Miracle in a Dry Season    Dangerous Passage


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Making Work at Home Work by Mary M. Byers

Reviewed by Melissa J. Carswell

"If there was a work at home business class that colleges offered to female at-home entrepreneurs, this would be the textbook."

“Gosh, I wish I could stay at home and work in my pajamas all day. You have it so easy!”

As a work at home mom, I’ve heard that more than once. I usually find myself smiling with gritted teeth, thinking, “If you only knew. . . “ while remembering the last work day in which my toddler was standing at my ankles screaming as I tried to get an article written in order to meet yet another deadline, and the acrid smell of burnt rice filled the air telling me our supper was a lost cause.

Rarely do people understand that while I have the best of both worlds as a work at home mom, I also have the worst of both worlds as a work at home mom.

Thankfully, Mary M. Byers does understand, and she tackles the subject in it’s entirety in her book Making Work at Home Work. Anything that a work at home mom may experience, Mary covers in her book. She even nails it right down to being on a business call while watching the walls become your toddler’s latest art work. In that moment it’s a decision – save the call or save the wall. You decide to save the call by telling yourself it’s just easier to let the art happen and later you can take the Mr. Clean Magic eraser to it. The further I read the more I was validated. Mary gets it because she’s been there, done that. In fact, she’s still there!

Mary has split her book into two sections, “Saving your Sanity” and “Preserving your Profit”. In “Saving your Sanity” Mary addresses the practical issues of working at home. She starts out by asking her readers to change their entire mindset. She does this be asking them to stop viewing themselves as a stay at home mom, but instead start seeing themselves as a work at home mom. Just this simple task, Mary believes, can change everything about how you run your business.

The remainder of the section then goes on to address issues that all work at home moms have to address: what is the reason for working in the first place, what are the primary goals driving the work, dealing with guilt and setting boundaries, and making it a marital team effort. She also dedicates chapters to child care, addressing client “emergencies”, and creating a system in order to maximize business effectiveness.

I’m a very detailed oriented person who has really thought through every aspect of my at-home business, but this section still brought out key points and areas that I hadn’t considered yet.

The second section, “Preserving your Profit”, brings it down to the nitty-gritty of the business and financial end of working at home. In this section Mary has chapters that carry the titles of, “Accepting the at-Home CEO Mantle”, “Boosting Your Revenue: Lessons in Working Less and Making More”, “One Page Planning: Spend a Morning, Plan a Year” and “Retirement Planning: Feathering Your Own Nest”.

That’s not all there is either. Again, this section is replete with wise and practical advice that every work at home mom is going to want to read.

Thinking of working from home? Get the book! Just starting out? Get the book! Been working from home for years now? Get the book!

Mary has not only given work at home moms a treasury of valuable information, she has also validated the highs and lows that come from working at home. If there was a work at home business class that colleges offered to female at-home entrepreneurs, this would be the textbook.

Melissa J. CarswellMelissa J. Carswell: Melissa is a Board Certified Christian Counselor. However, due to the appearance of a little bundle of Miracle in the past year, the counseling practice is now on indefinite hold. Instead, Melissa has entered the world of freelance writing from home. She is currently one of the content writers for TotallyHer.com (to be launched in September of 2008). Melissa has a passion for mentoring teen girls and young women and does so whenever possible. Her heart longing, along with her husband, is to use her education and credentials someday to have a home full of abandoned, abused, and terminally ill childen. They are still waiting for God's hand to unfold that particular chapter of their lives. When Melissa isn't changing diapers, doing laundry, cooking meals, mentoring the afore-mentioned young women, tending to her garden, being her husband's biggest fan, and soaking in every cuddly moment with her daughter, she reads and she writes. It is not unusual to see 2-3 books laying around the house at any given time and the hard drive to her computer houses several partially-written manuscripts to the secret dreamed-of-published books Melissa hopes for in the future. You can check out A Weak Rose here.