In 1994, my husband and I moved to North Carolina from Florida with our two young daughters. As he began his new position, I was a full-time, stay-at-home mother, feeling alone in a strange, unfamiliar place. With no friends or family close by, I felt overwhelmed. Planning a trip to the grocery store with two little ones was no easy feat, especially as a newcomer unfamiliar with the area.
Shortly after moving into our new home, the neighborhood Welcome Wagon Representative showed up at my door with a basket of goodies. Of course I welcomed her right in, I was so happy to see another grown up! She provided maps, medical information, restaurant guides, a community calendar of events, etc. She told me about story time for tots at the local library, which the kids and I attended regularly. Her warm welcome was helpful and made me feel connected to my new community. In fact, upon her departure, I contacted the Welcome Wagon home office in Connecticut to see if there might be room for one more Welcome Representative.
As it turned out, there was such a position available in my new town of Huntersville. The Greater Charlotte Area Welcome Wagon Supervisor interviewed and hired me. Here I was, a newcomer myself, welcoming other newcomers to the area. I enjoyed my exciting, part-time position as a Welcome Wagon Representative for three years. It was fun, flexible and I met interesting people relocating from all over the world.
When Welcome Wagon was formed in 1928, it was honoring an American Tradition dating back to the early pioneer days when the Conestoga wagon trains rolled west across the country. It was customary for local folks to welcome the traveling pioneers with baskets of food, water and gifts. Similarly, Welcome Wagon Representatives brought baskets of valuable community information, gifts, medical directories and coupons to the newly settled home buyers. For 70 years, Welcome Wagon International, Inc. enjoyed financial success by providing a valuable community service to newcomers.
In 1998, Welcome Wagon's parent company, The Cendant Corporation sold the Welcome Wagon trademark to a NY company, discontinuing the tradition of the personal welcome visit. The new Welcome Wagon is a direct mail piece.
Many of my former Welcome Wagon sponsors encouraged me to start my own Welcome Service Business (WSB). After all, that is how the local businesses introduced themselves to newcomers and forged long-term relationships. Like my sponsors, I did not want to see the personal touch come to an abrupt end. I incorporated in December 1998.
I was fortunate to start a new business with some of my former advertising sponsors. But there was still much to do in those early days such as writing advertising agreements, prospecting for new sponsors and making visits to newcomers. Through hard work, long hours, commitment and sheer determination, I built a successful and rewarding home-based business.
In 1997, I gave birth to my third child. Throughout my pregnancy and with two small children at home, I was able to work on my own terms. I successfully learned to balance staying at home with my three children while simultaneously enjoying a stimulating career and earning a generous income. I have documented my trade secrets from my nineteen years in the WSB industry in my new book, Home Based Business: The Complete Guide to Owning and Operating a Successful Welcome Service Business. This easy to read manual explains the step by step procedures in starting and operating your own Welcome Service Business. It will save you valuable time and help you avoid costly mistakes. The ultimate success of your business will be the direct result of what you put into it. It is my desire to see your business succeed, as you benefit from my experiences.
I have 31 cumulative years working in television, radio and print media, with the last 19 specifically in the WSB industry. It is still a pleasure to get up every morning to go to work in a business that inspires me. I can’t think of a more enjoyable, and rewarding career for anyone seeking balance staying at home and operating a home based business.