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    BWS Stories - "Get a Job"...Career Choices

    "Get a Job"...Career Choices - Suddenly Single or
    How I Went From Domestic Diva to Entrepreneurial Neophyte


    Suddenly Single or
    How I Went From Domestic Diva to Entrepreneurial Neophyte

    Once upon a time, life was simpler. Boomer women were trained to become Domestic Divas. Now, the role of a Domestic Diva is straightforward. She's in charge of Homeland Security, so to speak. She cleans, cooks, does laundry, raises the children and acts as helpmate to her husband. I know how old-fashioned that sounds, but consider the era.

    In my days as a Domestic Diva, I performed all the aforementioned duties, plus a few extras along the way, including running a day care in my home and later, home schooling my children. As you can see, a Domestic Diva wears many hats in her life. There was also a three-year stint with our local dentist, where I wore a receptionist's hat.

    I even helped my husband with his side business, a custom engraving service. In this capacity, as his office manager, I answered the phone and made appointments, answered customer's questions, delivered finished items and collected fees. Then I added the Creative Director hat to my wardrobe and began writing copy for flyers, sales letters, thank you notes and emails.

    So, for three and half decades, and with change as my constant companion, the role of a Domestic Diva was my life. Our location changed now and then, as well as a few other variables here and there, but basically, life went on more or less smoothly.

    My children grew up and the first grandchild came along, so I prepared to take on yet another new role-that of Motherhood Part II-or in other words-Grandmother.

    Overall, I knew where I belonged and what my role in life was supposed to entail. I had a purpose in that life. Frankly, most days I reveled in that role and delighted in that purpose. I prided myself in my ability to change whenever necessary. I was good at going with the flow. Life is change, I told myself, especially for women.

    Now the gradual change of single gal to wife to mother (and teacher) to business partner to grandmother is a perfectly normal and do-able progression. But in February of 2004, the biggest change, the hardest change of all occurred. In a matter of moments, I became a widow.

    Due to circumstances beyond my control, I found myself in the position of needing to earn a living and fast. All those years of working at home and loving it made the idea of working for someone else distasteful. I didn't want to slave away for peanuts, making someone else rich. So I opted to start my own business, one I hoped would help other businesses in my community.

    I put my long-time passion for writing together with the skills learned while helping my husband with his engraving service, and I became a freelance copywriter, specializing in helping the small business person promote their own passions-their companies.

    How do you go from dust bunnies to direct mail packages, almost overnight? From cooking and cleaning to client meetings? From loads of laundry each week to loads of letters mailed out each week? From persuading my grandsons to behave to persuading would-be clients that they need my writing services?

    Of course, there are some similarities to the two lives. Both require organization, focus, commitment, dedication, and naturally a lot of hard work. No one ever said being a woman was easy.

    The hardest part to all this change was that there was virtually no transition period; no easing from one life into the other. My life literally changed in a heartbeat. It did a 180-degree turn.

    Nowadays, all the priorities are different. Where once I would have listened to the constant call of household chores, now I have to ignore the incessant chatter of laundry, cooking and cleaning. It gets done when it gets done.

    Let's face it, it comes down to cleaning or returning phone calls, laundry or printing letters and post cards, cooking or attending networking meetings. While being a stay-at-home mom is a noble profession, it doesn't always prepare a woman for the outside world of business.

    The Domestic Diva would not ignore the call of dirty floors and laundry. On the other hand, the Entrepreneurial Neophyte has to look past the household chores. Even the business neophyte knows if you don't work the business every day, you soon won't have a business at all. Something's got to give.

    So there you have it. Many of us have had to go through this painful change and many more will endure it too. Someone once said, it's not what happens in your life, it's how you handle it that's important. And you've heard the expression, "If life gives you lemons, make lemonade." Well, tell yourself you won't just make lemonade, you'll start your own business selling that lemonade.

    And good luck with that lemonade stand!

     
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