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Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom: A blog series, an ebook and an ecourse

If you’re new here, be sure to read the first posts in this Becoming a Work-At-Home Mom series here.

My “brilliant” idea back in 2006 to start a website with quick and frugal ebooks and money-saving tips fell pretty much flat on its face. The website design was atrocious because I didn’t know the first thing about designing a site from scratch (I only have a basic knowledge of HTML — enough to make very minor tweaks, not design a site from the ground up!) and I ran out of time to invest into bettering it because my husband got a job in another city and we ended up having to move in less than a month’s time.

Between moving, pregnancy, being a wife and mom and running my blog and other business, life was full and my initial “grandiose” idea got shoved to the back burner.

But it wasn’t just because all of those things that I didn’t continue on with, the main reason I stopped trying to build it up was because no one really seemed interested and there was little to no traffic to it after I put in hours of work and promoted it rather heavily. I decided maybe there just really wasn’t that much interest out there on frugality. Or maybe I just wasn’t the person to be talking about it. So I dropped the idea and went back to blogging as usual.

However, around that time, I did happen to mention our (at that time) $35-per-week grocery budget sort of off-hand in one of my posts. Little did I dream the kind of interest that wold conjure up! People started delurking and emailing to ask, “How on earth do you feed your family for $35 per week?” Since I had been using coupons for over six years at that point, I had kind of forgotten that most people spent significantly more on groceries!

But as the barrage of questions began coming, I realized that our grocery budget was apparently way, way low compared with most of the rest of society. So I started answering the questions by doing a blog series on my personal blog on “Supermarket Savings.”

That blog series exploded into something I never could have imagined: people started telling their friends, who told their friends, who told their friends. Before I knew it, my little blog was getting around 5,000 visitors per day — and people were begging for more help with lowering their grocery budget and reducing their overall expenses.

I tweaked and expanded the Supermarket Savings series into an ebook and it sold incredibly well. I mentally gave a big sigh of relief that it was finished! I figured the questions and emails would now die down as the ebook pretty much covered all the basic details on using coupons, playing the drugstore game and getting the most bang for your buck at the grocery store.

Well, the questions didn’t stop. In fact, the emails started pouring in from people who were brand-new to couponing and had no idea where to start. Again and again, I realized that they just wanted someone to hold their hand and walk them through step-by-step how to drastically cut their grocery budget.

They needed more than just the basics; they needed very detailed specifics on how to work the deals. The thought of setting up a blog to share these details and specifics still hadn’t crossed my mind yet, but I did decide to teach an online course called “Supermarket Savings 101.” There was nothing out there like it from everything I researched and, based upon the response and emails I was receiving, there was a huge need for this.

So, two weeks after Kaitlynn was born, I opened up registration for the online class. My plan was to teach a small number of participants the materials in my Supermarket Savings ebook at a more in-depth level. There would be different audio lessons, handouts, free ebooks on frugal living and a forum for participants to interact. In addition, there would be assignments every week which the class members had to complete and turn in which I would give feedback on.

My hope was that I would use the materials from this pilot class to create a downloadable ecourse to sell. I knew that having the real-time feedback and questions would be invaluable in helping me to craft a course which could benefit the most people.

I set the class registration price at $17.95 for the two-week class and announced it on my blog. I’d never done something this ambitious before and my goal was to get 20 registrations. I figured that would be a good number to work with to provide enough differing backgrounds and areas of the country to cover a lot of the potential questions and situations people are in.

I was a little blown away when I ended up with over 70 registrants for the online class! I was very thrilled, but it was also a bit daunting because I had a great turn out of participants, but now I had to figure out what I was going to teach and how I was going to teach it — and how I was going to try and give feedback to 70 different class participants. I was hoping I wasn’t setting myself up for another disastrous failure!

…to be continued next Saturday

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  • Kris says:

    You’re a born storyteller and I love reading yours posts.

  • Jessica says:

    I found your Biblical Womanhood blog when your first daughter was just a few months old. It’s been interesting to read this re-cap of your blogging journey over the past few years, because I was “there”! 🙂 God has certainly blessed your efforts!

  • Melonie says:

    Bring back good memories for me too – I recall those days at the magazine and I think you’ve been far too modest about your skills there. Enjoying this series.

  • Alyssa says:


    I cannot tell you how good I feel this morning after reading your Work at Home Mom series. I have been down on myself for weeks for TRYING so many different things online to make a living for my family and be able to STAY a WAHM.

    You’ve inspired me because quite frankly you’ve tried as many things or more than me and it looks like you’re still hanging in there.

    The only difference between you and I is that I have done stupid. I have debt and if it weren’t for the debt we wouldn’t need my income. SO I am having to dig myself out of that.

    Thanks so much and I’m hoping to make it to RELEVANT in October to meet you!



    • Autumn says:

      I’ve done stupid too. A few times. I think most of us have one time or another. I guess I’m a slow learner. Lol. I finally think I get it now. Feels like forever trying to dig myself out of debt but I’m doing it little by little. I would love to find a way to WAH. I’ve spend a lot of money on scams and go nowhere ideas. I look forward to hearing more ideas. I start to get down on myself when I hear all the talents people have that allow them to cash in on their great ideas. I’m praying and hoping mine will surface too. 🙂

  • Esther says:

    I do enjoy how you’ve recapped and told the story of your blogging! Being a newbie, I’ve “researched” how some “popular” blogs began, and it is simply trying to find the right niche. I appreciate how it seems like you haven’t really changed with all the changes in your blogging career, unlike some bloggers I’ve noticed.

  • Sarah says:

    thanks for sharing! as always, i love to hear your reflections on what you’ve learned along the way. thanks for the encouragement!

  • Holly says:

    Crystal, I absolutely love your blog! Although the deals are great, your personal post are always a joy to read and is truly what sets your blog apart! I always look forward to your next inspiring post! Thanks for sharing!

  • I REALLY wish that your blog (or the internet for that matter. lol) was around when I was raising my kids and was a young mom way back in the early eighties. Your blog is great and I would have loved to have had this resource in addition to the Tightwad Gazette books I read cover to cover!

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