As a single parent I had always found it hard to balance being out at work and being at home with my children. Now I work from home I have far more time to be there for them and to be part of their lives.Maria Jane from mias-craft-ideas.com
Tell us about your website, www.mias-craft-ideas.com. When and why did you start your site?
I started my site in 2010, after 2 years of trying to find something I could do even though I am technically unfit for work. In 2008 I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia syndrome (FMS). I am in constant pain, often so tired and exhausted that I sleep for days or other times I can’t sleep at all. I have cognitive and memory problems and I walk with a cane or use a wheelchair if the pain is really bad.
I needed to find something where I would be in control of my working hours, something that would work with my disability. I have severe hearing loss and that never stopped me from working so I was determined that FMS wouldn’t either.
I’ve always loved crafts, I had a part time business as a papier mache artist for over 20 years, and the idea of creating a website that I could work on when I felt well enough seemed like a good compromise.
For you as a Mom, what are the most important benefits of having an online business?
As a single parent I had always found it hard to balance being out at work and being at home with my children. Now I work from home I have far more time to be there for them and to be part of their lives. My youngest daughter has just had a baby, my first grandchild, and I was able to take a 10 week break from working on the site to help her and to get to know my grandson.
So far, what has been the biggest challenge for you?
My biggest challenge so far is getting to grips with social media. I rarely use Facebook or Twitter personally so working out how to use these for the business is a huge challenge. My cognitive and memory problems mean it takes me a lot longer to learn new things, I have to write everything down and keep lots of notes or I’ll forget things and get confused.
Why did you choose SBI! to build your website / online business?
Once I had decided to create a website I tried several times to do it on my own with very little success. Early in 2010 I was searching for some help on SEO when I came across Steve Pavlina’s blog where he mentioned SBI! and I thought it sounded really great. I went to look at SBI!’s web site at www.sitesell.com and saw that there was a moneyback guarantee so I had nothing to lose if it didn’t work out. I signed up in April 2010 and never looked back.
With the rise of mobile traffic, what steps have you done to give your visitors the best experience on their smartphones and tablets?
I have used SBI!’s Mobilize It! tool and changed from a three to a two column template as I think the two columns work better on a mobile screen. I have also increased the size of my font on all tap targets so the site should be easy to navigate. I will be changing my site to one of SBI!’s new responsive templates very soon.
Has your life changed since you started your site? Can you describe these changes for us?
My life has definitely changed for the better. I have far more confidence in myself now that I am working again. I have had times in the last five years when I’ve been ill and unable to work on my site for weeks, it still brings in an income and it’s still there when I’m ready to go back to work. I get to do lots of different crafts and the website pays for itself as well as all my tools and materials.
What one piece of advice would you give a Mom who is just getting started as an online entrepreneur?
My one piece of advice is to never give up.
Choose a subject you are passionate about as it takes time to create a successful business whether online or offline. If you are passionate about what you do, you are more likely to continue when the going gets tough and it does get tough every now and then. No matter how hard it seems or how many set backs you have… never, ever give up and you will get there eventually!