WORKING AT HOME WITH KIDS
My first home business attempt was in Hawaii in 1993, it was a mortgage note buying business. My first born son was only 1 year old. My husband has an entrepreneur mindset and always wanted to own a home business, but he is a career Navy pilot. During his early years in the Navy, he deployed a lot for 2 weeks to 6 months at a time so I was usually left with the decision to make things work. I remember struggling and learning by myself how to work this new home business system.
How I dreaded answering the phone or making business phone calls! My son would scream, tug at my clothes, and would throw tantrums the moment I picked up the phone. He wanted 100% of my attention and 100% of my time!
So I installed a second phone line, a dedicated telephone and fax with answering machine for our business. I would let the answering machine pick up and record all calls from clients. Then when my son was asleep, I would return the calls. I also used a Voice Mail Service so people who wanted information could call a number and listen to a recording about our service and leave a message.
In the early 90's, not many people have email yet. The primary mode of communication was still by telephone. I listened to our voice mail and answering machine a lot! I typed and faxed things often. This strategy went on for five years! It also worked very well when my second son was born in 1997.
During those years, we took and re-took and even facilitated several times a parenting class called Growing Kids God's Way. It worked miracles in our lives to eliminate tantrums and establish routines for our children. Naptime was an essential part of their day, that allowed me to work the home business. Our new-born was on a schedule round the clock, I knew exactly when he was supposed to wake up, eat, and play!
Despite of very limited time I had to talk or meet with clients, our business started experiencing some successes on its third year and I closed several lucrative deals. Business was picking up and we began to capture a niche market. Then the unexpected happened, the Navy sent us to Japan! Our family was overseas from 1998-2003! We lost momentum in that business and completely stopped!
I started building homeschooling websites in 2000 while were stationed in Japan. I utilized the internet a great deal. As my internet business picked up, I communicated mostly via email. Even if I gave my phone numbers, most clients did not want to call from the US to Japan and pay overseas phone rates. For three years, I learned as much as I could about the internet while homeschooling. When we returned to the US in 2003, we had to start a home business all over again!
Our children are now 8 and 13 so I don't have the same problems I had before. They are on a daily routine because we homeschool. They cooperate with me when I need to be on the phone. The great thing is the bulk of communication is now done by email. As needed, I only give my cell phone number to established clients.
Like before, I have a dedicated second phone line for business calls and faxes with an answering machine. It allows me to filter solicitations and junk calls from legitimate business calls. Our home phone is for personal calls only. I do not want my children to answer my business calls or talk to strangers.
In summary, these are my four suggestions to Moms:
Before you start a home business, get your house in order first. Talk to your children about your decision to start a home business. Get them involved. Utilize chore lists
for your children. Be consistent. Establish routines. Better yet, take a parenting class like Growing Kids God's Way
, or read books on parenting
. If your house is not in order, your business will not succeed.
Be encouraged! It will come to pass! Your children will grow and they will become your business partners. I can now employ my children to do work for me such as putting labels on brochures and flyers. For my computer savvy 13-year old, he even uploads website files for me! Once in a while, I get suggestions from my youngest son to write an article about certain topics! My children are watching me and learning from me! They are successful entrepreneurs in the making!
By Bing Howard 06/18/06
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