Working from home successfully is something many of us have or have had, questions about. It’s a great opportunity for parents or parents-to-be to have diverse careers, whilst still being present for their families. They can work around their families, and don’t have expense or pressure of having their child in daycare. No more ringing in sick when their child is unwell, no missing school events and sports days.
Today we have Stephanie who tried to work a 9-5 for over a year when she had her first son, but found it just wasn’t working for her family. So she took the decision to work from home using experience she already had, and now runs her own digital marketing agency, plus does work for a non-profit organisation that advocates for women’s causes. It’s changed her life and she hasn’t looked back.
Thanks for joining us today Stephanie. Can you start by telling our audience a bit about yourself:
My name is Stephanie Solheim. I’m a mom, a business owner and advocate for women’s causes. My husband and I live in Toledo, Ohio USA with our two children, Liam (three yrs) and Wesley (six months) plus our three giant, hairy dogs we call the Tubas, and two rats named Itsy and Bitsy.
My business is an agency called 3tubas Digital Marketing – named after my dogs which can be a fantastic conversation starter! 3 Tubas Digital Marketing helps female entrepreneurs and business owners grow their online visibility and traffic through creative and strategic digital marketing solutions. Providing them with the freedom and space to focus on other aspects of their business. Our focus is on offering services in website development, design & management, SEO & local search strategy, content creation and social media management.
I also work as the Marketing & Communications Liaison for a non-profit organization called HerHub by Women of Toledo. Women of Toledo is a non-profit serving the Greater Toledo community that advocates for diversity & inclusion and women’s economic empowerment. HerHub specifically is a community and resource for women focused on Women-focused events, business owners and activities.
What inspired you to start working from home?
My background is in financial services, marketing, and online banking. I worked for Credit Unions in the area for 15 years. When my oldest son, Liam, was born I went back to work after my 12 weeks of maternity leave. I tried to work while he was in daycare for over a year, but soon after he turned one my husband and I decided that the both of us working just wasn’t the right fit for us.
I missed my baby, I was depressed, my husband and I were spread too thin, and I just didn’t have the passion or motivation for the work I was doing at the Credit Union. So I quit my job and began working from home as the Marketing Manager for my in-law’s construction company.
How has this impacted upon yours and your families lives?
Working from home has allowed me to spend more time with my family, and my child. It’s also given us the freedom from the cost of daycare to have our second child, Wesley. I really like working, so being able to find a balance between being a mom, running my home, helping my husband and finding success working whilst accomplishing my lifelong dream of being a business owner is really satisfying. My entire family is happier for it.
What’s your number one tip for managing it all: working from home, family life, and household tasks?
My husband and I stay organized by sharing a calendar. It’s an old school paper calendar we have tacked to our refrigerator and we have to look at it multiple times a day. This method of communication really works for us, in addition to using our Echo Show by Amazon to verbally add items to grocery lists, to-do lists and reminders. In the end, it’s all about communication and organization to stay successful.
What does an average day working from home look like for you?
To be perfectly honest, since Covid-19 and Ohio’s Stay at Home order, it has been very different and difficult. My work has picked up greatly as businesses look for help with their online visibility since they’re not getting the foot traffic they used to. I’m also not getting the opportunity to have my parents, inlaws and other family members help with the children, so balancing has been really tough. I feel like I now wake up still holding my laptop and fall asleep with it as well. I’m much busier right now and not balancing my time as I would like.
Normally though, I focus on my children while my husband’s at work, and I answer calls and emails when I can throughout the day, or when the children nap. Once my husband arrives home I spend about an hour or two working. I also work quite a lot on the weekends.
What’s your top tool or resource you can’t work from home without?
Aside from my job-specific tools, one tool that I think almost anyone would appreciate is Trello. Trello is a card system for keeping track of projects. It reminds me of a big board full of sticky notes. I have about 12 different boards that I collaborate on with business partners, clients, friends and my husband. You can even link it up to a calendar, so you can make things from meal plans to household tasks, to any kind of work-related project. It has changed my life!
Sometimes, it can be overwhelming to know where to start when you want to work from home. Can you provide our audience with your top tip?
For me, even though I quit my day job and was able to work for my in-laws, it took me a while to find the focus and direction for my business. I spent about a year exploring what I wanted to do, and that really helped to keep my options open and find something I love. Interestingly enough, I feel like I need to credit Facebook groups for this. I joined a lot based on my interests and just started learning, then from there helping others, and from there my business formed.
If someone was considering doing what you do from home, is there a course or Ebook they should consider investing in to give them a start in the right direction?
What are your ambitions for the future, current projects?
I am the most excited about my work with HerHub and the opportunity to help women find connection, educational opportunity, and visibility for their businesses.
If someone were to have given you a piece of advice before working from home, what would you have benefited from hearing?
Oh my gosh, it can be hard, maybe even harder. I don’t get a break for lunch, I’m constantly multitasking, and working odd hours makes syncing up with clients and partners really tough. The hardest thing for me is making myself stop working. I work 10/12 hour days and exhaust myself because I don’t have a set schedule. I’m trying to get much better at that now, and not be such a workaholic, but I do love being able to cuddle my babies whenever I like.
Stephanie is a wife, mum of two boys, successful business owner, and advocate for women’s causes. She has successfully built her business, 3 Tubas Digital Marketing, in order to support female entrepreneurs and business owners. Stephanie helps them to grow their online visibility and traffic through creative and strategic digital marketing solutions. She is also very passionate within her Marketing and Communication Liaison role with HerHub, a community in Greater Toledo that advocates for diversity & inclusion and women’s economic empowerment.
Connect with Stephanie here: