Our guest, Lesley Pyle, is considered one of the pioneers of the work-at-home-mom movement and has over 20 years of experience in this area. She founded HomeBasedWorkingMoms.com in 1995, then she started Hire My Mom in 2007 and hasn’t looked back.
Lesley’s business gives strength to all moms out there who want to work from home. Her business platform helps matches employers to any moms who are a good fit. And, we got a chance to talk to her.
Minnie: Tell us about HireMyMom.
Lesley: HireMyMom is a boutique service connecting small businesses and entrepreneurs with moms across the country who are looking for remote works, either in the form of a job or as a freelance contractor. So, the idea behind it was kind of like Match.com instead of matching a man and a woman who are looking to get married, I wanted to create a platform to match a small business with a mom, or a woman, who is looking for an opportunity to work from home.
Minnie: What came first: Match.com or Hire My Mom?
Lesley: Huh, that’s a good question. I think it was Match.com.
Minnie: What inspired you to start Hire My Mom?
Lesley: Well, that goes back to my early days of becoming a mom myself. You mentioned that I had gotten my master’s degree at the University of Sterling in Scotland, and so going on to get my master’s degree obviously I had intentions of going far in my career. So, I came back to the United States looking to start my career in corporate public relations and had high expectations of climbing that corporate ladder. I could just envision myself with my stilettos and my briefcase and just killing the PR world.
Well, motherhood stepped in the way in a positive way. So, I began my PR journey working for a golf school in the Austin Texas area. And I was so excited to have my first job and about three months into that job I got pregnant with my first child. And so, again, I had full expectations of going back to work and pursuing my career.
However, when I had my baby nine months later and finished my six weeks of maternity leave, I went back to work, but I’d soon found that leaving my baby every day in the care of someone else was heartbreaking for me. I literally cried every single day at my desk. And so, I thought, okay. I don’t think this is gonna work for me. So, I went to my employer and I said “Is there any way that possibly I could work from home maybe two days a week, or is there any kind of flexibility that would allow me to prioritize my time with my infant?”
Well, this was back in 1995, and the mindset at that time was everyone worked in the office. There were very few people that I knew that worked from a home office. So, they declined and I went back to my husband and I was like “I can’t do this. I don’t know what else to do, but I feel like I’ve got to step away from this job.” And he was fully supportive and he said, “I’ll support you. We’ll cut our budget everywhere we can.” So, we sold one car, we became a one-car family. We cut out cable TV and every other bill that we could, and we ate ramen noodles like we had done putting ourselves through college.
Lesley: And I hit the ground running pursuing a freelance career doing PR and marketing. And this was before the internet was really taking off and this was before, obviously, social media. So, it meant basically old-fashioned networking and pretty much cold calling and that sort of thing, but I was so determined. And I am not a salesman at heart, I am very much an introvert so that pushed me outside of my comfort zone. But I knew I had to do it in order to be able to spend time with my baby.
We depended on my income. We were a new, young family and we weren’t making a ton of money yet just starting out in our careers. So, once I got those few clients under my belt and was earning a little bit of money I was like okay. This is harder than I expected. So, I cannot be the only mom that either is doing this or wants to do this. So, wouldn’t it be great if I could create a way to bring us all together?
So, that’s where the idea for my first website came along. And that was Home-Based Working Moms. I started that website in 1996. Built it myself, taught myself, and used my PR background to get the word out. And was fortunately very successful in getting in a national magazine called Baby magazine and then several regional publications regarding parents. And so that pretty much launched my first website which became sort of like an online chamber of commerce.
So, you could join, subscribe, become a member and then network with other moms, learn from other moms, buy from other moms. And we had, at the time, message boards because, again, this was before social media so it enabled people to connect and ask each other questions. So, that’s where it really all began for me.
Minnie: Okay. Wow. That sounds so good.
Minnie: Okay. So, tell me. What do you love most about your business?
Lesley: I kind of already said a lot of that, just in the fact that I love helping moms. There’s something about getting an email or a text or a phone call from a mom that you’ve really impacted her life in a positive way by helping her be able to be at home with her kids, with her family, and be more hands-on. Because we all know that our children grow up so quickly and when you miss out on a lot of that it can be really difficult.
And just giving the parents the opportunity to have that time – not just with the kids, but with their spouse, is so important to me. And then on the flip side, just knowing that small business a lot of times I hear from them that they really enjoy employing moms because they feel like they are so good at so many different skills that they’ve had to learn as a mom. And everybody has a mom, so everybody loves moms, so I just feel like it’s such a joy and such a privilege what I get to do.
Minnie: Okay. And how do you rate transcription as a career for stay-at-home moms?
Lesley: I think it’s an excellent choice because it’s one of those that a lot of times does not have to be done at a certain time of the day. I’m sure there are deadlines, of course, but with some jobs, an employer might want you available from 9-4 during the day because you need to answer phone calls or emails or whatever it might be. But with transcription, you’re usually sent the projects to work on and can do them, I’m assuming, at your own pace and at your own time a lot of times.
And it’s something that you can be taught. You don’t have to be a physicist or an engineer to learn these skills, it’s something that pretty much I think anyone can do if that’s something that you’re interested in and you’re willing to get the training in.
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