Sugarrae owns a variety of affiliate websites across a wide range of niches while PushFire provides various SEO Consulting services.
The Sugarrae Agency also co-owns successful website publishing company MFE Interactive.
Rae is a work at home mom with four children.
Check out her take on being a WAHM entrepreneur below.
What made you start your business?
I fell into online marketing completely by accident. In 1997, my oldest son suffered a massive bilateral stroke that left him severely handicapped. I founded the first national support group for parents and families of pediatric stroke survivors to ever register with the American Heart Association as a result. After a few years of running that website, I found affiliate marketing and began to lean search engine optimization (SEO). Luckily, I was good at it. I’ve been self employed ever since.
How did you finance your business in the early days?
Back then I had no money, so I did everything I could by myself. If I didn’t know something, I’d spend whatever amount of time it took to learn it. When I couldn’t substitute my time for cash, I would sell whatever I could do without on Ebay. To pay for my first Yahoo listing (several hundred dollars) I ate hotdogs and macaroni and cheese for almost an entire month. Whatever money the business made in the early days, I reinvested that money back into it.
What is your average workday like?
I get up in the morning and get my older kids off to school. Then I come home and feed my youngest (8 months old) his breakfast. At 9 am our nanny arrives and I head into my home office to work. Some days I work a ten hour day. Some days I might decide to take the day off completely. Most days I get at least 4-6 hours per day in. Then I run errands or take some “me time” before relieving the nanny at 5 pm and diving into our nightly family routine.
It took almost a decade to be able to have such an open schedule though. If you’d asked me this question eight years ago, I’d have told you that I worked at absolute minimum 10 hours a day, every day, including weekends – and without child care. I didn’t get much sleep back then LOL.
What has been your biggest challenge as a WAHM Entrepreneur?
I think my challenges have changed over time. In the beginning, it was hard to have any semblance of balance and I dealt with some “mom guilt” (both self-imposed and imposed by others) at spending every spare second I had building the business. But I believed it would give me more freedom down the road (and thankfully I was right).
These days I think my biggest challenge is growing my company as much as possible within the confines that I want the company to remain being based out of my home. I opened a physical office at one point several years ago and learned that I much preferred working from home.
What has been your biggest success as a WAHM Entrepreneur?
I recently got remarried, but for several years prior I was a single mom. My business was already very successful when I became single again. I felt very good about not only being able to support my kids and give them a great lifestyle, but that I also was able to do it while having the freedom to spend time with them when they needed me to. So I guess to me, my biggest success is that I now have “time wealth”. And I deliberately worked very hard to get to the point where I did.
How do you stay motivated when working from home?
It can be hard sometimes. I go through bouts where I don’t feel like doing anything. I think all entrepreneurs do. But for the most part, knowing that I have not only children but also employees who depend on me keeps me going.
How do you balance your work and family?
For a long time, I didn’t. Work seemed to be constant. But, I’ve learned that having a dedicated home office helps me keep a more balanced line between the two. When my office was in the corner of my kitchen, it was too easy to constantly be “checking on something”. But now I go into my office to work and come out when I’m done working for the day. It’s definitely been the key to regaining a balance between the two for me.
What has been your most successful marketing tactic for your business?
Search engine optimization.
What is your favorite productivity tip or tool?
For me, it’s definitely Skype Premium. It allows me to stay connected to my employees even though they telecommute. I use it for business meetings, planning sessions, networking and for social interaction during my workday.
Who do you admire most and why?
From a personal aspect, my 14 year old son. He has dealt with more than most adults ever will and always survives.
From a business aspect, I have a lot of admiration for Missy Ward and Christine Churchill. Two strong women, each with different styles, very successful careers and both being genuine, “real” people that I’m proud to call good friends.
What is something most people would be surprised to know about you?
I’m terrified of birds. Absolutely, completely (and I know irrationally) terrified of them.
Where do you see your business at two years from now?
I’ve been trying to figure that out myself for the last few months, LOL. I’m not really 100% sure yet, but I still see it being successful and having its focus remain on keeping me time wealthy. I’ve got a few new ventures in the works. I guess we’ll all simply have to wait and see.
What advice would you give to aspiring WAHM Entrepreneurs?
To simply go for it. Don’t be afraid to fail. Don’t let people bring you down. Don;t worry about what other people think. Don’t wait for the “right time”. Decide you’re going to go for it. And then do it with everything you have.