Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Running a Home Business While Home Schooling

No sooner did we decide to home school our oldest son, then I decided to become an Usborne Books consultant. I thought it would help provide the extra added income we would need. Plus it just looked like too much fun with all these books!

 Running a home business can be hard when your top priority is supposed to be the education of your kids. Since we are "free" to manage our own school schedule and our own business schedule, mixing the two can be difficult at times. And keeping the two separate can be difficult as well. Below are tips on how to successfully manage both without pulling your hair out. These tips are not in any particular order. They are all tips I have acquired either from my own experience or from others' whom I know have dealt with the same situation. We all have survived. Some others' businesses haven't, but that's ok. At least all the kids have survived and are educated. That's the main thing, right.

All these tips can be applied to any home business too, not just an Usborne Books or direct sales business.


Tips on How to Successfully Home School
While Mom is Running a Home Business Too

1. On our dry erase board in the kitchen I keep this posted:




It keeps me in check as to what comes first. Notice the Usborne business is last on the list AFTER school.

2. DO NOT answer the phone while school time is in session. The kids get frustrated, and you get side tracked. Utilize your voice mail.

3. Make sure you preplan your school day the night before. It's so easy to get wrapped up in preplanning your work day that you forget to plan the kids lessons for the following day. Or you could do it on Sunday evenings and plan the whole school week.

4. If you have meetings or events that need to be done during a school day make sure the kids still get their work done. Consistency is key to learning and the kids need to stay on track.
5. If you bring the kids with to an event, bring along their school work. In the fall I do a lot of booths at the fairs. The kids love coming along. They get to hang out at the fair, work the booth, but they also bring their backpack of school work with so they get their daily work done. They may have a lightened load on those days, but they still need to do it.
6. Let your kids help with your business. If they are younger they can help by putting stickers on your information, they can help by carrying stuff out to the car. My daughter has become my best helper at setting up booths. By letting them help in your business, they learn about business, they see what you do to be successful, and it instills a great work ethic in them.
7. Keep balance in your family life. I've seen many consultants and moms trying to get a business up and running who will put all their time and effort into creating a big business fast instead of devoting the time to their kids' education. I know for some moms, they need recognition. Some of you may strive to be the top in your company and earn all sorts of National awards. If you don't earn those, does that mean your not successful? Of course not. I have watched too many people who were obsessed at earning the awards, that they put their kids education on the back burner. Everyone of those moms I know, no longer do the business they were striving so hard to achieve at. And luckily they saw the light and are now putting homeschooling ahead of business.
Here's a story from my own struggle with that - Last year, I picked up a bunch of events from two other consultants who had decided to retire. I added in WAY too many events last fall. Balance was not happening properly in family life. Luckily I have a husband who has a flexible job and is home a lot so he was able to take care of them. They ended up a bit behind on their school work - which was ok, we finished later than usual that school year. But I could tell things were "off" that whole year. And do you know...when I went to our National convention this summer...I earned a National Award for largest increase in personal and central group sales! For me, that was confirmation of how I had felt all year - I did too much.
8. Just as I mentioned to be consistent in the kids' school work. Be consistent in your business. Make sure you set aside time each day to work on your business. Even if you can get 5 phone calls in, you are working your business. On Fridays, which seem to be our crazy run around activity day, I still try to get some calls in before we start all our running around.

9. If your kids are sick, still set aside a little time to work on your business. I know someone who let their business go totally downhill when their son was sick for 2 months. It wasn't a life threatening illness, and we knew he was going to get better. But she sat and snuggled with him the whole time to make him feel better and didn't make those 5 calls a day like I had mentioned. Didn't do one event. Life happens. But if you let it get in the way of your business, your business can suffer to the point where you have no business anymore. I've seen consultants who have given birth to their 7th kid continue to keep their business going by still doing just a little bit during those first weeks of new motherhood. I've seen consultants who have nursed their dying mothers keep their businesses running because they chose to stay consistnet. Staying consistent doesn't mean working 8 hours a day at it. It means making a few phone calls each day, and getting out there and still doing an event every week or two. You spent the time to build your business, why let it go. If you had a boss, would he you quit your job just because your kid was sick, you had an accident, or someone you love has died? I think not. Your business is your job, treat it like one.

10. Weekends are NOT for working. Unless, of course, you have an event for your business on the weekend. If you don't, weekends are family time. Turn off the computer, let the voice mail pick up messages and relax. If you do have a business event on the weekend, make sure you make up for that fun time during the days following with your kids so they don't resent you being gone.
11. Have fun! Let your kids see the fun you have with your business. Have fun with them while educating them. We've been blessed with this extra special time with our kids. Enjoy it, and make the most of it.
By keeping balance in your home life, home school and business, it is completely possible to run a successful home business while home schooling. I have home schooled for six years, and have built a business during that time that was able to provide for our family while my husband was laid off. I also have built a team of over 300 during that time and am in the upper management level of Usborne. I've done that all while homeschooling my children! So YES! You too can build a business AND homeschool your children.



Welcome To My World said...

WOW! This was such a blessing for me to read. It has become my personal struggle, as of late. Thank you for your encouragement and straight forward approach.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for posting this, I just joined Usborne and am on a great team as well, but struggle with both homeschooling my autistic son and working the business. But seeing your post keeps me motivated to work it right and to keep in mind what truly matters, in regards to homeschooling.