CanadaOne Twitter CanadaOne Linkedin CanadaOne Facebook CanadaONe RSS


Exploring Work Women Want: An Interview with Jennifer Forest

By Julie King |

Many women want it all. A great job, a family and some good quality life balance added in as well.

The traditional world of work make this tough, if not impossible. Commuting to work, scrambling to pick-up kids from daycare and very little time left over for any personal needs can lead to burn-out and consideration of the obvious question: Isn't there a better way?

Jennifer Forest is an author who has written several books, including Crafty Girls Talk, Behind Jane Austen's Door and most recently, Work Women Want - Work at Home or Go Part-Time. Her latest book shares the stories of 12 mothers who have successfully created at home or part-time jobs and provides advice to help other mothers understand how they might do the same.

I recently caught up with Jennifer to ask her about her book and ideas for women who want to be able to have a great career, while raising their kids and even finding some time to take care of themselves as well.

Work Women Want explores the stories of twelve women who have been able to create successful careers working part time or full time from home. From your experience, what are the top 3 challenges women face when trying to make this kind of transition?

The top three challenges are:

  1. The time it takes to get established: Unless you can leave your career and take several clients with you, setting up a business to a point where it is profitable and sustainable does take time, and it could well take a lot longer than you think.
  2. The money to support you: Due to that time it takes to get a business profitable, women need to have savings, a supportive partner or run a business at night while working in a day job.
  3. The need to create a team: It can be very isolating working on a business alone, which is what many women do. It is really important to create a team of supporters, other women who are doing the same thing as you to share ideas with and have a coffee with.

Are there concerns about the professionalism of the work environment, when supporting a business role at home? (ie. babies crying and dogs barking in the background?) If so, how would you recommend that women balance this?

I remember my very first freelance project 12 years ago, I was on the telephone with the client and my gorgeous little dachshund decided to bark madly and furiously! I learnt my lesson and now I never make phone calls or do interviews unless I’m the only person in the room and if other family members are at home they know not to disturb me. It does require careful scheduling of your day to make sure you have time to work and focus, talk to clients and anything else you need to do in peace and quiet.

This is your fifth book and it represents a shift from some of your previous work. What made you decide to write Work Women Want?

This is one of the biggest questions facing women today. I feel very passionate about career, money and family choices women have to make. Almost every single woman I met at playgroups and mothers’ groups was struggling with this question of how to make decent money after babies. They were usually professional, educated women who had good careers before children and were now making tough decisions. I also had a couple of friends ask me how to do it, how to work from home? I wanted to give these wonderful, talented and educated women a decent, no-nonsense answer.

When I had a look at the books out there a lot of them looked like “get-rich-quick” schemes or had options that were outdated. I wanted to include other options I know women are doing like freelancing on Elance or running online stores on Etsy. So I set to work exploring decent options and as one of the things I do is write books, it was natural for me to take my research, interviews and experiments into a book.

At first, references to earning money from home made me think of the get-rich-quick schemes, but that is not at all what you meant. What are some of the things women need to watch out for when looking for this type of work?

Most definitely not at all, I am not interested in scams or get-rich-schemes! And I spent a lot of time researching how to spot a scam. It is a great pity that the work at home field is flooded with people selling scams or get-rich-quick schemes. They are playing with people’s fears and emotions at an often-difficult point in their lives.

How to spot a scam?

  • Scams have an unnecessary sense of urgency, like a ticking clock at the bottom of the web page.
  • They often won’t tell you what it is you have to do to earn the money, a detailed explanation of how you make money.
  • Scams sound too good to be true. Building a profitable business does actually take work!
  • They also play on your emotions to stop you from making sensible decisions.

If you are ever in doubt about an opportunity, don’t do anything. Stop, go and talk to a friend or family member. Call the consumer affairs tribunal or department in your country and get advice.

What is the one tip you would give to a woman looking to achieve better work/life balance?

Above all else be true to yourself. It is so easy to lose who you are in the demands of family, career and mortgages. In the end though you have to be happy or everything you do will just bring pain and sadness and those you love around you will be unhappy too. Whatever you work on, however you shape your life, make sure you can still find yourself and your dreams in it.

Canadian, Eh!

For over 15 years CanadaOne has helped Canadian businesses start-up and grow. All of the content on our site is created to help busineses get Canadian answers!

Featured Member

MemberZone. Get in the zone! Join Today!

CanadaOne Recommends

Bullies in the Boardroom: Covering the Legal Bases

Should I Start My Own Company?

Conversations with Entrepreneurs: Billy Blanks

Avoiding Legal Perils: Critical Insights into Canadian Franchise Law

Starting a Business: Choosing a Year-End


Article Tags