workI was watching an episode of Shark Tank a few weeks ago that got me all kinds of inspired. As a side note, I’m really obsessed with the show because my husband and I are e-commerce business owners. We have been running our coffee and espresso retail website from our home for the past five years, and we do every single bit of the work ourselves—web design, shipping, customer service, sales, blogging, you name it.

Anyhow, on this particular episode, one of the many entrepreneurs was peddling her adorable little baby moccasins. But that’s really not the point. The point was that she told a story about how she had absolutely no money when she wanted to start her own business. She said that she begged for her brother to give her old windows from his contracting company so that she could bang out the glass in the summer heat and sell the aluminum frames to a scrap yard for $200. Hell, yes.

I was raised lower middle class, and so was my husband. Perhaps it was because we had three kids in each of our families, but we always felt like money was very, very tight. My dad had more of a hoarder mentality and gave me even more money issues as a child, and later, as an adult.

The silver lining in all of this is that I am an exceptionally hard worker. My husband and I did not go to college, and we both work as self-employed entrepreneur types from home. This is not a brag, just fact—I have worked my ass off ever since I got my first job at 16 and am making three to four times more than I was in my early twenties. I am proud of myself for this.

On the one hand, I really want to spoil my kids because I work so hard to have money for my family. I never want them to feel guilty for asking for school clothes, like I did when I was a kid. On the other hand, I’m preparing myself to push them to work hard and make mistakes and sometimes go broke. That’s all part of the American dream, and in my opinion, it’s part of the pathway toward success.

I want my kids to feel comfortable and cared for. I also want them to understand that your work ethic and integrity are the most important things that you can have to create the life you want. I’m living proof.

(photo: Getty Images)