Local woman finds path to happiness leads home
February 6, 2012 8:41 PM

State Journal Register
Springfield, Illinois -- Jun 20, 2003 --

Confucius says, 'Choose a job you like and you'll never have to work a day in your life.' I think that's very true," says small business owner Michelle Tjelmeland (pronounced "chum-land"). In just three years, Tjelmeland has turned her passion into an award-winning corporation, E-websmart, that allows her to do professional work at home.

E-websmart is a corporation that creates business websites and works with other partners to provide Internet-related services.

This month, E-websmart won the "Gold" award from The World Wide Web Awards Association. During June, Tjelmeland won the "Small Business Owner of the Year" award from the Greater Springfield Chamber of Commerce. Indeed, E-websmart and Tjelmeland have won many awards over the years.

Tjelmeland is a website developer who has worked with both small "mom-and-pop" businesses and multi-million dollar corporations. Her extensive client list includes: Lake Springfield Marina, Holiday Inn Express and many other organizations.

But just half a decade ago, she was a teacher. When her first child, Ellie, was born five years ago, she quit and concentrated on getting a master's degree online from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

"During that time, I realized how much I love computers. And I found an occupation in which my disability didn't matter," says Tjelmeland, who is hearing-impaired.

She urges others to utilize their college degrees and tie in their interests. "So many people go along in life and never enjoy what they do," Tjelmeland says.

But she has followed her heart. Not surprisingly, her work began with a website for her husband Joel, a car dealer. Soon she created websites for other people and then officially went into business in 2000.

Now Tjelmeland has found a job that allows her to spend time with both her daughters, 5-year-old Ellie and 3-year-old Lucy. She usually works from her home three to four days a week, hiring a sitter to help watch the children. Her varying schedule allows her to take Ellie to school and tuck both girls in at night.

"It's ideal," says Tjelmeland. "I am able to pick and choose when I go to work. The freedom and flexibility are worth so much. I love waking up and doing what I do."

While she notes her profession is well-suited for women with children, she adds that people interested in working from home should be prepared for a challenge.

"When you work from home you have to be completely motivated," Tjelmeland says. "But I would choose my job one-hundred-thousand times again." 

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