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Is A Direct Sales Business Your Answer to Working from Home?

Is A Direct Sales Business Your Answer to Working from Home?

Most direct sales businesses cost relatively little, perhaps $100- or less for a “starter set” which may include marketing materials and full size products to demonstrate or show to potential customers. There are many people who will agonize about this $100- decision, talking themselves in and out of the business opportunity without ever committing to give the business a try.

If you are intrigued by the business, have uncovered no “red flags” and are still tossing back and forth about your decision, my suggestion would be to create your own “Pros” and “Cons” lists. A few minutes spent listing out all the reasons to start a business can eliminate weeks or longer of pain from indecision, help you to isolate emotional excuses and identify some of your fears that can block your success.

Some people may say, “You’ll never know unless you give it a try,” and I agree. However, why try something that you are not committed to giving an honest effort? You could be setting yourself up for failure.

All self-employed people will agree that there are no shortcuts in business and in order to make a business work, you need to work. Your success will truly depend on you so ask yourself, “Am I willing to work to make your business work?” If the answer is “Yes,” then go back through your two lists. Remember that fear, just like excitement, are emotions that can fade. So based on the facts, your “Pros” vs. “Cons” about the opportunity, which list wins?
If you like the products, can get excited about sharing the products with other people, your “Pros” outweigh your “Cons” and the company you are investigating has passed the “red flag” test, then perhaps you are ready to take the plunge into the world of self employment with a firm commitment for the direction you have chosen. OurMilkMoney.com, the nation’s #1 network for self-employed parents, will support you along every step of your new journey!

Mona Colwell is a work at home mom with 15 years of direct sales experience. In addition to raising her three children, Mona has created a company, TINK INK Publishing, for her almost famous husband, Emerson, and his children’s books and recently transitioned to a brand new direct sales organization, Ava Anderson Non-Toxic.

How to Create the Perfect Schedule, and Make it Work for You

Written by Ally Loprete

The thought of actually sitting down and scheduling some lazy “do absolutely nothing” time probably seems very stupid as well as a waste of time. Entrepreneurs, especially parents who are constantly on the go between their company and their families, really need to schedule some time to where they just sit back, relax and decompress.

When you are constantly on the go and running all over the place, attempting to work 7 days a week, in between playdates, naps, mealtime, laundry and grocery shopping, not only do you get overly exhausted by the 4th week, you run the risk of beginning to resent your company, the company that you started out loving. You may even begin to resent your children, the ones who you fell so madly in love with, you decided to work from home to be closer to them. Both responsibilites will soon seem like a ball and chain that you can’t get away from. This is not why you decided to work from home.

A written schedule can fix all of your problems. This is something that you should do every day of the week, whether you schedule your down time for the Saturday and Sunday weekend, take Monday off of work, take an extra long weekend, or just cut out of work early on one day a week. Your job as a parent continues all week long, so it’s important to account for ALL of your time.

1. Schedule in Realistic times to work, remaining flexible. For me, I am able to work Monday, Wednesday and Friday afternoons when my oldest son is at preschool and my youngest in napping. Every once in awhile my schedule is blown by an early riser, but it’s a time I can count on for the most part. I can also work for a few hours in the evening when my husband comes home, and Sunday nights when the weekend festivities are over and my husband can take over.

2. Make a list of weekly tasks and dedicate a day to each task. Mondays are for blogging and posting, Wednesdays are for social networking, Fridays are for PR. Evenings are for responding to emails and getting organized for the following day.Weekends are for catching up, but never more than 5 hours in a single weekend.

3. Schedule in “Mommy” or “Daddy” time. I had made a promise to myself and both my sons that each morning until lunchtime I would not work at all. I could schedule playtime, take them to a park, arrange a playdate, or even do some mommy chores, but my laptop was to remain closed. I also used this time to do mommy chores such as go grocery shopping or folding laundry. Because I was able to find ways to include them in these mindless tasks, they did not appear to resent this time as it did not seem like “work” to them.

4. Schedule in time for you. Just as the body needs food to stay nourished and sleep to stay refreshed, taking time to relax and clear your mind will work wonders for your health and your productivity.

5. Schedule time with friends and family. Date night with your spouse, with another couple, game night with neighbors, a visit with relatives, or out with your friends for a social gathering. It’s as important to your sanity as a good night’s sleep. Commit to 1-2 nights a month, if that is all you can squeeze in, but make that minimum a priority. It should give you just enough of a break from your work that you can go back with the same appreciation for your company that you started out having.

Increase Your Productivity As a Self-Employed Parent

Written by Ally Loprete

Working at home: it seemed like such a good idea at the time. You believed that it would give you more time with your children, the freedom to work in your pajamas, a limitless income possibility, and the ability to create your own schedule, own rules, own pace. For many, this is a dream that turns into reality.

It is said that once you work for yourself, you will never be able to go back to working for someone else. For many, working at home is freedom, but still for some, it is easy to let the work consume you every moment you are awake, and probably while you sleep as well.

It is important to remember that you are still in control, and that you need to enjoy all of the perks that come with being self-employed, as long as you remember to grant yourself those perks, just as you promised yourself you would when you “accepted the job” to work for you. If you are not given the perks that were originially promised, it’s only natural that you will lackluster your productivity, and eventually grow weary and lose inspiration.

Here are some tips to help you increase your work-at-home productivity:

1. Create atypical work hours. As parents who are self-employed, we have 2 jobs, and getting up from the computer to pour your 2 year old more milk will always be more important than responding to an email, or posting a blog. You may have grown more patient as a parent, but interruptions like these can be daunting. Save your most crucial, concentrated work for the evening when your spouse is home from work, and has agreed to let you lock yourself into a quiet room without interruptions. For me, this time is from 7:30pm-10pm during the week. You’d be surprised how much you can get done in 2 ½ hours.

2. Create an end time to each day, and “clock out.” It may be difficult to cease working when the house is exceptionally quiet for once, and you are finally feeling productive, but don’t get lost in the moment. Find a good stopping point, pat yourself on the back for a job well done and step away from the computer. My clock out time is 10:00pm

3. Schedule in some rest and relaxation time each night before going to sleep. For me, I give myself an hour to do anything I want, but work. You may choose to watch TV, read a book, or do a crossword puzzle.

4. Invest in some kind of technology. Depending on the way you look at it, this could be the greatest thing toward making you more productive, or it could cause you to become confused between work time and family time. It may be an iphone, blackberry or another PDA, but in a world where productive mothers love to multi-task, the technology that has presented itself in the last decade has made it possible for us to do it all- within reason. If your iphone allows you to quickly answer an email while attending your son’s little league game, it’s worth it. But if it keeps you out of the moment and you’ve missed your son hitting the ball on more than one occasion, it’s time to go back to the drawing board, create a more productive schedule, and turn off the PDA during family time.

5. Trade your services. I don’t mean your business services. Create a co-op babysitting group with another parent. Self-employed parents are no longer a rarity, and chances are there are atleast 4 or 5 on your street who would be willing to watch your kid for a few hours one day in exchange for you watching theirs.

Not Yet Self-Employed?

Don’t Worry, Anyone Can Do This!
By Ally Loprete

When I think back to before I came home to work and take care of my new son, I remember how “stuck” I felt. I envied other women and men who had their own businesses and I believed that the only reason that I didn’t was have one was because I lacked the motivation.
No, actually that wasn’t the only reason. Now that I think about it, I had a whole list of why I couldn’t be my own boss: I didn’t think I could hold myself accountable if I didn’t have a boss, I was sure I’d never get out of my pajamas during the day, I was afraid I might blow off all the work I was supposed to do and I’d eventually run my business into the ground, this little business of mine would end up being a hobby of some sort ike a never ending project of scrapbooking, I didn’t know what the start-up costs were, I didn’t have the money, I didn’t have a unique idea or a business plan, I was sure that I lacked whatever skills I needed, I was certainly not organized, I didn’t know the first thing about becoming a business owner, or about financing, taxes, or even the slightest notion what I could actually DO. I’d also had way too many jobs (more than I care to share, actually) where bosses had convinced me that I was capable of very little. The sad thing is that I really believed them.
Now that I am self-employed, I look back and laugh at how absurd I was thinking that I couldn’t pull this off, and I wonder what took me so long to get here. I know that it was the fear of the unknown, but had I really grasped what it would be like to work for myself, I would have started 10 years earlier, and spared myself all of those confidence crashes, not to mention the most difficult year of my life while my infant son was in daycare.
The really crazy part is that I know how many others still feel stuck the way that I did, and are probably surfing all over the internet right now for the answer. I have no problem admitting that 90 percent of my corporate salary was spent surfing the internet for a way out.
I am not trying to suck you in to a multi-level marketing scheme, I do not have a fool proof business to sell you, and I certainly don’t have all the answers. You can do it, because anyone can.
Believe me when I tell you that although I am passionate about my mission in the business I’ve created, I am by no means a business expert. My college degree was in the performing arts, and there is no way that a year ago I would have believed I was capable of what I am achieving today.

If you have a skill, you can work for yourself. So many people do not realize that they already have what it takes to become self-employed. The simplest question is, what are you doing for someone else that you could be doing for yourself? Without making a single excuse, just answer the question. Make a list of your skills. Then, trust that you will figure out the rest. You’ll find ways to market, to connect with others, to tap into resources that will give you whatever information you are lacking. Trust that you will find the answers and that there will always be someone to help you.
The internet is an amazing thing and has given us unlimited resources as far as information is concerned. Plus, it connects us to just about everyone on the planet, so when you do decide to venture out on your own, you will have help and support. The possibilities are endless. All you have to do is ask. I had no idea a year ago that the internet community existed to support one another the way that it does. I have been blown away by the generosity of those that I’ve met in my first year as an entrepreneur. I am astounded every day at the passion others have to see ME succeed. Why? Because my success means their success. I GET IT NOW.
So the reason I wanted to write this article is because it wasn’t out there when I was looking for it. I wish that ,back when I was feeling stuck, someone had invited me to THIS party, just for a moment. I needed to be taken by the hand and introduced to this encouraging world of self-employed parents. Perhaps I wouldn’t have quite realized the compassion and the support that it contained, even if it was staring me directly in the face, but I do know that it was something even greater than what I was searching for, and others need to know that it exists as well. So if this is you, then welcome to the party. You’ll love it here.

Ally Loprete is the Co-Founder of OurMilkMoney.com, an online directory of self-employed parents across the country. Ally’s focus is to help expose parents working to create a better life for their families and her mission is to educate consumers on the value of purchasing from the small business owner. Ally is passionate about inspiring parents to connect with one another, and will often write about the brilliant ideas that seem to come to her only in the shower or while blowing her hair dry.

Working together, We Could Make Zillions!

There is Much Power in Numbers, So Let’s Commit to Supporting One Another.

By Ally Loprete

Lately, I’ve really been fascinated with numbers.
This fascination has grown recently, I imagine, from creating my own internet-based company. The infinite numbers to be comprehended are literally incomprehensible — and fascinating at the same time. These numbers give me enormous amounts of optimism and frighten me at the same time. In fact, this number game is what ultimately what led me to create the concept for my business, OurMilkMoney.com.
It must have been about seven months ago that I was lying awake one evening after my family had gone to bed. I imagined that there must be zillions of parents across the country who were thinking the same things that I was. Perhaps zillions had also left their corporate day jobs to discover that staying home was by far the better way to go. Maybe zillions of new moms also took that leap of faith, spoke to a zillion husbands and said, “I am going to start my own company and work from home so that I can stay home with the kids,” which prompted a zillion panicked faces on a zillion different men. These zillions also were soon to learn that it would be twice as much work as they’d ever expected, but would vow to make it work for the sake of their families.
If there really were zillions that lay awake the same way I was, going through the numbers over and over again like it was some kind of riddle to be solved, then that was at least a zillion connections I wanted to make. Were zillions of us really choosing to take but a fraction of our previous income for double the amount of work? Yes, this was THANKLESS work, with no sick pay, no paid vacation time, no group health benefits, and no company lunches paid for — and yet, we’d chosen this new role as if it was the greatest opportunity we’ve ever had for ourselves, and it made us feel a zillion more times at home. Were we all just insane?
It was thoughts like these that made me realize the power in numbers. If there truly were large numbers of parents out there just like me, I could certainly use their friendship and their support. In exchange, I’d be happy to lend mine. More than that, I wanted to make a pact with all of these parents: “I’ll buy your stuff if you’ll buy mine.”
Easy enough. Now where would I find these parents? It shouldn’t have been difficult to find them with zillions of pages of information available at my internet fingertips, so I decided to begin looking each time I made a new online purchase. I searched. And searched. And searched. Every time I made any purchase online, I put in an extra keyword “parent” to narrow my search and pull up a vendor who was working from home to afford the opportunity to stay home with their children. I became more and more shocked at how difficult this was, and it frustrated me. I KNEW there were parents out there who would love to sell me their shampoo, just as much as I’d love to buy it from them! It shouldn’t be so hard to find them!
That is when it hit me like a ton of bricks. If there was no such search directory, I was going to create one.
So that is what I did. I have created a way for a zillion parents to support one another, and I feel a zillion times better. One day we’ll all be zillionaires! Or at least we’ll have made a zillion new friends in the process.

Ally Loprete is the Co-Founder of OurMilkMoney.com, an online directory of self-employed parents across the country. Ally’s focus is to help expose parents working to create a better life for their families and her mission is to educate consumers on the value of purchasing from the small business owner. Ally is passionate about inspiring parents to connect with one another, and will often write about the brilliant ideas that seem to come to her only in the shower or while blowing her hair dry.