Seventeen years ago, I found myself signing an agreement form with a direct sales company. Without a single shred of sales or business experience, I impulsively launched what would become a very successful venture. Looking back, that blind leap of faith was a brilliant move. The income I’ve earned enabled me to quit my fulltime job as a trainer with a large school district and, eventually, become a homeschooling, stay-at-home mom.
Now that I have a huge pantry that needs to be filled with freeze dried food, expensive Wiggy sleeping bags to buy, and that monthly salon appointment that insures my gray roots never see the light of day, well, I need all the extra money I can get. Preparedness, along with all our other expenses, can be costly, but an additional, regular income can make it possible. A home-based business works for me, and it just might work for you!
It’s been said that the only way to have more money in the budget is to either spend less or earn more. If you’ve already trimmed all the fat from your budget, there’s only one option left: earning extra income. Based on my own experiences, here are a few pointers for starting a business of your own.
First, inventory yourself. You possess a unique set of experiences, education, skills and talents. The success of your business venture will depend, in large part, on how well these match the type of business you choose. In my case, although I had never been in sales, I had taught school, and what is successful teaching if not selling the excitement of learning to disinterested adolescents? As you consider what you have to offer, it’s just as important to reflect on what hasn’t been a good fit. We learn from our successes as well as our failures.
Next, decide if you want to work with an already-established company or launch something completely new on your own. If you choose the former, it will likely come with a home office staff who does market and trend research, develops training and marketing materials, tests the products to be sold, and offers a product guarantee. However, creating your own, unique business may be a better fit for you, depending on your knowledge and abilities. Keep in mind that a side business can be as simple as offering music or voice lessons.
If you choose to go with an established company, do your research, and don’t be swayed by emotional appeals or be pressured by deadlines. Use their products, and talk with their reps. The start-up cost should be minimal. Be very cautious about a business opportunity in which you are asked to invest a large amount of money, and pay careful attention to the wording of any contract you sign. If you’re asked to spend money on training materials, that should be a huge red flag. The best companies will offer free training, as your success increases their bottom line.
Whichever route you choose, be lead by both your head and your heart. Your head should tell you the product, market and timing are right, and your heart should say, “I would do this for free!” When both of these match your skills and knowledge, you have an unbeatable combination! Add large doses of time, energy and enthusiasm, and you just might be on your way to making your first million!
I have one more tip to pass along. If possible, find a way of tapping into the homeschool market. There are millions of homeschooled children in the United States, and every year, their parents seek out quality educational experiences. It’s not unusual for my family to spend $200 or more per month on classes of all types for our kids. If you are an expert seamstress, offer sewing lessons. If you have a medical background, offer First Aid or CPR classes. I’ve seen classes for whittling, sign language, and folk dancing. Homeschooling families offer a ready-made market for simply dozens of earning opportunities for the right person. Additionally, each summer there are homeschool conventions across the country where you could offer your expert skills.
A determined SurvivalMom will find a way to (legally!) earn the extra money her family needs to pay off debt, add to savings, stock pantry shelves, and pay for Wiggy sleeping bags! The majority of women in our country who earn top dollar either work in direct sales or own their own companies, and both of those doors are open to you. I have every confidence in your success!
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