Today I have the honor of introducing you to a fellow blogger, friend, and inspiration, Jen Snyder of Women Winning Online. She has managed to build a thriving online business while living with chronic illness and has made it look effortless. Jen gives so much to the women she serves and most certainly deserves to be recognized for her accomplishments in both her professional and personal life. I’ve had the opportunity to get to know her, and here she’s agreed to share her approach on how to manage chronic illness and online business.
Tell me who you are and what you do.
I am Jen Snyder and I am a business blogger at Women Winning Online. I teach women what to do after they start their blogs!
What is your diagnosis, and walk us through what it was like discovering that you have chronic illness?
I was diagnosed with Lupus at the age of 25. The doctor believed I have had it since I was 19. My sister was getting married that September and my skin was in terrible shape. My parents were concerned how I would look in her wedding so I told them I would get it checked out.
The first doctor I came in took one look at me and gasped audibly. It scared me to death! I said “What?!” She said “Oh my gosh you have Lupus!” No tests, no questions, just one look at me, a gasp, and then here statement.
I was scared to death! I knew of Lupus from only one source, and that was a soap opera from when I was a kid. One of the characters I loved died from Lupus. So between that and the doctor’s reaction, I was freaking out!
The doctor took a biopsy of my arm, asked me some questions, and took blood. All the tests confirmed that I did, in fact, have Lupus.
Lupus is my main chronic illness. I also have Raynaud’s, Sjögren’s syndrome, and Endometriosis. Basically, I am a walking example of too much inflammation in a body.
How does the widespread inflammation in your body manifest itself? How does it affect you?
With my Lupus, I am either dealing with the physical aches and pains daily or I am dealing with one of my secondary issues. For example, if I don’t have aches and pains from Lupus then my Rynaud’s kicks in and my feet, hands, and nose are cold and that is painful. If it’s not one of those it’s Sjogren’s drying out my eyes and making it hard to work or do anything really because I get a headache.
Recently I have discovered after being in extreme abdominal pain for 9 months, that I have endometriosis. I have had CT scans, x-rays, blood work, and ultrasounds done and no one could find anything. I finally figured out my endometriosis is back. This means I am in pain all day, every day. It’s hard to sit, it’s hard to stand, it’s hard to walk. It just hurts all the time. For the last several months this main inflammation has taken over my body and been quite debilitating.
What does a typical day look like for you?
I try to wake up before everyone in my household so I can do my devotional, spend time with God, and then work on my blog. I have this time until about 7:30 and then it is family time until everyone gets out the door about nine. Then I take my little kids to the gym where I either work on my blog or get an actual workout in. Then it’s back to home for a quick lunch and getting my middle off to preschool.
If I am lucky my son will nap in the afternoon and I will spend more time on my blog. If not I will play with him for a little bit, then get him into an activity so I can get some work done. Then between 3-8 is family time unless I am working on a blog project and need extra time. Then after a crazy bedtime, a little more blogging time for me, and finally bed!
How do you manage raising your kids, running your home, and growing a business while living with Lupus? Give your top five tips for juggling it all.
Oh, it’s hard! It is so hard to manage that all plus have four chronic illnesses.
- Time blocking. I get 1-3 two hour time blocks to work every single day. I make sure that I am sticking to that schedule and staying focused during that time.
- I try to batch my tasks that are repetitive once a month. For example, I will schedule all my pins for the month using Tailwind.
- I try to plan ahead in all areas of my life and get things on the calendar.
- Getting up early. I have to get up early to be productive and accomplish my goals. It is my best brain time so I am most focused in the morning. The days I don’t get up early and instead stay up late are not good days.
- This is the best tip, but also the one I am the least good at. The thing about having chronic illnesses is that they don’t give you a choice. When I have a flare I am in bed and I cannot do anything. So I either rest or my body will force me to do it!
How has your illness changed the way you approach your business?
It has reminded me that the work I am doing is not life and death. My previous industry of real estate was that way for no reason and it wreaked havoc on my body. I am a blogger and I know I am helping a lot of women. But I am not performing brain surgery. If I have to rest, if I don’t get things done on time because I am sick, it is okay. No one will die, but ignoring my symptoms could cause irreparable damage to me.
What inspired you to start WWO?
Women. We women, especially us moms, have a lot on our plates. Stay at home, work at home, work outside of the home, we all have a lot on our plates. I know some women and moms want more freedom to balance that juggling act without giving up time with the ones we love the most. I know that’s what I wanted!
I started Women Winning Online to teach women how to accomplish creating a blog of their dreams. I want to teach women how to create their own blogs and businesses to give them the freedom to earn an income and do work they love on their own terms.
What is your favorite part of being an independent entrepreneur?
Oh, hard question because I love so many things about being an entrepreneur! The friendships I’ve made, the people I’ve helped, the opportunities I’ve received.
I think if I had to narrow it down to one thing it would be having the ability to help other people while building a business that is my very own. Something that I have created from scratch that will leave its mark on the world by the way I have served others.
What is your best piece of advice for anyone living with chronic illness and trying to run a business?
Listen to your body! If your body is saying rest, rest! Don’t overdo it so you end up in the hospital or worse. Remember we aren’t performing brain surgery or creating oxygen. Our businesses and our missions are important, but we are too!
My name is Jen Snyder and I am a wife to one great guy, mom to 3 of the best crazies a woman could ask for, and a proud blogger. I teach women what to do AFTER they start their blogs, including how to grow their tribe and earn an income from their blogs!
You can find her in her fabulous Facebook group: Women Winning Online
I’m so glad that I had the opportunity to share this inspirational woman with you. This is what it’s all about! Living with our illnesses, not suffering through them. I hope you feel inspired to push on and dream big, my friend.
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