Linda Collinson is no stranger to entrepreneurial success. In the ’80s, she developed a natural skincare line, LaCrista Natural Skincare, from her kitchen table. Her small operation grew quickly, and by the ’90s her products were being sold in Wal-Mart, Whole Foods, Giant Foods and in other stores across the country and internationally in China. When she started, her only staff was her son, daughter and husband. After nearly 15 years in business, Linda sold the company for a seven-figure deal and could have retired, but she immediately jumped into helping her husband for about six years with his business. Last year, her son recruited to join and financially support his business venture, Infusion Sciences.
When this Mompreneur went back into to business with a new venture in 2012, it was different. She was working for someone else – her son.
The company sells a natural multivitamin product called Youth Infusion. Open just a few years, this new family venture has already experienced major success. The company’s first product, Youth Infusion (www.drinkyouthinfusion.com) has been picked up by The Vitamin Shoppe online and is in local Vitamin Shoppe stores in Washington, D.C., as well as other outlets.
Infusion Sciences has nearly $1,000,000 in revenue and 8 full-time employees. Budge Collinson said having his mother in the business is a great asset. “Having my mother work in my business, given her knowledge, is so helpful, but it is also a relationship based on trust, which is so important in business. Our personalities are different. She handles things I find are challenging, but that she enjoys and I do the opposite of her and it works out well.”
Ms. Collinson said sometimes it is a challenge to work for her son. “It’s hard, because I’m still his mother, but I have to respect his opinions and sometimes that means I have to keep my mouth shut, which is hard because I’m a type A personality.”
How do they make it work? Linda has these tips for other moms working for their kids.
1. Make sure you have compatible personalities. Just because you are family doesn’t mean you get along. If you can run errands successfully together, you can probably work together.
2. Exhibit professional respect. Make sure your child has had professional accomplishments before you start to work together. It makes it easier to respect him in the office as a boss, not your child.
3. Make sure you know everyone’s strengths. Myson and I are best at different things. This has been essential to Infusion Sciences’ success and our ability to communicate professionally.
4. Office time is not family time. We NEVER discuss family matters in the office or during office hours. That is the most important part – it is unfair to our employees and crosses the professional boundaries necessary for business success. This is the hardest thing to do as a mom. I must say – sometimes I don’t follow this.
5. Understand who has the final say. If there’s a disagreement on how to handle a situation, defer to your child’s opinion. This could be hard especially if your experience tells you it’s a poor decision, but recognize it’s his poor decision to make.
Do you have any more advice about working with adult children?
“Business” courtesy of arztsamui / www.freedigitalphotos.net
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