Like many mums, I didn’t want to return to work full time after having my kids. We have a small age gap, so after my second son came along the expense of childcare meant that working out of the home would have been expensive. I didn’t want to miss out on their baby and toddler days and felt that I wanted to be involved with their development. I tried various freelance options: proofreading, writing and data evaluation, but nothing really took off and it was a hard slog.
A friend of mine had started a business as an Independent Phoenix Trader before Christmas 2010. I’d watched her go from strength to strength as her confidence increased, building a customer base and getting really passionate about the products. The idea kept niggling at me: could I do this too? In September I took the plunge and signed up as a Trader myself, with my friend as my sponsor.
The first thing that attracted me to Phoenix is the lovely products. There’s something for everyone in their range of gorgeous cards, and they’re great value too. I’d worked in retail before and was uncomfortable doing a ‘hard sell’, but with Phoenix I don’t feel I need to do that as the products and prices speak for themselves. There’s lots of encouragement to get out there and show your products to as many people as possible; keep showing them and the sales will follow naturally.
I started with the £30 business kit and took my sample cards and catalogues along to toddler group. The next week I got my catalogues back with several orders and I haven’t looked back! I decided to invest in some stock so that I could host a stall at some Christmas fairs – but there are lots of other ways to promote your business too. Some traders do at-home ‘coffee and cards’ parties (I’m hoping to do some of these soon), door-to-door brochure drops, ‘card shop in a basket’ sessions where they’ll leave stock in office or school staff rooms, or brochure drops with charity and community groups. I’ll be doing a brochure drop at my son’s nursery, with 10% of the takings going towards their fundraising for new equipment. Over the years, Phoenix have raised over £1 million for charity.
Phoenix Trading has felt easier and more fun than my other attempts at freelance work, because there’s a strong structure already in place to support you. Instead of wondering ‘how can I promote my business?’, ‘what should I do next?’, there’s a wealth of information and resources available. My sponsor has a helpful answer to all my queries, and there’s a busy community on the Phoenix Facebook page offering advice and motivation.
I love the way that Trading has fitted in with the lifestyle I had already – my customers are the people I see everyday at toddler group, on the nursery run and through friends and family. I do my ordering and organising in the evenings and an occasional fair at the weekend. I’ve also had customers who know me from my blog, Imperfect Pages, or on Twitter.
Statutory Notice: Do not be misled by claims that high earnings are easily achieved. It is illegal for a promoter or a participant in a trading scheme to persuade anyone to make a payment by promising benefits from getting others to join a scheme.