The most common question I get asked about my self employed, work from home, stay at home mum job is ‘Are you busy?’ I’m never quite sure what answer to give.
What I normally reply when asked ‘Are you busy?’
Instinctively I say, ‘yes’.
Then I feel the need to clarify what I mean.
I’m a full time mother of 4 children aged between 1 and 11. Of course I’m busy! Permanently busy. But what people are really asking is if I’m busy with work, or more accurately they want to know if I’m making lots of money from it.
Well, no, I’m not making LOADS of money from it because as I mentioned I have 4 children, aged between 1 and 11 and most of my day (and night) is spent with them so it would be some job that would enable me to do that and make loads of money at the same time.
But I often follow up my ‘yes’ with ‘I’m as busy as I want to be’. Because for me that’s why I do the job I do. It has the flexibility to allow me to be with my children and work in the gaps, but as I said I’m a mother of 4 children so there aren’t that many gaps!
What I want to say when asked ‘Are you busy?’
Honestly, I want to reply with some of the following,
‘Of course I’m ****** busy, I’ve got 4 kids’
‘Well, I might be busier if you supported my business.’
‘You nosy *** you just want to know how much money I’m making, none of your business!’
Naturally I never say any of those things. They usually know I’ve got 4 children. Why should they support my business if they actually believe they can get better quality elsewhere (I haven’t seen where yet) and probably shouting abuse at them would put them off even thinking about buying a card from me.
So I just say ‘yes’ and smile and maybe ‘would you like the latest catalogue?’ Then I dive into my brochure sized handbag and swiftly fish out a brochure from beneath the spare nappy, game of Uno and chequebook. The three things I seem to need most in life when I least expect to.
So, over the last couple of days I’ve been doing something a little different and to be honest a bit out of my comfort zone – but that’s how we grow right?? I’ve come the closest in a long time to having a proper job.
What do I do?
I’ve been at my children’s school for their ‘career – workplace’ week along with other parents and local businesses. We’ve been talking about our jobs and why we do what we do.
I was really impressed with the questions asked, especially by the older children. I also felt kind of humbled by their understanding of why I do what I do.
When the letter came home the previous week asking parents if they were willing and available to come in for a sort of ‘careers fair’ I half jokingly put my name down for ‘Direct Sales’. To be honest I didn’t think anyone would want me as I don’t work full time and for so many it’s not a ‘proper job’. Would teachers really want me to tell children that I don’t work much because I’m a full time mother and the business I have just fills the gaps?
So I ticked both days meaning I was available for either and expecting to hear nothing.
Well that’ll teach me! They asked me to come in both days and I was the only person who did do both days!
What do you want to do when you grow up and get a proper job?
I know when I was young parenthood wasn’t a viable career option. Looking back on my education I feel a bit lied to. I grew up feeling empowered and encouraged to change the world. No one explained that if I had children I couldn’t actually have it all. On the contrary I had to make choice.
So I told the children that I used to have another job but gave it up when my children were born. Then I wanted a business that would allow me complete flexibility of time and allow me to earn some money even if not a full time income as it’s not a full time job.
I thought they’d all be more interested to ask what my ‘proper job’ had been before my children were born. Yet not one child asked me that question. Instead they all seemed to get it. Perhaps because our children value the time we spend at home with them, even when we don’t or when we don’t realise how much they appreciate us just ‘being there’.
What did they get out of it?
I don’t know the answer to that. Most of them seemed to want to join the police (he did have much more interesting gadgets and equipment compared to my bookmarks and birthday cards!). Though their eyes did all light up when I explained that my job involves eating a lot of cake.
But I was reminded how clever and astute our children are. When I was 6 it was a visit from a missionary couple that sparked something in me to work overseas. That never left me and was the basis for my previous ‘proper job’. It’s still something I’d like to go back to. But for now my children appreciate me just being there for them. Even if they and I don’t always realise it. So I’ll keep doing what I’m doing, blogging about and selling cards and eating cake.
I’ve added a quick note at the end with my personal opinion about ‘what went wrong’ with Phoenix Trading and what will be different about the new company.
If you want to join my new team now let me know here.
If you want to join my new customer loyalty programme you can do that here.
So you’ve heard of Phoenix Trading, you love their products and you want to know what’s happened to the company? In this blog post I reveal my experience of Phoenix Trading. What I expected from it and what I discovered. Here is my Phoenix Trading review.
I became a Phoenix Trader by ‘accident’!
What is it about Phoenix that attracted your attention? Did you find their cards were unlike any you see in the shops and better value? Had you received a present gift wrapped with roll wrap that looked better quality and prettier than any you had seen before? This is what most people say. Well for me it was the bookmarks!
While selling children’s books, I thought the bookmarks would compliment my stock…gradually I fell hook, line and sinker for their entire range of cards, stationery and other gifts.
Have you wondered if it would be worth being a Phoenix Trader just to get your hands on some cards, gift wrap and stationery that you love? I fell in love with the children’s range as I had young children. It was worth being a Phoenix Trader just for the birthday and Christmas cards I was going to use myself.
If you are worried that there will be lots of sales and recruitment targets, there aren’t. In all the time I’ve been doing Phoenix no one has pressured me to sell a certain amount or to recruit people.
I hadn’t intended to build a business from Phoenix but when I took a closer look at the commission package that Phoenix offer I realised that building a team and getting to the level of business bonuses was entirely doable. It wasn’t a requirement, no one would try and make me do it but it looked achievable. So if you are looking for a business, not just some free cards for yourself, there is that option too.
Do I need team members to make money?
There are two ways you can earn money with Phoenix; profit from sales and commission from the volume of sales your team do. You don’t have to do both it’s your choice and there are no targets for either. You decide what you want. I wanted an income from it!
Sales profit is simple as you get 30% profit on everything you sell. Furthermore there is more than that on greeting cards when people don’t take advantage of their 20% discount by buying 10 or more assorted cards at a time. I think that’s a pretty good profit margin for a direct sales company (and of course it means 30% discount on anything you use!).
Minimum of 5% commission on team sales – but how do you get a team? In the first few months after I started I was busy trying to work out how to ask people to join my team and the fear that goes with not knowing how to start that conversation when people started asking me! I realised it wasn’t about trying to convince all my friends and family to join my business but about listening to what customers were saying and picking up on the cues to let them know ‘you can do this too if you want’.
I now have a team of Phoenix Traders across the UK and in Australia.
What’s the company support like?
You don’t want to be stuck on your own, not knowing what to do when your starter pack arrives. On the other hand you probably don’t want to be bombarded by emails and phonecalls from your team leader either. I’ve found the support level to be just right. My team leader calls me when I want her to. There are Facebook groups to share ideas and encouragement. There will be team meetings (usually involving cake!) near you that you can choose to attend if you wish. I do not get any pressure, just support. I don’t get hassled by phone calls or emails telling me I’ve not done this or that. However I do get constant recognition when I reach a milestone, which I love.
It’s up to me to ask for input from others, it isn’t forced upon me and that’s the way I like it. I think it also makes for a better business to be honest as it’s then your responsibility.
What has really impressed me is how Phoenix Traders support each other across teams. This is something I feel very strongly about. If one grows we all grow as the ‘brand’ grows. I have received multiple nominations for the past two years for supporting other Traders outside my team. It’s this spirit of support across Phoenix which I think is somewhat unique to companies like us.
There has to be some negative in my Phoenix Trading review surely?
The ethos of Phoenix is about having an ethical business with beautiful artwork that makes people smile. We send cards and we sell cards. We wrap presents in the best wrapping paper I’ve ever used. So we aren’t as hot on social media but I’ve seen improvements since I joined.
When you show your starter pack of cards to your friends, colleagues, family the chances are they will ooh and ahh over the quality of the illustrations and product. They will see how fabulous your products are much more by physically holding them than from your Facebook page, or from a text message. Showing your cards to people is how you build your business and your personal ‘brand’. You can of course sell online too through a custom made website.
My top 5 highlights from my Phoenix Trading review
Low cost start up
Start from just £35, which includes 10 brochures to start collecting orders and 45 cards to sell immediately. Potential sales value of £70.
No one sets any targets except you. I have never felt under pressure to achieve any level of sales, recruits, bonuses or anything.
Great products you will use yourself
We all know someone with a birthday! You will use the cards yourself. In fact the hardest bit might be selling them and not sending them all yourself!
Really helpful and friendly people both fellow Traders and head office
Most friendly company I have ever worked amongst. You will meet people you wouldn’t have met otherwise and make great friends, if you want to.
Nothing to lose!
What’s the worst that can happen? You get left with a few fabulous cards that didn’t cost you much that you can use yourself.
So, what went wrong with Phoenix Trading? What will be different about Flamingo Paperie? (added August 2017)
If you’re still reading this far then you may well be asking what went wrong? Why did Phoenix Trading close? What will be different about Flamingo Paperie, given the involvement of some of the same management? These comments, like all the others in this article, are just my personal opinion based on what I know. There is probably a lot I don’t know.
What went wrong with Phoenix Trading?
In my opinion there were 2 major things that went wrong, trying to expand in to the USA and warehousing issues.
Expansion in to the USA – didn’t make money. Lost money and cost the company a lot of its reserves. Phoenix management are not the sort of people to give up easily and probably could have pulled out of USA sooner than they did but isn’t hindsight wonderful? It’s easy to throw that judgement in now knowing that the idea wasn’t profitable but at the time it would have been easy to persevere. After all it takes time to build a business right?
Warehousing – because we love our products so much it’s very difficult to pulp them! Phoenix rarely pulped discontinued lines. Phoenix offered sale items to Traders. However, this had the knock on effect of leaving Traders with lots of stock to sell that was no longer in the catalogues. Personally I think we should offer sales and special offers direct to customers. I also think we should ultimately pulp discontinued lines. This would have saved warehouse costs and kept the business fresher. This will now be happening in Flamingo when you join the Flamingo Customer Club.
I have a few other ideas about things that could have been done differently too but these two issues above would have made a big difference.
Well we aren’t trying to expand in to any other countries for a while! We’ll be outsourcing our warehousing, which should make it financially more efficient. We are introducing a customer loyalty programme. This is going to be fantastic for you if you’re a customer! You will get direct access to special offers and discounts and have the chance to buy stock that is due to be discontinued before it goes to pulp. We have a new director called Stuart Millar.
I know Stuart personally. He has even taken time to come and visit my small team in the Outer Hebrides. Stuart has been a Phoenix Trader for years and he’s a listener. I’m pretty much a nobody in the whole scheme of things but Stuart has had phonecalls and Skype calls with me and taken time to listen as well as encourage and develop my team. Without going in to too much detail of the previous commission structure, Stuart has done this despite the fact that he doesn’t earn commission directly from my sales. Having Stuart on board brings direct Trading experience to the table. It brings someone who was very much in touch with all activity-levels of the previous business. And therefore brings a greater understanding of what Traders need as well his own business and customer relations experience and knowledge.
Flamingo Paperie will be a much more enhanced company built on experience, lessons learnt and listening to what all parties are saying.
Like most direct sales, network marketing businesses Phoenix Trading is flexible so you make it work to suit you. Therefore, another person’s Phoenix Trading review might be totally different. I hope you’ve found my Phoenix Trading review helpful.
To join my new team with the new company click here
You could leave a comment telling me what you thought about Phoenix Trading. Perhaps you’re thinking about joining the new venture, what do you like about the idea, what are you not sure about? Were you a Trader, feel free to tell us what you loved about it. Or were you a happy Phoenix customer – what made us different to other card outlets? What’s your Phoenix Trading review?
If you’re thinking of starting a direct sales business then you’ll be probably be told to do some at home events, at least a launch one.
Why? Because it’s a tried and tested way of successfully launching your business. You’ll be inviting people you already know, who already trust you and care about you to come and test your new business idea. Once you’ve done it, if you follow some of the ideas I’ll give you here, your confidence will grow and hopefully you’ll get a friend who wants to do the same kind of event in their house and invite other people you didn’t know!
We Flamingo Partners call these kinds of events, pop up shops or coffee and cards, or ‘wine and cards’ too sometimes!
So what’s the big deal with an at home event, I’ve found there are 3 main hurdles to get over; too scary for you, house too messy, don’t like baking!
Get over it! These are your friends, they already know you and trust you. You’ve probably already told some of them about the business you’re starting, they’re already curious. If they turned up at your door anyway, would you be too scared to let them in to your house? Unlikely, so what’s different? Ah, they might not support you and you’ll feel let down. Yes that does happen from time to time and it is harder to take from people you expect to support you than from complete strangers but these people are your best chance at launching your business because you’ve already built a relationship of trust with them so go on, bite the bullet and invite them round. Try saying, “I’m starting a new business and I’d really love to know what you think of it.”
House too messy?
Your friends (not necessarily your family if my mother is anything to go by) will be most forgiving. Don’t you find it reassuring if you visit a friend’s house and it’s not totally spotless? Reminds you that you’re as normal as they are. Sure, clean the toilet a little and don’t have dirty dishes lying around, run the hoover around and make sure they can sit down somewhere but don’t go overboard, they’ll only feel uncomfortable!
Don’t like baking?
You think if you invite people round you’ll have to put on a big feast, you’ll have to get the baking bowl out and whip up some Mary Berry standard delights. No you don’t, that’s not what you asked them round for is it? Open a packet of biscuits and have the kettle on – if you want to really splash out go for chocolate biscuits not plain. Keep it simple, you’ll feel more relaxed and so will they.
So what’s stopping you now? Ah, you don’t know enough people. Would it surprise you to know I’ve done really successful home events with just 3 people turning up? It doesn’t really matter if there aren’t many. After all it’s meant to be an informal get together. Sometimes less is more because you can have more meaningful conversations with fewer people. The thing is those 3 people know other people. They know people you don’t know but because the 3 people you know trust you, they’ll pass on that spirit of trust to those other people who don’t know you.
Remember to ask if someone else would like to host a similar event too, at any home event you do. Keep it simple and your guests will be relaxed. Give some incentives like a % of sales in free stock or special free gifts just for hosts, then someone else will host a home event for you. Then they’ll invite people you wouldn’t have met otherwise and so your sales business grows.
Still too scary?
Then why not invite your local Flamingo Partner round to host a pop up shop for you, that way you can see how easy it is, and get some free cards and gifts too. You can keep these or use them to start your business along with your starter stock pack when you join!
Are there limits to how much I can do?
At some point your sales business will reach a limit. You can only be in one place at a time, at some point you’ll be so busy you’ll have to turn down events. It takes time to sort orders and make deliveries. You need to expand! You need a team. Share the same business opportunity you had at the start with someone else (even better, with a lot of someone elses!). Direct sales companies (also sometimes known as network marketing companies) don’t have shareholders. So instead of profits going to big cheeses at the top they are shared out through their network of Partners in the form of commission payments. Each Partner has the potential to earn the same money. It’s up to each Partner how much time, effort, positive mental attitude they invest to determine how much they grow their sales and their team network.
You can be growing your team from the moment you start your own business. It can be really fun if someone starts at almost the same time as you and you can build each other’s business from the very beginning.
I must get asked this question so often by people considering joining my team of Independent Flamingo Partners. My answer to this question probably applies not just to Flamingo Paperie direct selling but to all direct sales opportunities and possibly to all businesses too.
In short, yes, you can make money from this but –
How much you make depends on how much you’re prepared to put in.
I don’t believe there is any get-rich-quick-with-little-effort scheme. Flamingo Paperie direct selling is no exception.
To build any successful business you need to invest time and effort, a lot of positive mental attitude and probably some wise financial outlay.
Time and effort
Don’t expect to start your new business with a new personal online shopping website and for people you’ve never met to suddenly purchase huge amounts from your website without ever seeing the product or having a recommendation from someone who has.
People need to see a product between 3-7 times before they will make a purchase and they are more likely to purchase based on a recommendation of someone they know and trust.
So if you’re not prepared to repeat a sales activity at least 3 times then it’s probably not worth doing. It takes time.
Positive Mental Attitude
You will need to be determined. People will say no, it happens. Are you prepared to ask someone else? The more you ask, the more ‘nos’ you will get but you will also get some ‘yes-es’ and if you don’t ask you won’t get the nos but you certainly won’t get the yes answers either.
People aren’t really buying the products, they are buying you. Customers need to trust you before they will buy.
If they already know the product then they might trust you because of the trust they already have with the brand you’re selling but if they don’t know the product then they have to trust you first. That’s why when new Traders start in my team I always suggest they begin with an at home launch event with friends. These people already trust you, they have probably already ‘seen’ your product through you talking about it so they’ve already had a ‘visit’ to your stall, even if only in their mind. It constantly amazes me the number of new Traders who refuse to do an at home event and then wonder why they struggle. If you can’t start with the people already within your trust circle you’re making it very hard for yourself to get your business going.
How often do I hear people wanting to start a new at home business with no financial outlay. Often the reason is fear, not a lack of finances.
If you really want something, you’ll find the money.
If you’ve bought the product and you like it, then surely others will too? Most direct sales companies offer really good, heavily discounted start up stock packs. This isn’t to lure you into the business. They know that starting a business is the hardest part. However, with a good start up stock you are more likely to recoup your initial investment quickly and have repeat customers on board.
So perhaps you’ve read all this and are now thinking that Flamingo Paperie direct selling is not for you.
Well, maybe I’ve saved you a little heartache – or perhaps I’ve helped to prepare you to invest in your business. Maybe you can see the bigger picture, which is that when people who trust you, buy from you, and keep buying from you, then tell others who in turn become customers, that’s how your business grows. Perhaps now you won’t focus so much on the success or failure of an individual ‘event’. Instead you’ll see a process of growth that has many individual steps to it.
You might also be asking if there is a limit to how much money you can make? Through sales alone then yes there definitely is. At some point you’ll be so busy you’ll have to turn down events. There are only so many orders and deliveries you can make. If you want your business to grow then you need a team, a network of Partners who work with you and that you support. In return you’ll get commission from the parent company. How much, just like with your income from sales, is up to you. You can start building your team from day 1.
In direct sales every Partner has the potential to earn as much as anyone else. We all buy at the same level of discount and we call get the same commission opportunities. This is why it’s not a pyramid scheme. How much you earn depends on how much you put in.
It is illegal for a promoter or participant in a trading scheme to persuade anyone to make a payment by promising benefits for getting others to join a scheme. Do not be misled by claims that high earnings are easily achieved.
Mums working from home have a difficult task on their hands. Juggling work and looking after the children is a tough job. Is it possible to do both? I believe so. In fact I believe if you choose the right business it can enhance the whole experience.
How mums working from home can make it work for everyone
Allow me a brief introduction of myself.
I’m a full time mother of three, the oldest is now 9, the youngest 3. I’ve been a full time mother for 9 yrs. For the past 8 years I’ve also run a part time business.
I admit that we were lucky, at first it wasn’t about the money. My husband had a good enough job and we adjusted our lifestyle to suit one income. I did struggle in early motherhood with my ‘loss’ of purpose. It took me over 4 years to appreciate the value of what I was giving my children as a full time mother. The ‘business’ was a hobby and I didn’t even keep my commission but donated it to charity.
Then my husband’s job went downhill, wasn’t quite what he had hoped for, a little stress and disappointment and we began to wonder if this is what life was all about. Call it mid-life crisis if you wish.
So what, you might think?
Plenty folk hate their job, that’s life…but if you could change it wouldn’t you? If it was possible to do what you really wanted, what your deepest desire was, wouldn’t you at least give it a go?
My husband wanted to write. He wanted out of his job and via a bizarre set of circumstances I realised I quite enjoyed selling things and supporting others to fulfil their potential. Running a direct sales, network marketing business started to look less like a hobby. It looked more like a fulfilling way to earn an income.
What’s more, running a network marketing business like mine (I’m an Independent Phoenix Trader and I sell gorgeous cards and stationery alongside my growing team of Traders) not only seemed possible with a baby and toddler in tow, it actually seemed a positive part of full time motherhood. Perhaps mums working from home who have been doing these kind of businesses for years are actually on to something.
Here’s a few reasons why it’s working for me:
No childcare costs – maybe obvious but being able to take my children with me in my business means I don’t have to pay childcare or leave my children with strangers.
Flexibilty – because I can take my children with me I can work on my business when it suits me, not just after bedtime. And to be honest I’m not fit for much in the evening, I’m probably a morning person.
Stickers – my kids love stickers so they often volunteer to help with sticking labels on brochures or other ‘mundane’ tasks like putting cards in cellos or stuffing envelopes. They love helping me stocktake or set up my stall. This isn’t slave labour, they don’t have to do it, I don’t make them do it, but they want to. It’s fun to them.
Cute sales aids – I don’t really consider myself a people person. My social skills aren’t great and certainly don’t come naturally. So when it comes to fairs, events or even putting a basket in a workplace it’s so much easier with a toddler in tow. The children are the conversation starters just by being there, making it much easier for me.
Entrepreneurs – my kids are more entrepreneurial than me. Perhaps they don’t have my fear of failure, they’ll have great ideas and just go for it. My oldest who often lacks confidence has now raised a few hundred pounds for charity making and selling sweetie cones. But what astounds me is how she will confidently ask complete strangers passing by her stall if they’d like to buy a cone. My children are learning business skills way before they realise it and way better than me!
It is possible
So when people ask is it possible for mums working from home to be a full time mum and run a business, the answer for me is not only is it possible it’s a really positive thing and actually an enhancement of the parenting role. There are lots of different things you can do too.
If you’d like to find out more about what I do and how it works for me, just ask.