Make it meaningful: how this mom decided on a home based business
So many moms today have a way they’re earning extra money. Whether they call it a side hustle, a home based business, or they’re part of a direct sales company, being an entrepreneur is in! Five years ago, I joined the club when I transitioned from being a non-profit executive director to being a stay at home mom.
Pretty quickly, I knew that having some way to contribute to our family’s income would be really helpful. But it needed to be something meaningful. I missed how purpose-driven I had felt as a community organizer, but I knew I didn’t want the pressure of that kind of a job with a baby at home.
Why I decided to try out a cause-driven direct sales company
As a new mom, I had a very lofty, specific vision of how I wanted to raise our child. Five years later, that vision is still lofty in few ways and much more realistic in others.
Two things that haven’t changed? I wanted him surrounded by really, really good books. And I wanted him to have an understanding of the many different cultures and faiths in our community and in our world.
Enter a small direct sales company I’d never heard of before. In our cash-strapped state, I was reading thrifty mom blogs when I came across a post about a special survey from Barefoot Books. If I filled it out, I’d get a $15 gift certificate. You don’t have to tell me twice that I can get free children’s books!
When our adorable board books arrived, including a copy of How Loud is a Lion that still sits on my son’s shelf, I was hooked.
I stayed up way to late poring over the catalog. I was especially lusting after the diverse and inclusive stories from across the globe and the books that showed feisty girls and gentle boys. And then I saw it: I could start my own home based business with Barefoot Books.
My mother (who has since become one my business’ biggest allies), wasn’t sure I would like “selling stuff.” But I’ve always been the person who is telling someone about this or that amazing book that you should read your child. So, I knew it wouldn’t feel like selling to me.
I knew other people had some hangups about direct sales. But it was clear to me in the conversations I had with Barefoot folks that no one was promising me a get rich quick dream (which I didn’t really want anyway. I just wanted to help my family.)
How I make my home based business meaningful
In the first few years of my business, I tried just about every method that an Ambassador can use to grow their Barefoot Books business. Booths at community festivals and holiday markets. Lots of home parties, featuring storytimes for kids that were so much fun. I also partied in my pajamas by offering Facebook parties for busy moms.
Right from the start, I’d felt drawn to offering book fair fundaisers for schools. Being the daughter of a school teacher is a huge part of what made me so passionate about children’s books. Having the chance to help teachers and schools expand their libraries felt wonderful.
Today, book fairs are the heart of my business (along with blogging.) I also work with local chairities that serve kids in need who often have few books of their own.
I still do parties and vendor events occasionally. But I always tell my team members what you enjoy doing most is what will grow your business. I love that there are so many options for how to do that within the Barefoot Books’ model.
The other way that I find meaning and encouragement is through the books themselves. Whenever a new release comes out, or my son is old enough to read an existing Barefoot title for the first time, it’s magical to see how he responds. I love being able to tell a teacher customer “this book is just right for your class.” When a parent tells me a connection her child has made between a book and real life, it makes my week.
Does a home based business make sense for you right now?
Lot of folks have reservations about direct sales. My take? Like any business model, there are great companies to partner with, and some that are not so great. If you’re not sure how to figure out which company is your best fit, consider these 7 questions to ask before you join a direct sales company.
If you’ve never started a home based business before, and you can find a company that fits with your passions, I think direct sales is a great model for a home based business. You don’t have to worry about creating your own products, so the start up costs (with most companies) are very reasonable.
As long as you join a company that doesn’t push you to accumulate a lot of inventory, the risk is low.
Some companies, including Barefoot Books, also provide you with lots of online and offline marketing materials, so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel.
If you’re like me and you’re passionate about children’s books, especially diverse and inclusive books that are gorgeously illustrated, let me know if you’d like more information about the Barefoot Books Ambassador program.
You can also read my Frequently Asked Questions post here.
Know you’re ready to take the plunge with Barefoot Books? You can do that here. When you become an Ambassador in January, your Starter Kit is 50% off the normal price!