By MAXIT MAIL@aol.com
Shortly after my 5th child was born I started typing for college students on a part-time basis. I continued (on an IBM electric typewriter) for next 3 years -- through 2 more pregnancies and babies -- while at the same time providing daycare for other working moms. I wanted to raise my own children! At that time I was seeking whatever alternatives I could to remain at home with my kids.
Including my 3 toddlers, I provided daycare for 13 kids under the age of 6. My other four kids were in school all day.
When all my "daycare" kids started Kindergarten, I knew I didn't want to start over with a new batch of babies. The typing had continued to come in -- slowly, and I decided I would try to promote the secretarial business. My family laughed when I told them, but they were always supportive.
I sent out letters to area businesses -- about 100 of them. That's when my business was named. I asked the business owners to "let me be your "Secretary on Call"." I got only one response. My husband, a professional salesman, said "Hit the bricks, Baby!", meaning I had to make sales calls in person to these businesses.
I did -- and business started coming in.
Within 2 years, he quit his job and joined me. We were really taking a risk with 7 kids in the house, but with both of us working and being home with the kids, it was a combination that worked.
We went through some "lean years" in the beginning, made a few mistakes along the way, learned the business inside and out, and opened a print shop to augment our secretarial services. For a while we operated a "shopper" newspaper, then sold the publication rights to another businessman.
We found our niche to be marketing and advertising. That's where we've concentrated our efforts for the past 10 years. We design ads, brochures, flyers, write advertising copy -- print what we create -- and mail to our customer's customers.
We maintain mailing lists for our customers, for ourselves and offer mailing lists for sale.
With the Postal Reclassification that happened in July 1996, we were already prepared for automation. We had been preparing automated mail for over 5 years, and now the time is right to expand our horizons. This year we are beginning a new business venture -- Barcodes Plus -- that addresses bulk rate and publication rate mailings.
Because of our backgrounds, we see this opportunity as an ideal "Home-Based Business Franchise", and hope to start offering this to others within a year or so.
By Robin, REDRABE@aol.com
I became a Home Based Business Owner 1993. I was pregnant with my second child and desperate to stay at home with him. I started out by contracting with a large fortune 500 company that required very little start up costs but I needed to work evenings and weekends to expand my business. Because I have a very extensive administrative back ground and I've previously owned my own secretarial service, post-divorce, I could only manage to live without a computer for about 9 months. Once the baby was getting less demanding I begged my husband relentlessly for a computer. I had used my computer in my office job for several months making mailing lists, letters, correspondence and a variety of things. Not only do I have administrative skills but I've been extensively trained in sales. The combination of the two makes for a very organized and detail oriented persona.
So I finally got my computer and I was happy as a clam. I just knew it was my answer to making more money. I had one small set back, I was pregnant again with my third child and my second was only 8 months old. Because I am a nursing mom this kept me from using my computer or expanding my business. Instead I joined every single outside "mom's" group I could join. I needed adult conversation and a place to go instead of my home which I had now been sitting in for a year and a half. I managed to squeeze in a little extra time to work with the customer base I had established over the past year and half but this wasn't a lot and did not bring in any substantial income.
When my third child turned 2.5 I knew I needed more! I needed to work harder at my existing business and I was desperately missing administrative work using my computer and home office. I convinced my best friend to make her husband hire me to work for his advertising company. I wanted something along the lines of administrative but I got a appointment setting job. I thought what the heck it sounds good and it's money so I tried it out for three months. It was not what I expected and I was not actually my own boss. I was working for several salesmen and that can be a very frustrating and enormous responsibility. It became too much to handle and not what I truly was looking for in a home based business.
Then suddenly my opportunity came, my best friend and her husband were going to open their own advertising business and needed someone to help start up the business. They did not have the tools and knowledge I had with administrative work or computers so they gave me the task to design and produce their entire brochure, letter head, labels and business cards. This was exactly what I loved to do and was looking for in a home based business. I worked 8 to 10 hours a day for two weeks straight designing and producing everything it took to get their business up and running. They we're needless to say, very impressed when they saw my completed work. They complimented me on my professionalism and quality of work. I was also very efficient and timely in getting them everything within a short deadline sometimes seeming impossible to make.
For the first time in 2.5 years I was exhausted from professional work not "mommy work". Don't get me wrong, being a mother is the hardest job I've ever done but there is a large difference between "working mom's" and "work at home mom's". I was still mom 24 hours a day seven days a week with an additional work load at my home in my office. The children had a baby sitter five hours a day while I pounded out the work but I still had to take care of them and the house as I tried to pound the work out of my home office.
Sometimes I feel like getting my own office because it truly would be easier on me if I took them to daycare and went to an office to mess up daily instead of my home office. But I always come to my senses and realize the best things for all of us is for me to be there for my children while their still young and while I still have the opportunity. All of this lead to the idea of starting my own secretarial service out my home office. Why not? I had all the equipment needed and I certainly had the skills required. That's when I found the internet. I decided this would be the best place to research my business and advertise it as well. And you know what, that's exactly what I've done for the past three months. I've obtained an enormous amount of information and direction for my secretarial service. For me it's the only way to go, it's much easier than loading up the two toddlers every day and running to book stores, office depots, libraries, etc., etc.. I can do it all from my computer and the kids don't have to be hauled around all day. They get to enjoy their wonderful yards and toys while I work. No more baby sitter because I don't have to keep the noise level down to set appointments and when I'm typing for someone, they cannot hear my two boy's screaming at the top of their lungs in the background.
The key to getting the business up and running is desire, motivation, research, networking, networking and networking. I know how to advertise and put everything together in professional format but I can't get the business running if I don't network myself to death. Researching is how I found "The Bizy Mom's Chat" and AWLiz [Liz Folger her American Online screen name]. I've already thanked her a bezillion times for her website and information. Now it's my turn to share my story and hope that someone else will benefit from what I have experienced and what I have to say.
Diary Of A Dream
By Sharon White
My dream to start my own business began on Mother’s day a little over 3 years ago. At the time I had a 12 year old daughter, a 3 year old daughter and a not quite one year old little boy. I sat in church that Sunday and I listened to other Moms tell their testimonies of how wonderful it was to stay home with their children, how much it has benefited their kids that they home schooled them or were there to do things at school with them.
As I sat in tears, knowing then how much I had missed out on, my heart aching, I knew that it was time. I knew that somehow some way, I could not miss out on the rest of my children’s childhood. See, my Mom, being a single Mother of 5 for most of her adult life had always worked outside the home. She had to provide for us. She had to buy the food and pay the bills and we never really had much. She did teach us survival though. She did teach us the true meaning of love, self sacrafice and hard work and for me she taught a fierce independence. This is what I grew up knowing. That Mom went out and took care of the family, that Mom paid the bills and loved and disciplined the kids and this was all I ever knew.
I was one of the foolish ones though. Since this was all I knew, I went at it whole heartedly. I married young, had a child at 20 and divorced at 21, so there I was. A single Mom, striving to provide for my child, going to school part time, working full time and trying to take care of my daughter. I never knew it then, I never saw what I was missing, I was too busy trying to survive the only way I knew. Working the corporate job, putting my daughter in day care and in a sense allowing complete strangers to raise her. I see now what I missed. I continued on this road, still not knowing, when I remarried and had my 2nd and then 3rd child. I was doing the only thing I knew how to do, just like my Mom and that was the only thing she knew to do and I know she missed us too.
That’s where I was that day. Sitting in church, crying over the years I had missed, the lost footsteps, words and smiles. The cries I was not there to comfort because I thought I was doing the right thing. I was “providing” for them.
At that very moment though, a dream began to form. A dream woven out of all the times I left my kids crying after me in the mornings. A dream woven out of the laughter that I missed. I knew that I had the power now to change things. I knew that I could begin to picture this dream and actually put words and motion to it somehow. With God’s help, I have realized that yes, I can make this dream come true. I know that I have been slow at it because it is 3 years later and I am still trying to bring this dream to fruition, but I know that it is there. The courage I so desperately need is beginning to grow stronger and stronger, so therefore this is my dream:
To be with my children from now until they spread their own wings and take flight, to teach them that while yes, a Mother can provide for her children, she can also be there for them, to wipe their tears and share their laughter.
To let them know how important those precious moments of their own children’s lives are and to cherish them. By doing this I will at the same time SHOW them that their own dreams can come true.
So, where did Small Business Matters come from? It came from God, it came from the dream that he planted in my heart that very day and his faith in “me” that I “could” do it. So now it’s time I had the faith in HIM to know that HE will not let me down. So no matter what road God leads me down, I know that it does not matter because HE will be there with me, guiding me so that I may help guide my children to their own dreams.