Thank you Beth Evans for this useful, informative guest post – over to you Beth….

When I had my son in August 2005 I made the decision not to go back to my job as a technical support advisor for a well known internet provider.  I couldn’t justify part-time as it would take me almost as long to get there as the hours I’d be working.  So, once my maternity leave ended I was unemployed for the first time in 3 years.

I made plans to go back to work in something or another once my son started full-time school, feeling it was more important I gave him my time, plus the lack of childcare in my area would have made it impossible to work. 

When my daughter arrived in December 2009 I still hadn’t gone back to work so I had no difficult decision to make this time.  But money was still a small problem (or should I say the lack of it). 

In July 2010 I discovered Barefoot Books, a wonderful children’s publisher with stories (and illustrations) designed to expand imaginations while educating children about the importance of different cultures, our planet and themselves.  Books are something I’ve always had a keen interest in and I knew it would be ideal for me with two young children. 

The commission with Barefoot Books is fantastic.  There are 3 commission steps.   You will start at step 1 receiving 20% commission.  Once you have made £375 of sales you will move to Step 2 and receive 30% commission.  Then for over £3750 commission is 40%. 

As with any business starting up is time consuming but the beauty of Barefoot Books is that it’s up to you how you run it.  On signing up to become a Barefoot Book Ambassador you are given your very own profile and marketplace.  Mine are here http://www.barefootbooks.com/profile/-/view/18059/ and here http://Bethan-Evans.barefootbooks.com How you use these tools is up to you.  I am focussing on online sales for the time being until October when my Open University course finishes. 

Once you have set up with Barefoot Books you will have to register as self-employed.  I used direct.gov (http://www.direct.gov.uk/en/Employment/Jobseekers/LookingForWork/DG_173931) to find the relevant information. 

Once this is completed, how you go about making sales/advertising is again up to you. 

There are numerous ways of doing this.

  1. Online sales – By promoting online you can direct people to your marketplace and they can place orders through it.  I advertise my business through Facebook and Twitter.  I also use my personal blog, My Good Life, as an aide.  In addition, I’ve also set up a blog, Imagine Children’s Books (http://mygoodlife.me.uk/imaginechildrensbooks) which is dedicated to Barefoot Books.  On Imagine Children’s Books I provide readers with details about offers/competitions/reviews and new releases. 
  2. Home Parties – By hosting home parties (very much like Virgin Vie at Home/The Body Shop) the hostess has a chance to earn some great benefits.  I have yet to organise a party but some of the other Barefoot Ambassadors have said they give the hostess a set amount in books depending on the value of sales taken at a party. 
  3. Fundraisers – Fundraising for groups/organisations is a great way to get your name out there.  I offer 20% of sales for sales under £400 and 40% of sales for over £400. 
  4. Local fairs/shows – I haven’t had chance to get out there and get to any shows yet but I’ve heard great feedback from those who have and definitely intend on attending some in the near future.
  5. Friends/family – This is another great way because friends and family know you and trust you.  I’ve also dropped catalogues in to my neighbours in the hope of generating some sales.

Barefoot Books is a great opportunity to earn some extra money and because you’re self-employed you can really control how much time you spend on it. 

If you are concerned about how this will affect any benefits you are on contact the Jobcentre or your local citizens advice bureau.  They will be able to advise you. 

Thanks Beth!


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