As a mother of four children under the age of seven, time can be an issue for freelance illustrator Natalie Malan. Juggling schedules and the daily tasks of motherhood competes with her work deadlines, but she has found a balance between motherhood and her business.
Many Latter-day Saint women, like Malan, use their talents in a variety of capacities to establish a business and are often seen on Instagram or Etsy.
Aspiring Mormon Women (AMW), a non-profit that was created to support and encourage LDS women of all ages in their educational and professional pursuits, has featured many of these female LDS entrepreneurs on their website and through their social media campaigns.
One of the founders of AMW Dianne Orcutt said women in the church have the opportunity to serve in leadership positions and have the chance for public speaking which aide in their ability to establish businesses.
“There are a lot of LDS women who are entrepreneurs, and I think that has a lot to do with women and mothers who want a creative outlet or who are looking for a way of income,” Orcutt said.
One such entrepreneur is Malan, who creates her artwork within the walls of her home.
“There are also a lot of great things about running a business from home, like being here for dance parties and field trips and being part of their daily lives. My kids also get to see me work, and are always saying, ‘draw this for me mom,'” Malan said.
Malan’s artwork can be found in companies like Target, Walmart, Minted, Shutterfly and Cricket. She has also created illustrations for all of the Church magazines.
Malan said she picked her artistic path early on and took private art lessons at the age of eleven. From there, she graduated from BYU with a BFA in illustration and created children’s book illustrations and educational software. She also worked for various scrapbooking companies.
A year ago, Malan started branding her own name and focused on fine art illustration.
Although Malan said social media is a good way to get growth for businesses, most of her contact has come by word of mouth. She said she is still trying to find a balance with her social media platforms.
“Social media can be time consuming. It needs to be a reflection of what is real while also being professional,” Malan said.
As far as running her business goes, Malan said she has learned that working hard and being kind makes a big difference. If something doesn’t work out between her and a client, she doesn’t burn any bridges and instead chooses to keep her options open.
Malan said women have the ability to exercise their talents in a variety of capacities.
“Shoot for the things that make you really happy, and if you are doing work that makes you happy, it makes your family happy,” Malan said.
Lara Neves, author of Overstuffed, a blog geared towards simple solutions for busy moms, said there are a lot of perks to having a business she runs from home.
Neves started her blog in 2005, but became more serious about it in 2012 when she saw blogging as an opportunity to generate extra income for her family. Thanks to the supportive blogging community and Facebook groups for bloggers, Neves was able to build her business to approximately 250,000 views a month.
Since then, Neves has made at least half of what her husband makes as a full-time music professor, and sometimes more.
“It has been a blessing for our family,” Neves said.
Neves said the best part of making income through blogging is that she has her own work hours and can take a break while still making income.
For other mothers who might be on the fence about starting their own at-home business, Neves advises them to just do it.
“Just take the step. You learn a lot from failure but you just need to keep trying. If it’s something you enjoy and want to do, then just do it,” Neves said.