Starting a Home-Based Business: Tips from Local Mompreneurs


Summer is over and the kids are back at school. You’re thinking this might be the time to create that home-based business you’ve been dreaming of. But how? I interviewed three local moms with successful home-based businesses, and asked them what they did before taking the courageous steps to work for themselves out of their own homes. Let’s meet them!

Home-based business

Amber Carter
Carter Billing Services, LLC 

Amber began her own bookkeeping business in 2008, three months before the birth of her first child. She wanted to be a SAHM, so she started working for herself!





Andrea Whitaker 
Pinecone Sign Company

Andrea created her business making custom-ordered signs on wood in August 2016 to earn some vacation money. This creative outlet also provides stress-relief from a full-time corporate job.  





Christine Furrer

Christine started woodworking for fun in 2014 and fell in love with the process. From there, she decided to start her business making affordable and quality furniture, home décor, and other pieces. 




Here is the conversation I had with each of these “mompreneurs” about their home-based businesses and how they balance them with motherhood:


Did you begin with a business plan/model? 

Amber: I researched what types of certifications I would need, obtained them online, registered my business, ordered business cards…you name it. When my daughter was born, I was all ready to go. 

Andrea: I had nothing! I told a friend that I wanted to do this for fun and offered to make her a sign. She sent me a photo of something she liked and then I had a prototype. I got a couple more orders from people I knew, and then had enough photos to start my Instagram page. Every time I would deliver a sign, someone else would order one.

Christine: I had a business plan in place before I started my business, but I have deviated from it in small ways, and will be revising it at my one-year anniversary this October.

As a mother, when do you find time to work on your business? 

All three mothers told me they reserve work time mostly for when children are sleeping, either in the wee hours of the morning, at nap time, or after bed.

Christine adds that as a single mom, she usually has 2-3 days a week to work during school hours and packs as much work as she can into the times the kids are with their dad.

How do you juggle work, family, and your business? 

Amber: I sprinkle work in throughout the day based around our family’s schedule. I start the day responding to work emails and processing high priority items. After that, I’ll put work on hold until the afternoon. In the mornings and early afternoons, we complete our homeschool lessons, read books together, run errands, and do whatever needs to be done for the day. Once my older kids are finished with their school lessons and the younger kids are down for a nap, it’s time to get back to work. When evening rolls around, it’s time to make dinner and have family time with daddy, then it’s back to work after bedtime.

Andrea: It’s definitely a juggling act and it’s not easy. Every weekend, my husband and I plan when ‘sign work’ will happen, and how we will balance that with other commitments. If you’re concerned about finding the time to run a business when your life is already crazy with a family, think about how energizing it can be to be successful at doing something you truly enjoy. Just be realistic about the time that you can devote to it in whatever season of life you’re in.

Christine: There are times when I have a rhythm and everything is flowing very nicely, and other times where it seems like every car on the train is coming off the track. During the good rhythm, I calendar every detail of the business and the details of our family life. When I start to feel overwhelmed, and I do, I start living my life one minute at a time, one hour at a time, and one day at a time. I make a conscious effort to find joy throughout my day and a lot of prayer until I am back on track.

What advice do you have for moms who are thinking about starting a home-based business? 

Amber: Make sure it’s something you’re really passionate about. We only have so many hours in our day and in our life; decide how you want to use that time.

Christine: Do the majority of your planning before you even open your doors. Make sure that you have a business name that is not being used by someone else, research applicable local and state laws, set up your banking, prepare marketing materials, create your website and social media, set up bookkeeping software, and prepare a business plan.

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After visiting family in Oregon as a young girl, Kathleen became smitten with the Pacific Northwest and decided that someday she would settle and raise a family in this rainy wonderland. Bitten by the travel bug, she went to college, travelled, studied and worked in Europe for 3 years. But upon her return to New Mexico where she grew up, she knew it was time to pursue that childhood dream. She moved to Portland in 2003 with her adventurous fiance (now husband) who she met on an elevator. She still pinches herself occasionally when she realizes how blessed they are to live in this amazing state. Kathleen is mother to two entertaining children. The flexibility of her part-time job as a writing instructor at a local college allows her to work mostly from home, as well as home school her oldest child two days per week. When she’s not grading essays, wiping snotty noses, or picking up dog poo, she spends her time gardening, discovering hiking trails, teaching herself the fiddle, and exploring Oregon with her little brood.