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Do you have a successful business or know someone who does? I want to hear from you!

Women in Business

Thank you so very much for helping me with the researching process for my next book. I am so appreciative of your answers to my questions so far and have already included quite a few of your thoughts as quotes or examples in the book. Keep them coming!

Today, I’m writing to ask for more help:

I’m looking for women who have their own successful business. It can be an online business, an offline business, or a business that is a little of both.

I want to hear your stories — how you got started, how you’ve grown your business, and how you’ve been able to impact others through your business.

I’m especially looking to profile women who have started a business and been able to use part of the funds from their earnings to make a difference — either in their family’s finances, in their community, or globally. It can be something big — like starting an orphanage — or it can be that your business helped you pay cash for a vehicle for your family.

If you have a success story to share, can you leave a comment on this post or email me (crystal @ moneysavingmom.com) telling me your story? I may follow up with you to clarify on details or ask for more information.

Also, if you know of someone who has a success story to share, could you direct them to this post and ask them to email me, too. I’m so excited to share some of your stories and introduce my readers to some of your businesses through the pages of my book!

Please note: We will be using some of the comments and emails in the book. If you’d rather we not use your story or would like to remain anonymous, please say say when commenting or emailing.

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25 Comments

  • karen b says:

    don’t know if this counts……but I have a house cleaning “business”. I have been doing this for 20+ years. I clean 1 1/2 to 2 days per week & most days am home by the time the children get home from school. It has helped us to be able to go on vacations & have a little lee way in our budget & finances over the years, sometimes when I have lost some its a little hard but just budget a little tighter & I always have picked up another one in a few weeks or months. ( sometimes God is providing when I loose one…not knowing how to let them know I can no longer do it for various reasons) 🙂 you can contact me if you want 🙂

  • Lisa Guyer says:

    I have a friend who is a wonderful mother. She homeschools her 9 children (3 biological, 6 adopted). Her and the children work together to run their own business called Global Soaps. Their soaps are all natural, goats milk soaps. They sell them at farmers markets and online. She has used this business to help them pay for the expenses of such a large family, but also has been able to fund the adoption of a child from China and a sibling set of 5 from Columbia.

    http://burgessfamilyadoption.blogspot.com/2013/07/introducing-global-soaps.html?m=1

    • Awe – I wanted to say thank you to Lisa Guyer for the kind comments above! A client of my husbands just mentioned to me they saw something online about our family and our soap business, Global Soaps – I had to come check it out! We own our own goats, hand-milk them and put the milk in our soaps and lotions. We are a very small business right now (still adjusting to being a family of 9), but we are growing at a nice, albeit slow, happy pace. Soap boxes are being designed and once that happens we will be opening an online store (right now we are on Facebook). Our business name is Global Soaps because we are sort-of a global family – Our three biological children were born in Michigan and Georgia. We have one daughter from China and 5 children from Colombia.

      Originally, we bought our first goats to make soap for our family and to drink the milk (we figured with having 4 children and soon to be 9 it would be a great way to keep them busy with chores too!) As we were in the process of fundraising for the adoption costs, we thought a good fundraiser would be to sell the soap – we even made a Colombian Coffee Scrub bar! Wonderful, kind people who were supporting our adoption by buying the soaps started coming back to us AFTER the adoption was completed wanting to buy more. They told us it was amazing and how moisturizing it was for their skin. It wasn’t soon after that we finally understood we needed to turn it into a business!

      We have big plans for our company – Our plan is to incorporate/educate/support orphan awareness. We are even looking into a way where we can sell to adoptive parents through some kind-of fundraising program. It should not cost as much as what it does to give a child a family to call their own. It would be amazing if through our business, God would allow us to alleviate some of those expenses for those who are opening their homes to one of His children.

  • If this counts, here goes:

    Three years ago my Grandmother came to live with my husband and I, while we were still newlyweds of a year. She had had a stroke, which triggered early onset dementia. I had to quit working traditionally as a paralegal, but my firm helped accommodate me in being able to work from home; though I was offered less hours, I would be able to work-from-home and help offset the cost of having to have daycare for my grandmother. Meanwhile, as the medical bills started piling up, and our family income was stretched to its limit, I needed to find a way to turn around my finances. So, I started reading your blog, read several Dave Ramsey books, and I sold one of my paintings, which was enough to allow me to start selling Scentsy to help make ends meet. My Scentsy sales, which were worked around care taking and work schedule, gave me the start-up capital to obtain my art dealers license; this license propelled me to start selling my art and crafts locally, which then spurred on an additional ETSY crafting business. I used the money I earned selling my art locally to pay off my grandmothers $16,000.00 in medical bills in a little under two years. In addition to this, I read your articles on affiliate blogging, and coupled with my love of saving, I started a savings blog for which I was able to pay all of my personal debt off, pay for our entire grocery and utility budget, and still have funds left over. In addition, the money from all three ventures did the following: helped me pay off my undergraduate student loans, help me pay for my fees not covered by grants to go back to school, put my husband in graduate school (paying for fees, books, etc. his VA benefits did not cover), and pay to fund my other passion, sponsoring small business loans for other women, mothers, and community leaders, through KIVA.org. Moreover, my greatest accomplishment is that earlier this year, when it was decided that my grandmother would need to be relocated to reside with other relatives, medical professionals, better able to accommodate her illness, I was able to pay cash for her moving expenses, and sent her to her next destination medically debt free; the greatest gift I could give the women who raised me. These small homespun ventures, help me to have the breathing room and financial freedom I longed for. Though I have leaps and bounds to go, I feel blessed to no longer worry about vet bills, grooming expenses, school fees, unexpected child, car, and home repair costs, co-pays for my family, or paying for health insurance for myself. Three years ago I started with $100.00, and have snowballed these funds into three businesses and a better way of life for my family.

  • Tana Fye says:

    I started my law practice, not once, but twice. I first opened in Rapid City, SD then reopened in Holdrege, NE after my husband (then fiance) got his dream job here. I love what I do! It’s so rewarding to help people on a daily basis. And being able to make really good progress on paying off debt, saving a down payment for our house, paying cash for vacations, and being able to start giving, have been amazing as well. I just recently hired an associate attorney, and am looking forward to seeing my business continue to grow!

  • Grant says:

    I nominate someone- Lindsay from pinchofyum.com just left her job for blogging. She gives a portion of her income to an orphanage oversees. (it’s also a great blog with great recipes!)

    • CJ says:

      I love Pinch of Yum! They are so honest with their readers – they share pretty much everything going on in their lives (including their income from their site). Their story definitely makes for an interesting read.

  • Tanya says:

    I started blogging shortly after we had our first baby. I always wanted to be a stay-at-home mom but also wanted to be able to contribute to our income so we could become completely debt-free as soon as possible. I blogged for a couple of years and earned a small income but not quite what I hoped for in return for all the time I was spending on my blogs.

    I remember in my quiet time one day reading the story of the fishermen and Jesus – the fishermen went out all night long and caught nothing. Then, nothing changed, other than Jesus told them to go back out and try again – and their ship was full to overflowing with fish! They couldn’t handle it all! I was at a point in my blogging where, with almost three small children in the house, I needed to make more money or find some other way to spend my time. So, I prayed that God would show me clearly what He wanted me to do.

    Shortly after that day, God opened my eyes to see some things I needed to change with how I was spending my blogging time – and also opened up some amazing promotion opportunities. Opportunities that I had tried for before with no success. And our ship was FILLED to the bursting! I was hoping for maybe a few thousand to put toward the home we were purchasing. We needed a bigger house but didn’t want to stretch our budget too much.

    Well, God is absolutely amazing – and I love how I get to give HIM all the glory for this! We were able to pay our new home off completely that year – twice over (we’re looking for our next home now because we need even more space with now four little ones)! Plus we were able to give a large sum to a family in need at our church and also support some church activities – AND we now have the money in savings we would need should God open up the opportunity for us to adopt.

    And it gets even better… With my blog now, I get to help other newbie bloggers – a lot of them moms themselves – learn from my mistakes and create their own successful blogs – something that I love doing!

  • Donita says:

    I am a retired elementary teacher, but 26 years ago I was able to stay home with my own children for 6 years when they were young by running a home daycare. My husband was also a teacher, so back then funds were very tight for us. I was able to use the money I made to fund my husband’s graduate school expenses. It was funny because back then my husband would look at our checking/savings account balances and was very concerned that we weren’t saving enough. He was concerned that we weren’t able to put money into investments during those years. I remember telling him that I was investing my daycare income in “ketchup bottles” and him. What I meant by the ketchup bottle answer was that I focused on buying items when they were buy 1 get 1 free and also used a coupon, so we kept a stocked pantry. I explained to him that by doing this we were getting a VERY good return on our money. When I also shared with him how his income would increase after getting his Masters degree, it was also a MUCH better return for our funds at that stage in our life than investing in the stock market! I love reading your site because your frugal shopping advice coupled with your emphasis on tithing is the philosophy we’ve lived by for the 30 years we’ve been married. The lessons we learned those 6 years (couponing, cooking from scratch, buying used clothes and household items, enjoying cheap entertainment, paying off credit cards each month, saving for our children’s college funds, etc.) are what allowed us to be able to retire in our early fifties. Thank you for sharing that frugal people can still have fun and that frugal living actually frees you to be able to focus more on your long term financial goals and the needs of others.

  • Mika says:

    My business started a little something like this: I had a sewing machine I got off of Freecycle, some $1/yard fabric from walmart and the cheapest thread I could find. My starting expenses were literally about $10. After I learned the basics, a friend asked me to make her some rice bags. I did some research and Froggy Girl Designs was born.

    In the beginning, it was just a hobby, a way to bring in a little extra “mad money” since we had a very limited budget with 4 young children. After running the costs of daycare, and all the other expenses related to my job at the time, my husband and I made the decision for me to stay home with them. There was still a little too much “month at the end of the money” though, so we constantly brainstormed ways to help the bottom line.
    Over the last 6 years, what started out as a hobby has turned into a full time job. That job has made up the difference many times in what a single income alone wouldn’t have been able to cover. We’ve faced extended unemployment situations during the 2008 recession, the addition of baby #5, medical bills, broken down vehicles and all the myriad of other expenses that come up in any persons life. Froggy Girl Designs has allowed us to not be nearly as worried during those times that expenses wouldn’t be met. Currently profits are mostly being used towards funding my oldest sons trip to Greece & Italy with school next year, and if I can save enough, for me to accompany the trip as a chaperone. We are both VERY excited at the thought of getting to take this trip together, and through hard work and determination, I know that we’ll be able to save enough for this trip without touching our standard family budget!

  • Alexa says:

    In the summer of 2012 I got divorced and my two kids and I moved in with my Dad. I was working two day jobs at the time and was on the verge of a mental breakdown.

    I tried a ton of online businesses before one finally stuck: freelance blogging. By October of 2013 I had finally got enough writing clients to completely quit my day jobs and freelance full time.

    I had been making around $2,500 per month for the past year or so and this month I’ll finally have cracked the $3,000 mark.

    To make a long story short I now make more than what I was earning from both of my day jobs combined. I purchased a trailer for my daughters and I to live in and put it on an extra lot my Dad had.

    I don’t make a ton of money from my online business (yet) but I feel like I’ve provided for my daughters and I have allowed myself to have a schedule where I can be there for them. Which to me, is the best thing in the world.

    • Tracy says:

      Alexa, I was wondering how you got started with freelance blogging?

      • Alexa says:

        When I first decided to give this a try I was working as a personal lines insurance agent. Since I knew a lot about insurance I decided to target insurance agencies and insurance marketing companies.

        I would simply do a Google search for insurance agencies with a blog and then if I found an agency that didn’t have regular blog updates I would email them letting them know I could help.

        I’d also respond to job ads on job boards (mainly the problogger job board) for anything insurance related. I got most of the insurance types of jobs because I was an agent.

        After building up my portfolio I started expanding into personal finance. If I saw a personal finance website with many authors I’d simply email the owner to see if they needed another writer 🙂

        I definitely got the majority of my jobs by just emailing people I wanted to work for.

        My advice would be to start with what you know. You’ll be able to pinpoint potential clients much easier and after getting some experience you can branch out into different topics.

        And don’t be afraid to just ask someone if they need help. You’ll have a much higher success rate by directly emailing companies rather than competing with hundreds of other writers on job boards.

        Also, it’s important to not that you’ll get told “no” a whole lot in the beginning. Just stick with it! After you get some experience under your belt it’s pretty easy to find jobs.

        • Tracy says:

          Alexa, Thank you so much for responding so quickly and so thoroughly to my question. I really appreciate it and wish you continued success with your business.

    • Melanie says:

      Very inspirational. I have been reading your blog for a few months now. It is great. Keep up the good work!

  • Rebekah Marks says:

    The sting of having bought a new dress, having it altered professionally, then having to toss it, unworn, in the charity box, because of a terrible job of alterations, spurred me on to learning to do it myself. Since then, I have altered my own clothes and clothes for friends. It was after remaking entirely a formal dress for a friend (which dress started out looking like a grocery sack on her and ended up fitting her perfectly), that I realized I LOVE making clothes fit people, and as a bonus, love the way people light up when they suddenly look put together in clothes that fit them.

    The business aspect started with a phone call to the local formal dress shop asking if they needed help with alterations. I started working as an independent contractor with them, and my own business grew from that by word of mouth, and referrals from another sewing shop in town, to keep me busier than I ever have been – all while being a wife, mother of two and expecting a third, and a homemaker. The profits are currently funding Baby Step 3 of Dave Ramsey’s program (emergency fund of 3-6 months living expenses).

  • When I got married 17 years ago I inherited an ugly couch, and as a new wife I was determined to make my little dated apartment “cute”. I went out and bought fabric and a pattern for a slipcover. To my dissapointment the fit was horrible and the tuck-in and ties were awful, so I bought more fabric and made the cushions as separate pieces that sat on top of the main body slipcover. I still hated it.

    A year later we built our first house, so I headed to the local thrift store and picked up a chair, that I was determined to make a better slipcover for. I had looked at a few pamphlets and books at the fabric store, and thought I had figured out how to make a “custom slipcover”.

    My friends and family loved it and started asking me to slipcover their furniture. In the mean time we got pregnant with our first child, and I told my husband when we had babies I would stay home and make slipcovers…he laughed. I had my first “real” client when my baby was 3 months old. I think he forgot how determined and focused I can be when I want something. He has become wiser over the past 17 years.

    I still ended up having to go back to work part time as an assistant manager at Bath and Body Works when my baby was 7 weeks old to pay the bills. I did about one to two slipcovers a month during this period for clients. By the time my baby turned a year old, my business had grown enough for me to stay home and sew. So I took a leap of faith and quit my job.

    I now have two ladies that help me sew to keep up with my growing business. I try to keep my work schedule to 2-3 days a week, because I now have 3 children. So I have my “mom” days and my “work” days.

    I have lots of designer clients, and regular repeat clients. With having the extra income, I was determined to put it to good use and get out of debt. So slowly over the past 10 years I’ve paid off the basement, the cars, and the house…yep the house!!! After we were debt free in 2009, we picked up a cabin and I’ve paid that off as well. Remember how focused I said I was? My friends think I am crazy. I might be a little bit, but I like to call it “determined” not crazy.

    I now have turned some of my business into an online business where I sell tutorials (slipcover DVD, Pillow ebook, and advanced slipcover guide) from my blog. Which generates a nice supplemental income ($1,000/month avg) that I don’t have to work so hard for. Easy money is what I like to call it (after the initial work is done).

  • Joni says:

    A few years ago, my son and his wife decided to start an eBay business selling kitchen-wares. It was so successful, they retired and moved to Costa Rica. He encouraged me to start a small business on-line to help with our family finances. My husband was remodeling, but getting tired (we are over 50), and the economy wasn’t helping.
    So a little over three years ago, I started my small, part-time (at first) eBay store selling brand new craft and garden tools.
    At first the items were in my bedroom, but I didn’t like waking up to the sight of all that work, so eventually we moved everything into our family room. Most of my sales are over-seas, so I am not as dependent on the US economy as we were before. We have lived on the income for a couple years now, and my husband is free to invest his time and energy in our rental properties. When we retire, I will have a valuable store to sell!
    I have learned a lot, but I could not have done this without the help of my 4 sons’ computer and business expertise! I am able to give employment to my daughter, and I keep busy managing everything. It has been a win-win opportunity for us.

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