In September, Embassy Asuncion hosted an EFM Business Day under the auspices of AAFSW. Five business owners in the community shared their products and services on the compound during the lunch hour. The event was organized to share information about AAFSW, promote business owners in the Foreign Service community, and to specifically highlight businesses at post.
To encourage participation, the business owners raffled off their products and services and served a great selection of tasty treats.
Business owners included Kristen Carpenter, who sells Beachbody and Shakeology products. She shared samples and success stories sent in by her clients. April Marcus is the brew-master for an independent brewing company, Brewjas Brewing, which she helped start. She shared tastes of their most popular brews and sold kegs and individual beers. Stephanie Hough is a certified gentle sleep coach, educator in infant massage, and founder of DreamSafeKids. Samantha Grillos shared products from Usbourne books and Rodan and Fields, her beauty products line. Finally, Leah Evans exhibited sample American-History-Boxes from her business, www.afterschoolplans.com.
In addition, business owners from around the world sent sample products and flyers to promote their businesses in the community. A large poster with the flyers encouraged participants to take a closer look and hopefully purchase from fellow Foreign Service family members whenever possible.
While it can be challenging to get the word out about EFM businesses, supportive Community Liaison Offices make a tremendous difference. The Management section and CLO office in Asuncion are extremely supportive of home-based businesses and happy to share information and promote events. The CLO office helped set up the event and encouraged participation from the embassy community.
An important part of the event was sharing information about AAFSW and their remarkable commitment to promoting and encouraging EFM Business owners. AAFSW maintains the EFM Business Directory on their webpage. They also manage the EFM Business Owners Facebook page where participants share ideas, ask questions, and encourage each other. AAFSW volunteers recently shared profiles of business owners with the larger community through social media and are open to other ideas and suggestions.
Home-based businesses provide a way for EFMs to create and maintain a sustainable career that can endure transitions and challenging posts throughout years of constant change. Support from the community is critical, and hosting EFM Business Days at post is one way to get the word out and support your EFMs.