It’s such a pleasure to introduce you to Amy Marohl for this interview on our Women Who Rock series. I have 3 boys, who are amazing but they can turn our house completely upside down. Amy has 7 kids!!!! Whom she homeschools!!! And she works on her business about 24 hours a week!!! And her business is about homemade things, which means she has to have the time, creativity, and emotional availability to make stuff. She does not like to think of herself as Superwoman, but seriously, how can she not? And she generously offered to answer all my questions and give us a “behind the scenes” of how she makes it all happen with lots of faith, structure, and focus.
Tell me about your business: what, why, for how long?
I have a lifestyle blog called neededinthehome.com. Topics covered are homemade, homeschool, home business, home life and home décor. The blog was started in September of 2017. My husband’s income went down to below what was needed to pay bills that year. We went through our savings and had to borrow against our retirement and I knew it was time for me to “do something different”. I noticed a few bloggers on social media that were posting their income and expenses and I figured it was worth a try.
Tell me about your family
I have been married for 21 years and have seven children (4 boys, 3 girls). They all begin with the letter “M”, including my husband. The oldest is 18 and the youngest is 20 months. I teach most of them homeschool. My decision to homeschool came about a year after I deepened my faith in my religion.
What made you decide to homeschool? It feels like such a challenge. What are the benefits & the drawbacks?
My oldest child was in a local public preschool that was part of the Elementary school. Some of the things they were teaching went against what I was learning in my religion, so I started homeschooling. Every year, we consider whether the children should be homeschooled. Up to this point, we have homeschooled them every year. I don’t know what the future will hold. I don’t have anything against other people’s decisions about schooling. In fact, my brother is a wonderful public teacher in another town. I just feel that presently, this is what I should be doing.
There are many benefits to homeschooling. Some of the benefits I personally enjoy are that I do not need to have the morning stress of getting my kids up and going and out the door for school. I don’t have to wonder what the teacher wants them to do for homework or what she means when she says something on a note, because it is me, I already know! If I want to schedule a parent-teacher conference, I just talk to myself! We can take a vacation, take time off to have a new baby, take time off to move, etc. without having to worry about getting things approved with the school. We absolutely love that we can finish all of our work for the day, then go and play.
We can shop, attend storage unit auctions, go to the library, have eye, dentist and doctor appointments, and activities we are signed up for like bowling, archery, swimming, clubs, co-ops, etc. often when many other local children are still in school for the day. A while back, when we moved from Wisconsin to Michigan in December and back again a few years later in October, we didn’t have to change school districts and figure all of that stuff out, we just took our books with us and the laws in those states made it easy for us to do so.
I can’t really think of any drawbacks. Some days, it is a little hard for me if I have a sick child, sponsored posts on the blog waiting to be done, housework to do, etc., but somehow, we get the schooling done and catch up on other things later.
How do you balance them?
From my many homeschooling years, I had already learned to order my day in “time blocks”. I just had to create a “time block” for blogging. Of course, all schedules or “time blocks” need to be flexible. If we need to be at a Homeschool Co-op or Swimming Lessons, my schedule may be adjusted. I will also “pause” blogging to help little ones with breakfast or getting dressed. My priorities are: God, husband, children, everything else. Blogging is just an “everything else”, but I can take care of business if their needs are being met. For example, if I have a deadline coming up on a sponsored post or product review, I may need to work on it in the evening while my husband does the bedtime routine, including story time, with the children.
What does your schedule typically look like? How much time per week dedicated to your side business?
I get up early and make coffee, take vitamins and read my Bible and pray. Then, I blog from 5 am to 9 am Monday through Saturday. Occasionally, my toddler will wake up and want to nurse back to sleep, so I will stop blogging and go nurse him. My adult daughter that still lives at home is able to help out with the little children during the morning. But there are times that I am needed during that work time and I just need to stop and care for them. My kids are the priority. The blog can wait.
I work about 24 hours per week unless I am working on an eBook, then my husband might do the bedtime routine every night for a while and that adds more hours. Another benefit of homeschooling is that our day can start when we want. I eat breakfast at 9 am. We start at 10 am because I have older children that do hobby farm chores in the morning. We eat lunch at 12 pm and homeschool again from 12:30 pm to 3:30 pm. We go outside at 3:30 pm. About 4:30 pm, we do household chores. Supper is usually 5:30 or 6:00 pm. Some nights we have church, club, or sports activities going on. If not, we have a family game night once a week, otherwise, we may work on our family storage auction resale business or do a family “project” like clean the garage. We do a bedtime routine which includes littles’ baths, pajamas, brush teeth, Bible, stories, prayer, and tuck them into bed. I try to get to bed by 9:00 pm and read a little blogging education every night before I fall asleep. Saturdays (I do blog in the morning), there is no homeschool, but we are often busy. Sunday, we attend church and have family time or visit with extended family members.
Describe your start in entrepreneurship.
I knew it would be an investment, but I wanted to be sure I would get that money back. A local friend of mine has a blog, so I went to her home to learn about it. It was all “over my head”. I just wrote down everything she said even though I didn’t understand it. I went home and researched every term, one at a time. I felt like this was the right thing to do. My husband gave me $1,000 US for this adventure, which I earned back in my first three months once my Domain Authority reached 10. I spent a large portion of that money on blog education, which was very helpful to me. I realized Domain Authority is important. I researched and worked toward achieving a higher score, mostly so that I could get paid more for sponsored posts (like working toward a raise). I was astonished to see that anyone could check my score at any time on the internet, so I wanted mine to be higher. I was successful at this and increased my Domain Authority score by 30 points in less than eight months. I have written an eBook called Discovering Domain Authority so others can learn about it as well. I am proud to say that I did all that without ever doing a guest post on anyone else’s blog.
For anyone interested in learning more about this topic, check out Amy’s ebook: https://neededinthehome.com/shop/discovering-domain-authority/
When did you feel like you’ve made it? Or what’s your definition of success?
I was thrilled when I reached a Domain Authority of 20! That was a very exciting day for me. I do feel like I need to earn at least a $1,000 per month to feel successful, as we do need it to pay the bills! I have consistently made more than that each month starting with my third month, so I do feel like I have made it, but need to “make it” again each month!
How did you handle the slow or disappointing times?
My first few months were probably the slowest and most disappointing to me, but I have also had times that I was disappointed when pageviews went on a downturn due to an algorithm change in social media. My response is always the same, I do whatever I can do that is within my power, I continue to learn from others by reading their eBooks or taking their e-courses, and with all the little changes I make from what I learn, things keep getting better.
Women are multitaskers-the good, the bad, the ugly-your views and coping method on this issue.
I agree that women are multi-taskers. It can be good when trying to manage more than one thing, but it can be bad if we are multi-tasking when we should be making eye contact and listening to those that we love. It can also be bad if we are trying to do it all our-self. My biggest coping method is “getting the team involved”. We can tidy up our house in about an hour because we can have a person assigned to each room. The little ones can help Dad and Mom with their assigned rooms.
How do you know you are approaching burnout?
That’s a great question! Will I know? I can tell when I am getting a cold and need more rest, maybe it will be like that? My husband knows me better than I know myself. I am thinking he will be the first to alert me if he notices a change. I do pray and journal my prayers, which gives me hope. I am also an artist and like to craft and sew. If I have a stressful time or if I am grieving (I have had my mother die suddenly of a heart attack and had four miscarriages, for example.), the art “just pours out of me” and I probably over-create. I often take those items to the county fair or put them on my Etsy shop to sell. Seeing my new creation somehow revives me.
Check out Amy’s creative ideas at https://www.etsy.com/shop/NeededInTheHome
Does “wanting to do too much” ever affect another side of your life? Like your relationship, parenting style, social life?
I think that “wanting to do too much” does affect my social life. I recently had a friend give up on me. She left without saying goodbye or telling me why. Just silent treatment and she unfriended me on social media. I guess that it’s because I didn’t make enough time for her or didn’t pay enough attention to her needs. I thought she would understand because I felt she had the same priorities that I do and also has seven children, but I was wrong. I haven’t pursued another friendship as I feel that I can’t be a “good enough” friend to anyone at this stage of my life. I just have “acquaintances”, but I am at peace with that because my husband is my best friend.
Share your biggest downfall-something you are working on changing.
I don’t take the time for hobbies. I would love to try and make time for getting caught up on getting photographs in albums. It gets harder to get caught up with every passing day.
What’s your biggest strength, superpower?
Focus – When I am in that “time block”, I am extremely focused and I organize my time within that block quite well. I know what I need to spend my limited time on to maximize my ROI (Return on investment) and I do keep track of my time and what I do spend it on so I can do even better the next month. I don’t ever have a time where I am wondering what to do. I keep a list of tasks to look through and prioritize in case I finish other tasks early.
What’s your motivating source, re-charge mechanism: a person, a specific activity, a book, or a quote?
A song actually, “Try Everything” from the Disney Zootopia movie.
Words of wisdom for women who want to do it all: business and family.
Just remember that you are not “Super-Woman”, no one is, you may not be able to do “it all”, but you can do a lot if you work in “time chunks” and know your priorities, what comes first? Second? Third? Don’t multi-task when a loved one is trying to talk to you. Stop, make eye contact, and listen. Realize that the dishes may be sitting at the sink, dirty after lunch, and that’s okay because at 4:30, you can work on them until the next “time chunk” of “making supper” comes along.
How are your 40s different than your 20s? especially in terms of mindset and confidence
In my 20s, I felt that society expected me to be “Super-Woman” and I did all I could to achieve it and was always disappointed in myself. In my 40s, I know that I am not “Super-Woman” and neither is anyone else! I am starting to realize my limitations and say “no” a lot more often. I am happy for what I can do. There will always be things I wish I had time for, but I am more willing to accept it if I can’t get to it without having a pity party.
Favorite quote: yours or someone else’s quote the re-centers or lifts you up.
Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.” This helps me when I feel weak.
Where can people find you and learn more about you?
ABOUT: Dr. Ruxandra LeMay is a private practice psychologist in Litchfield Park, Arizona with experience in family therapy, ADHD, stress and anxiety management, and executive coaching. She is the author of My Spouse Wants More Sex Than Me: The 2-Minute Solution For a Happier Marriage. Click HERE to check out her free resources on effective communication, emotional unavailability, intimacy, and anxiety management or join her at www.ruxandralemay.com for monthly blogs posts.