Saturday, October 3, 2009

Working together, We Could Make Zillions!

There is Much Power in Numbers, So Let's Commit to Supporting One Another.

By Ally Loprete

Lately, I’ve really been fascinated with numbers.
This fascination has grown recently, I imagine, from creating my own internet-based company. The infinite numbers to be comprehended are literally incomprehensible -- and fascinating at the same time. These numbers give me enormous amounts of optimism and frighten me at the same time. In fact, this number game is what ultimately what led me to create the concept for my business, OurMilkMoney.com.
It must have been about seven months ago that I was lying awake one evening after my family had gone to bed. I imagined that there must be zillions of parents across the country who were thinking the same things that I was. Perhaps zillions had also left their corporate day jobs to discover that staying home was by far the better way to go. Maybe zillions of new moms also took that leap of faith, spoke to a zillion husbands and said, “I am going to start my own company and work from home so that I can stay home with the kids,” which prompted a zillion panicked faces on a zillion different men. These zillions also were soon to learn that it would be twice as much work as they’d ever expected, but would vow to make it work for the sake of their families.
If there really were zillions that lay awake the same way I was, going through the numbers over and over again like it was some kind of riddle to be solved, then that was at least a zillion connections I wanted to make. Were zillions of us really choosing to take but a fraction of our previous income for double the amount of work? Yes, this was THANKLESS work, with no sick pay, no paid vacation time, no group health benefits, and no company lunches paid for -- and yet, we’d chosen this new role as if it was the greatest opportunity we’ve ever had for ourselves, and it made us feel a zillion more times at home. Were we all just insane?
It was thoughts like these that made me realize the power in numbers. If there truly were large numbers of parents out there just like me, I could certainly use their friendship and their support. In exchange, I’d be happy to lend mine. More than that, I wanted to make a pact with all of these parents: “I’ll buy your stuff if you'll buy mine.”
Easy enough. Now where would I find these parents? It shouldn’t have been difficult to find them with zillions of pages of information available at my internet fingertips, so I decided to begin looking each time I made a new online purchase. I searched. And searched. And searched. Every time I made any purchase online, I put in an extra keyword “parent” to narrow my search and pull up a vendor who was working from home to afford the opportunity to stay home with their children. I became more and more shocked at how difficult this was, and it frustrated me. I KNEW there were parents out there who would love to sell me their shampoo, just as much as I’d love to buy it from them! It shouldn’t be so hard to find them!
That is when it hit me like a ton of bricks. If there was no such search directory, I was going to create one.
So that is what I did. I have created a way for a zillion parents to support one another, and I feel a zillion times better. One day we’ll all be zillionaires! Or at least we’ll have made a zillion new friends in the process.

Ally Loprete is the Co-Founder of OurMilkMoney.com, an online directory of self-employed parents across the country. Ally's focus is to help expose parents working to create a better life for their families and her mission is to educate consumers on the value of purchasing from the small business owner. Ally is passionate about inspiring parents to connect with one another, and will often write about the brilliant ideas that seem to come to her only in the shower or while blowing her hair dry.

10 comments:

  1. What a great perspective. Nice, positive way of looking at things!

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  2. Love this article! Being from the south, I grew up going into shops and being treated special, many times clerks would know my name and even my preferences. After moving to California many years ago- I realized there is no such thing as customer service here and unfortunately these days it is sweeping the nation. I've kind of given up and when someone does go out of their way to be helpful it is so shocking - I sometimes forget what I need help with! But, like you said with the internet, I now how a greater choice and have found many family run businesses really go out of their way- and understand the meaning of customer service. I always look for these types of businesses to give my hard earned dollars to.

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  3. This article is SPOT ON! I know all of us moms are awesome Ebayers, and usually we go for the cheapest deal. But this article perfectly explains something I did the other day:

    I actually chose to buy from someone I'd purchased from before and was amazing at following up and answering my questions. She was $2 more expensive than the other internet store price listed, but I chose to actually pay MORE for the comfort of knowing the customer service quality was there!

    I would do it again too!

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  4. Great article, Ally! I mean, think about it! How many of us really feel good about buying gas? But, doesn't feel great to shop at a local farmers market, or to eat out at that yummy mom and pop restaurant? Not only does our dollar matter more, but these are businesses we can actually establish a relationship with. And that relationship is going to ensure great customer service, quality products and help the businesses that need it most during this recession. Just about every product we use is available from a small business- so find them and refer them :)

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  5. Cathy, Reay SolutionsOctober 3, 2009 at 6:55 PM

    Thank you for such a great article. I always enjoy your articles

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  6. I have to laugh at your last line because we live in a very small town and we DO only have ONE grocery store - LOL. However, the owner, Cindy, is a very nice lady so we don't feel the need to drive to the next town :-)

    This is great Ally. Thanks for sharing your thoughts. I am impressed by your writing talents, also. I feel like I am inside your head when I read your words - that's what makes a great writer!

    Oh, and the points you make about buying from small business - those are good too ;-) I have totally changed my thinking as far as that goes. I've found some small businesses with awful customer service and you are right...we just don't buy from them anymore. I think in order to make a small business run and LAST, good customer service is a must. Not a 'maybe' but a MUST.

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  7. "Karma is the way to survive the recession" LOL. That's a relief. Shout it from the rooftops!

    Seriously though it's true. Good customer service has virtually disappeared. I hold grudges. I don't care how great the product is. If I haven't been treated well, I'm not coming back. It's nice to know that some people still do care about the consumers.Thanks, Ally. Keep it up. We need voices like yours.

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  8. Love it! I love your theory about the recession and how it can be seen as a good thing- like a chance for us all to rebuild and get back to values that are important to the individual. Thanks for such an inspiring article. I do love your writing.

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  9. Great article! I totally agree with you. When I started my business, I didn't really "get it"...you know....about supporting the small business. Now, I look for the small businesses to support. Starbucks? Nope. I take the kids to Maui Wowi for frozen drinks now. Blockbuster? No way. We go to the $1 movie cube at the grocery store. Those are actually owned by small business owners like vending machines! I bet if everyone took a moment and looked around, you could find a small business or two to support.

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  10. Thank you, my friends...not just for indulging me...but for living out exactly what needs to be done. I am so proud of the women I have met here who run their own businesses while raising a family- and doing it with such strength and integrity! Never give up on what is important. This is another reason I know we will help each other survive the recession.

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