Caren Funnell is an Elite+ Mompreneur member based out of Mount Hope, Ontario. She is an Independent Senior Director with Thirty-One Gifts, and we are happy to be sharing her Success Story!
What inspired you to become an entrepreneur?
I have always done a little something on the side (i.e. wedding invitations, paper party decorations, crocheting, pattern design) but they were really just a hobby. The Universe knew I had the drive – it was me that didn’t quite get it. One day my friend asked me if I wanted to try selling Thirty One Gifts and I laughed it off. But I started to realize that I might NEED this. Maybe this is my sign and I should just try it. I didn’t want to go back to a thankless job. So I didn’t!
What’s the best part about owning your own business?
The freedom of time. Although I don’t take it for granted – I know I have to work. I show up to work even though it is at home most of the time, but I love that when my kids need me to get them from school I don’t have to ask anyone permission. Or when I feel like taking a break – cause Lord knows we all need one sometimes – I don’t have to schedule in vacation time around other people’s seniority. After all, this is MY life. I want to live it they way I want to.
Can you describe a typical day?
I wake up, get the kids ready for school, get dressed (that is an important one if you work from home – still get dressed!), put on my make-up, tidy up the living room and kitchen then I sit down and answer emails and messages. I post info and tips on my team page and then I start following up with customers, either booking them in for a party, checking on their orders or just seeing what is new in their life! I build relationships and offer opportunity.
Who do you count on for help?
Our whole company is this huge sisterhood that I never knew I needed. There are many groups and pages where you can ask for help and someone you have never met will always gladly help you! We also have our direct network in our lineage. We have become very close and talk every day.
Have you ever had to sacrifice something at home for work? Or vice versa?
Yes. Whether I was at a workplace, or at home working, there are times where I can’t make an event or I miss movie night because of my job. I don’t get paid unless I work, so there are times when the job is necessary, despite it’s flexibility.
What do you do on a day off? Do you even know what a day off is?
So much truth in this question. I am always “ON”, however I love my job so much that it never feels like work. But when I am with my family, I AM WITH MY FAMILY. When I am on vacation, I may check in on my team, but I remind myself, there is no such thing as a “purse emergency”. I take time for me, for my family and for my friends. It is just as important as the job itself.
Are you active in your community? What does supporting local mean to you?
I am active in my community with the Ronald McDonald House in Hamilton. Our company donates a portion of our sales to local RM Houses, and I work with my product and the house itself to continue donations and/or volunteer time.
Name another entrepreneur who inspires you.
Cindy Monroe – the founder of Thirty One Gifts. She started this business in her basement and built it into a $750 million company in under 10 years. She even made the Forbes list of 8 Self Made Women to watch in 2015, sandwiched in between Taylor Swift and Sandra Bullock! She empowers women every single day. Very inspiring.
What does the future look like for you and your business?
The future is bright and vast! It is what I make of it. It is there for my taking, and I am going to take it! My team will grow, I will grow and I will show my children that when you work hard, you can also play hard.
Any tips for moms thinking of starting a business?
Ask yourself, “What is holding you back?” Why wouldn’t you go for it? You can have anything you dream of so believe in yourself, bury those fears, and embrace the adventure.