Archive for the 'reasons to work' Category

Are you feeling guilty about being a mom entrepreneur?

I love my job. I love to work. I actually enjoy the thing I get paid to do.

And I’m in good company. Many mom entrepreneurs have found a way to make money doing work they love. Our work is a source for our creativity, passion, ambition, purpose, and various talents. Doing our work validates us, gives us a sense of accomplishment, and of course, provides rewards like acknowledgement and money.

But there can be a downside to all that great stuff. Someone once told me that in becoming a mother I had signed a lifelong agreement with Guilt.

Not so much. Read Lisa Druxman’s tips to ditch the guilt and celebrate your achievements in the attached article, “The Guilty Mom Entrepreneur” from Entrepreneur.com.

If you can turn your guilt into gratitude, as Lisa suggests in her article, what is one thing about being a mom entrepreneur you’re grateful for?

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Family time, ME time…What? Oh yeah, marriage time

I was just at my MegaMoms meeting in Detroit last night (for mamapreneurs), and after we discussed our business challenges, best practices and reviewed some new learning for the group, we talked about family. We spent a lot of time thinking and sharing about family traditions, routines for kids, best meals for families, great outings to build bonds with our children. After that, we took a nanosecond to discuss ME time…(LOL). But we realized we NEVER spend time applying the same consideration to our spouses/partners or to the work of being married. This hit most of us like a big AHA!

It seems to me that one of the biggest challenges mamapreneurs can face is the one that involves giving our marriages the time and nurturing they deserve. My husband told me a couple years ago: “I feel like I’m getting your scraps.” The THUD you might have heard was my heart dropping to the floor. It was a hard thing to hear, but so critical.

He was right. I was up to my eyeballs with motherhood, which I believed was a really hard thing to master. And you know how that goes: whatever we believe is true, right? So motherhood really WAS hard for me to MASTER. I’m sure you can pick up on the negative thinking I had going on there.

One of the things that made me feel better about myself then (and now) was being a coach–having a business, making a difference for my clients, being the best I could be. My work is an outlet for my passion, my ambition, my creativity, and my purpose. And while I was busy putting the best of myself into motherhood and my business, I for sure wasn’t giving my husband my best. It’s not that there was not enough of my best self to spread around (just like no matter how many children you have, you always have enough love for another one). Instead, the truth was that I didn’t have my marriage on the list of my priorities. GULP. Pretty hard to admit, but looking back, I know how true that was.

Since then, I’ve put some structures in place to make sure I don’t give him what’s left of me when I’m totally spent (which is only the whiny, bitchy, frustrated, defensive, exhausted part). We have a standing date night on the calendar every other Saturday. Babysitter is always booked. This has helped a lot. And we enjoy knowing we are going to have our time. And I have a note posted in my office that I see everyday that says: “Give Richard my best.” Visual cues are powerful reminders.

Being a coach and having my own business while raising our babies was a tough (gross understatement) sell to my husband four years ago. It was made tougher by the distance that existed between us as a married couple at that time. When we’re closer, more related, and taking care of each other, then we definitely do a better job of understanding and respecting what is important to each other.

Are you getting some pushback from your spouse/partner? Do you have to defend your work and why you’re committed to it? Do you feel stuck between choosing motherhood, marriage, or career?

Well, you’re not the only one. If you feel like sharing your comments, please do. I feel better having shared my story with you.

Entrepreneurs: There’s hope for sales this holiday season

Many mompreneurs, wahms, retail store owners and direct sales representatives are fretting like the rest of the nation, wondering how to survive with the current economic chaos. There’s so much bad news out there right now to keep us up at night.

How about some good news?

Read on!

——-

Direct sellers strike balance, maybe gold
Jewelry firm says sales are holding their own, even in tough economy

By Ann Meyer | Special to the Chicago Tribune
September 29, 2008

Raking in more than six figures her first year in business, Jennifer Samuels isn’t your typical kitchen table entrepreneur. But then neither is her mother.

Lemont’s Samuels, who is the sole provider for her family of five, and mother Debbie Rotkvich, a 17-year veteran direct seller from Burr Ridge who netted more than $3 million last year, are star producers for Lia Sophia, a direct sales jewelry business based in Wood Dale. The two are among 27,000 independent sales representatives who collectively sell more than $100 million of the fashion jewelry at house parties each year.

“Our family is supported by Lia Sophia,” said Samuels, whose husband stays home with their children while she and her sales team of 600 associates sell $700,000 a month in jewelry. “The bulk of the money comes from other sales reps I’ve brought in,” said Samuels, who earns commission from team sales.

Samuels is continuing to expand through recruitment of motivated women who like the idea of being their own boss. “A lot of women now need to find jobs but they don’t want to have to put their kids in day care,” she said.

Those who succeed in direct selling tend to be highly motivated self-starters with enough savings to see them through the early months until their businesses get going.

The Washington, D.C.-based Direct Selling Association reported direct sales as a whole declined 4 percent, to $30.8 billion, in 2007. Lia Sophia announced its business grew 55 percent in 2007.

Samuels’ sales have doubled every year since 2004, but they won’t increase that much this year, she said. “This is the first year I’ve seen it kind of stay the same.”

Rotkvich’s sales team of about 8,000 achieved $9 million in sales in August, holding its own from a year ago. Even in a down year, Samuels and Rotkvich are unusual. The median income of direct sellers is $2,400 a year, because nine of 10 sales reps work part time, said Amy Robinson, a Direct Selling Association vice president.

Lia Sophia offers startup kits for $149, but most sellers invest more to have a broader range of jewelry. The firm has been growing rapidly since 2004, when owners Tory and Elena Kiam rebranded the business to convey a more feminine, fashionable image, said Tory Kiam, president and son of the late Victor Kiam, who acquired the business in 1986. The company redesigned the jewelry, launched a Red Carpet line aimed at celebrities to generate buzz, and invested in capital improvements.

Samuels and other advisers earn up to 40 percent commission on their own sales. The firm also pays advisers 10 percent of their recruits’ sales once at least three recruits bring in $1,500 a month.

It’s not just Lia Sophia reps succeeding in a tough economy. Jeannine Marran, who is an independent sales rep for Silpada silver jewelry, rang up more sales this September than any September in the previous three years, she said. Marran, a mother of two, works about 30 hours a week from her Wilmette home and makes more than she did as a full-time social worker. She earned $825 at her last show, which sold about $2,800 in jewelry.

Marran also has recruited 12 sales reps. Silpada pays Marran between 4 percent and 12 percent commission on their sales. “When I started, I had never been to a meeting and had no training. I figured it all out on my own.”

Rotkvich, who grew up in public housing on the South Side, also made her own success. “This is not a get-rich-quick, overnight scheme,” she said. “But if you follow the program, it works.”

Freedom, eh? So that’s why you became an entrepreneur?

You did your time working for someone else who knew less than you did, demanded you do things that didn’t make any sense, told you how to do things you knew how to do better than the boss did, told you when to work and when you were allowed to leave your job to be sick, tired or relaxed…

While you were working for someone else, a tiny little spark was lit somewhere deep inside. It was a spark of possibility, of some potential you hadn’t reckoned with (or recognized) before. The spark told you, “There’s another way to do things, another way to make a living…” and you listened.

What were your reasons to become self-employed? Was it money, or did it have to do with a passion? Was your choice driven by specific circumstances (birth of a baby, special needs of a loved one, health concerns) or by the desire to make a difference? Chances are, your choice to become an entrepreneur had a lot to do with one very common desire: freedom.

Turns out that achieving “freedom” in your business and life is a rather elusive goal. But it doesn’t have to be. Click on this link to read the article by Marla Tabaka, who is a coach like me, entitled “The Top 5 Freedom-Limiting Traps of the Solopreneur.”

Thinking of starting a home-based business? Careful…

If you’ve been entertaining this thought, chances are you’ve met various women who sell Arbonne, Mary Kay, Pampered Chef, Creative Memories, to name a few home-based businesses targeted at SAHMs. These are all great businesses–I personally know and/or have coached women in these kinds of direct sales businesses who love their work. But is direct sales for you?

There are as many possibilities for self-employment as you can imagine. But to start with, what compels you to want to work? Is it something you need to do, want to do, feel you should do, or a combination? And what do you need from your work–flexibility, time off, high income potential, low investment, security, working by yourself or as part of a team…?

You can sign up for any of a huge number of home-based businesses geared towards SAHMs, but if you want to be happy, satisfied, and successful, you should probably start by figuring out what it is you want. Not just what job you want, but what that job would get you, such as: a break from mommyhood, some spending money, an outlet for your creativity or self-expression, the opportunity to contribute to the family, some adult interaction, financial security, etc.

Once you know what you want (i.e., what motivates you), it will narrow down your choices and help you choose a business that meets your conditions of satisfaction. I would make sure that the work you choose to do fits in with your family values and supports your commitments to your spouse/significant other. Otherwise, you could create some issues in a part of your life that might not already exist.

Are you a consultant for one of the above-mentioned direct sales companies? If so, please tell us a little about yourself and why you love/don’t love your job. It would help to understand what motivated you to start your business and whether it is meeting your expectations now.


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