I love every day!
What one piece of advice would you give a Mom who is just getting started as an online entrepreneur?
Go for it! Don’t put it off! What is your passion? Do you notice that your friends call you about a specific problem or for advice on a specific topic? Perhaps it’s budgeting or gardening, or painting! If you have a passion that you’d like to share, look into it and begin the journey!
A journey begins with a single step. You don’t have to put 30 hours a week into a website. You need to put in the time YOU decide. When I started in 2010, I was working full time at a preschool. Some weeks I worked 2-3 hours on my website, some weeks not at all.
As a Mom, your children will see your passion, learn from your entrepreneurial journey and, you will be modeling how to pursue a passion and how to start a business. They will notice. They will observe. They will benefit from your journey.
Let me show you what I mean: Our oldest daughter loves to ride her bike, even now as an adult. In 2009, she once rode her bicycle from college in the Boston area to New Hampshire to spend Thanksgiving with us. She didn’t want to be picked up. She mapped out the route, rode with a friend and checked in often…and loved it!
This month, she went on a trip to France with her band. This meant she would not be home for Mother’s Day. Instead, I received this in the mail for Mother’s Day:
As I said—they will notice, observe, benefit and grow because of your journey! Go for it!
Learn From More High-Traffic, Profitable Solopreneurs
- Recent Success Stories With Takeaway Lessons. Read more recent inspiring stories from our blog. They deliver useful ideas and takeaway lessons from folks who’ve “done it and won it.” If they can do it, you can, too!
- Multi-Year SBI! Reviews. We take a deep-dive into the long term, full business stories of several different types of solopreneur successes. They periodically update their progress so you can see how they and their businesses grow over a period of years. This gives you excellent insight into what solopreneurs can accomplish with real online businesses.
- Hundreds of the “Top 0.5%.” Every one of these SBI! businesses (hundreds of them) rank in the top 1 million active websites (out of approximately 200 million!). That’s all the more impressive because 1) we are such a small community and 2) many Top 0.5% sites are mid-sized or large companies.
Solopreneurs fail at astronomical rates. SBI! makes you 100x more likely to succeed (that’s not a typo!). It will never be easy, but we do make it way more doable.
Scan the wide variety of solopreneurs who are winning in real niches. Use it to get a feeling for what SBIers do, as well as to generate ideas. What do you know? Turn it into a business.