Meet Chrystal – a former high school teacher who is now a Barefoot Books Ambassador! Read on to get her full story.

“My kids LOVE helping me run my business, and as they get older, they’ll be allowed greater responsibilities.”

Name: Chrystal Smith

Family Stats: Mother and a former high school teacher. My husband of 10 years is in the network security field and my two boys are 6 and 3. I come from an extended family full of teachers and librarians!

Why Barefoot: I joined for a few different reasons:  the simplicity of the Ambassador model and the quality of the books.  Having simultaneously worked two telecommuting jobs at home with two kids under the age of four, I was perfectly happy quitting both jobs in the Summer of 2009 to focus my time on my family. We decided to home-school our children. I was drawn to Barefoot Books after seeing the books at a summer camp for gifted children because they were on my son’s emotional level without speaking down to him intellectually. Like any four-year-old, he craved picture books and imaginative stories. He was intimidated by chapter books, but he wanted picture books with elaborate vocabulary, complex sentence structures and the opportunity to explore topics in a deeper way.  I wasn’t looking for a business opportunity, but after hearing Eve Panzer [The Barefoot Librarian] talk about the Ambassador program, I was hooked!

Biggest Success Story: I love the freedom of having my own business because it fits nicely into our laid-back homeschooling lifestyle. I get to decide when and how much I’ll work. One of my most popular titles, and my personal favorite, is The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems.  Anytime someone says, “my kids are too old for these books,” I show them this book as an example of how Barefoot Books are great for all ages. Along with Shakespeare’s Storybook and The Adventures of Odysseus, I’ve sold several copies of The Barefoot Book of Classic Poems to college students and high school English teachers.

All in the Family: Every day is “take your kids to work day”! My kids LOVE helping me run my business, and as they get older, they’ll be allowed greater responsibilities.  My six-year-old comes with me to community events.  When people ask for book recommendations, he’s able to tell them which books he has read and which ones he liked best. My three-year-old likes to pop all the bubble wrap and help clean up the packaging mess when a new shipment arrives. Each new shipment is like Christmas morning, with paper and boxes strewn everywhere! As the boys get older, I’ll be able to use my business to teach them in a hands-on way about business management, economics, taxes, budgeting, and time management. I expect they’ll have a better grasp of business than many of their peers when they get out of college.

Top Tip: Now that I’m a Barefoot Books Ambassador, I’m constantly on the lookout for ways that I can fundraise for organizations. During 2011, I was able to donate thousands of dollars in cash and books to several non-profit organizations!


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