Mary Kathryn Johnson - Mary's Blog


Are you the owner?

I recently had a customer ask me during a phone conversation if I was the "owner".  "Yes," I replied, "Why do you ask?"

She told me that I "sounded like an owner".  This made me stop and think.

The structure I have created for MommyLoves is very different from the average American small business.  Everyone who works for MommyLoves does so in their own office.  Everyone who works for MommyLoves is self employed.  Everyone who works for MommyLoves is an "owner".

How can we do this you ask?  Well, we hire other businesses to do work for us.  Tina does our graphic design, Laurie does our PR, Angie does our alterations, Annette does our phone work for sales, Lisa makes our diaper bags - just to name a few.  We have people who can help us in our production office during peak seasons, and all these people reside in my neighborhood and across our country.

I created this business when my sons were 18 months and 4 years old, and my goal was to be able to run my business while I stayed home and raised my sons.  It seemed like an insurmountable task trying to design and manufacture clothing in my home office, but I had learned when my second son was born that I could do anything!  (More on that in another blog.)  I never wanted to go to an office away from home, and be in some meeting when my kids got home from school.  Having employees come to my home every day for their jobs would not be feasible, so my solution was to hire other like-minded self-employed people.  With all the technology we have available, those people can be anywhere in the world.

You see it in T.V. commercials, you see it in chat rooms, you see it in blogs - people in their home offices or spare bedrooms conducting business around the world.  Right here in Northern California, in the foothills of the Sierra Mountains, MommyLoves has received orders from such faraway places as The Northern Territories of Canada, Malta and Norway.  My kids get a geography lesson with each new order, and each new order comes right here to my little Mac.   The order then goes across the country to be filled, or stays right here for my UPS driver to pick up.  Either way, an "owner" has filled it.  No one who works for MommyLoves simply puts in a day at the office doing a job!  We all go way beyond that.  Our days are more like "split shifts" where we work maybe 6 hours, then pick up the kids from school or meet them at the bus stop, then get them a snack while they do their homework, then make dinner, then work a few hours more before going to bed.  I can email Tina, Laurie or Angie at midnight, and I usually get an answer back at 12:01 a.m.

Now, I know many businesses like Restaurants or Grocery Stores cannot operate this way, but many others can.    This is not the future of the American Workforce.  This IS the American Workforce.  Wherever you work, can you honestly say you "sound like an owner"?  If not, the customer can hear it and may take their business elsewhere, and in these economic times we all know what happens next!

1 comment:

RJ Johnson said...

You have a great web site and a great product. I find that a self-employed owner is the "chief cook and bottle washer" when operating their business. The buck stops "here" and if you do good you get the credit and if it is not you still get the credit. No guarantee of a regular paycheck but a lot of hope that there will be a profit to provide some "take home pay" for yourself. Being self-employed is a challenge but it is sometimes rewarding. Keep up the good work.

Bob the tax man.