Tuesday, 4 February 2014

Working as a Home Educating Parent.

Working as a home educating parent can be difficult at times, as I have to do the majority of my work in an evening and throughout the night when the kids are asleep. I am often dropping by the time 6pm comes and don't feel like working despite having to push on and get it done.

My work at the moment consist of basically hanging on to anything that brings me an income, mainly from my ebay store  which at the best of times can be difficult with unpredictable sales and then I do a few Tax Returns.

I love going to the auctions which is where I get the majority of my stock from.for my ebay store. The items I buy can be hit and miss, over the years I have experimented with all sorts of stuff from clothing, to household items to toys and games to collectables.

I seem to always be drawn back to clothing mainly, despite me knowing clothing does sell, but slowly and at very cheap prices which quite often can lead to a loss rather than a profit which is not quite the  the aim of the game, usually due to selling fees and postage costs being so high. You have to ensure you price items at approximately 3 x what you buy them for to even start making any kind of profit on anything. I can't see me becoming rich any time soon but it does pay a small amount.

What was once a place for great prices and some fantastic bargains but has slowly become a place for high street stores to sell their returns and damaged goods.

Ebay has been an addiction for me for many years, I started just buying a few bits here and there which slowly became a place to get rid of no longer wanted items to actually sourcing things to buy with the sole purpose of selling on Ebay and now I sell other people's stuff on there also.

I have been a registered business for quite a few years now but rarely make any profit but it does pay for the kids clothes and now some educational stuff which I buy from the auction's in bulk and re sell them meaning  I can get the kids stuff relatively cheap if not free sometimes.

I have maintained a good rating on there and spent a good year as a top rated seller until I came across a client who has very poor dispatch times which has decimated my top rated seller status, which to an ebayer is devastating.

Despite my constant nagging and demands of a more timely delivery they seem to not hear me, their product is amazing and I love the product and most people are very happy with their purchase when they get it apart form the odd few who have some kind of hickup and the odd defective one gets through which we happily replace. 

I can't actually believe how many of these thing sell, it is by far the best product I have ever come across to sell on ebay, I feel lucky for them finding me to produce the labels and correspond with customers, but their customer service skills are something to be desired, they rarely answer my emails if I query a customers order, because as usual they haven't dispatched it  3 days after the estimated delivery date. This lead to customers getting very angry and usually quite rude towards me, which I can understand but I feel powerless to do anything about.

My ethos is, especially on ebay, is to get the item out on time, I understand if demand is far more than they expected and have supply issues but if they communicate that to me that would save lots of hassle as I can suspend sales untill they do get the stock, I cant understand why they don't increase their staff levels to cope with the demand so they can produce more and get them out on time, but they are only interested in getting the sales even without having a product to dispatch and don't seem to care about the fact people do not want to wait 3 weeks for their order, no matter how great that product is.

To me they will be a victim of their own success if they do not pull their socks up and at the moment that is how I feel about my side of things, I promote the item and get the sales but that is no good if they can't fulfil the order in good time, it drives me nut and it will be the end of my ebay career.

The income I get from doing those labels is fabulous and I can think of nothing else where I can earn that kind of money for the work I do and doing it at a time that suits me which is usually the last thing I do before going to bed. I spend anything from 3  to 6 hours a night doing the labels and corresponding with customers and couriers and then I spend some time promoting the products in various places to boost sales, I love the work it's great but at the same time it is killing my long term prospect on ebay

My time at this rate is in short supply on ebay as I am quite sure they will ban me at the rate these items are getting delivered in. I have given it some time, 12 months to be exact, and had to think is it worth the short term money gain to get myself banned from ebay due to their care less attitude.

Ebay has been a life line for me for years and  is more so now than ever due to home edding the twins, it's a great opportunity for me to keep being independent and keep working.

I can take the kids with me to the post office when I do the post office run which the kids love as they get to have a treat of a packet of crisps which has come to be a bit of a routine, if they have been good of course they get crisps, then when I go to collect things from the auctions the kids love that too because they get to chat away with the workers who have become quite used to seeing the kids around and the kids love seeing what goodies are going in the boot.

Its convenient for me to do ebay without it impacting on the kids education during the day, and I will be shattered if continuing with this particular client ends up in me losing my income opportunity.

My other source of income is Tax Returns which is not going to well to be honest, I cut my work right down after having the twins and have ended up not having very many clients left. I have shot myself in the foot really.

I have not advertised that work for 4 years and my client list has dwindled down to nothing really, I have the odd Tax return to do for some long term clients and I have picked a few up from word of mouth, but the income from that generally goes on the software and other running costs, so its not even an income really.

I am sat on a good opportunity to continue doing the Tax Returns as the money is good and I enjoy the work but there is something holding me back that I can't quite put my finger on.

I am sat on the brink of a crisis as far as work is concerned, home ed is not a cheap option to schooling, you still need materials and supplies and the outings and educational trips and they need to go to the clubs which are not really an option when you home ed, they need the interaction and to spend some regular time away from me for an hour or two for many reason.

Work is a big issue when you home ed, unless you claim disability benefit or have a partner that works, it is very difficult.

Not working is an option for some but not for me, the thought of having to have occasions where there is no food on the table scares me to death, and I have seen many a parent in that situation not working go through that.

Money is not the be all and end all, but it helps make life that little bit more bearable and having to worry about buying a pair of shoes or having occasions where there is no food on the table or worrying about turning the heating on is something I find not an easy thought. 

I don't earn much as it is but we manage of what I do earn, we are not extravagant and I never have been, I have just always worked, so the crisis I find myself in now makes me pretty nervous, I really have no idea where I go from here where work is concerned.

Some of the home ed mums are so talented I feel green with envy, their artistic talents are in abundance in the home ed world, and many make a small living from small craft businesses. I have never been artistic in any way shape or form but am regretting not nurturing that side of me now, as that kind of talent would have come in very handy.

There are a few that are childminders too, something I would have loved to have done if it wasn't for all the red tape you have to jump through to actually get there. 

My mum was a child minder and I loved having all the other kids around, but that was a long time ago and things are very different now in the child minding world. 

I remember on many occasions kids coming on our camping trips with us when their parents couldn't get the time off work for whatever reason, it was like having extended family around. Things are very different now and child minding is more of an extension to nursery schools and education based rather than family nurturing time, so I don't think that kind of set up is something for me, although a very convenient profession for home ed parents.

I know it's time for me to start making some serious plans  and deciding where I am going right now as I feel quite directionless.

The direction I am going in is an insecure one and I am not sure how comfortable I am with that, never before have I felt so nervous about being out of work.

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