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Saturday, October 28, 2006

Working a Network Marketing Business Around Small Children

People often ask me how I have managed to work and sustain a Network Marketing business over the course of 13 years, especially as an at-home mom, with small children.

You can read my story and catch some of my "why" about even doing this business at -

It has been a long, but "worth it" 13 years. I started when my son was 18 months and my daughter was not yet born. I had MANY days of frustration because I had no time. When I worked my business I felt guilty about my kids and when I was with the kids, I felt guilty about the business. It seemed like a no win situation. There were many times I wanted to run away, scream, quit, fall on the floor kicking and screaming, etc.

I've lost my composure more than once, but I have managed to regain it!

But, my other options were even worse. Go back to work? No way. Try and survive on one income? No fun! Or, continue to plod along and have patience.

That's what I did. Each year became easier and the day my daughter went to school full day was bittersweet. She was moving a step closer to being out of the nest, and my "baby" was moving on. But, finally, I had TIME!

Now, they are 14 and 11. They still get frustrated with my business sometimes but now they see the benefits because we are enjoying the nice income and "toys" that can come with that. I make sure they are always aware of each goal that I am working toward in my business and what that will mean for our family. They also have found ways to work right along side me and get involved.

Take baby steps every day. First, get organized. Talk to your spouse and make sure you have support, even if it's begrudgingly. Set up some parameters and ASK FOR HELP. This is hard for women to do sometimes because we tend to think that means we are failing. You aren't! You are on the road to creating an incredible lifestyle for your family and others. (It's hard for men to do, too!)

Set an intention to make ONE HOUR A DAY for your business. Notice I said MAKE and not FIND! You'll look forever and never find it, so you must MAKE time. It does not have to be all at one time. 15 minute blocks to make 1 -3 quick phone calls is fine. Take 30 minutes after the kids are in bed or get up 30 minutes before they do to get some things accomplished.

Make email a lower priority. Cruise through email and ONLY deal with business related emails first. Save others for free time.

Set 5 action steps a week that you COMMIT to doing for your business. Find things you can do to get the kids involved. Door hangers are great for this. Call for fundraisers, home parties, 5 people about the business, pass out flyers, pass out candle drawing cards, etc. Check into craft shows and Farmer's Market's where you can bring the kids to spend some time. Let them see you in business mode. Pay them a little for their time and cooperation.

We used to put flyers and "sizzle cards" on cars and then I would take them for ice cream. They started looking forward to it. So did I (cheap labor!)

Don't worry so much about the background being absolutely quiet when you make a call. We are "work at home moms and dads" and we do this by choice! We embrace that those little noises are there with us! We are modeling for others that they can do this with their small children, too.

Be very organized about your home duties, such as cooking and cleaning. Get your kids involved and teach them about personal responsibilities. I love to cook and have learned to get my kids involved. We made Chinese food complete with Egg Rolls the other night. Lots of dicing and chopping and they enjoy this. That is QUALITY time that we spend together and we laugh and enjoy. And, I must confess, that is one time when my mind does not go to business. I love cooking and the whole process, so I am "right there" when we cook together.

Get them involved in cleaning up the house. Have a contest for who picks up and puts away the most in the CORRECT spot. Set a fun date at the park, or zoo, or out to lunch but the deal is the house must be picked up before you get to go. They will spring into action.

If you are a perfectionist about things, work hard to let go of that. Realize that the sun will come up tomorrow even if there is dust on the table tonight. Also, if you spouse is helping out and he/she does not do things exactly as you would, or put things away in just the right spot, OH WELL! Does it REALLY matter?

Get rid of clutter. Get rid of thinking so much about what you are NOT doing.

Learn to make your "to do list" smaller, so you can feel some personal success. ALWAYS make sure those 5 action steps get done and that they involve something that will build your business.

Give the kids "business jobs" as you make a quick phone call. Have them label your products, alphabetize them, etc. Just get them involved. When business time is over, go do something fun together.

If you have 2 hours a day while they are all gone to preschool, DO NOT USE THIS TIME TO CLEAN YOUR HOUSE. OR, RUN ERRANDS, ETC. Use this time to make calls, return important business related emails, etc.

Go easy on yourself and KNOW that this time frame will pass and they WILL grow up and be gone. Help them to be involved and love your business, too, so as they get older, they want even more involvement. You are giving them the gift of entrepreneurship.

Reward yourself for each success and DO NOT compare yourself to ANYONE else and especially those who are not in your same "life situation."

Those who work fulltime think it's easier because you are home. Those home think it's easier because those at work can sneak in calls and activities.

It's as easy or hard as YOU want to make it. My passion about this business is in LARGE part due to my children. I did not want them in day care, nor to miss field trips, or being able to bring them home when they are sick, etc. So, my passion grew because my business allowed me to do these things and yet still earn an income.

And, like all parents, I wanted to give them more than I had (even though I feel I had it pretty good!) This business can offer all of that and more.

Allow that to stir your passion and give you the strength to move it forward, even little steps at a time, until pretty soon you are running and then sprinting!

You'll get there!

EXPECT Success!

Jackie Ulmer

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