Granpreneur Profile: Lyn Blackledge

Name of Business:

Lyn’s Green Biz – Independent Distributor for Wikaniko (pronounced we-can-eco).  This is one of three home based businesses I now run.  I am selling Barefoot and Child’s Play books and I help shrink peoples essential bills as a distributor for Utility Warehouse.

Your Name and Age:

Lyn Blackledge 59

Tell us about your family:

No partner (2 ex husbands) children of 34, 31, 28 and twin granddaughters of 2.5 and another granddaughter due shortly.

What did you do before coming up with your business idea (previous career, stay at home mum etc) and how was it making the transition?

I have a 30-year teaching career – 21 running my own nursery school then returning to state system before leaving when I became disillusioned.  I trained as a teacher not a secretary.

I never set out to run a home based business but was offered the chance to join a book company when a lady came to sell books in my nursery.  She said if I joined I could buy the books at discount and that is all I ever intended to do!  Then it just grew and grew…

When did you launch?

1993 – although no real official launch.

How did you get started?

With the original book business I just bought a starter box -for a reasonably small fee.

What research did you do before launching?

I didn’t actually do any research as I wasn’t intending to run it as a big business – purely to buy books at a discount!  But it then just grew and grew as I sold to the parents of the nursery children and then to others.  Eventually I ended up as a full time book retailer.  My children used to help me at the events when I first started but have now grown up and left home.

How have you funded the business?

I used the profit to restock as I loved to display my books at fetes and fairs.  I did carry a large stock but this is not necessary if you don’t sell at big events.  My daughter joined my team and she used to sell from the catalogues and order when people wanted to purchase – so she had little outlay!

How do you promote your business?  What has worked best?

I use networking groups locally and social media.  Facebook, Giant Potential, LinkedIn have all worked for me.  I also take stalls at local events so people get to know.

What has worked well about your business?

It fits in so well with the rest of my life.

What has been your biggest challenge so far?  How have you dealt with it?

A few unpleasant people not wanting me to succeed.  I just drove my business harder and became the top seller that year.

How do you fit in work with the family?

I do my business “on the run” a lot of the time.  By this, I mean, I use every opportunity, connecting and offering services to help the people I meet – One of my first Utility Warehouse customers was talking over coffee after church about her huge phone bill.  It’s seizing opportunities as they arise.  People buy people and so if you can be seen as someone with a solution to a problem – then people are happy to do business.

What advice would you give to someone else wanting to work in this area?

Be prepared to be consistent and persistent and work with people above you (your sponsor and theirs) who can help because they have already been working the business.

Flexible working business opportunity: please explain what you offer and how people find out more:

Barefoot books – its free to join and ambassadors get a free website containing an online shop and lots of help and advice and  a special offer starter pack is available to buy but not essential.  Lyn’s Barefoot Books

Wikaniko – £48 start up fee which gives you a box of business info and some catalogues and a website with an online shop plus a wealth of information, a green games room, plus so much more.  The commission starts at 33% – which is more than most companies.  Over 750 products in this “department store” and more being added regularly Lyn’s Green Biz

Utility Warehouse – helping people to shrink their essential bills!  £200 start up cost which includes a business book and as much training as you want!  And you get the chance to get your money back within 90 days. Lyn’s Utility Biz for beautiful children’s books let me help you save on your essential bills helping people to take small steps towards a greener community

Special promotion for Family Friendly Working readers:

10% discount at Lyn’s Green Biz and Lyn’s Barefoot Biz.

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