Jennifer Tankersley conceived the idea for ListPlanIt in that chaotic week between Christmas and New Year’s Day. She had three young children, aged 2 to 6, and while she had always been a list maker, she was desperate for a simple way to keep track of and help manage the myriad of details that are involved in running a family and home.
ListPlanIt has grown from 200 downloadable lists when it first launched in May 2007 to what it is today. You’ll not only find printable lists, but members now have the ability to create and store lists right in their ListPlanIt account and then access those lists from any device whether at home or on the go.
Read on to see how this mom is making money from home with lists.
Do you work-at-home?
Yes. And I work part-time out of the home.
How many children do you have?
I have three children: Campbell (8), Clark (7), and Claire (nearly 5).
How many hours do you work a week?
A million! I work 20 to 25 hours a week at my day job. I work 20 to 25 hours a week on ListPlanIt. I squeeze in my family whenever I possibly can.
Tell us a little bit about ListPlanIt and how you got started.
It was the week between Christmas and New Year’s when people typically feel like life has gotten a little out of control. I was getting ready for bed and thinking of the lists that I would need to make for the next day. I thought how nice it would be to just print out an organized page and just fill it in with my own information. All of a sudden, I thought that if that were something that would be useful to me, I imagined that others would find it useful as well. I got out a notebook and began to jot a business plan and the pages that I thought I would like to start to make. I started immediately the next day. Five months later, ListPlanIt.com launched.
How did you fund your business?
I had been planning to start a business a few months before, so I worked as a seasonal employee here at LL Bean and saved up my paychecks for start-up costs. That business plan never materialized, but the timing was perfect for the start of ListPlanIt.
How would you rate your success from 0 – 10?
8. I am very passionate about ListPlanIt. I use the lists and planning pages every single day at home, at work, and for my own business needs. However, I feel the lack of a formal business education. Every once in awhile, I hit a wall where I don’t know how to proceed. While I feel very good about the growth of ListPlanIt in less than three years, I would like to be able to say that I have explored every option for getting it in front of people.
How do you manage all of your personal and business activities?
This is a tough one. Family comes first, so when they are around, their needs are always on my mind. I wake up at 6 a.m. every morning to tackle email and get involved in social media: Twitter, Facebook, blogs primarily. If there is a lull in family activities, or if my children are playing outside, I sneak away to my computer to try and plug away. Of course, I do a lot of scheduling. I use ListPlanIt’s pages every day to help me plan my finances, meals, holidays/birthdays, blog posts, and so many other things. It is a great juggling act for any mother.
What has been your biggest business struggle?
Time to work. There is so much involved in owning your own business. I never dreamed that it would require so much work and persistence. But I love it! I have to remind myself sometimes to come up for air. I work at home on Thursdays and will spend all day immersed in writing, planning, networking, promoting and finally realize that my family will be home in a few minutes, and the breakfast (and lunch) dishes are still sitting by the sink, and I haven’t moved the clothes from the washer to the dryer all day.
What advice would you give to a new entrepreneur?
It is a LOT of work. Be prepared. If you want your business to grow, the only way to do that is to get it in front of people as often as you possibly can. If you are a parent, know that you can not be a superhero and have your own business. No one has it all together all of the time. Some things will have to be cut back or even sacrificed somewhat. It is alright. You are building and investing.
Thanks for sharing your story, Jennifer!