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Home Business Profiles
By Kathy Villanueva

(Note: I do not necessarily endorse this home-based business. Before starting any business, it is best to do a lot of research and contact others who are involved with the business. Kathy Villanueva can be reached at UsborneBAH@aol.com.)

Usborne Books

My name is Kathy Villanueva, and I am married, with two fantastic kids, ages 9 and 6. I also have three dalmatians, so I'm a mom of five!!! We live in Southern California and we are a homeschooling family who have developed a thriving home-based, family business with Usborne Books at Home.

When my daughter was born nine years ago, it was so important to me to stay home and raise her. I just couldn't let someone else care for her the majority of the day no matter how closely I screened them. It was that minute-to-minute interaction that was so important to me that I spend with my child. Even the care of grandparents, to me, is not the same as a mother's love. So, I told my husband that I was quitting my job managing a large travel agency in West Los Angeles 30 minutes after my daughter was born! Wow! To my husband's credit he didn't even bat an eye. He agreed that was best and has encouraged and helped me every step of the way since then. It was tough getting used to not having a new car every two years, living on one income, but we have adjusted. For our family, there are more important things than the material things a second full-time income can buy at the sacrifice of our children. But don't get me wrong, we by no means lack for anything. My income with Usborne Books provides all the extras. We live on my husband's income, my income is the goodies, like Disneyland annual passes for the last three years!

Way back then when my daughter was born, our goal was to buy our home, so it was necessary for me to work from home to save up a down payment. I was determined to find a serious way to earn money that would not interfere with raising my children. I'm a mom first, and I work second. There are so many scams out there trying to take advantage of a woman's desire to stay home and work while raising their children, and it is a shame! There are viable ways of making money that do not make you put a lot of money up front, and then continue pouring money in.

I started out scoping for court reporters; I translate and prepare the transcripts of deposition and court proceedings. I have been very successful, and was able to work around my baby's schedule. I used my modem to send work back and forth from my home. (I did the Rodney King beating civil trial depositions while pregnant with my son!!)

Then my son was born and I had a three-year-old and a newborn! Talk about a reality check. But we made room for my son and worked him into our schedule. My husband at the time was and now still is working full time for a large worldwide company.

My working out of the house is just a fact of life, it is a way of life, a lifestyle...my children have known nothing different. They probably think all moms do this!!! Whether on the phone or on the computer, they know that mom is working, and they play quietly or wait to ask me a question. When they were younger, I had a toy box that they could only play with when I was working. When my work was done for the day, the toy box went away too. That was their "work" they did while mommy worked. My children understand that the money I earn pays for things they want. Currently, I am earning money through Usborne to give my daughter the riding lessons she is dying for. What a great goal to keep working for!

When my daughter became school age, after much thought and prayer, we decided to homeschool both children. At that point, the scoping became too time consuming, so I needed to look around for something else that would fit the needs of our family.

I was looking for something I could do in the evenings, freeing my time up in the day to conduct school, something that I was the boss so I did not have to answer to someone else if my kids became sick, I was tired, having a bad day, wanted to go with my husband on a business trip. And I needed something that I knew I could make real, serious money. And I found Usborne Books. And Usborne fits right in with our homeschooling. They are the best educational, fun books on the market, sold by museums and theme parks like Epcot Center and Sea World. Schools and libraries love them! And I thought, besides buying them for myself, other families will buy them! What parent will not buy a book for their child?!?!? And the price of the books was another factor, starting at $3.95, 80% of the books are $8 and under. So I was representing a product that would promote literacy and not break someone's pocket book. And that makes me very proud.

I do earn money with Usborne, and my family has even joined in! My kids help me with my orders, they sample the product!! and my husband has started doing the computer work, developing my webpage and setting us up as a true business at home, with fax, copier machine, etc. And I have been blessed more than I could ever imagine.

The company is most supportive and people go crazy when they see the books. In fact, when I first signed up, I only wanted to get the consultant discount to buy books for our family and sell informally to friends and other homeschoolers. Then people started wanting shows to get their own free books, and I had to borrow books and racks from my supervisor driving 20 minutes one way to show until I could buy enough of my own to show to people.

This business does not interfere with our homeschooling. At the present time, I conduct most of my business through my web page, counseling, encouraging and helping other women start their own business, and through my book of the month club, a free no-obligation flyer I mail out to people who've signed up. I work early mornings, and afternoons after school. I hold home shows in the evenings. To save money, I trade babysitting with my sister-in-law to conduct book fairs at schools and to do other daytime Usborne activities; she also homeschools so the kids get their school work done. It's even fun for them to do school outside of their normal environment.

My daughter comes with me to do book fairs and craft booths during non-school hours and she suggests books to people and helps at the craft table I have set up so the little kids are busy while the parents shop.

This truly is a family business and one that my husband and I are working to build and grow. And my kids have benefited also by seeing mom doing something worthwhile that benefits the family as well as other children. They are learning discipline as exampled by me and responsibility and a good work ethic. And those are the goals any parents want for their children.

For more information or just to make a comment, you may email me at UsborneBAH@aol.com. And please visit my website. Your kids will thank you!

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