Alyice, what kind
of business do you
have at home?

I run a home-based
freelance writing business. I ghostwrite for small businesses, I write articles for
small town publication and have been known to do a little virtual assistant work on
the side.

I am also the editor-in-chief of a free online publication known as The Dabbling
Mum® -- which pays writers for their submissions just like a traditional print
publication. And the author of several work-from-home e-books based on the
various home businesses I’ve run in the past: daycare, notary public, mystery
shopping, and so forth.

What did you do before you started a home business?

When I graduated from college with an associate’s degree in business, I had
intentions of going to a four-year college and obtaining my bachelor’s then my
master’s degree. But life had other plans.

During college, I worked as a cashier at a locally owned record shop, a maid for a
church elementary school, a teacher’s assistant in a preschool, a floor associate for
the now closed Stor, and a secretary for a wonderful company by the name of
Nutrilite.

While working at Nutrlilite, I had plans on attending law school while raising my
son and working in the law department. But then I became pregnant with my
second child and I couldn’t bear leaving her in the care of strangers just so I could
work and go to law school. I struggled all through maternity leave, trying to decide
the best course of action. Finally, I felt peace knowing I was to stay home with my
babies and I’ve never looked back.

Working outside the home is fantastic. There’s so much opportunities available and
lots of socialization. Working from home is hard because you’re juggling so many
aspects of your life and it can tend to be a bit isolating—especially as a writer. But
looking at my now teenage children reminds me just how wonderful working from
home is!

Why did you start a home business, and why this particular business?

To be honest, after I had my son, I began working at home to provide him with play
dates. I started an in-home daycare center. Eventually, I tried my hand at party sales
because I longed for adult company but soon discovered I didn’t like selling or
being out at night or on the weekends. When we purchased our own home, my
husband no longer wanted me running an in-home daycare (I think he tired of
trying to sleep during the day while the kids played—he worked nights) so I
looked for something else to do.

I looked for something that would give me a little time away from the kids with
other adults, but provide an income. In other words, I couldn’t justify being away
from my little ones without earning money. So I tried my hand at notary work. It
was great work and great pay, but when we moved out of California, I had to wait a
year before I could obtain a notary license in the new state. I needed something to
do while waiting and decided to try my hand at running my own publication.

Lots of research later, I realized an online publication was most cost-effective so I
ventured out into the world of publishing. Lots of mistakes and trials and errors
later, I finally have a thriving, wonderful publication I can be proud of.

During the growth of my publication, I began to take on various writing tasks and
have never looked back. I fell in love with writing and can’t think of anything that
would make me happier—except perfecting my photography skills and
incorporating the two!

What was your biggest challenge in starting your home business?

Stepping outside my comfort zone. I’m an introvert by nature. I was a very shy and
isolated child. I didn’t take criticism or rejection well and both occur a lot in the
world of publication.

What has been your biggest challenge staying in business?

Burn out. Being all things in the business can be exhausting. I’m the marketer, the
customer service rep, the boss, the employee, the talent, the office assistant, and so
forth. Sometimes, I receive help from a friend—we sometimes barter services, and
my husband helps answer emails as my “staff”, but I pretty much run the show. So
juggling is a daily event for me and sometimes, I just grow weary.

What do you love about working from home?

That’s such an easy question. I love being readily accessible for my children. I love
it when they call from school saying, “Mom, I don’t feel good, I want to come home”
that I can stop what I’m doing and pick them up. I don’t have to ask or beg a boss
for the day off. I don’t have to worry about losing my job due to too many sick days.
And it sure makes planning vacations easier, too. We just have to worry about my
husband’s job and the kid’s school schedules. In other words, I am VERY flexible.

What do you hate about it?

The constant marketing of myself. I hate selling myself. I would rather people see
what I have to offer, review my samples, ask me a few questions, then assign me
work. But that’s now how the world of publishing works. I have to pitch myself to
publications and I have to hunt down work via job boards and company websites.

How do you inspire or motivate yourself everyday?

I have bills to pay. My husband make a nice income, but it is not enough to sustain
us because he doesn’t work a traditional 40 hour a week job.

Plus, I enjoy appearing “successful” because it allows me to mentor to other
mothers who want to do the same!

A little secret though…when I feel burnt out and fed up, I don’t force myself to
work unless I have a deadline. I actually take the day off. I might just sit on the
coach all day and read or watch television or scrapbook or crochet. And that’s okay!
We all need a break from time to time.

How do you separate home life from your work life?

This is something every home business struggles with. There’s no fine line when it
comes to balancing. We have to make adjustments every day. For instance, last
week, I really wanted to work. I gave myself some self-imposed deadlines and I
wanted to meet them, but then life happened. My husband’s car needed to be taken
into the shop, we ran out of toilet paper and I needed to drive to the next town to
pick some up so I decided to do my shopping at the same time, my son needed
something dropped off, I had parent-teacher conferences and a situation in school to
iron out (my son’s teacher forgot to log a grade in the computer and it resulted in
my son’s A dropping to a C-), my daughter forgot something and needed it to be
run to her school, and my mother-in-law came over to do laundry and visit. Simple
things, but they all took up time I wasn’t planning on using, so I had two choices:
ignore everything and just work, or get what “needed” to get done and leave the
rest for another day.

That’s the beauty of working from home. I had the option. I didn’t have to let life
stress me out. I completed tasks necessary to meet client deadlines, and left the self-
imposed deadline for another day.

Where is your office in your home?
When I ran an in-home daycare, we rented
a house that actually had a front office, so I had
a play room, an office, and then the rest of my
house. That was the only time I ever had a room
that was actually used for what it was to be.

When we lived Wisconsin, I divided the living
room in half by an invisible barrier. One half
was the office and the other half was the living
room.

When we lived in Tennessee, we rented a nice townhouse with an enclosed patio. It
was the perfect spot for my office. It even came complete with closing doors.

Currently, my office is in the dining room. We don’t have a “dining room”, we have
an office complete with desk, file cabinets, bookshelves, and work stuff sprawled
across the floor.

I miss the closed doors of my Tennessee office, but love the comfy feeling of my
current office space.

What is your daily routine?

7:20 am: wake up.
8:00 am: take the kids to school.
8:15 to 10 am: clean, eat breakfast, read my Bible, pray, & just allow my body to
wake up.
10 am to 1 pm:  I work on projects for paid clients. If I don’t have work for that day, I
work on the next e-book project. And sometimes I market my magazine or look for
paying work.
1 pm: I eat, read email, answer blog comments, browse the ‘net, and sometimes, I
watch General Hospital. (Hey! A girl’s gotta have a “hobby”.)
3 pm:  I pick up my daughter.
The rest of the day truly depends on what’s going on in our lives.

What is your biggest (or proudest) achievement so far?

Raising great kids. Seriously that far outweighs anything I’ve done in my business.
My son is a straight A student. My daughter is striving for straight A’s and is
usually off by only one grade. They have great friends, they are well-adjusted, they
laugh often, they play well together, and they’re involved in one school sport at a
time, leaving them plenty of time for relaxing. Oh, and did I mention that God
really had a huge part in their upbringing, too?

Now, if you really want to know about my business achievement, I really don’t
know what to say. I guess it would have to be how successful The Dabbling Mum®
magazine has become and how well respected it is in the industry. It’s my baby and
I’ve worked so hard to make it a place that offers visitors a chance to grow and be
more of who they want to be.

What are you working on right now to grow your business?

I am investigating affordable ways to advertise. I want something that is cost-
effective and has a great return for the money spent. So far, the best I’ve seen is with
search engine optimization techniques I’ve learned and applied to my business.

What advice can you give about starting a home business?

Do something you love. If you don’t love it, you’ll be a pill to your family, your
customers (or clients) and yourself. If you aren’t happy with what you’re doing all
the hours you put into your business before it makes a profit, or during lean times,
will tear you down and destroy those closest to you.

If you had to do it all over again, what would you do (or not do) different?

I’d do it exactly the same way. I think the dabbling I’ve done has allowed me to
become a better writer and see things from different angles. And the growth through
trial and error has made me more appreciative of my business, the support of
family and friends, and has allowed me to offer a better service to my clients and
customers.

What do you do for fun when you're not working?

Spend time with my husband and kids, chat on instant messenger with my long
distant friends, crochet, scrapbook, read, watch silly television shows and films,
learn photography, and try my hand at fine art.

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Marcia Passos Duffy, Publisher & Editor
Author of
Be Your Own Boss

Contact
HOW Profile: Alyice Edrich / Writer & Publisher
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home|your business|your office |your time |your home life|yourself |art|books|tools|site map|about us
home|your business|your office |your time |your home life|yourself |art|books|tools|site map|about us
Alyice Edrich
The Dabbling Mum®
South Dakota, USA

Year started working from home:
1991
Hours per week you work: 30 to 45 hours.
Happy at home index: 10
Success at home index: 7 – comfortable paying bills
Alyice's dining room home office