Mompreneur: Tsh Oxenreider
Business: Simple Mom
Tsh Oxenreider is the founder, writer, and editor of SimpleMom.net, a blog about life hacks for home managers.
What inspired you start your business?
I had been writing a personal family blog since 2005, but I was wanting a separate place to catalog my ideas for home management. So I started Simple Mom basically as a place for me to write out ideas for my own home – I process ideas by writing them down, so it was both a cathartic outlet and a practical tool in my own life. And somehow, other people started finding my ideas and implementing them in their homes. And the blog took off from there.
How long have you been in business?
The blog started mid-February 2008. So about a year old.
What did you do in your past work life?
Well, I have a BA in English and anthropology, so writing has always been in my blood. And we live overseas (for my husband’s work), so the anthropologist in me enjoys the challenge and blessing of living in another culture. I’ve been a freelance graphic designer for quite a few years, doing everything from wedding invitations to companies’ websites. But my first love has always been writing.
What is your ideal workday like?
Wake up at 6:00, work out, shower, and get ready for the day. Write, write, write until 8:00, when I have breakfast with the family. Play with my kids, read, and do something outside until lunch time. Then during my youngest child’s naptime, I open my email inbox for the first time. And since we’re talking ideal, when I open my inbox, it’s miraculously empty. Maybe write a tiny bit more after the kids are in bed post-dinner, but then spend the rest of the evening hanging and talking with my husband.
What have been some of your major successes?
Since the blog is just now a year old, it’s grown quite well. And I earn decent revenue from the site, so it’s definitely been worth the hours it takes to produce quality content.
What have been some of your major challenges?
Since I write about balanced and simple living, it’s been a challenge to live that out in my own life. But I’ve found I have to make it a priority, otherwise I have nothing to write about. I could fake it, but it would only last so long. So basically, I’ve learned to write, write well, network a tiny bit, but then step away from the computer. It’s more important than the billion other things I could do online.
On those impossible days, what motivates you to keep going?
My husband is a huge encourager, so on those days when the inbox is brimming over and I’ve got a lot on my plate, he keeps me sane. Having a spouse on board, I feel, is the number one essential tool to a successful blog.
Coffee’s also good. And good music. And a beautiful-smelling candle.
Do you have a motivational quote?
“Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful.” -William Morris
“When you don’t know what to do, just do the thing in front of you.” -Elisabeth Elliot
What is your balancing secret in managing a business and family?
Walk away from the business, particularly when you work at home. Be all there when it’s your time with the kids. Close the laptop. Only check your email 2-3 times a day. Very rarely is anything so urgent in your inbox that your kids and spouse take a backseat.
If there was one piece of advice you could give to your children about running a successful business, what would it be?
A successful business doesn’t mean much if your family suffers. So for me, my blog isn’t successful if the kids are pulling at my skirt hem, if the house is a wreck, and if my husband misses me. Keep your priorities in order – your relationship with God, with your spouse, with yourself, with your kids, and with your community – and THEN your business. If it does well after that, only THEN is it a success.
Do you have a favorite business tool and/or resource?
Gmail saves my sanity. I also adore my MacBook. And I also make good use of pen and paper
What is next for your business?
I’m writing a book, so hopefully the blog will be a natural platform for presenting it to the world, once it’s published. It’s about simplifying and home management, so Simple Mom is a logical place.
Your two cents sales pitch?
I’m passionate about keeping things simple, so that’s reflected in my writing on Simple Mom. I care deeply about getting to the point and not using filler words, so I hope someone can come to the blog, glean some wisdom, separate the wheat from the chaff, and then close the laptop and get to work at home.
Are you a bizzie mompreneur? Would you like to be featured and show of your product or service. Fill out our mom entrepreneur questionnaire and email 411 at bizziemommy dot com any images you would like to use in your post. Interviews are posted every Tuesday.