Growing a Family Business
The most important thing I’ve had to keep in mind this year is that this business is a family business. I started a home based business this year with my kids selling homemade fudges and chocolates. It was a year of learning and this year will be a year of adjustments. We made business mistakes while learning, but my main goal this year (besides not using any personal money in the business) is for the business to be more of a natural extension of our family and our goals.
Our number one goal has always been to raise children who love the Lord and live for the Lord. After a year of selling chocolates, fudges and candies, it has been the fudges that have sold the best and brought us the most income. Years ago I focused mainly on chocolates and thought it would be the same this time, but the fudges sell better, take less time to make, and generate the most profit. It’s also fun and rewarding to see people excited about seeing a wide range of flavours to choose from. So, how can we share the Lord while doing this? Our desire was to sell goodies and gifts, so this year one of our goals is to start selling inspirational home crafted gifts and gift baskets. This would give us a chance to share our faith with other Christians and with those who are curious. It is also a chance to evangelize those who just happen to be listening to a conversation we are having with someone else. We will also try to avoid selling on Sundays, but the kinds of events we participate in don’t always make this possible. Never missing church has always been a priority though. The business will also start tithing this year and it will be explained to the children.
Another family goal we have is to homeschool our children. Running a family home based business is a perfect complement to this. It teaches so many wonderful things – finances, time management, speaking with the public, promoting your product – while keeping the family together. I bring kids with me to every event I attend. They help with production, set up, selling and promotion. They have good ideas. They are excited and eager to help. Initially I had 2 children commit to the business, but in the end all 11 of my children helped, even the ones who no longer live at home.
Teaching our kids financial responsibility has been an important part of our family also. Having 11 kids limits the amount of money we spend on each child, and while our kids never want for anything, they save their own money to buy a lot of what they want. We buy them gifts at Christmas and on birthdays but we do have a budget that does not allow them to ask for more expensive gifts, so they save their own money for these things. They make money in the community by delivering newspapers, babysitting, cutting grass, haying and doing odd jobs. We live in a small town and there are very few summer jobs available. After a summer of no one finding jobs, we decided we would generate our own jobs for our kids by having them work for us. Those leaving for university have the first choice of hours and opportunity to make and save. They also make an hourly wage. The middle children are apprenticing and make a daily wage. The younger kids help out and make a minimal daily wage. They all seem happy and content with what they earn. It has helped them to save for their educations, buy clothes, buy electronics and have spending money. They appreciate what they have because they’ve bought it themselves. After making some mistakes last year and learning what kind of money we can expect to make from selling fudge, this year we will attend events that have less expensive fees with the best selling advantage so that the business can pay for itself and still pay the kids.
Family time has always been a joy to us. While we’re away selling we are working together and learning about each other and growing closer, but not everyone comes with us. We take turns but Mom is always gone. I need to make sure that I am available to all my children but also to my husband. Last year we did take a week away, but we did not get to take our annual camping trip which the younger children missed tremendously. We need to find out what those special times are for each of us and make sure that we guard those family times. Sports are important to us and while the kids did participate last summer, it was chaotic and confusing at times. This year we will schedule less time consuming events while still generating enough income to make it worthwhile.
We established a good base of events that we attended last year, and we’ve already added a couple of new ones this year. We have sold at farmers’ markets, fairs and festivals as well as through Facebook and at a local corner store. We won’t be returning to all of the same venues, but we will be adding new ones. We can also improve selling through Facebook and promote our website. Visit our website at http://melinasgoodiesandgifts.wordpress.com/