How to Make Everyone Insane….

Answer: Start a bunch of home improvement and don’t finish any of them….. In the midst of the insanity I can see life getting a little better bit by bit, so I keep doing it.

I reached a point where I couldn’t take it any more….the disorganization, dirt and 45 year old carpet with disintegrating pad.  I dove into a bunch of projects pretty much simultaneously. We don’t have much of a budget for each space so we’re doing some unorthodoxed things…like thumbtacking placemats over windows, painting sub floors, and cutting curtains in half so we can have 2.  In the past few weeks:

1.  Caleb’s room: Removed carpet and wallpaper. Painted walls and subfloor. New rug, new bedding, new curtains, new desk, lego organizational area. Still need: Lego desk, dust ruffle….and doors.  Doors would be really nice.

Calebs room before and after

2. Painted the Family Room French Doors white and started to white wash the fireplace. Bought supplies for a giant chalkboard.

family room 2015

family room fireplace

Plus that cabinet on the ground, to the right, with all the stuff on it belongs on top of the fridge.  We now have the screws in hand to take care of that. Happy Dance. The chalkboard will cover the end of the fireplace that the cabinet is leaning against. It has an unsightly seam on it that use to be hidden under a wall.  We discovered it when we opened up the floor plan and it’s been visible from the front door for 2+years.

3. Master Bedroom: Removed Carpet.  Painted subfloor. Deconstructed bed. “new” rug, sofa, curtains, light, lamps, mirrors, side table, plants…..Still needs pillows and artwork….later

Master Bedroom before and after

4.  Girl’s Bathroom: Removed wallpaper and popcorn ceiling.  Still needs Skimcoat, paint on walls and trim.  New faucet, new toilet. Tile around sink area.  Refinish tub and sink top so they will be white.  Shower curtain, window shade and bamboo blind. Towel hooks…..don’t make me go on.

Girl's bathroom mood board

5.  Entry: Took carpet off stairs (I did this before Christmas actually.) Still needs a coat of stain on treads and bannister and white paint on trim. Still need to paint walls…but parts of the room will need scaffolding…

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All of these jobs are on a gentle pause while I figure out how in the world to do the next steps.  When I get stuck in one space, I start on the next one.  It’s a bad habit.

In the meantime, I’m getting ready for our Spring Concert, taking the choir to World’s of Fun for a play day, and preparing graduation music.

Totally Unrelated News: I’m 1 contact away from earning a trip to ATLANTIS BAHAMAS with MomCeo.  If you are at all mildly curious about how I earn money with MomCeo, put in your info and let me give you a call.  I would be super sad to be this close and not qualify for the trip, plus I think it would really bless your family too.  Atlantis is the place Dave Ramsey took us when we were finalists with his Total Money Makeover Contest.  I can’t express how awesome it would be to go back as a successful small business owner.

Spending Freeze Day 28: Raise Your Income

work from home

Oh, Ladies, what a busy day!  Last night, I sent out a little email about $1 memberships ending Saturday at midnight, and I spent my day calling 72 of the most amazing people who wanted to find out all about it.  They didn’t know when they put their phone number down that I was going to call them personally.  It was kind of fun when they answered to say, “Hello, this is Angela Coffman from the Grocery Shrink” and wait for their response.  Most people were kind of weirded out and I think I would have been too, lol.  But what a joy to get to know some of the readers and actually hear their voices.

I’m already a day late on talking about Raising your income, and tomorrow I need to make more phone calls PLUS write the menu plan that goes out on Friday…..So I’m just going to write and hit publish and hope I can get my thoughts together for you.  That’s part of practicing what I preach, right?

Foreclosure

Saving money is good, but if you don’t have enough income–it can’t be your end all solution.  A reader wrote in the comments last week that she was a money saving genius (my words) and lost her house anyway.  I don’t want that to happen to anyone again.  The truth is, we are really good at saving money around here, but it’s not enough to send our kids to college, replace our 20 year old cars, or finish the remodel project gone bad.

Earning money is the hard part for me, because it involves getting money from other people.  There really isn’t any way around that.  So my goal is to provide such a great service or product that the other person is better off for spending on it.  Take this fitness program for example.  I spent enough on it that I thought about it for awhile before pulling the trigger.  Enough that I had to think about where the money would come from.  BUT when I got it, I read it all immediately and then used it and it WORKED.  If it had been free, I don’t think I would have been as motivated to get so much out of it.  And Holly spent a lot of time putting all of that together to help people.  Her family had to do without her for those hours.  She deserved every dime I gave her.

You should pay people what they are worth. Which means, YOU should get paid what you are worth too.  Being stingy when paying others can make it hard for you to accept your due when it’s your turn. 

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Here’s what you should ask yourself when you think about a business:

1.  Is the amount of your paycheck tied to the number of people you help? (The more people you help, the bigger your paycheck.)

2.  Is your product or service consumable?  Will the customer use it up and want to replace it?  (like with laundry soap, personal training, music lessons,–or gasoline!)

3.  Do you feel good about what you are doing?  Can you work with a clear conscience and with integrity?

4.  Are you tied to an hourly wage—like teaching music lessons for so much $$$ per half hour.  Or is your income potential open ended—like selling an e-course on music theory.

5.  Are you using your God given gifts?

6.  Do you enjoy the work?

The fastest way I know how to earn money is to work for an hourly wage.  You can run out and clean houses, mow lawns etc… right away.   I did that.  I taught music lessons and did custom sewing.  Then I used part of what I earned as seed money to start a business that wasn’t tied to an hourly wage. Because an hourly wage severely limits your income potential. It’s an ok jumping off point, but not a great goal.

Personal Entrepreneurial Job Ramblings

The following is not meant to be a text-book, just simply my journey so far.  If it’s helpful great.  If not, please don’t tell me I’m a mess.  I already know that.

I started earning money for my family by teaching singing and piano lessons.  Then added custom sewing for a little shop in Nauvoo, IL and then to dabbling in weddings.  As my family required more and more of my time, I moved from custom sewing for an hourly wage to designing sewing patterns and starting an online shop.  Yes, they took time to create, and there was bigger risk (what if no one bought them?), but once the pattern was finished I could replicated it 1,000 times with no new time spent.  This instantly moved me away from an hourly wage into an open ended wage potential. Eventually, I moved from physically printing patterns to selling download and print e-patterns, which removed more risk and eliminated more of my ongoing time commitment (since everything could be automated.)

At the same time I was doing patterns, I wrote my Grocery Shrink ebooks.  The same principle was there.  It took hours and hours to write them, but I could sell unlimited copies through ejunkie (who automatically collected the money and sent the download links to customers for me.)

While I was figuring out internet marketing (ok, I’m still figuring it out) I signed up with Mary Kay.  I could go out in an evening and sell products and come home instantly with cash.  This saved our necks during my husband’s 6 month job loss 5 years ago.

As time rolled on, I was no longer able to go out in the evenings.  There were too many music lessons and sports practices to take children to….I didn’t have even one free evening.  I still had a few Mary Kay customers to take care of, but the income stream wasn’t at the level I needed it to be.  I hired a business coach, who helped me realize that making meal plans for families as a subscription was the logical next step with my blog.  It was hard for me to justify the expense of hiring a coach but it turned out to be the best decision ever.  And Grocery Shrink Plus was born. I still work actively in that every week and recently added smart phone friendly shopping lists and video classes.  Fun stuff!  It has a great income potential, but I’m really hesitant about promoting myself…..so it’s not reaching it’s potential.

Work from home mom

Recently, I also joined Sandi Sullivan at MomCeo.  What a rewarding job!  I hemmed and hawed about it for 3 years before taking the plunge, forehead smack. I get to talk with amazing ladies every week and help them find natural home solutions that fit into their budgets and do business training for new associates.  I can do it around our busy schedule and completely from home (no parties!)  This appears to be the long term income solution we are looking for.

So anyhoo, that’s our journey so far.  Our dream would be for husband and wife to work together and have the freedom to travel, help others, and just be a family.  It was a reality check when my daughter turned 15 2 weeks ago, that if I wanted to realize this dream while she was still home, I needed to get a MOVE ON.  So….I did.

Where are you on your income journey?  Do you have dreams too?  Would simply saving more of your current income be enough for your family to realize them?

Who is MomCeo?

Sandi Sullivan

You’ve been seeing the MomCEO button on my side bar for years. There’s a little bit of mystery with that button, so let me tell you more about the woman behind MomCEO.

 

Sandi Sullivan had a successful career as an account manager for an International software company. When she considered having children, she realized her long hours, travel and high stress environment would make being a mother difficult.  She had seen how the corporate life wasn’t balanced for her associates with families, so decided to research work from home options.  Since Sandi was not financially prepared to walk away from her six figure income, she narrowed her search to a business she could transition into part time.  It took 3 years to find the right business, but it has paid off well, eventually allowing her to work completely from home.

Knowing that there must be more professional women like herself who felt the same way, in 2006 Sandi founded MomCeo, a marketing company that represents a U.S. manufacturer.

She has gathered a team of 30+ Reps who work on average 15 – 25 hours a week.  They can choose to work exclusively with MomCeo or alongside their current careers until they can make the transition fully.  The results have been Incredible and the stories of lives transformed are amazing.

Sandi says, “It’s a business without borders or territories. We schedule our work around our families and our financial goals. With no quotas or limits on our earning potential, we can experience a work-life balance that can’t be found anywhere else.”

Sandi lives in Tampa Bay, but many of her team members live and work along the Gulf Coast of Florida, Texas, Georgia, North and South Carolina, Kansas, Ohio and even Canada. Her team is comprised of women from all walks of life, education levels and work styles. Self-discipline and a strong desire to succeed are key to anyone interested in joining them.

MomCeo has set a goal to double their business in 2015 and is expanding its marketing team.  If a work from home income sounds attractive to you, Sandi would love to talk with you about the possibilities of joining their team.

Sandi Sullivan 2

To set an appointment to talk, simply fill out a “request for more info” form at www.momceo.com.

All requests are confidential.  You are encouraged to leave both your email address and a best number where you can be reached personally.  Your contact information will not be used for any other purpose than to provide you with the details of the business and to be considered for the MomCeoTeam.

P.S.  I resisted joining up with MomCeo for years simply because I already have a lot of businesses and not a lot of free time.  Then I tried the products and fell in LOVE.  I’ve been using them for awhile.  A few weeks ago Sandi showed me what I could have been making in income if I had signed up as her team member instead….gulp.  I signed up and would love you to have the same opportunity.  Sandi has an amazing business mind and her family success is a tribute to that.  I’m glad I’m on her team.

What Are all Those People in Line for?

Have you ever walked or driven by a huge line…and been all insecure? Like they know something awesome is going to happen and you don’t have a clue?

That almost happened to me.  Ok, it happened this week but the good news is there are still 5 days for us to join in and we don’t have to leave our house or stand in line.

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This is a huge set of resources on how to be a better everything.  Purchased separately they’d cost $698 which doesn’t include $200 in additional bonuses.

BigBookBundle

It’s available as a ($29.97) pdf set or a ($39.97) Kindle set, but I couldn’t help to notice that the pdfs were $10 less.

If you buy through the links here, some of the proceeds goes to support the blog and helps my family, but it doesn’t cost you a dime more.

I’m off to grab my set.  If you are thinking about getting it too, you should know the sale ends Monday night.

Meet Work at Home Mom, Lori Taylor

MomCeo has been our longest and most loyal sponsor of the GroceryShrink blog.  Many readers here have started their own home based businesses with her support.  One of these mom’s is Lori Taylor.  Come on in and meet her below:Dec 2011 133
My name is Lori Taylor. I’m 42 and headed into my 20th year of marriage. The funny thing is,I still feel 30 and most days my husband still amazes me like he did way back when. I think a big part of staying young is children and we have 4 of them.  Seeing the world through their eyes is always an adventure. 
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Hannah our oldest is 16 and then there is Perry Austin who is 15.  So this past year we have been working on driving.  I can laugh or yell.  Most of the time I laugh.
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IMG_4483Then we have Laney who is 10. She is our quiet, analytical kiddo that we all want to be like.  When she was born we called her the grand baby because she was so easy and still is. Since Laney was so easy we figured we had the parenting thing figured out and went for number 4. We found out quickly it was not our parenting.

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Ella our 7 year old is wide open. Everything in life is an adventure and she has us all running to keep up with her.

Before I began working part-time from home I  home-schooled our children for 10 years and before that I was an elementary teacher for 10 years. In November of 2011, I  found out about MOMCEO from my friend Danielle Ray. At the time I was homeschooling two of our children, plus chauffeuring children to baseball, football and cheer practice. I was very busy, just like everyone, but busy is also a matter of perspective. My friends, Danielle and Brandie McNeal, introduced me to MOMCEO and Sandi Sullivan. At the end of October I met Sandi and realized what she was doing made complete sense.  I can remember lying in bed one night and being more afraid of not making the most of the opportunity and teaming up with Sandi and my friends than I was of doing it. My husband, Perry, told me to try if for three months and see what happens.
I had no idea what 2012 would hold for our family nor what my home-based business  would come to mean to us financially. In January we hit a major financial snag in our traditional business. It took a huge financial and emotional toil on our family.  While my husband battled that, I continued to consistently work my part-time business. Soon I had others that wanted to team up with me.  I saw that others had needs greater than mine and my part-time business quickly became about others and not about me.  So through 2012, my part-time business paid our bills, kept us from dipping into our savings, kept us from all credit card debt, and allowed us to continue our tithe as a testimony to God’s faithfulness. On top of that, our efforts have blessed others. It truly amazes me how God used us in our need to help others.

Our children have been challenged this year. Being a stay at home mom allowed me to be available to them and to accommodate them and all of their activities.  This year they had to pull together to help both me and their dad.  They learned that life was not all about them.  We started putting monthly goals on the refrigerator and they began to help me with meeting those goals. They give me names of their friends parents and tell me to call them. “Mom, you need to call Anslee’s mom.  She is working three jobs now and she needs to do what you are doing. You can help her.”

So, knowing what I know now, what advice would I give someone considering starting a home based business?  First of all, know why you would want to do it.  It has to be more than just money.

Second consider the timing. I’m not talking about hours in your day. A major life change could be a reason to begin a home-based business or it could make a great opportunity a flop. Thirdly, know and evaluate your business…does it make sense, what does it require financially and timewise. Is it backed by a reputable company.  Is it financially sound? And I guess last, will it make a difference to others and do you believe in what you are doing?

With the company I work with I have no doubt that what I am offering to others is the best and nothing compares. I have great confidence in what I am doing and I believe others can do the same.

Sewing Rooms, Craft Areas, and the Home Office

Prepare to lose all respect for me. This was my office/sewing studio/school room.  It was a mess. (It’s a different kind of mess now.)

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shelves 020I forget the actual measurements of the room, but it’s something like 20 feet by 17 feet. If I wanted to get nothing accomplished today I would go measure it for you to be sure.  But then I would start sewing, or cleaning and forget the whole  reason why I was in there.

shelves 019The ceiling has a good pitch and the side walls are barely over 2 feet high.  Which doesn’t make much useable wall space.  But after taking this picture, I realized that I wasn’t fully using the wall space I did have.

shelves 018So I hired a friend to build plywood shelves on two sides of the room.  He bought the wood for me and I painted them.  2 coats of primer and then 2 coats of paint (We used both rollers and paint brushes.  We also purchased a paint sprayer for the project which was a waste of time and money.  It just spit out paint in weird drips and we had to use a roller over it anyway.) Painting all this wood took 2 days. (Not steady work, including dry time.  But our backs, shoulders and arms were sore.)
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I had visions of floor to ceiling Billy bookcases in my office, inspired by too many hours spent on Pinterest.  But the nearest Ikea is in the Chicago area–not even sure how far that is. And I have wonky angles in my room that Billy’s really weren’t prepared to handle. Custom was the only way for me.

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We moved everything to the other side of the room so Mark could work.Before Office Shelves

And work he did!

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I went through my fabric and got rid of at least 4 bins, leaving me way too much.  And I ordered comic-book card boards from Amazon.com to make mini-bolts of the fabric I had left.

(Affiliate link above)

They went on the short shelves along the side of the room.

Office Fabric

I love that I can see my stash fabric at a glance.  I buy a lot less this way. I worry that the fabric will get damaged from the lights in the room.  (There isn’t much direct sunlight, but there is lots of florescents.) My plan right now is to cut around the light mark if that happens.  I should sew more stuff and use it up before light damage can happen :).

Office Couch envelope pillow covers

Then I bought a couch on Craigslist and put that on the other side of the room and shoved all the rest of my stuff that I didn’t know what to do with behind it, bwa ha ha.  Look in the corners of the pic and you will see it ;).

I also purchased a desk on Craigslist and a white bookcase from Target.com. I’m waiting for a tabletop from Target to come and have boxes of closetmaid 9 cube shelves to put together to build this:

Pottery Barn Bedford Table

I’m scared about this, because I haven’t figured out the furniture arrangement of it all.  Nothing is returnable once I assemble it….and it was $190 for the set.  (But from pottery barn it would have been $1100!) Right now my sewing machine is taking up precious wall space that I thought might free up with this table.  And I might be able to stand and sew–which would save my back and help me get a lot more done.  I’ll keep you posted with updated pictures when I get some stuff figured out.

If you need more ideas, check out my Pinterest page on the subject:

 

 http://pinterest.com/angelacoffman/office/

 

especially this one:

mind-boggling organization.

What kind of projects are on your office or craft room to do list?  Any tips for me?

 

Do Ultimate Body Applicators really work?

You know the ones I’m talking about.  The body wraps that claim to tighten, tone and firm.  To reduce the appearance of cellulite.  Is it to good to be true?

I invited a local consultant, Amy Castillo, to my home to give it the test.  She brought one wrap, and I elected to use it on my stomach–my troublesome area after having 6 babies.  She spent some time with me ahead and explained that the wraps contain an herbal cream designed to reduce the fat cells.  She said I could see some results after 45 minutes, but I could reapply the wrap for up to 8 hours for maximum efficiency.   She said to make sure I drink a lot of water during the process as this would help expel toxins.  (I ended up drinking about 32 oz in 45 minutes.)

First we cleansed the skin with a witch hazel spray. This helps clean the skin and keeps the pores open so that nothing blocks the skin from absorbing the gel from the werap. Then she applied the wrap to my trouble spot and wrapped it securely with plastic wrap to help it stay in place.  While we waited for the 45 minute timer to ring, I nursed Grant to sleep, and drank water while we talked.  She mentioned that the wraps could be cut and used anywhere on the body. Popular places are things, arms, and special wraps are even used on the face.

It smelled minty and tingled like applying a muscle rub.  The wrap was very thin and had a plastic type back to keep the cream from coming through to the back side. It did not look smooth like the pictures, but did the job just the same.

I looked through the pamphlets she brought and saw some pretty dramatic before and after pictures.  Amy was up front with me and said those ladies used several wraps to achieve their results, each done 3 days apart and kept on for up to 8 hours.  A 4 wrap value pack is sold for $60 which is $15 per wrap.

I should reveal that my air conditioner was broken in my home during this time and it was pretty warm in there.  (Over 100 degrees outside for several days running.) The heat was helping me retain more water than usual.  I asked Amy if the wrap worked by getting rid of excess water in the fat cells.  She said, “No.”  But that the inches lost were from toxin removal.  My weight had been steady for over a week, despite my efforts at eating right and exercising.  The heat was kicking my tail!

After the 45 minutes, we took measurements and photos.  Then I reapplied the wrap for the rest of the afternoon.  I used a lycra maternity belly band from Target to hold it on the second time.  That was more comfortable for me than the plastic wrap.  After 5 more hours, I was ready to be done.  But it was REALLY hot in my house.

Amy had a fancy tape measure from the company that made sure you couldn’t measure incorrectly. The before and after 45 minute measurements were taken by her with the special tape measure. The after 1 day and after 3 day measurements were taken with my normal dressmaker’s tape.  I wish I had thought to follow her measurements with my own tape so I could have a comparison with the same tape for all. Also she made lines on my back with a sharpie so we would be sure to measure in the exact same spot each time.

So here are my personal results:

Upper Waist before:  32.25″ After 45 minutes: 32″ After 1 day: 32.5″ After 3 days: 32″  Total lost  1/4 inch

Naval Before: 35″ After 45 minutes 34.5 After 1 day: 35.25 After 3 days: 34.25  Total Lost: 3/4 inch

Mommy Tummy (below waist) before: 37.5 After 45 minutes: 37.5 After 1 day: 36.5 After 3 days: 36.5 Total Lost: 1 inch

Total overall losses:  2 inches.  Not too shabby.

And my pictures (before and after 45 minutes only):

 

My final thoughts:  The wrap smelled great, had healthful ingredients, and did remove 2 inches in 3 days.  My skin looked a tiny bit smoother, and I’m interested to see what a full 4 wrap program would do for my stretch marks.  Would I use these wraps alone as a weight loss regime?  No.  A healthy diet and exercise are important for building muscle and for continued health–but I would use them along side a good fitness program.  And to help the appearance of the skin. Amy noted the company does not promote only using the wraps for weight loss, etc. They state that maintaining a healthy lifestyle (ie. eating well, exercise, etc) is important or like any weight loss program, if you don’t make a lifestyle change, you won’t maintain any results. The wraps help give individuals a jump start or encouragement to continue to see results WHILE they continue on their way to a healthy way of life. The wraps helps to tighten, tone and firm areas that regular exercise may not (i.e. stretch marks, saggy/excess skin).

The company Amy represents also carries vitamins, powdered greens, face care products, defining gel and more.  She can ship products anywhere in the US and can help you earn money for your family by selling your own wrap products (and getting a nice discount in the process.)  She says:  “I am really looking for distributors in US, Australia, Canada, UK, N. Ireland, Sweden, Holland, Scotland and Wales (those are the countries we are currently in). Readers can buy one from me for $30 (if in KC area, I can wrap them personally)….if not, we can arrange payment (like by Paypal) and I can mail it and send them youtube videos and info on how to do it.

You can reach Amy at (816) 813-7022, her personal email at amy.teachingenglish@gmail.com or through her website:  http://amycastillo.myitworks.com

Meet a Superstar and enter a Giveaway

The Giveaway is now Closed.  What a great group of entries!

Sandi Sullivan, AKA Mom CEO,  helps mothers start their own home businesses in the natural household products industry.  One of my readers, Danielle Ray, took a risk, clicked on the square button ad and sent Sandi an email.  Now she is head of the fastest growing team in the company!

Intrigued?  Me too!  Let’s ask Daneille a few questions:

Q.  Tell us about your family.

I have been married for 13 years.   My husband is a high school student pastor so our lives revolve around teenagers!   We have 4 kids: Bronson 11, Cohen 9, Lanna 7 and Gavin 5.  We raise chickens for eggs, take care of a garden and we always have a project going!  Right now we are adding on a covered porch to the back of the house.  We also home school so we can have the flexibility to take trips and vacations when we want.    I think my goals for my children are like most people, I want them to be independent adults who make wise choices and learn from their failures.  I want them to be confident enough to do something different if what they are doing is not working.   I want them to be able to set goals and pursue them.  I want them to be able to get their groove on on the dance floor. I want them to do hard things.  I want to be a good example to them.

Q.  What was your career before starting your home business?

A. Up until last month, I worked as a nurse on weekends in Labor and Delivery helping new people come into the world. While my job was very rewarding it also required me to be away from my family for 12 hour shifts. Our hospital is requiring more and more classes, certifications, and in-service hours in order to keep working. I realized no matter how much I worked my income potential was not going to change without sacrificing more time. The month I decided to resign, my check from M* was $11,580. I figured that I would have had to work at the hospital everyday, 12 hour shifts for an entire month to make that much money. The difference is that I had only worked about 30 hours total for the whole month in my M* business!

Q. How did you first find out about MomCEO?

A. I have been following The Grocery Shrink blog since the summer of 2010.  I was looking for ways to stretch our dollars with 4 kids!  I love the advice, stories, and encouragement Angela offered.  One story was about a lady, Sandi Sullivan.  She talked about how she was able to be at home with her family but still have an income working her business in her spare time.  I sent her a message through the MomCEO button and she called me the next day.

Q.  What made you take the leap and join Sandi’s team?

A. After talking with Sandi I decided her company really met a need we had in our own family.  Not only did she offer an alternative to conventional products, but they were focused on wellness and better health.  That really sparked my interest because I have been a nurse for 15 years. I know it is better to prevent health problems than to treat them after they have already started!  From the products to the business concept, it really made sense.\

Q.  How has starting your own business changed your life

A. I would say my life has been “enhanced”.  We have always managed our money well.  We have a budget.  We enjoy “re-purposing” things, growing a garden and raising chickens.  The difference is that now, we have the time to do more.  The things that we dreamed of doing one day, we are getting to do now.  We have been able to save enough money for our whole family to visit my sister in South Africa.  The best part is, I don’t have to get permission for extended time off!  I have been able to set a schedule, and work as much or as little as I wanted.  Time is a freedom that you do not have working a normal 9-5 job (well, for a nurse a 7-7 job).   I am able to stay home with my kids, but still have a full-time income

Q.  Your personal team is now the fastest growing division in the nation.  What things did you do that were so successful

A.  Our success comes from working together!  It really is about being a team and helping others reach their goals.  Some people are just looking to supplement their income, some want to replace their income.  Sandi has coached my team and helped us every step of the way.  It helps that she was there to guide us to avoid the trial and error that comes with starting something new.  She helped us do well from the start.  Some people can set high goals and get there, but for me, it was all about baby steps.  The best part of setting little goals is reaching them, celebrating, and setting the next goal.  This is what made it fun for the whole family.  We made goal charts that my kids filled in so they felt like they were a part of the business too.  I don’t know how it happened that we became the fastest growing, I just know it has been fun.  So, I guess fast is fun

Q.  How does your family feel about your home business?

A.It really has been a blessing for our family in more ways than just making money, we are also saving money. By learning about a new way to shop, and planning what we need for the month, it has kept me from running to the store every week to pick up a few things and leave having spent $75 each time. After 5 months of shopping with M* my husband called me in a panic because he thought I forgot to make the house payment. He said we had more money than usual in our checking account. I assured him I had made the house payment and it was because I was not going to the store every week now. The savings are continuing to accumulate. We still shop primarily the perimeter of the store, cook and eat at home, and wait for things to go on sale. For all those little things that seemed to rob our budget before, we are getting better quality products that we use delivered right to our door.My kids appreciate our home based business too. We went to the beach last week. We stayed in a very nice beach house, went to meet “Winter” from the movie Dolphin Tales, took an ocean safari boat ride and played on the beach. Bronson, my oldest said, “We never took vacations like this before. It must be because of M*.” We are getting to do more. We have more time, more money, and more dreams to fulfill. It has become our motto to save more, give more, and do more. I remember the way I thought it was going to be when I became an adult and had a family of my own… now I feel like I am doing life the way I had always imagined.

Q. What advice would you give to someone considering their own homebased business?

A. The best advice I can give to anyone trying to start a home-based business is to team up! It is hard to stay motivated and do well without other people doing it with you. It also helps when you are doing something that whole family can appreciate… getting your children involved helps them understand that the time you are not at home with them is being spent reaching your goal. We always celebrate check day and do something special… the great thing about kids is that getting go to Waffle House is a treat!

Q. You have generously offered a giveaway of some of your favorite products. Tell us about them.

A.  I love our laundry soap.  It sounds funny to say you love a cleaning product but I really do!  I also love the Sol-U-Mel.  It has so many uses but my favorite is as an air freshener.  The best part about all our products is that there is nothing harmful in them.  When I am done cleaning my house does not smell like chemicals, just clean

Thank you for your blog and the time you take to encourage others.  I hope this in some way encourages your readers too.  Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to share.

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If what Danielle is doing sounds like a good fit for you, click here to contact her and find out more.
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Now for the giveaway:  You can win a sparkling home cleaning pack including:Laundry 4-Pack with 96-load MelaPower 6x and MelaBrite 6x Plus DiamondBrite Dishwasher Detergent and Sol-U-Mel all purpose cleaner

$75.00 Value!

To enter the giveaway, simply leave a comment below and be sure to include your email address.  The winner will be chosen this Friday, May 4th a noon–right after I send out the new menus :).

Never Stop Learning

This is a huge secret to being successful in whatever you do.  There are always new things to learn and discover to make you better at your job–even if you’ve chosen wife and mother as your exclusive careers.  When people stop learning, they start to die.  I hope to still be reading educational books when I’m in the nursing home.  When your children see you reading and learning, they come to accept it as a normal part of life.  They will love what you love.

Here are some books that have been especially motivating to me and have helped to grow my businesses.  I’ve linked to them through Amazon so you can click through to search inside the books and find the best prices.  If you do choose to buy through these links, you’ll be supporting this website and my family. Of course the library is another great place to start.

The Mary Kay Way: Timeless Principles from America’s Greatest Woman Entrepreneur  This book applies to you even if your chosen business is not Mary Kay.  It’s written by Mary Kay herself and tells the story of how she took a product that she made in her own kitchen and built a multi-million dollar business out of it.  One of the secrets to her success is basing her business principles on the teachings of the Bible–which the experts told her would fail.

It’s Not Where You Start, It’s Where You Finish!: The Success Secrets of a Top Member of the Mary Kay Independent Sales Force  Again, even though Gillian Ortega found success with Mary Kay her practices and standards that made her successful apply to everyone.  Gillian was born in Ireland and grew up extremely poor.  She came to the United States with $17 in her pocket and big dreams.  Now she makes $17,000+ a month and will teach you the attitudes it takes to be successful too.

The Go-Getter: A Story That Tells You How To Be One  This is a very short book written in novel form.  It tells the story of an injured war veteran and how he stopped at nothing before reaching success.  We purchased it as an audio book and love to listen to it in the car.  The children enjoy it as much as I do, and the story makes me stop and think before I say I can’t do something.

The One Minute Millionaire: The Enlightened Way to Wealth  This book was shared with me by my husband, and it’s a tear jerker.  It is half novel, half instruction.  The story helps you think through what you could to do if you needed 1 million dollars earned honestly in a certain amount of time or you would lose your children.  It helped me think a little deeper and a little harder about my business plan and if I was doing all I could to maximize the potential there.

The 4-Hour Workweek, Expanded and Updated: Expanded and Updated, With Over 100 New Pages of Cutting-Edge Content.  I have a love-hate relationship with this book.  While the author is candid and knows how to tell a great story, I found him to be somewhat of a braggart and shady in his business practices.  On the other hand, he helped me rethink all of my businesses to maximize my income, while minimizing my time away from my family.  I’m still working through the ideas I’ve jotted down since many of them require technology that I’m not familiar with, but there is a lot of potential here.  Before this book, I considered closing down all my businesses several times to focus on my family, but now I’m starting to see how I can do both–with much less time spent on business.

How To Win Friends and Influence People  This book is a must read for every person and is required 8th grade reading in my homeschool.  It tells you how to interact with people in a way that works well for both of you.  If you are easily offended or offend others easily, this book will help you see why and make some simple changes for a happier life.  In business, it helps you sell without being pushy and find a win-win situation for your customers.

Secrets of Closing the Sale This is timeless wisdom from Zig Ziglar that will make you proud to be in sales and give you techniques to make more money while making more people happy.  I’ve received a few emails since I started this series on small business from people upset that I would focus on sales and making money.  I used to feel the same disdain towards sales professionals, but after reading this book, I have a new respect for the field that I am proud to be in myself.  There’s nothing wrong with making money honestly (even a lot of it) if you use it for good. 

There are lots of other great books out there, some of them are too high to hold my attention right now, but they are on my must read list.  That includes Guerrilla Marketing, 4th edition: Easy and Inexpensive Strategies for Making Big Profits from Your Small Business and everything written by Seth Godin.

This post closes our series on small business, though I will still be happy to read your comments and field your questions on the subject.  Tomorrow starts my maternity leave and our series on Spring Cleaning, Organization and Decorating.  I will still be reading all your lovely comments, though I may not be as quick to reply.  My labor has been pretending to start off and on for the last week, and I feel the pains beginning again as I finish this post.  I’ll let you know as soon as baby comes, though I have been known to labor like this for weeks before  a speedy final birth :).

Small Business Feature: Mom Ceo

You may have noticed our flashing Mom Ceo button on the left sidebar.  If you’ve been a little curious but haven’t clicked over yet, here’s some more information for you.  Mom Ceo is owned by Sandi Sullivan and here’s her interview about Mom Ceo:

Q.   Why did you decide to start a home based business?

A.  I was working in Corporate America.  I made a six figure income, but it was very demanding and stresssful. I realized that if I wanted to have a family, I couldn’t be the mom I wanted to be and still work in that environment.  I tried a few more corporate positions, but it was the same grind. I finally tried a home business, but failed badly.  Luckily, I didn’t give up the idea of a home business at that failure.  Instead,  I did due diligence and found my perfect fit! 

Q.  What features of MomCeo appealed to you most?

A. My business allows me flexibility to build my work schedule around my family life.    I am ultimately my own boss, but I have a team of people that I get to work with who have a similar why, values and goals.  The pay structure rewards teamwork. I am a people person and enjoy the energy I get from helping them succeed.

Q.  How does working fit into your busy schedule?

A.  I treat my business like a business.  I have business hours that I keep so I stay on task and also my family, friends  and team members can respect my time.  I use technology as much as possible. I depend on my email to communicate with my customers and team members. My cell is always with me when Im out running errands and between appointments to keep me on schedule.  I save a lot of talk time with texting – but not while driving.  I monitor my calls and my social networking througout my work hours, as a conversation or quick look at your facebook account can take hours away from important things that need to be done.  I often let calls go to voicemail so I can better addess them in an environment that lends to a proper response.

Q.  What ways does your business generate a profit?
A.  I am are partnered with a 25 year old company that manufactures high quality, cost effective, highly-consumable wellness products. “Green” products.   Everyday household consumables like laundry products, cleaning items, toothpaste, soap, shampoo, deodorant and lotions and so much more revolving around wellness..  Our customers order direct using a catalog or online.  The only way you can become a member is through an exsisting customer.  By using the products ourselves and helping others open accounts—we are considered joint-business partners with the manufacturer. I make commisons from customers ordering and I make commsions and bonses on my teammembers referrals as we work together to create a database of  satisfied customers for the manufacturer. Ninety-five percent of our customers order monthly, therefore creating an ongoing stream of commisons.  

 

Q.  How long did it take for you to build a decent income? 

A.  I signed up as a customer in late 2004 and I decided to build this business in March of 2006.  The very first month I was in the black. I earned about 20k that year. I doubled that the next year. I should more double that this year. To date I have earned over 246k. I work about 10 hurs a week on average.

Q.  What is the best part about your business?

A.  I wake up every day, so thankful that I have found a busiiness that doesnt run my life!~  I run it, and I design its operation around my family, travel, friends, and my non-profit work.

I have met some of my best friends working in this business. I love that my children and husband are totally supportive of my work and encourage me all the time. They know they come first!

Q.  What is the hardest part about your business?

A.  This has been a life changing move for me and for so many others who work with me. This is a people business.  I tend to belive in people more than they belive in themselves and it can be dissapointing.  I know anyone can do this business, but I have learned not to expect them to do it.

Q.  What advice would you give to a mom who wants to work from home?

A.  Get the Facts about the business you are considering before jumping in on emotion. I spent 4 years pursuing my first home business venture before realizing that motivation is not enough to make it work.  I thought it was my fault it wasnt working for me (they kept telling me that). 

Ask important questions, like Angela has asked me.  Other important Questions – What will be the monthly ongoing costs to run your business?  Are there any quotas to attain or maintain.  Are there any inventory requirements? Is there a large upfront investment?  For more questions like these, I have a free report that can help with your due dilegence at my site at  www.momceo.com.