Mary Lou Johns will be among those celebrating Doing Business in your Bathrobe Day today |

Mary Lou Johns will be among those celebrating Doing Business in your Bathrobe Day today

BRECKENRIDGE – Mary Lou Johns has ditched the corporate rat race to work at home in her bathrobe.

The Breckenridge woman has joined the growing ranks of people who work at home, and she joins others today in Doing Business in your Bathrobe Day, a day founders hope to turn into an annual event celebrating home businesses and the freedom that comes with them.

“It’s becoming more common with the Internet and telecommunications,” Johns said. “It makes it possible to communicate faster; your physical presence isn’t required for lots of tasks.”

Johns used to be a middle school principal in Chicago and retired upon the request of her husband. She started reading articles about life coaching and wondered if her experience as a principal would help her in such a career. She owns Blue Sky Coaching in Breckenridge.

“I went to an awareness program, and the coach explained what it was, and I knew that was it,” Johns said. “It was simple for me. Life coaching is built on skills I had as a mediator and a motivator, pulling different factions together.”

Getting established was an uphill battle, Johns said, because many people haven’t heard of life coaching. Now, however, she helps people figure out what they want to do with their lives, encourage them when they’re discouraged and support them in their endeavors – be it love, career, finances or happiness.

“People want suggestions,” she said. “They need me to push them and acknowledge them and give them some direction.”

One of her clients is the wife of a former politician who, after years of working as what Johns called “the woman behind the throne,” found herself out of a job when her husband left the political arena.

“She wanted to figure out what she loves, what she should be doing,” Johns said. “She’s 55, and life isn’t over. A coach is someone who’s on your team and whose only interest is your agenda and highest good. They’re someone who understands when you take two steps forward and one-and-a-half steps back.”

Johns particularly likes the job because she gets to set her own hours, choose whether or not to “dress up” for the office, and does all her work using the phone, fax, FedEx, e-mail and the Internet.

That’s where Doing Business in your Bathrobe Day comes into play.

“It’s a national day to support entrepreneurs everywhere who are taking their work and paychecks into their own hands,” said Kristie Tamsevicius, co-founder of

“Working from home is a popular option because of the freedom it affords,” said co-founder Michelle Floyd. “You get to schedule your work around your life. You choose your own career path, work hours and rates. You don’t compete with anyone but yourself.”

“It’s like heaven,” Johns said. “It’s so great to set your own hours and not get dressed if you don’t want to. I do best in the morning, so I work then, play in the afternoon and in the late afternoon, I do my professional reading or administrative stuff. I break up the workday to what suits me. When you work for someone else, you work on their schedule.”

Johns will host a seminar at the Home Business Success Summit March 14-15 in Chicago – an event to which she will likely have to wear more than a bathrobe.

“People who work at home have to be self-starters,” she said. “And they have to know when to reach out. But after that, all you need is a bathrobe and a headset, and you’re ready to roll.”

Jane Stebbins can be reached at (970) 668-3998 ext. 228 or

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