A Family Friendly Business
A-Z Challenge letter: F – Family Friendly
I’m often asked what I do to earn money whilst I home educate Bean and look after Plum and PK, so I thought I would write about it again, since it’s been a while and things have moved on too.
I’m an Ambassador Leader at Barefoot Books. In plain language, I’m an independent sales rep for Barefoot Books, an independent children’s publisher. I’m one of four Team Leaders in Europe, heading up a team of 34 other women who are running their own businesses. My role is to support and mentor them, and help them achieve their goals.
I love it for lots of reasons. These are in no particular order, because it’s hard to say which is most important to me. It’s flexible – I decide when I am going to work, which means I can easily fit it around the children and anything we have planned. I rarely work outside of the house during the day on weekdays. When I do, it’s for things that I can take the children along to if necessary. Normally during the day, I’m looking after the children, helping Bean with his work, sending emails, doing some marketing. Most of my online work is done in the evenings though when the children are in bed.
I also get to decide how I am going to make my sales – as well as supporting my team, I obviously need to be selling myself. I’ve changed the way I’ve done this over the four years I’ve been an Ambassador. When I joined, I had one child, and it suited me to be out doing events, craft fairs etc. Plum and PK have come along since then and it doesn’t work as well for us as a family anymore (although that didn’t stop me selling at Christmas fairs when I was 38 weeks pregnant with PK!), so now I do more sales online and make better use of my contacts.
I love what I do because it means we are always surrounded by quality books. The bookcase is packed full of fantastic children’s books of the kind you just can’t buy in mainstream shops. With stories coming from over 70 different cultures and as much thought going into the artwork as the text, Barefoot Books really are a cut above the rest. It’s no wonder all three of my children are obsessed with books. I sell a lot of books to schools and it really makes me happy to know that I’m helping get these wonderful books into the lives of children from all over the country (and in fact, all over the world).
Next month, it’s the Barefoot Books European Ambassador Conference, an event I always look forward to. I’m looking forward to working with Mary Christensen to learn ways to take my own business forward as well as more tips on supporting my team and helping some of them become Team Leaders too. I’ve also been asked to join a Leaders’ panel to talk about and answer questions on recruitment and mentoring and although I’m nervous, I’m excited about that too!
The whole family will be going to the conference – during the time when I’m at the conference itself, Stonelaughter and the children will be exploring the museums of Oxford, as well as spending time in the Barefoot studio in Summertown – a delightful treasure trove of storytelling, music, crafts, award-winning cafe, yoga, dancing and all kinds of creativeness. We’ll all be attending the family party on the middle night. The children are old hands at conference now. Bean and Plum have attended the last two (with Plum actually being at the conference with me when she was still a babe in arms). PK will be at his first conference, although he has attended workshops, a leaders’ retreat and even my prize trip to Toulouse last year!
If you’d like to know more about joining the Barefoot family, contact me, leave a comment or visit my website.