13 Ways We Had to Change Our Mindset to Succeed as Single WAHMs

Single moms face additional obstacles when it comes to living their dream to be a full time work at home mom. There’s no one to share responsibilities with, no one to help with the kids or bring in a paycheck and insurance.

As a single mom I often felt completely overwhelmed. Looking back, I think it’s a miracle that I have come so far. There were so many bumps in the road – many of which were in my own head as much as in the world around me.

I had to change my mindset on so many things so that I could break through and achieve my dreams.

I’ve seen many other single moms go through a similiar process. I invited single mom Angela Wills to join me as co-author on this blog post. We’re going to share some of the ways that we had to change how we think in order to succeed in our businesses.

1. I had to quit whining and complaining. (Kelly)

I’ve been a single mother since my son turned two and pretty much every month after my divorce all the way up to late 2005 when I was finally able to declare myself debt free – I had something to whine and complain about in regards to money and needs.

There was never enough money. There was always something taking away what tiny bit of money I had. I lived in perpetual stress and poverty and if you were anywhere near me you knew about it.

My internet based business was launched to change the situation – and though I did begin to make money in the first year, I still had plenty to complain about.

Whining and complaining about what you don’t have becomes an addiction. Interestingly enough – as you make more money you can always find something else that you ‘need’ to complain about.

I realized I had to stop whining about what I didn’t have and start being grateful instead. Any amount of time given over to negativity and complaining is time not being spent to change the situation.

2. I had to believe that I have skills & expertise worth paying for. (Angela)

It seems that somewhere along the way between mom and entrepreneur, a lot of moms really learn to undervalue their skills and talents. I was no exception. I had to learn that there are a lot of people out there who want to hear what I know about, and are willing to pay good money for my skills, expertise and services.

For service providers, it tempting to be overly eager to get clients and lower our rates to make sure they can afford what we offer. I had to come to the realization of just how valuable my time is and that I don’t want to be a slave to my computer. That’s when I chose a rate, produced high quality, stuck with it and found clients who valued my services.

3. I had to stop comparing myself to others. (Angela)

For a long time I wanted to be like many other entrepreneurs who I saw as successful. I would copy what they were doing, try to learn how they made money and try to be ‘like them’. While having a mentor is highly recommended, you always need to find your own path and do what works for you – I had to learn this and really stop comparing myself to others.

4. I had to cut out time wasters and profitless projects (Kelly)

When I first started to work at home I had a lot of time available. I often started projects that required a lot of time and effort that I knew could take a long time to produce a profit. I thought ‘Well, I have the time so why not?’

Years later my business has grown so much that I no longer have ‘time to burn’ and I realized I needed to circle back and evaluate my projects for their ROI (return on investment) value.

As much as I loved some of the things I was involved in, they were not producing enough profit to hold their own in comparison to other projects. It was painful but I trimmed away the under performing projects and reclaimed time and resources that could then be used on what is really working for me.

5. I had to learn to say no. (Angela)

Another fault that seems to be largely women-based is the inability to say one simple word: NO. Doesn’t seem too hard to say, but when face-to-face with making someone happy versus your own wishes and desires ‘YES’ seems to win out far too often. As a successful business owner I had to learn to weigh my options carefully (and the more successful you become, the more options your have) and only say yes to those that absolutely fit with my goals, wishes and business plan.

Let’s practice right now. I’ll ask and you answer:

“I can’t afford to pay you yet, will you work on commission?”

Now you say: “NO!”

6. I had to give up the idea that success is a one-woman job and start working with others. (Angela)

I used to think it was just easier and cheaper to do everything myself. Why pay a web designer $300+ when I can do it myself? Why hire a bookkeeper when I can *struggle* through entering all that data and get it done for free? Now the answer to these questions is clear.

Two people together can do much, much more work than one can alone. Finding a great team and building your business with that team is one of the most important things you will do for your business. I now work with a bookkeeper, a project manager, a video VA and an audio VA on various projects. Another great thing about having a team is that they think of things you just wouldn’t think of yourself and give new perspective to projects you may be all dried up with.

7. I had to admit I had something to learn and seek out mentors to learn from. (Angela)

I never had a problem with learning but there is a point in your business where you get so busy with the ‘work’ that you forget to keep working on yourself. It is so important to keep honing your skills and becoming a master at what you do. It is also so important to seek out mentors who can make your path MUCH easier because you learn from their mistakes. These are the best mentors.

A mentor is someone you admire, who is doing what you want to do and who you can learn from on some level. A mentor doesn’t necessarily need to be someone you pay. Often, you’ll hear people say that even Tiger Woods has a coach. A mentor is your guide and all the most successful people have people they look up to and learn from.

8. I had to face my fear of failure and go for it. (Kelly)

When I was thinking about using some audio on the internet I had a very small concept with limited risk. My friend Alice encouraged me to scrap the lesser idea and go for a full fledged internet radio show. The thought was really scary. What if I failed? I didn’t want to do something ‘big’ that people would notice if it failed.

Looking back, what if I had given in to that fear? Yikes! I’d surely still be puttering around making a ‘little money’ online and working my job at the church. I’m so glad that I took Alice’s advice and ‘went for it!’

9. I had to face my fear of success and stand firm in my expertise. (Kelly)

There was a moment for me in my business where I realized that I was starting to experience measurable success and being viewed as an expert by others.

It’s one thing to want it and work towards it – it’s another thing entirely to ‘be there’ and walk in it. When you’re ‘on your way’ you don’t have any responsibility to produce results, you can just keep saying things like ‘I’m working hard, we’ll see how it goes.’

But when others see you as an authority, they expect results. Consistent results.

This is when I began to actually fear success. What if the success was short lived? What if I failed to manage it and grow it? Wouldn’t it be easier to shrink back and start something new so that I wouldn’t have to show results yet?

I did face my fear of success and learned to stand at ease in the place I’m in. One big key for me has been to never pretend to be anything other than what I am. No fluff. No hype. I’m just a single mom making a living here and I can help you do it to.

10. I had to accept that I deserve a raise now and then. (Kelly)

I raised rates this summer on a service that my team provides to others. I did it with some fear and trepidation. Would the orders stop coming in? There were definitely others providing the same service for less.

The good news is that the orders didn’t slow down a bit and just two months later I raised rates again. I wasn’t as afraid as I was the first time. I knew our services were worth the price. Still, you wonder if the increase will scare clients away.

The results have been amazing. If anything, we’re getting more clients.

What if I had let fear hold me back? I’d be making hundreds of dollars less per project!

11. I had to realize that I CAN actually live debt free (Kelly)

I shared a bit above about my struggles with money. My years of living under crushing debt and lack went on so long that when I was able to see light at the end of the tunnel, I found myself making some crazy mistakes with money that repeatedly sabotaged my financial health.

The poverty mentality is debilitating. If you believe you’ll always be broke, you’ll do things to keep yourself broke.

I had to learn to see myself living life without debt and lack. It took practice and determination to learn to be responsible for my financial freedom instead of being a victim of financial bondage.

12. I had to stop allowing myself to believe in ‘get rich quick’ promises. (Angela)

Get Rich Schemes Tempt Desperate Single WAHMs

Get Rich Schemes Tempt Desperate Single WAHMs

Here’s an embarrassing little story I’d like to share with you:

A few years ago I went to one of those ‘rah-rah’ we make millions and you can too seminars. Now, there was TONS of valuable information given out for free and I should have been happy with that. I have to admit, though, that I totally fell into one of those ‘following along like a rat after the Pied Piper’ states where I completely believed that I could fork over $10,000 and make it back and much much more before the creditors started calling. Yes, this was the LAST 10K on my credit card and I would have been in some deep trouble had I not been able to pay it back.

Luckily, I did come to my senses a couple of weeks later and got a full refund on my first couple of payments towards the $10,000 coaching fees.

You can make a lot of money online, but don’t believe every promise of riches you hear and don’t max out your credit cards believing you’ll be rich in 60 days or less!

13. I had to create systems, use them and stop re-inventing the wheel. (Angela)

I’m still working on this one but already it’s improving my business. Before I started creating and using systems I was wasting so much time doing things from memory. Not only that, I often felt like I might be forgetting something that I should be doing. Creating systems allows me to make sure I’m consistently providing fantastic service and resources without having to start all over every time I do something. This is extra money in my pocket!

About my co-author: Angela Wills is an internet marketing virtual assistant who specializes in Affiliate Management. For almost three years, she has worked with many internet-based small business owners by setting-up and maintaining their Affiliate programs. Angela is the owner of Marketer’s Mojo, where she helps small business owners use their natural strengths in their internet marketing.


  1. says

    This is a great post. I agree with #5, “I had to learn how to say No.” I definitely struggled with this on a regular basis. To help me get past it, I remembered something that Marcia Francois (of Take Charge Solutions) said to me in an audio interview, “When you say ‘yes’ to someone else, you are saying ‘no’ to yourself.” I really believe it’s true. I can’t count how many times I have sacrificed something I really cared about to bend to the whim of someone else.
    Thanks for sharing your own experiences.

  2. says

    Excellent post! I think the most important one really is never to undervalue yourslef – or if you are – to stop! It’s intesne and hard to do but so worth it in the end!

  3. says

    Great points ladies! I think we all have a lot of those same obstacles to overcome. I found myself nodding my head and going, “Yup, I did that,” quite a few times reading your post this morning.

    Lorettas last blog post..VA services Val

  4. says

    I am one of those that is still starting out trying to find my way, but trying everything along the way.
    I believe I have finally found what I want to do and doing my best to focus on that and put my energy where it will be best used.
    Confidence seems to be my daily struggle.

    dawntrenees last blog post..Saga of the Big Boy Bed

  5. says

    I agree with the others. These are all stumbling blocks for many of us — single or not. I think the years that I’ve been working online have taught me more about myself than anything else I have done in life, including parenting. The parenting role I fell into easily. Being a successful entrepreneur? It was a huge learning curve.

    Great list, ladies.

    Nicole Deans last blog post..A Bear on a Bicycle? The importance of Good Copy.

  6. says

    As a single mom of three children I can concede I do relate to many of your needed changes. I especially found that I had to learn I couldn’t be supermom all the time. Finding time to be there emotionally for my children meant taking weekends to play instead of catching up on the cleaning 😉

  7. cassie says

    You just named more of my fears that I can explain. It seems as women and as single mothers it is easy to doubt yourself even as success is growing!


  1. […] I just read a post on Sparkplugging.com by Kelly McCausey and Angela WIlls called “13 Ways We Had to Change Our Mindset to Succeed as Single WAHMs“.  Anyone that has read my blog knows that I, too, am a single mom.  I have two boys and I […]

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