Please tell us a little bit about yourself and what your life looked like before having your sweet babies.
My name is Lauren Golden and I am a wife, mama, marketing nerd and iced coffee enthusiast (half sweetened with soy milk). I am also the founder of The Free Mama Movement where I help mamas work from home on their own terms and live a totally awesome, guilt-free life.
So how the heck did I get here?
My husband and I moved back to Kansas City, my hometown, right before we got married (that month living with my parents as newlyweds was fabulous, let me tell you) and soon settled into decent paying jobs that neither of us loved.
I’ve always been a bit of an overachiever and someone who glamorized “being busy”. I was involved in my job, always juggled a few side gigs, and volunteered in my community. I gained a ton of experience and met a lot of people in a short span of time, but I was beyond stressed out. In fact, it wasn’t until I slowed down and swapped jobs that we were even able to get pregnant.
My definition of “busy” quickly changed during those first few days with a newborn...
Fast forward to after you had your kids and realized the corporate world just wasn’t cutting it anymore: what was your “aha moment” in terms of working from home?
My husband actually had the realization first. He turned 30, lost a grandparent and had a daughter all within a few months and it spurred a bit of a quarter-life-crisis. Poor guy.
He went on to quit his job and we took out a massive loan for him to buy out the previous owner of a business. This was our first taste of entrepreneurship and the learning curve was mighty steep for two Political Science majors.
Suddenly I became the breadwinner, benefits holder and household leader while pregnant with our second child. Pretty soon after he was born, I remember telling my husband I couldn’t do it anymore. I couldn’t spend 3 hours a day in the car shuttling my babies to coo and poo at someone else’s house. I couldn’t work in a place where I felt undercompensated and underappreciated. So I took my skills and applied them towards freelancing and made a plan to leave my job within the year.
Except sometimes God, the universe, higher power or whatever you believe has other plans.
We got pregnant again. After the shock wore off, I came up with a new plan that would allow me to quietly exit stage right after completing my maternity leave…
And then I had a miscarriage.
It sounds a little woo-woo, but in that devastating moment, I heard a voice in my head that said, “what’s your plan now?” I quit my job 1 week later and have never looked back.
You hit a few bumps in the road on your quest to work from home... can you tell us a little about them and how you overcame each one?
The truth is, I enjoyed the work I was doing everyday at my 9-5, and I loved my co-workers, but after my son was born I became incredibly resentful of my massive commutes, my employer and honestly - my husband who was off pursuing his dreams while I held down the fort as the “stable” one.
By this point I felt desperate to stay home, but I also still loved working and producing. I dabbled in network marketing and thought for sure if anyone could pull off a free car it was me, but the team model of MLMs was a huge turn off for me and so I capped at a few hundred dollars in profit.
Frustrated and feeling like a bit of a failure, I turned to freelancing as a social media manager, a skill I was comfortable with from work I was doing for my employer. I started a blog around the same time that would document my journey from working mom to work at home mom called The Free Mama. I had HUGE plans to monetize the blog, except I didn’t have any idea how! Luckily, the freelancing business took off...
How did you finally begin making stable money and how long did it take from the time you quit your corporate job?
When I realized that freelancing offered the chance to do things I was already good at and knew how to do, at prices and for clients I chose, I was all in. I definitely “looked before I lept” and had started supplementing nearly $2,000/month of my income freelancing before I quit my job.
I learned a lot of lessons the hard way - like the importance of contracts, charging what you’re worth, and crystal clear communication around expectations and timelines - but for the most part it was smooth sailing.
Until I had to start over again.
Yup, I actually built up my freelancing business from scratch twice, because we unexpectedly moved and the small local businesses I was serving in Kansas City could no longer get the support they needed now that I was in Katy, TX. That is when I became a 100% online-based business and made the strategic decision to only partner with online entrepreneurs.
In that first year, even with the move, I actually made almost $25,000 MORE than I did in my previous full-time job working about half of the hours. That’s when I realized I was really onto something and that if I could do it, other mamas could do it, too.
What is The Free Mama Movement and how does it help other parents who want to work from home?
The Free Mama Movement is a thriving community of over 3,000 women who don’t want to sacrifice time with their babies in order to provide for them.
I’ve taught hundreds of mamas how to build a freelancing business from home as a virtual administrative consultant doing admin, organizational and marketing type tasks for online businesses so that they don’t have to choose between family and financial stability.
You offer informative courses and training for moms interested in working from home... what can your virtual attendees expect to learn from you?
In addition to my self-paced 12 Week Program, I also work one-on-one with motivated mamas who want to get their businesses up and running fast.
All of my students can expect to walk away with the strategic and practical training, technical support and mindset coaching to run a successful freelancing business from their home, while taking care of their family and household.
Now that you work and teach from home, what does a “typical” (if such a thing exists) day in your shoes look like?
I’m a creature of habit and so are my kiddos! A typical day starts with my husband making our family breakfast before heading to work. He is gone a lot these days, so this is the one time of day he can really help me out and it is amazing. Plus, he is a much better cook!
Our older kiddos get themselves ready for school and have a few chores (they unload the dishwasher and take out recycling), while I get the youngest and myself ready and fed.
My oldest is in real-deal school now, while my younger two attend preschool 4 days a week for 4 hours a day. That is my sacred, uninterrupted work time. In order to show up as the mama I want to be while my children are home, I have to maximize this time as productively and efficiently as possible.
I use time blocking to manage my calendar and a technique called The Daily Five to make sure I’m always getting the most out of my work day. This is the time of day when I would schedule virtual meetings or interviews, coach my clients and create content.
After I pick up my youngest, we usually eat. Actually, we eat all the time - ha! We are very active and love to be outside, which in Houston either means a park in the winter or the pool in the summer.
We are getting to the activity age with our kids - so gymnastics and swimming fill many of our afternoons - followed by dinner, baths (okay, so I probably only bath them about 3-4 times a week) and bedtime.
Most nights I hop back on my computer for a few hours to take care of some administrative tasks and get myself prepared for the following day’s agenda.
I’m not a huge television-watcher anymore, but The Bachelorette is a non-negotiable in my life. Don’t judge.
Can you share your favorite work-from-home memory with us? (Ex: Feedback from a student, something funny that the kids did when you were on a call, etc.)
The first time I really remember thinking to myself - wow, I’m actually doing this - I was at Wonderscope, a Children’s Museum in Kansas City. It was a Wednesday morning. I had never gotten to take my kiddos anywhere during the work week before, and there I was in a near empty museum laughing and playing with my kids without the Saturday morning lines. I’ll admit, I checked my phone a few times to make sure I didn’t have any client emergencies or to field some social media comments, but I felt so proud in that moment of the risks I had taken in order to show up as the mom - and business owner - I wanted to be.
Isn't she incredible?! If you are ready to join the Free Mama Movement, check out thefreemamamovement.com. To follow Lauren -- or get in touch -- be sure to visit the Free Mama Facebook page and group, and the Free Mama Instagram.