One from the Heart
So you are a business woman, which means you get up early, shower, fix your hair, apply your make up, put on panty hose (!) and a smart outfit, and off you go out into the big world to make your mark. Or, maybe not. More and more women are opting to be their own bosses and seeking both professional status and money in what has come to be known as "home-based business." Opportunities come in many forms these days and offer a huge variety of different scenarios. Being your own boss can be quite an experience, as we learn from Barbara Grimes, as she shares some insights into her career as a "personal entrepreneur."
Pink: What made you consider a home-based business?
Barbara: It's funny, I never really had any intention of having this kind of business. I guess it was partially because I used to love going to what we used to call home shows-you know Mary Kaye, Avon and those types of things. For me now, the biggest upside is the flexibility. With Pampered Chef, I can choose how much or how little I want to work. Aside from going to people's homes, most of the work can be done from my own home. (Other home-based business ladies I talked with enjoy having parties in their homes.) There are not many office dress codes at home-I can work in shorts, tee shirts or even my pajamas!
Pink: What are some of the disadvantages of a
Barbara: Like others, when I worked in an office, once I left the office, I pretty much left work. This is different-there are really no office hours. Things can be varied and people call or email me anytime during the day or evening and I like to respond quickly. Sometimes this means dinner or something else gets interrupted, and I spend some time in the evenings usually working on the computer or making phone calls. So far though, the advantages for outweigh the disadvantages.
Pink: List some skills you must have to maintain being in business for yourself. Do you have to do bookkeeping, packaging, delivery, etc. Must you be jack-of-all trades?
Barbara: That's a pretty good description. Good organizational skills are key to being in business for yourself. Having good people skills are important too. Typically, if I have a show coming up, I must talk with the hostess several times to plan a successful show. I have my own preparations for a show, too. I make sure I have all my tools in my tool bag so to speak. I need folders, catalogues, order forms, handouts, and so forth. If I am not well prepared and the hostess does not know what to expect, I will not have a successful show and all of the guests who are potential future hostesses will certainly not want to do it. I also have to do some financial stuff, but my company, like many other companies, provides software that is unique to their product line.
Pink: Talk about some of your challenges.
Barbara: I have a couple of challenges that I did not really expect. One is that people who have purchased products will call me for tips on how to use things, or ask questions that were not answered at the show. I do not mind that at all, but it keeps me on my toes. Perhaps my biggest challenge is figuring out how to promote and grow my business. Ultimately the success of my business is on me. A person who goes into a home-based business must be aware that yes, it is great to be your own boss, but you are also your own marketing team, too.
Pink: As you know, to be in the "One From The Heart" column you must have a commitment to a volunteer cause. What is your volunteer passion?
Barbara: My husband, Marshall, and I are both very deeply committed to animal rights. We both volunteer at the Litter Box. Marshall works in the "testing" area for appliances and such, and I work in books. We were involved with animal rescue in Virginia where we lived before we moved here. We have two rescue cats and two rescue dogs now. We also have participated in an organization called Foster Care For Success. It provides scholarships for orphaned and foster care children. I have mentored several students and it is so very rewarding. One of our students graduated in 2008 from pharmacy school and invited us to her graduation. It was like our own daughter was graduating. What a proud moment!
Pink: What are your words to live by or your life philosophy?
Barbara: I like to live and let live, but my sort of motto is something I got from my dad: He always used to tell me, "Always have a Plan B."
A busy businesswoman, a committed volunteer, and a lady with a big laugh and a beautiful outlook on life-this sounds like a success story to me!