Monday Mumpreneur with Rebecca Diamond

Every Monday we feature a mumpreneur who’s ready and willing to open up their lives to us.  They share with us their motivation, challenges and proudest moments in business and they also tell us how they take time to nurture themselves. It’s lovely to have them here at Mums Got A Business and we hope you enjoy connecting with them too.

Once you've taken that huge step into mumpreneurship, you just know you can't go back into the world of 9-5.  Or can you?  This week's featured mum has found a way to not only balance all her streams of income, but has landed her dream job into the bargain. You're gonna like her!!!!

Your name: Rebecca Diamond

Your websiteThe Real Rebecca Diamond
Work: StudioPress/Copyblogger Media

Tell us about your site:  The Real Rebecca Diamond - Crafting, Coding, Commenting - and Whatever Else Catches My Fancy

It's where I blog and let off steam, give away knitted things, and generally let my hair down a bit. Sometimes I mention my *very* randomly stocked etsy store, - I make and sell hand-tatted jewelry, but not enough to be called a business, truly. It's more the occasional doodle with needle and thread that I then need to find a reason for making.

The name was a suggestion from a client, when I was griping about not being able to get my name as a domain (it had a domain squatter sitting on it, that wouldn't respond to sales inquiries.) There are several other Rebecca Diamonds around, and this client suggested that since I was obviously the *real* one, I use that. It was perfect - and I like it even better than just my name.

StudioPress by Copyblogger Media - The Industry Standard of WordPress Design Frameworks: The Genesis Framework empowers you to quickly and easily build incredible websites with WordPress.

This is where I've worked - first part-time, then full-time, since 2009. I've been a fan of Brian Gardner's work since I first found out about it, and it's not hyperbole to say that he changed the face of themes for WordPress. I got to know him as a client, and was such a fan that he wound up hiring me 😉 (more on that, below.)

rebwebdesign - my personal/freelance web design site, from 2005-present. That one's been sidelined earlier this year, as I'm spending more and more time on my Copyblogger duties. I plan to always keep it open, though, for the loyal clients that I've met over the years.

How many children do you have?

One - known online as The Boy, at his request. He'll be 8 this month, and is web-savvy enough to request that I keep him relatively anonymous online "because I've seen videos and stuff on YouTube, and I don't want people laughing at me." He'll be launching his own video blog early next year, though - but I'll still help him preserve a bit of anonymity.

Where do you live?

I live in rural New Brunswick, Canada. Much smaller than I'm used to (I grew up near Baton Rouge, Louisiana, USA) but it's very, very beautiful here. It almost makes up for the lack of good shopping and Starbucks...almost.

PC or Mac?

Both! I have 5 PC's and 1 Mac, although the die-hard Mac fans would insist that it takes 5 PC's to do the work of one Mac 😉 I use the Mac for work, and I must confess I love it way more than I thought I would. I'm not ready yet to completely make the switch, but I'm getting there. I can at least see why people love them so much now!

Tell us about your business

Right now, I'm Community Manager for Copyblogger Media, LLC. This involves spending my day answering emails, working in our StudioPress support forum, tweeting, and being on Facebook and Google+. Yes, I get paid to hang out online - totally my dream job. I probably shouldn't admit to how much I love it, or else I'll sound like I'm kissing up, but really - best.job.ever.  This is a fairly recent development in my mumpreneur career, though - again, more on that below.

What motivated you to become a mumpreneur?

The short answer - becoming a mum! I worked as a photographer prior to having my son, and I knew from the moment I found out I was pregnant that once he was born, I'd never willingly go back to a 9-5 out-of-the-home job. I had a brief foray into having my own photography studio once he was about 6 months old, and when he was about 18 months old, I decided I needed a website.

I couldn't afford one - I was barely making ends meet as it was! - and so I decided to experiment with making my own.  Those first ones were...pathetic. That's the kindest thing I can say about them.
Once I discovered WordPress - then in its infancy, version 1.5 - my sites started improving.

It allowed me to use my rudimentary coding skills in ways that made me look like I knew more than I did - what's not to love?! I quickly closed the photography studio and began building an online business as a web developer/consultant instead.

What’s been your biggest challenge in business?

Truthfully, one of the biggest challenges was deciding to work for someone else again, while maintaining my own business. I'd worked so hard to get to the point where I felt successful, and it was a little scary to step away from that to promote someone else's work. Brian Gardner asked me to join StudioPress full-time in 2009, and I had to do a lot of soul-searching before I said yes. (Of course, I said "yes" within minutes - I soul-search fast, apparently ;-)) It was the right decision, though, and one I've had no reason to regret, but it was a challenge.

For quite a while, I maintained both jobs - mumpreneur and employee - but this summer, I pared my mom-business down to maintaining/helping existing clients, and am no longer actively seeking new web work.  I am, however, slowly dipping my toe into knitting design in my spare time, and that's pretty challenging as well!

The big challenge, though, has always been "how do I succeed in business and at home, when those spheres have zero separation?!"

How have you overcome it?

Being a work-at-home-mum is, as anyone who's tried it knows, always a balancing act between being the best one can be on the job, and being a decent mommy. In the beginning, I wasn't very good at that balancing act. Working 80+ hours a week, while an effective way to jumpstart your business, isn't a very good parenting or marriage-enhancing strategy! Learning to treat my business as a job - 40 hours a week, with overtime a rare event - went a long way toward keeping everyone in my family happy.

The great thing about being a WAHM, of course, is that those 40 hours can be put in whenever you need to! I do have an office set aside (I'm hiding in here as I write), but on days when my son needs a little extra mom-time, I can bring a computer to the room he's playing in, and get work done while he chatters in the background about whatever his latest obsession happens to be.

We homeschool our son, and that adds more "must-do" items into an already crowded life.

Something had to give, and one of the best decisions I made was to hire a person. I describe her as "my person" since there's not one word that explains everything she does for me - but the short job description is "being my secretary/virtual assistant, running errands, managing my house, taking The Boy to the park when it's nice outdoors and I'm on a deadline, being a friend, and everything else." (She's if anyone is looking for a VA - I highly recommend her!)

Could the money be spent elsewhere? Obviously, yes. But I can't think of any other way to spend it that would free me to do what I love for work, and not have to spend my down time doing all the chores I detest (filing, paperwork, etc.)

What’s been your proudest business moment?

There have been several - one that made me have a surreal "OMG I heart my job" fan-girl moment was being asked to rebuild I've been a fan of Ms. King's work for years, and I half-suspected someone was playing with me when I received the initial query. It's still one of my favorite sites, and I'm more a fan of her work than ever. We just re-booted it for her latest book release, Pirate King, and that was lots of fun. (She's now on the Genesis Framework, and it's so much easier to work with!)

I've done some sub-contracting and behind-the-scenes work for some other major sites, and it's always a thrill to be a part of that, even when I don't personally get the publicity.  And I love getting emails, forum posts, and tweets from people I've helped - I get the warm fuzzies every time someone says "you helped me fix it! Now I understand!"

What’s your catchphrase or favourite quote?

That varies depending on mood, but two of my favorites are:

"It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye." -Antoine de Saint-Exupery-

“It's not worth doing something unless someone, somewhere, would much rather you weren't doing it.”  -Terry Pratchett-

What do you do to relax or nurture yourself?

Knit - copiously, frantically, obsessively. I'm aware that doesn't sound relaxing or nurturing, but believe me, it is ;-)I also read - I've slowed down from the book-a-day habit I maintained for years, but I still manage to knock back 4-5 books a week.  I tat.  I spend time with my husband and son.
I hang out with friends, usually of the knitting variety - I have two evenings a week set aside for knitting-with-friends.

What was the last treat you bought for yourself?

5 skeins of the *yummiest* alpaca/silk/wool sock yarn. It's pretty much Heaven-in-a-skein-of-handpainted-yarn, and a client sent me a gift certificate as a thank-you, so it was a guilt-free purchase. I can't wait until it arrives in the mail! (Misti Alpaca Sock Yarn, for those who know yarn...)

Favourite colour:   Any deep jewel tones except yellow and orange, with a marked preference for deep fuchsia and dark purple.

Favourite flowers:  The wild roses that grow beside my deck - bright pink, and they smell like all that's good about summer. I leave the windows open as much as I can when they are in bloom, because they scent the entire house.

What one piece of advice would you like to give to a new mumpreneur?

You're smarter than you think you are. Don't spend your time envying everyone who's more successful or a "bigger name" in the industry you choose to be in. Remember that everyone started out with doubts, and even the successful people are always trying to be better. Trust yourself, trust your instincts, and take some risks. I'm not saying to dump your grocery money into a get-rich quick scheme - but if you have a dream, a passion, an idea that just won't let it. Take the steps to make it happen. Be gutsy - I've landed some pretty big jobs by emailing people and saying "hey, your site needs help, and I can make it better."

Don't take rejection personally - someone may turn you down because their uncle's best friend's godson wants the very job you're bidding on, and there's nothing you can do about it.  Pick yourself up and try again.  After all - you survived giving birth. Everything's easy after that!

P.S. The photo of me? That was taken by The Boy. I guess the photography gene got passed on, after all!

Fancy featuring as one of our amazing mumpreneurs? Drop me an email over on the contact page - and I’ll be in touch.   Or let me know in a comment below.  And remember to drop by every Monday to welcome our latest profiled mum.