How We Survived Our Home Business Startup
A key factor in seeing good success in working from home is getting family members on the same page in your business strategy.
I must say, we did not even have a business strategy until recently so you can imagine the conflicts which might arise.
Our home business experience started back in the mid 1990’s when I responded to an ad on AOL (America Online). I joined an MLM and was going to create my fortune! Even back then, the hype was rampant! The group of guys taught me how to post free ads on “Bulletin Boards” (died a well-deserved death years ago of course) and it was game on.
I was generating prospects and getting them to sign up for free like a mad-man. 400 signups later and I had about 5 people buying products monthly… wasn’t exactly making my fortune yet.
Something in this business strategy (which my wife and I had not discussed) was not working correctly.
At this point, we were both working full time, me in the Navy and my wife as a contractor. Our kids were very young and taking up a lot of time… mostly her time as I worked my MLM business at night in the basement. There was some friction on time-spent vs. return on investment. The ratio was not good. But it didn’t matter; I knew we were on to “something big” so kept plugging away.
On the 18th of April 1999 I got a call from an MLM guru and we were off to the races in a new company. This time, the money WAS coming in thanks to our “fear of loss” automated online marketing system. It was really an early version of a good sales funnel programmed by some techies in their basement laboratories! I clearly remember when I got my first bonus check and brought it to my wife to show her.
We were hooked and happy.
We still did not have a defined business strategy. I was going to say “We didn’t have a well thought out business strategy” but the fact is we didn’t even think about or discuss business strategy at this point.
Unfortunately, after a year or so, another group of techies knocked off our great recruiting system with ease and made it faster/better/cheaper/etc. so it was WAY more popular. Folks were fleeing our groups for theirs and we were left holding the wet mop. This happens more often than not in our industry it seems. Always good to have your own personal marketing materials and strategy that doesn’t rely on someone else’s.
So, again, with no business strategy, I went into my “Greener Grass” mode.
Yep, you guessed it, I joined every “bright shiny object” I could find looking for a miracle (I guess that’s what I was looking for… we still had no business strategy.)
At this point, I was retired from the Navy and working as a contractor. Money was good, wife home with the kids… all was well in our world. My income kept going up with the contractor job so I kind of stopped all the “Greener Grass” business thinking MLM would never work long term.
Then in 2004, I joined another MLM (it’s in your genes after a while I guess) and really focused. I didn’t do anything else for a year or so and really built a big team (which is still paying me today.) It was starting to make sense, this MLM business, so we were happy again with the MLM results.
Then in 2005, my wife rejoined the work force and our contractor income skyrocketed. Life was good and I kind of let the MLM work go, stopping recruiting thinking it would have a life of its own.
That of course never happens but I didn’t know that at the time.
Our business strategy, weak as it was at this time, was to pick up the MLM work when we approached retirement to build it up again to support us in our retirement.
At least we had started talking about a business strategy at this point.
Life was good until in 2013 we BOTH lost our contractor jobs within months of each other. I was out of work for a year before getting a new, lower paying job. My wife is still out of work. We put some serious time into creating and implementing a new business strategy at this point.
This time it started working… no over-night riches (those don’t exist) but we each knew our lane and supported each other and worked pretty well together.
The biggest problems we had were with communication. Married since 1992, you would think we could have worked out the communication thing by now. But with a new business strategy came new communications issues. We figured them out pretty quickly but learned new “rules” to make sure we understood each other. It was sort of the “Men are from Mars. Women are from Venus” problem.
We each think we are speaking clearly and precisely but that’s not how it’s heard on the other side.
Communication is something we work on constantly. We have business strategy meetings every Thursday during happy hour time. It’s the consistency that helps keep us grounded.
We also found we both still had the “Greener Grass” mentality. So we implemented the 24 hour rule to not buy on impulse but give it 24 hours and discuss with the other partner before diving in on a new idea. There just aren’t many legitimate “easy buttons” out there.
Now we work very synergistically with defined roles which support each other. It’s not perfect so we keep working on our business strategy & tactics every week. There are frequent changes in the work-from-home business environment so there is a lot to talk about.
You have to be able to modify your tactics if the business strategy dictates. But the strategy will keep you grounded so you don’t get wild swings in tactical implementation.
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