Ex Thomas Cook and Lunn Poly agent turned homeworker tells Juliet Dennis how she juggles her work-life balance.
Q. How do you cope with the demands of family life and being a full-time homeworker?
A. I am the spreadsheet queen! I set my own hours. My dining room is my office. I have a paper diary with everything in it, including kids’ clubs and being a Brownie leader. Today, I am working until 4pm because my daughter has choir. Tomorrow I’m doing a cake sale, so I’m working in the evening. On Sunday I went to a wedding show and was out from 8.30am until 3.30pm, then I got a cruise enquiry. By 10pm I had made the booking. In the summer holidays I go out during the day with the kids. I can manage my Facebook page and quotes while I’m out, and sit down at 6pm to do my proper work. Generally I work on Saturday and Sunday too. My husband goes to work about 5am or 6am and doesn’t get home until 6pm; if I’m still flapping, he knows I’ve had a busy day.
Q. How do you work if you are on educationals or holiday?
A. I can reply to emails wherever I am. In May I was on an educational in Corfu and did an £8,000 Florida booking on my mobile while I was in bed! It took a couple of hours, but I don’t like missing opportunities. Just because you are on holiday you don’t want to say no, especially if you have spent hours on a booking.
Q. How do you generate new sales?
A. I get a lot of business from Facebook and Instagram. I spend a few hours a week putting things on social media. An ordinary Facebook post will reach 3,000 people but, if I boost it, it will reach up to 10,000. I also get a lot of bookings from word of mouth.
Q. You became a homeworker at the start of 2016 – why?
A. Childcare! Now I can look at what works better for everyone [in the family]. It was spending £900 a year for school holidays kids’ clubs and childcare. My children are eight and 11 and they do choir, Brownies, dodgeball, drums and rugby. I earn more money now and work more hours, but they are flexible.
Q. How does it differ from working on the high street?
A. I couldn’t work flexible hours on the high street. When I was at Thomas Cook I tried to arrange for us to have a stand at wedding shows, but they didn’t have the budget. Now I manage my own budget. Last year I had a stand at the Detling wedding show with a colleague. We both did £30,000 to £40,000 of bookings. I started as an apprentice at Lunn Poly when I was 16 and was at Cook for 12 years. It is something I’ve always loved, but even more as a homeworker. When I started homeworking there were suppliers I’d never heard of before.
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