A Busy Mom’s Honest Opinion on Running Your Own Business

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The busiest and yet the most rewarding thing (business wise) has been owning a company that we call our own. Is it possible for a busy mom to run her own business? Yes. Is it a difficult thing to do? Absolutely.

A Busy Mom's Honest Opinion on Running Your Own Business

Sean and I have owned our own businesses for most of our married life. However life did change when I started Deborah & Co. It was very much going to be a part time thing. Then it grew, and the blog grew as well. We never expected that Sean would be able to sell his lawn care company and go back to college full time while I worked from home and homeschooled. It just happened, and we do feel like God really blessed us so that could happen.

However, it has not been without stress. I asked Sean what he would say to another mom thinking of starting a business, and he said “only start one if you have to.”

I personally think there is a big difference between doing a direct sales business versus owning your very own company. There are a lot more decisions and responsibilities, which equals a lot more stress. So…when a mom almost apologizes to me that she isn’t running a business, as well as homeschooling, I always tell them that not everyone is called to do this.

I’m going to assume that I’m writing to a busy homeschooling mama, who wants, or desperately needs to start her own business. Here is the advice I would give.

  1. Consider the cost of getting your business going. I invested in making custom sewn maternity skirts myself (how the business started), but the business didn’t really take off until I invested an initial $1000 in other inventory to sell. You need up front money to start a business, and I’m not sure how far $500 would get you. Plan on at least $1000 in up front costs, but that really depends on what business you are getting into. It could be much, much more than that.
  2. Consider the distraction a business will be. It is crucial that your whole family be involved in this business, as it will take time away from your children and husband. They have to be committed to this just as much as you, otherwise you will have a great deal of extra stress.
  3. Plan on missing outside activities. We have to keep things simple here, and only have music lessons our one consistent activity for the children. Church keeps us busy, and our children have really good friends at church. You have to realize that adding on the responsibility of a business has to take time from a different category in life, and it normally comes from extra curricular activities.
  4. Go into your business with a clear plan on how to market it, your goals for growing it, and how you will fit it into your already busy life.
  5. You have to accept that you are it in the beginning. You will be doing everything. Finding all the product, researching what website to use (I use BigCommerce for Deborah & Co.), designing or hiring a designer for your logo, website and ads,  setting up social media accounts and keeping them active and engaged, doing your books, or hiring an accountant to do them, shipping packages, ordering inventory when you run low. You are the face of the business and the behind the scenes person as well. It can get overwhelming.

If you still feel like starting your very own business is what God has in store for you, then jump in and enjoy the wild ride! It is very possible to do, but you have to be totally committed to your business.

I’d love to hear if you own your own business, and how it works for your family! 

How To Be Successful With Direct Sales

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I’m pretty sure that everyone out there has a friend, or knows someone that is in direct sales. And for good reason. Trying to start a business from scratch is hard, hard work. If you can avoid some of the work, and buy into a business where the product is already there for you, and the brand name created, it can make things easier!

How to Be Success at Direct Sales for the Stay at Home mom!

If you are not totally sure what a Direct Sales type business is, here is the quick answer!

Think of a company like Mary Kay. They own the company, but allow consultants to join to sell their products. Consultants pay a fee to join, and earn a certain percentage off each sale they make. It can be a really good thing, or a total flop, depending on what business they join and how hard the person works at making it take off.

The very best business decision Sean and I ever made was for me to join Lilla Rose, which is a direct sales company that offers Flexi hair clips, headbands, bobby pins, etc. This has gone far beyond just bringing in a few hundred dollars a month. It can cover rent, bills, etc. and has been a huge blessing for our family! I’m now a Director with Lilla Rose (there are only a handful of Directors), and have a team of over 450 ladies!

However, my very first paycheck I received from them was less than $30.00. 

People can easily get discouraged with Direct Sales. The enrollment costs are normally pretty reasonable, so it’s easy to join and see what will happen. In order for you to really make a business from a Direct Sales company, you have to be willing to stick with it past the first few months.

How can you succeed in Direct Sales?

Consider what company you are going to join. Once again, it needs to be something you are passionate about doing. There are a lot of different companies out there you could join, so you have a good chance of finding a product that you just love. Keep searching until you find the right company!

Be legal. Start this new adventure from the beginning as a legal business. Research the local laws and figure out your taxes. Set up a separate business checking account, so you can track all of your expenses and income more easily. At the end of the year when tax time comes, it makes things much less complicated!

Consider the Compensation plan. A lot of the companies I see offer consultants the chance to earn 20% up to 50%. Definitely try to find companies that offer the higher compensation if possible. With Lilla Rose you automatically make 30% for each sale you make, but every single month you can earn up to 45% of each sale, depending on the amount of sales you have. It is very possible to reach to that 45% goal each month if you are actively working your business. You will have to work a lot harder to earn a great income with a 20% compensation plan. If you love the product it might work for you, but definitely take it into consideration.

Find a product that people need to purchase more than once. This is really important to some people, not as much to others. You need to decide if it’s a priority to you. If you sell a product like a supplement or makeup, you will get more reorders from customers who want to keep using the product. It makes it nice where you don’t have to find brand new customers constantly. I’ve seen lots of reorders with my Lilla Rose business though, as ladies just want different sizes and styles of clips.

Share the joy, but don’t be a spammer! It’s definitely ok to share on Facebook that you started this company, and are excited about the products. But your personal Facebook page is just that, personal. It’s not the place to promote your business every single day! Create an actual business Facebook page or group, and share your product information there.

Value your friendships! This goes right along with what I just talked about. Friendships can be ruined from one friend getting into a direct sales business, and then putting a lot of pressure on the other friend to host a party, or buy lots of products from her friend! While it is definitely ok to let others know you started a new business, jealously guard that friendship over your business! If your friend shows zero interest, leave it that way, instead of texting, calling, and sending message after message to her inbox. You will have to think outside just your circle of friends to grow your business.

Where to Sell Your Products?

Home Parties – I actually love going to home parties! I think they are a lot of fun, and it’s nice to have a mommy night out and visit with friends. The best home parties are those with low pressure. Have a clean house, some fun games and yummy snacks. Show the products, and let them know you are there if they want to place an order. Don’t push every single person to place an order though, not everyone has the money budgeted and some ladies might just need a night out!

Have a home party with Direct Sales and make it fun!

Shows – Book a show at a convention, outdoor event, a vendor show, etc. Shows can be a lot of hard work, but you can also earn really good money through these shows. Trying to balance the high fees that sometimes comes with these shows is difficult. If it’s your first year, try to ask around and see if you know anyone that has gone to this show before. Make sure it’s well advertised and well attended before spending several hundred dollars to go. If you have zero money left after joining a company, try to only book home parties for awhile.

Grand Opening Party – Have a huge grand opening celebration when you first join! Invite everyone over to your house, host the party yourself (if allowed by your business), and get the interest flowing from that initial party.

Facebook Parties – This has become a really popular way for stay at home moms to earn an income but not leave home! Create a Facebook event, and send out personal messages inviting your friend to that event. Don’t add your entire friend list to that party without asking them!  You can set a live time where everyone comes to the event page and learns about the products and has a chance to purchase, or you can just have an ongoing event (like a week long) where you post new information every single day. If you feel brave, you can even make videos to share in the event!

Catalog Party – If you don’t want to do actual shows, consider giving a friend some catalogs and a few samples that she can show her friends. She will turn the orders back into you in a few weeks. You probably won’t have as successful of a party this way, but it can be less work for the consultant and the hostess.

Blog – This definitely isn’t an option for everyone, but you could consider blogging and then sharing the product you sell on your blog. This is not a fast and easy way to earn income, but if you can’t get out and about easily, this might be a good option.

What to Avoid

Direct sales businesses have sometimes had bad reputations given them, and for good reason. Just like other businesses, some direct sales companies are not set up properly.

Avoid businesses that have high enrollment fees. I would be really cautious about joining a company that required thousands of dollars up front, just to join the company. The only exception would be if you are purchasing actual inventory that you can sell, and the enrollment fee and inventory fee is all packaged together. Make sure you clearly know how much the fees are, and what is inventory.

Avoid businesses that primarily depend on you recruiting others to join under you. The product needs to be able to sell itself and earn you a profit, without being required to enroll others under you. It can be a great blessing to grow a team, but it’s not required.

Avoid businesses where you are required to stock inventory constantly. A friend of mine was in a cosmetic business where they were required to keep inventory. She said sometimes it would expire before she could get it sold, and then she was out that money. I love the fact that Lilla Rose never requires us to purchase inventory! If you sell at shows or parties you will probably want to have things on hand, but definitely make sure that you have control of what inventory you purchase.

So, can you really make this work? Pick a business that feels right to you, be legal, be kind, and be loyal to your friends, and you might discover that you really can do direct sales without the bad reputation! 

If you are interested in joining a Direct Sales company, Lilla Rose is offering a special sale until the end of this month! You can receive free shipping on your enrollment kit, and you can join for as little as $49.99! There are no website fees, no monthly or yearly quotas, no pressure to sell, sell, sell, and you will make some awesome friends through the Facebook group set up for Lilla Rose consultants!

Check out this page where I have a lot more information on becoming a Lilla Rose consultant, and please let me know if you have any questions!

Join Lilla Rose for only $49.95 with free shipping on your enrollment kit!

 

Character Badges Back to School Sale Is Here!

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Character Badges Back to School Sale!

It’s the Character Badges Back to School Sale!!

For most of you, the new school year is just around the corner and many of you have already begun! (yay homeschooling!) We’re just as excited as you are, and to celebrate we’re having the biggest sale we’ve ever had!

Academics are the primary focus of any school year, but character training is just as crucial to the future success of your child. We designed Character Badges to help children build habits of sound character and to help parents be more consistent and creative in how they train their children. It’s a fun and effective addition to any school year!

Character Badges is a creative child training program

That said, there’s never been a better time to incorporate Character Badges into your classroom. Our back to school sale only comes once a year, and this year the entire store is 30% off!! Charts, stickers, coins, even complete sets – its all 30% off. Just use the offer code BKTOSCHOOL at time of checkout and enjoy some great savings!

This sale runs from today (7-20) through Saturday (7-23) at midnight, so hurry to take advantage of the biggest discount we’ve ever offered! Character Badge complete set

 

Blogging for an income as a Stay at Home Mom

This post may contain Affiliate Links. Thank you for your support!

After reading the post yesterday on earning an income as a stay at home mom, you might be motivated to actually try it out. You sit down and think through the list of things you want to do, and decide that blogging sounds like an awesome way to make money from home! You love to write, so why not get paid to write?

It’s not quite so simple.

Blogging for an income as a Stay at Home Mom

Blogging is an amazing, very modern way of earning money from home. It’s so modern that most people still don’t understand how I actually earn any money from having a blog. It is totally possible to earn a part time, or even a full time income from blogging!

It doesn’t happen overnight though.

Trying to start earning a good income from a blog takes a lot of time. For a few, it can happen within 6 months to a year. Those are the people that work 60 hours a week on their blog, going crazy trying to make it become successful. They are extremely driven and make a lot of sacrifices. These success stories are very much the exception however.

For a lot of bloggers it can take a few years to grow their blog to the point where it brings in a good income for them. You have to be totally committed for the long haul to make blogging be successful, and you can’t desperately need money right away. When your blog does grow, it is fantastic. However, it takes a lot more work than other types of jobs. Showing up at the library part time each week is a lot easier than trying to grow a blog.

Do you want to be a blogger?

So. You still think it sounds amazing to be a blogger? Great! There are some really awesome moments of being a blogger.

To start with, you need to pick your topic. This goes back to what I talked about yesterday, you need to write about something you are passionate about. I can promise you, there will come moments that you are burnt out, you don’t want to stay up late one more night writing yet one more blog post. If you are not truly passionate about the topic you are going to write about, don’t even try starting a blog!

While you have to be passionate about your topic, you also need to consider if the topic you pick is broad enough to have a good readership base. Some bloggers will automatically earn more than others, simply because of the topic they pick. If you are a deal blogger, constantly sharing sales with your readers, you will start earning money more quickly. If you don’t like finding good deals though, this isn’t for you!

Let’s say you love animals, and have a heart for elephants. You love to talk to all your friends about elephants, and what we should be doing to help them. You have to stop and ask yourself, while this is a topic you might be passionate about, is there a large enough audience that wants to read a blog only about saving elephants? Can you monetize that blog at all?

Consider both your passion and your audience, if you want to earn money from your blog.

Can you really make money through blogging? Yes, you can!

Before You Jump In…

A few things to consider before you dive into the world of blogging. Think through the time you have in your day. In order to blog, something has to go. Will it be gourmet meals, reading to your children for 15 minutes a day together instead of an hour, giving up sleep, or being content with staying at home a lot to work on your blog? It can be a strain on your family, so you really need to think through all of this before you jump in. We have only made this work for so long because my husband has always been self employed as well. Our family dynamics are set up to make it work, but it still isn’t easy. If your husband works 80 hours a week and you have a lot of little ones, it might not be the best season in life to start a blog. Not every mother is called to be a blogger, so don’t feel pressured into blogging just because your friend might blog.

One other thing to consider is social media. If your family isn’t big on having social media accounts, you might not want to start blogging. While it is possible to blog without social media, it is really hard! You really need to be connected with a few social media accounts (I’ve chosen Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram to be active on).

How to Start a Blog?

There is no way I can cover all the information on how to actually start a blog in this one post. So in summary, I would just strongly encourage you to start out with a WordPress.org blog if you have every intention of making this a business. A blogger blog is free, but you don’t actually own your content, and your blog could get deleted. With WordPress, you pay for the hosting each year, but you actually own your domain and your site.

I started with blogger, but eventually transferred over to WordPress. It was a huge pain, and I had to pay someone to move it over for me. I really wish I had started with WordPress from the beginning!

If you are just starting out, Bluehost is an affordable way to pay for hosting each month. Right now they even have a super awesome sale going on, where you only pay $3.95 a month! However, I don’t suggest staying with Bluehost once you get to be larger. If your host doesn’t provide enough server space (I’m not techy, so I’ll leave it at that!), your blog will be slow, and your readers will not even be able to access your blog at times.

Once my blog grew larger, I moved to a bigger hosting company, and switched yet again. I’m currently with RackGeek, where I pay $30 a month for hosting. As your blog grows, your expenses do increase, but at the same time your income grows.

How to Earn Money from Blogging?

This is what you all want to know! How do you possibly earn money from blogging?

There are several different ways.

Ads on your blog – While I don’t like having ads on my blog, I currently do have them on my blog because it’s my main source of income from my blog alone. You can earn anywhere from a few dollars a month, to thousands of dollars a month on ads on your site. It really depends on the traffic you have, and how well your ads are set up. I use an actual ad service to manage my ads (AdThrive, a Christian owned company), because I don’t have the technical skills to mess with it all. They do a great job of managing it, and I can email them anytime and request an ad to be removed from my site.

Being an Affiliate – You can sign up to promote products you love, and earn a commission if someone purchases through your link! This is another great way I earn money from blogging. For example, I use and love the All About Reading program in our homeschool. Since I already love it, and would share with you all how much I love it, I am an affiliate with them and earn a commission if someone purchases from that company through my link.

The important thing here is to be 100% honest. Only become an affiliate with products you have personally used and loved. People will only trust you if you can honestly recommend a product. Don’t become an affiliate for a company just because the commission is good, if you have never even used the product!

Do Sponsored Posts – When you work on building your traffic to your blog, at some point you can start charging for reviews. Some bloggers earn a full time income just doing sponsored posts. I’ve not been very successful at this, because I really want to believe in the product I’m writing about to all of you. I’ve done a few sponsored posts for Suave and Sam’s Club, but I’ve turned down so many sponsored posts, simply because I just don’t believe in the product or company enough to share it with you all. Be considerate of your readers, and really work hard on being honest with them! Again, don’t pitch something to them only to make a buck.

Here is a list of where to find sponsored posts.

Join a Direct Sales Company – We will talk more about this tomorrow, but you can join a direct sales company and promote it on your blog! If you are a long time reader, you know I’m a Director with Lilla Rose and have been so blessed by being part of that company! My team has grown from blog readers joining, and starting their own business!

Join Lilla Rose for only $49.95 with free shipping on your enrollment kit!

**I have to stop for just a second and tell you that Lilla Rose is having their once a year only enrollment special! You can join as a consultant and receive free shipping on your enrollment kit! I have a lot more information on becoming a Lilla Rose Consultant on this page, so click over and read. This special is only good until the end of this month!**

Sell your own products – You might only sell digital products, or you might sell physical items. We have done both, and so far the physical items have been more successful for us. Digital items are nice because once you make them, the work is done, and you don’t have to ship anything! At this point our physical companies we own are Deborah & Co. (a clothing company), and Character Badges (a character training program for children ages 3-12). Again, we will talk into more details later in this series about what is involved in owning an actual company with physical products.

Resources to help you become a blogger

Building a Framework

Building a Framework: The Ultimate Blogging Handbook – If you purchase just one resource to get you started, this is probably the #1 ebook I would suggest! It’s full of practical tips on just about every subject you need on blogging. They have several different packages available, depending on how deep you want to jump in and learn.

How to Make Money Blogging – this is a good series from Money Saving Mom on blogging.

Inspired Bloggers Network Group – This is a free group on Facebook that is great for new bloggers! You can search the group for answers to your questions, or jump in and ask a question!

There are so many other courses, resources, and books I’ve purchased over the years that I’ve been blogging. But I don’t want to overwhelm you, so I’m just going to share the few resources above to get you going!

(Yes, there are affiliate links used in this post! Maybe this post helps you understand more on why they are used, and how I’m really careful on what I do promote!).