Ever since right after Christmas I've had a big announcement to share, but wanted my 'ducks in a row' before I let anyone know. I recently joined the Usborne team and am thrilled to be a representative of their company. I thought about this for over a year, when I was first asked to join because of my enthusiasm for this wonderful brand of children's books. I did reviews on my blog (1, 2), mentioned them on facebook, and even added them to our home schooling curriculum through the last two years. It finally just made sense to become a member of their company simply to get the discount on all the books I was buying (birthdays and other gifts included!) and if someone else happened to be interested, I could lead them to books I'd be buying for my own children...that's how much I love them. I was doing all the advertising for free!
Here are some questions answered, all of which Stefan, in one way or another, has asked me, so I'm using that as a springboard for a question and answer post.
But...you're a stay at home mom, why would you want to put in the time and effort?
Well, like I said before, my first and foremost priority to joining the group is to get a really good discount on books I'm going to buy anyway. They're not $.01 on Amazon, either. Usually buying a used copy and paying the standard $3.99 shipping comes out to more than buying a new copy from the website, and definitely not cheaper than my discount.
As for the effort, it did take a bit of work, man-hours anyway, to get things where I wanted them. I wanted to design a blog button (see left!) that would link straight to my store, so if any of you readers were interested in perusing, it would very simple. Thanks to the internet and a few hours of trail and error with photo-bucket, blogger, and html code, I was able to figure out how to do that on my own, along with an "Our House" grab button (coming later)! I ordered free business cards that I really like from vistaprint.com, and ordered 250 gold labels with all my information from an etsy seller ($10, very inexpensive) so I can label all my books as they go out of my hands and into customers for easy reference. Again, a bit of time, but the roll of labels will last for a long time.
Stefan and I decided I could join assuming this won't take much of my lacking spare time. It won't and it hasn't, other than a few nap-times consumed with the efforts mentioned above. I will have to go to a monthly meeting and I enjoyed the first one, but they are optional and really only for helping one in the company with insights and new books to review.
Why did you choose this company to make into your side business?
I was already buying upwards of $100 worth of Usborne books per year for our family, why not make it 25% cheaper, and if there happened to be opportunities where someone was interested in buying books from me, great. Because I am already so in love with these books, advertising for them is just so natural--because I'm already enthusiastic it just bubbles over into conversation. It's so easy to tell someone about a great product that you love and use in your own home, because you love it.
I have always had a love for children's literature and if there was such a thing as "children's literature" emphasis in my English degree from UNL, that's what I would have done. I feel this is a very organic branch of my personality because I am so energetic about children, literacy, and a love of reading, and I'm also extremely organized which helps running a small, out-of-home business like this.
What do you expect out of all of this? What are your goals?
My goals are simply to save my family money in the long haul on books for home school, birthday, and Christmas gifts for our own children or their friends. If others were interested in hosting a home show (host earns a lot in free books!), I would definitely be willing to do that. It's basically like a little book party, but for a specific brand of books. I may do 'e-shows' a couple times a year, which will be out of this little blog here, but other than about 2 blog posts per month, reviewing different Usborne books, and some giveaways, I do not expect this to become a large entity. I have no goal of paying off a student loan, or even helping with the grocery bill, as a matter of fact, though wouldn't that be nice! It's just something I do anyway with expressing to others how much I and my children enjoy the books.
I am more than happy to be a reference for books for you or your children --Usborne or not. Something I clearly love to do is do book reviews and match personalities with interesting reads! I will continue to review all types of books for adults and children often, and even post our home school curriculum as that comes up from time to time. I will be posting twice a month, intentionally on Usborne books that I love. This is a simple way to start slow with the business, get acquainted with new books and old favorites, and allow people to become familiar with what I'm doing in a fun way.
I will also do a blog post once a month on that month's specials. This won't interfere with any other features I have, but will probably be a bonus post on a weekend, perhaps the first weekend of the month, to give potential customers plenty of time!
If you know me in person, and hosting a home show is something of interest to you, please feel free to contact me from my contact text box (above, left side bar) or email SSLAMAST@gmail.com. I am happy to answer questions, place orders, and recommend books to you. Hosting a show can earn you (the host) hundreds of dollars in free Usborne books, for the use of your home for a group of people for an hour or two. If you'd like to go to a home show, but don't want to host, I would love to put your name down for a future invite to my own home, just contact me from above or leave me a comment!
Please feel free to look around on the website by clicking the Usborne logo I have on the left-handed side bar, near the top of the page. It links directly to my site. Of course, I know this website is very 'beta' form, and I was happy to learn that they are completely revamping their website and revealing it in February...so, very soon! It will be much more visually appealing and user friendly. I have seen parts of it and it has a much more modern feel and better picture quality. Patience, please!
Happy Reading! I hope you and your family will find these books as wonderful as I have, and help you engage with your children to begin the love of reading...and stay tuned for a giveaway this week!
"Children are made readers on the laps of their parents." ~ Emilie Buchwald