Friday, May 22, 2009

Cash Wanted

So now that we're settled into our new groove of life, Ed and I are hoping I can start bringing in some money. Some of you may remember I lost my job on April 4, 2008. I am still (THANK GOD!!) collecting unemployment benefits, but they will stop this summer. While we have been able to save most of that money and live off just Ed's salary, we don't want to have to dive into our savings too much. We'd like for me to bring in enough to cover our "extras" each month, which may be only a few hundred dollars if don't don't sacrifice the life we're used to living...going out to eat when we want, not many restrictions on trips to the mall or Target, etc.

I still have my dog walking business, but that is pretty slow right now. I have a few booked for the summer when people go on vacations, but I haven't had any daily clients since I was on bedrest before having EJ and had to refer them to someone else.

I'm trying to find something part time during the evenings and/or on weekends. I would LOVE to find something I could do from home, but I know that is a long shot. I just got off the phone with a Pampered Chef representative. What do you ladies think of me being a Pampered Chef host for parties? Be honest. Bring up all the pros and cons. I don't want to get involved in it only to hate it for things I didn't think about. On average, I would make $100 a party...sometimes less, sometimes a lot more. I could make my own schedule and it would almost always be at night or on weekends when Ed could be home with EJ. It is usually busier around the holidays, which would be great for me to earn extra money for all the presents I'll buy to spoil EJ :)

I would also love to hear any other suggestions you may have. I'm up for anything!


Rini said...

Hmmm. I do Pure Romance (similar setup, but "adult" products), so I have related insight... Hopefully Blogger won't completely lose my whitespace here...

(1) The income is NOT something you can count on. Just like dog-walking, it will come and go based not only on the season, but also on a whim. Of course, you're only looking for income to cover the extras, so that should work for you! The months you don't book as many parties or sell as much at those parties, you just go out to eat less... The months you make $1000, you stash some away for later. (Read: learn about budgeting for irregular income!)

(2) It's hard to get started. Most people get going in these party plans by talking their friends and relatives into throwing parties. If you don't have that advantage (I didn't), then you have to get started by talking random strangers into throwing parties - much harder!

(3) Yes, you make your own schedule, but you also have to work around your clients. Also, if you "take a break" for a while, you can lose your clients (much like dog-walking) and end up back at #2.

(4) Parties are FUN!! But make sure that you like and believe in the products you're selling. You will do better and have more fun if you like what you're doing. Pampered Chef is one of MANY party plans. You might poke around the internet a little and make sure you are picking your very favorite plan to start with. You've got cooking (Pampered Chef), crafts (including kid-related), kid products (Discovery Toys used to be one?), adult products (Pure Romance, Passion Parties, etc), make-up (Mary Kay, Avon) - I even saw a pole-dance party business once!

(5) Keep good records! You will want information on your clients, a way to track party leads, and of course you will need to track sales for income tax purposes.

(5b) Will you need to find your own merchant account to accept credit cards? If you can do it through the company, what kind of fees do they charge? How do you get the money out? Merchant accounts can be tough - most services you can sign up for charge a monthly fee for the "privilege" of accepting cards, in addition to a percentage of the transaction...

(6) Know your out clause. Pure Romance requires a small stock purchase to join up (we carry inventory), and there is a non-compete clause that would keep you from, say, switching to Passion Parties or doing them simultaneously. (Not that I would switch in that direction, but different post..) How easy will it be to get back out of Pampered Chef if you decide you don't like it? Will you have lost anything?

(-) I think that about wraps up my thoughts. Oh, except for one... Pampered Chef is an MLM scheme, which means you make money for recruiting people, right? You might just make sure that the $100/party is... real. It doesn't account for money from recruiting, and it is what a REAL representative makes, not what the "company" says an "average" party is. Just sayin'. ;) (Also, I would definitely recommend attending a party - or two - before signing up!)

Rini said...

OH! And also... a corollary to #4 - parties are supposed to be FUN! Focus on making sure your guests enjoy themselves, and I promise the sales follow naturally. (At least, in my business... ;) )

Katie said...

My mom used to be a Pampered Chef rep, so you might ask her. If you did sell it, I would buy stuff from you

amy said...

Personally, my friends who sell stuff (Pampered Chef, Usborne Books, Mary Kay, etc) have said they can feel people start avoiding them. I can testify that I hate being asked to parties like that and being asked to host them.

I have a good friend who sold Mary Kay and couldn't make money doing it unless she recruited people.
Is Pampered Chef like that?

All that being said I do ABSOLUTELY love my pizza stone and the stoneware bacon pan from Pampered Chef. I hate the parties but I've been to them.

Anonymous said...

I have never tried anything like pampered chef. But, I have been a waitress, a receptionist and a house painter. I would suggest waitressing - nights and weekends are what that is all about and you can make pretty good money. My sister is a teacher but she quit to stay home with my niece - and now she has another one on the way - but she still works on Tuesdays and Thursdays.