By Liz Folger, Bizymoms Founder & Home Business Expert
Have you ever noticed that what works for you at one point in your life, might not work five years down the road. Maybe a divorce happens, or a partner gets a job transfer. Someone in the family could fall ill, and of course, kids come into our lives and then leave the nest to start their own lives. New opportunities arise and old ones disappear; it’s what we often refer to as…LIFE.
I’ve recently been introduced to a woman via the Internet who has changed her self-employment career three times. She has such a great story. Her name is Anlé. Her story starts back in the early 90’s when she and her husband emigrated from South Africa to Germany. It wasn’t an easy move for Anlé, but she was young and full of adventure and optimism.
Anlé’s husband, who was of German descent, found work right away when they moved, but Anlé could barely speak ''ja, nein and ich liebe dich.'' Not being able to speak German was a huge hindrance to her getting hired. In Africa, Anlé was a promotional and advertising manager for their second largest wholesale group, but now, Anlé was going to have to think of a different approach making money, like starting her own business.
She had no idea what type of business to start, so she began to use the Internet as a resource. She happened upon a site called Bizymoms.com and was able to read about women who had their own home businesses. “I couldn't stop reading, all those business ideas! I printed it all and read all the stories of all Bizymoms and their home businesses. I made a decision that I too can start my own business” explains Anlé.
What Anlé did next is key to finding a profitable business. She looked at the needs of her area.
Anlé says, “It was a time in Europe where English suddenly became a necessity because of the borders opening between the countries and most people between the age of 30 and 50 suddenly needed English for their careers.” Anlé had no problem speaking English, even though Afrikaans was her native language. She decided to take a five-day course on how to teach people a second language.
Now we all have fears that keep us from improving our lives and moving forward. Anlé was very scared to take the course. She feared of making grammar mistakes, or that she wouldn’t be able to cope. Anlé explains, “I think the biggest problem is that you lose your own identity when you move to a country where you can't speak the language. You loose confidence in yourself when you go to the bakery and you cannot even say what you want. The phone rings and you just stare at it and don't dare to answer cause you don't understand and can't speak to whoever is calling you. The fear probably came from living with this situation for months and losing confidence in my abilities and myself.” Amazingly today, Anlé speaks German better than English.
The first day of class was hard. “I must admit that first day I was so petrified that I could hardly get my legs to move from my car to the entrance, but I survived.” Anlé took it one day at a time though and completed her five-day course.
Then it was all about getting the word out about her business. She put an ad in the newspaper and waited, she really didn’t know if anyone would actually contact her or not. But it happened. She started to get clients. Then large companies started to contact her to teach their office staff.
Anlé says, “English is not my native language, but with determination and good preparation one could make a success of everything.”
Anlé’s soon became pregnant and had a little boy. She made it very clear to her clients that her son would be coming along to all appointments. But Anlé’s son did something that all of our kids do, he got older. Anlé says, “But as my son grew I found that it was not fair on him to spend so much time in the classroom, where he had to keep himself busy while I was teaching, and so it was back to square one.”
Anlé had to find a new way to make money. Again, she turned to the Internet to get some ideas on what type of business she should start. She explains, “All these years I had been following Bizymoms' progress and as I needed a new idea I came across stories of Bizymoms who started daycare for little children. My daycare, ‘The Zwergenstübchen,’ was born. It was a wonderful time, five little children came from Monday to Friday and my son loved it too.” Anlé truly enjoyed her new business. She explains, “I learned so much from them. I learned to just leave all the 'adult work' and just play. Then my son and all the other children eventually went to Kindergarten, we were finally building our dream house, life was wonderful.”
Life is great when it’s wonderful, but when it turns ugly, it can be devastating. During the building of Anlé’s home her husband had an accident. He slipped and fell from a two-story building. The doctors gave him a 20% chance of ever walking again. Anlé found that out later. Her husband, being a very positive soul, turned it around and told he had an 80% chance to walk. He spent many weeks in the hospital, ten months in a wheelchair, underwent lots of therapy, and because of all the time he had to take off to recover, he lost his job. Anlé found herself with no job, a half-built house in middle of winter, and lots of debt!
The situation was bleak, but Anlé didn’t give up. She again turned to the Internet for help and motivation. She explains, “I read everything on Bizymoms, again and again, trying to find something that I could do. And then one day I found it. Liz Folger advised someone who didn’t know what kind of home business to start to 'to do what you really love,' and as I have always painted and loved it, I tried to draw a picture of my son; combining the two things that I love most!”
When you look at Anlé’s work you will be amazed. She is such a gifted artist, and that is how she is currently making her living. On the front page of her site you will see the picture she drew of her son. Anlé’s business is a dream come true. She says, “I get up in the morning and can’t wait to start!” And really, that’s how it should be. Anlé now works on a commission basis, and she has the support of all her friends and family.
Anlé’s son is a huge supporter of her business. He is so proud of his mothers work. He tells everybody his mom is an artist and all his little friends get a business card with the strict order to give it to their parents. Anlé says, “When they come and play, he always shows them what I am working on and tells them if they want a picture of themselves, his mom can draw it. I even got two commissions because of his networking.”
Anlé’s determination and power of positive thinking has clearly helped in the success of her business. Two quotes that she loves are, 'I always do the things that I can't do, that's how I get to do them,' and 'it's always too soon to quit!'. She ends by saying, “It is very true that if you do something that you love, the rest is history as they say.” You can view Anlé’s website at www.artbydelane.com