Monday, 7 February 2011

Homeworking saves families & the planet

After having told my story of how I became a homeworker on my blog and Business Plus Baby, plus running a homeworking carnival, I have been reading feelgood stories of how parents manage to reconcile childcare with work commitments. It is a pity that homeworking is considered unsuitable for many occupations - we have the technology for remote working and it's kind to the planet (think of all the carbon savings you can make as there is no commuting, no need for an office, fancy clothes, lower childcare costs, etc...), and it's family friendly too! So I am delighted to feature a guest blogger who turned her back to a lucrative career to stay at home with her daughter and still make an income. With my NCT newsletter editor's hat on, I know this company as traders tend to advertise in newsletters and often have stands at baby shows or sales. But here is Jocelyn's story...

Jocelyn and her daughter
"Coming to the end of my maternity leave, I knew that I didn't want to return to my career in financial services, wanting to stay at home with my daughter. However, I also needed an income, with the potential to become a good long term income, and a challenge to keep my brain ticking and keep 'me' and not just 'mommy'! I hadn't heard of Phoenix trading, so when I saw an advert for traders, I sent off for a pack, having always liked buying cards and stationery. The start-up costs looked low, the company looked ethical and the product samples were fab, so I thought, 'Why not?' and within a week I was trading."
How to become a self-employed trader
Within the welcome pack, there are a couple of flyers about taxation, and the legalities of running your own business, and it was just a case of logging onto the HMRC website as directed, filling in a few boxes and I was registered with the tax office. Phoenix includes an insurance policy for traders, you have a free website where you can complete a little info about yourself for your customers, the business kit has hints and tips to start off, brochures and order forms to make initial sales, and I bought a discounted starter pack of stock that I sold within my first month of trading.

Work commitments - playtime included!
Phoenix has no targets, so I do as little or as much as I can each week. A couple of weeks ago, my daughter had an evil cold, meaning very little sleep for either of us, so I just put work on the back burner and picked it up again the next week. It's become part of every day life for us, balancing work and fun. I sell regularly at playgroups, which is nice and informal so my daughter comes along and has a play while my cards are available to buy. Once a week we go for a walk where I do a brochure drop, which we then pick up (along with the dog and the husband!) at the weekend together. It makes us get out for some fresh air, gets the dog out for a walk and I earn some money along the way. When we're out and about anywhere, I always have brochures and a few cards with me, as you never know who you might bump into. I also do coffee mornings, and again, normally take my daughter, and I enjoy having a table at fairs and fundraisers. My card baskets are becoming popular, which is one of my easiest ways to sell, as I just leave a basket of cards, brochures and order forms with a friend or in a workplace and then go back to collect a few days later - very family-friendly working, as I'm selling while playing elsewhere! A couple of days a week, during nap times, I'll get brochure drops ready, put orders together and prepare baskets, and then while watching TV of an evening, I sometimes sit stickering my stationery and folding my gift wrap - you don't even notice you're doing it!

Be your own boss
Even though you are an independent trader, you're not answerable to anyone else, and your money's most definitely your own, but you do still feel part of a team. Head office sends out monthly newsletters, which I always look forward to reading, they run all day trader training meetings twice a year, which are free to attend, and you are in touch with your sponsor, the person who signed you up, either through email, phone calls or informal local trader meetings - a chance for a chat and cake! These things all add up to make a real difference, as you can share ideas with each other, or sometimes just buoy each other up if you're having a frustrating day. 

About the company and why I'm blogging about it
"As a direct selling, independent card publishing house, Phoenix Trading has sold in excess of 100 million cards. It donates a substantial amount of its profits to charity and has given over £1million to charities to date. Phoenix Trading does not sell its products through conventional retail outlets; instead it markets an exclusive range of cards and stationery through its international team of over 11,000 worldwide Independent Phoenix Traders. Its direct approach offers exceptional value for money without compromising on the quality of the product and design."

I'm blogging about this for several reasons. Yes, it'd be great to direct a few people to my shop and receive a few orders. And yes, it'd be lovely to welcome some of you to my team of traders! Most importantly, though, I want to let people know that this option exists - if they don't want to leave their children in nurseries or with childminders, but still want or need a business for themselves. I appreciated finding out about it, as it's genuinely changed the direction of my life and I now get to spend time watching my daughter grow while enjoying developing my own business. 
What is network marketing? (Plus useful links)
Direct selling, network marketing, or whatever you like to call it, works, but you really do get out what you put in. There are lots of different companies like this out there, so my biggest piece of advice would be to choose products that you can be enthusiastic about. Then look into the company, chat to others that are traders with them now, find out about commissions, team structures, targets etc... and then go for it!

If you'd like to follow my path, you can find my shop and more information here, and there's more about becoming a Phoenix trader here. But feel free to contact me if you've got any questions or would like to receive a free information pack. 
Statutory notice (aka, don't be fooled by claims that you can make millions through selling part-time and/or with no effort)
Do not be misled by claims that high earnings are easily achieved. It is illegal for a promoter or a participant in a trading scheme to persuade anyone to make a payment by promising benefits from getting others to join a scheme.

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