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Our featured parent this month is Lori, an online virtual assistant and owner of FreelanceMom.  Lori was asked a series of questions about her business and her out look on working at home! Here is what she had to say...
Have you ever worked outside of the home? What type of work did you do? 
Yes, I have done everything from housekeeping to administrative work. 

What interested you about working at home?  

Since my first son was born 12 years ago I have known that I wanted to be present for him.  I couldn't stand not seeing my children and being actively involved in their lives.  While he was growing up I had the freedom not to work, however times have changed and I really need to help out my husband financially now.
How long have you worked from the home? 
I have been working as a virtual assistant for the past three years now.
What type of business are you currently involved with?
I maintain one client who I serve as a VA for.  The rest of my work includes website design and my own personal entrepreneurial pursuits.
How do you balance family and your work? 
I think the key to balance is being aware of the energy around you, and within you.  If the children are getting cranky, it's a good indicator that it's time to STOP working.  When everyone is happy and independent, I use that opportunity to work on my projects.
It isn't easy to keep everything balanced, and everyone happy.  I make it very clear to my clients that I am a Mom first.  Some women don't do that, they feel that it isn't professional.  I think it is important to being realistic with yourself and allow your clients to have realistic expectations of you.  The fastest way to burn out is to bite off more then you can chew.  It's also the fastest way to lose a client. 
What has been your hardest challenge with working at home? 
The hardest challenge is knowing when to stop and having the discipline to do it.  I easily could sit up until 3am each night working and be happy doing it.  But too many things that I am interested in fall out of my life if I let that happen.  By being disciplined to stop working, I can keep life well-rounded and nurture my relationship with my husband. 
What has been your biggest success with your business? 
I have been very pleased with the reception FreelanceMom has received.  Nothing makes me happier then a note from a new WAHM telling me how inspired she is by the site.  I consider this success. 
How do you promote your business offline? 
For web design, I have found it is very valuable to do some projects for free.  Whether it is a friend or a charity -- offering your services can end up paying off very well in the form of referral business. 
What is 1 way you promote your business online? 
I like to write and submit articles relating to work at home Moms.  I enjoy focusing on how to promote and optimize their websites because so many WAHM's aren't extremely interested in learning this on their own and yet in order to really sell their products it is necessary knowledge to implement. 
What are your business goals for 2004? 
If I could be earning enough advertising revenue to let go of all administrative work I would be very happy.  The goal all along has been to be here for my children.  I would love to have the freedom to focus on them more and on business less. 
 If you could offer 1 piece of advise to someone wanting to work at home, what would that be? 
Decide what you are passionate about and focus on it.  Don't try too many things - stay with one and do it well. Embrace competition and network. 
What is 1 business tool, you would say you can not live without? 
Well certainly none of this would be possible with my home computer!  Specifically though, my cable connection and Photoshop - what would I ever do without them?! 



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