CW Post University - M.S. Education
Not many people get to say a big part of their job involves playing with toys every day, but in Jacki Delaney’s role as a senior leader for Discovery Toys she’d call it critical market research. Founded in 1978, Discovery Toys is a direct sales company that brings educational, multi-sensory toys right to your doorstep. For Jacki, a former teacher and mother of three, the company’s combination of developmental nourishment and entrepreneurship fit her perfectly.
Thousands of happy kids and 22 years later, that fit has grossed nearly $400,000 in sales for Jacki. While it’s certainly been monetarily rewarding, the real benefits aren’t necessarily so tangible. “The joy on a child’s face when they ‘discover,’ … helping others realize their goals [and] …witnessing the personal growth,” all make it worth the hard work, she says.
Read on to discover why we’re pretty sure there’s no question that Jacki would “hire herself again” every day.
Each day, ask yourself if you would hire yourself again based on how well you worked that day.
How did you discover your current job?
I was introduced to Discovery Toys products as a young teacher. At the time, I made a mental note that when I had children they would have these toys. Several years later, after giving birth to three sons and hosting a couple of home parties, I decided to join the company to get the products for my family at a discount.
I stayed with Discovery Toys for 22 years because I feel that anyone who has children in their lives should know about DT and the things its products can do for children. I’ve also enjoyed many benefits, including extra income for college, great friendships and even taking my hubby on incredible vacations that I’ve earned — just for doing my job! Perhaps the greatest benefit is that Discovery Toys helped my husband and I to raise three awesome young men who were honor students, scholarship earners and successful in many ways.
What responsibilities do you have in your role?
I play and familiarize myself with the products. I help customers choose the perfect gift or “learning fun” tool according to the age, ability and needs of the children they are shopping for. I provide proven strategies and tips to hostesses to help them have a successful event. I help schools and educational programs choose appropriate products to meet the learning and developmental needs of the children they serve. And finally, I provide training and support to team members to help them meet their goals. Basically, for someone considering Discovery Toys as a business opportunity it comes down to three things: Be sure you love and use the products, share the products with others, and then find others who want to share the products.
What is your favorite aspect of your job?
It’s hard to pick one, but the joy on a child’s face when they “discover” – or a parent or educational program telling me how their children have benefitted – is so rewarding. I also love helping others realize their goals and believe in recognizing them for their achievements. I then enjoy witnessing the personal growth, success and other benefits they experience.
What challenges keep you awake at night?
I don’t usually have restless nights, but I’m often thinking about how to expand my business to better meet the needs of my customers, hostesses and team members. I also think about ways to successfully utilize social media and other modern technologies to serve the needs of the contemporary customer.
Is work/life balance ever a problem with you? If so, what is one no-fail tactic you use to create balance?
Yes, it is. I don’t know if I have one no-fail tactic, but setting a daily activity goal helps me to know that I’ve done my job for the day. I also make a list the night before with what I want to accomplish the next day in the areas of Family, Business, Personal and Home.
Was there ever a moment in your career where you’ve thought, “I made it!” What was it?
When I earned my first incentive trip, which was to Maui!
What are some of the rules you live by?
Love God and neighbor, the Golden Rule, be honest, and make a difference in the world, especially for children.
What do you feel is the biggest challenge women face in the workplace?
In my careers in both the educational field and with Discovery Toys, I have worked mainly with women, so I don’t have much experience with challenges women may face in a male-dominated profession. The biggest challenges I’ve faced is occasional drama that comes up between co-workers or team members due to misunderstandings, personality styles, unkindness, etc.
What advice would you give to someone considering a home-based business?
Don’t quit. Set goals and work consistently toward them. You are your own boss, so set your own flexible work hours, but be sure not to flex yourself out of business. It works, when you work. Each day, ask yourself if you would hire yourself again based on how well you worked that day.
What one piece of advice do you wish you could tell a 21-year-old version of yourself?
Believe in yourself and follow your dreams. Know there are no limitations in what you can achieve.