Once upon a time, many years ago, I decided to try a direct sales, work-from-home business. I’d found a product I loved and decided to give Usborne Books & More a try. I thought if things worked out, I’d have some extra income, a library of great books, and be at home with my son, with little impact to his world from my flexible job. Twelve years later, what I am most grateful for is how my choice has impacted my son.
Working from home allowed me to give my son many gifts. He’s eighteen now and off to college this fall, but took a few minutes to help me list some of the things he learned from watching me work.
Patience. Regardless of how carefully you plan your work schedule around your family/homeschool schedule, things happen. Important phone calls come unexpectedly. Sibling disputes happen during the fifteen minutes you asked for quiet. Learning to manage those things, being patient while they are happening, being respectful, and getting positive feedback for waiting, are all important social skills. On the flip side, sometimes you are able to show your children how much you value them by NOT taking a call, or waiting to answer a text.
Work Ethic. Watching you work, right in front of them, gives children an idea of what it means to make a commitment and carry through. They actually see this every day, as parents work to raise children, to care for their home, etc. An at-home business adds another layer of experience that many children don’t ever get to see. Added bonus: children can help! My son put stickers on catalogs, reviewed books for me, entered email addresses into mailing lists, learned to count change back to customers at events and carried more boxes of books than he can care to remember. I watched his self-esteem grow as he contributed to the family business.
Communication. If you have a business, you must communicate with others. If you have a direct sales business, you’ll talk to hostesses, other consultants, and customers on the phone. You might run a team meeting. When children hear parents talk to people in professional situations, they learn how that looks and sounds and can emulate it.
Goal-setting & Planning. Running a business without goals and plans is like going on a trip without a destination and a map. Setting a goal for your business that your kids can support and track your progress makes for a great lesson plan. For our family, this started with earning trips. While earning trips to Hawaii, Alaska, Paris, Ireland and more, we had visual trackers that could be colored in, sales that could be added and dinner discussions about what I needed to do this week. The resulting vacations were powerful illustrations of the results of planning plus effort.
Team Building. Direct sales, like many businesses, involves building and supporting a team and being excited the success of others. What an incredible lesson, especially for competitive personalities. My son recently remarked that he hears the phrase “You succeed by helping others find success” in his sleep.
What Success Looks Like. My business makes me happy, provides a nice income and allows me to show my son a different, professional side of myself while putting family first. That picture of success, combined with watching his father have a successful, satisfying career, paints a great picture for him of what his future can hold.
Today, we have that nice library of books (see them at www.UsborneBookPlace.com), enough extra income to pay for my son’s college education and I’ve loved every minute of being at home with my son. I’d encourage anyone to give the gift of an at-home business to your children.
Vikki Burns Finan is a Director, National Trainer and President’s Award winner with Usborne Books & More. Her son, Donovan, is an Eagle Scout who will head to college as a pre-law student this fall. To contact her or learn more visit her website: www.UsborneBookPlace.com or email her at VikkiFinan@myubam.com