Friday, 18 April 2014

From SAHM to WAHM

N.B. This post was written when I first became a WAHM. I am no longer a Barefoot Books Ambassador, and the Ambassador Programme is no longer running in the UK.

A while back I posted about my sense of awkwardness about being a stay-at-home mum. While I don't think anyone should feel awkward for focussing on raising their children, there was a part of me that wanted to have something else to think about, to have a bit of money I could call my own. But I still couldn't face the idea of finding childcare for Eleanor that was in line with our way of parenting. So I started a business from home.

I'd come across Barefoot Books on my many visits to the library since Eleanor was born, and Eleanor and I just loved every one we came across. A series of coincidences led me to find out about their Ambassador programme. They no longer sell through book shops or Amazon, so their main method of distribution is through self-employed sales reps, known as Barefoot Books Ambassadors, who sell within their community and also through their own online marketplaces hosted on the Barefoot Books website.

I pondered this option for quite a while. I enquired about it back in January, but personal circumstances meant I shelved the idea until the beginning of March. Then one evening, with a huge sense of anxiety, I took the plunge and signed up to become an Ambassador.

I haven't posted about it until now because, to be honest, it's been a rocky start. After a couple of very generous online orders from friends, everything went quiet for a while. I had a stall at a local school fair, ordered probably too much stock and only sold one book. I held an open house for friends to come and look at the books but picked a really bad day and only one person could make it. My attempts to find a stall at other community events were proving not so fruitful.

My first ever stall
But this week I'm starting to feel more hopeful. I'm trying out a new method of selling books online, I've set up a local work-at-home mums network with the help of a friend and some other online contacts, and I have a few ideas for other events to approach. I think I put myself under too much pressure to start with, so I'm easing off a bit and trying to stay relaxed and remember that it takes time to build up a business. The over-achiever in me wants to be a roaring success from the start, but I know it will take me a while to learn the ropes and to become known in my community.


So, yes, I'm no longer a SAHM, I'm now a WAHM. Or perhaps I'm both, I don't know the rules. It's hard work juggling starting a business and looking after an increasingly feisty toddler, but I'm enjoying having something else to occupy my brain and hopefully once I've truly got things off the ground it'll give me a new sense of achievement. And if nothing else, I now have a cupboardful of gorgeous books to enjoy!

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