WITN’s Emma Johnson Featured on New York Post By Mackenzie Dawson
Emma Johnson had two young children and a husband with a well-paying corporate job when everything changed overnight. On a work trip to Greece, her husband fell off a cliff. Amazingly, he survived, but he sustained a serious brain injury — and nothing would be the same.
“A month later he came home,” Johnson writes on her blog, Wealthy Single Mommy. “He was angry before. We fought before. Now it was impossible. Then I got pregnant again. Then he left.”
And suddenly Johnson, who had left a staff writing job to freelance, was suddenly the sole financial provider for her family. Now she had to ramp up, get more work and earn more money — fast.
“It was terrifying,” she says. “But terror is a fantastic tool for growing a business.”
Two years after launching her blog, Johnson is a successful writer “helping professional single moms lead awesome lives.” She hosts the nationally syndicated “Emma Johnson Show” on AM radio and she created a new Web show on the WIT network called “Earn Like a Mother,” in which she gives mothers advice on how to achieve that elusive balance that pretty much every mom wants — to work a bit less, earn more and spend more time with their children. @Work chatted with her to get her tips on how to rethink your work life and, yes, earn like a mother:
Listen to your gut
If you’re unhappy in your job, or feel like the schedule is too punishing to be a happy parent, don’t be afraid to step off the ladder. “The reality is the current corporate structure is completely destabilizing right now,” says Johnson. “If you’re unhappy, that’s your truth. Listen to it. Don’t say, ‘Oh, the money is so good, I have to stay.’ There is a way to be self-employed in almost any industry, whether it’s through consulting, tutoring, entrepreneurial work — think outside the box.”
Know your skill set
When assessing their own skills, people have a tendency to think small, concentrating only on what they’ve been doing in their particular job on a day-to-day basis. Think bigger than that. “Right now, it’s not always the hard skills employers are looking for,” says Johnson. “Sometimes it’s as simple as a good thinker with a great personality who can just jump in and do stuff.” To get a sense of your own skills — and those being sought out in your field — start talking to people (see “Find your network,” right) about what they’re noticing in terms of hiring trends.
Let joy be your driver
“At some point in your career, making a lot of money is really joyful,” says Johnson. “At another point, it might be joyful to direct more attention to your kids as you scale back your career a bit. At another stage, it might be fulfilling a creative desire you’ve always had. Whatever that is, if you’re happy in your work, you’ll be a better mom.” Figure out what is going to make you happiest at this point in time and honor it, keeping in mind a career is not a journey with one set destination.
When in doubt, source it out
One of Johnson’s pet topics is the outsourcing of many household chores that take up time in a parent’s life — time that might be better spent with kids or growing your business. “The most popular post ever on my blog is called, ‘You’re Stupid If You’re Doing Your Own Laundry.’ Out of all the things I write about, laundry is the most polarizing!” says Johnson with a laugh. “Outsource the things you aren’t good at or hate doing. This is time/energy management. If you’re running a business, you can’t do it all. It’s the same for managing your life and household.”
Find your network
“In terms of career management, right now it’s the Wild West,” says Johnson. “People just want to hire really smart thinkers in every industry. There is very little of a career road map for any of us anymore, which is both horrifying and thrilling. That makes your group all the more important . . . so build your network, because that is how you find the opportunities that are being generated.”
And don’t limit your networking to your own industry — there are great, bigger picture ideas to be shared by people outside your field. “There are so many women out there doing amazing things, and with social media, they’re not hard to connect with. And they are building the kind of lives you want to lead.”