Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Becoming an entrepreneur, without quitting your day job!

Going off on your own, either as a full time or part time entrepreneur, may be your best career move. It puts you in the driver seat to manage your own time, it opens the door for unlimited earning potential and to opportunities a nine to five doesn’t allow for. You also open yourself up to more work opportunities as new business trends show corporations increasingly hiring independent contractors to work on short term projects instead of bringing on full time employees. This helps companies save by needing less office space, not paying for unproductive time spent by employees at their desk and by not having to provide healthcare and other benefits.

If you are not really sure what business to start don’t worry too much, realize you don’t need to invent the new Facebook. Don’t make the mistake of thinking that you need to come up with something completely original to build up from scratch. Evaluate your dreams, interests and what you are naturally good at and start brainstorming from there. I myself made this mistake, while having a solid background in fashion retailing I kept trying to start businesses that did not have anything to do with clothes. Once I finally circled back and combined my love for vintage with my retail experience I started a little online boutique that I now run full time.

Think small, yes we are told to dream big (and you should) but when starting out a new venture, specially while still at your day job, small steps are what will get the ball rolling. There is a lot less risk involved in starting small, you need to allow time to test out your ideas before jumping full force into your new business. If you are interested in fashion a small step would be opening a little online shop or starting a for profit style blog. Once your new project moves beyond a hobby you can start researching how to officially register your business and set up formal bookkeeping practices. Only do this after you already have something that works, you do not want to waste your time formalizing something to later realize that is is not truly your passion.

Make the time. You will want to start your business on the side while still gainfully employed somewhere, this means you need to carve out time on nights and weekends. Schedule your time and make it a priority, it may be a slow start but once the ball is rolling the momentum will keep you going. Realize that creating something for yourself outside of your nine to five will elevate your confidence and open up doors for you. To keep you going I suggest having a personal mantra, positive words of wisdom keeps in line when I feel discouraged. While you take the time to collect your own inspirational words of wisdom you can meditate on one of my personal favorite old sayings “You can never get rich working for someone else”.

Friday, July 10, 2015

My self employment story part 2

This is the second part of my self employment journey. I left you where I had just started making money on Amazon selling a few things I bought at Kmart - so unglamorous. After I had success making a couple of dollars on Amazon and was actually making 'money' I felt amazing, like a switch went off that re-assured me that 'yes! you can make money'. However scanning things for Amazon got old fast, and not only that but going to big box stores, that was the real bore to me. I don't really frequent those places regularly so it was not very fun to be there.

Just around that time my partner and I went thrift shopping to buy things for ourselves and our home. When I was at the thrift store my wheels started turning and I thought to myself 'these clothes are so cheap, maybe I can buy a few tops and sell them on Etsy?'. I did that! Etsy was kind of a pain at first, the learning curve is not very steep but it is more on the annoying side of things. You need to learn how to write exciting descriptions, take good photos, price your items right, etc. Very slowly I started getting some sales. Soon I discovered the podcast Scavenger Life, they are eBay resellers who make a living selling unique vintage goods on eBay, they really helped me become more of a machine and build up my business.

Listening to the Scavenger Life podcast kept me going, soon I realized that to sell more I would need to have more items listed. Sounds pretty simple right? I took my store up to about 150 items before I quit my full time job, and not it sits at around 400. I plan to bulk this up before the holiday season! I am able to make a living from my Etsy shop now and it is awesome!

If you are interested in opening up your own Etsy shop you can get 40 free listings by signing up using my referral link: http://etsy.me/1MRPlSs .


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

My Self Employment Story Part 1

I have wanted to have my own business, however the road to the dream was a long journey to actually get to something that paid all the bills. I want to share my story to hopefully encourage you to keep going out and trying new things if you also strive to have your own little (or large) business.

About 6 years ago I decided that I wanted to open my own vintage store, because I have always been interested in vintage clothing I figured it was a the business for me. In my early 20s I suffered deeply from impatience, I thank the heavens I now don't have such a bad case of it. At the time I was in no position to open a brick and mortar store, I took to the internet to research. It seems like at the time information was a lot harder to come by, I don't remember stumbling upon any blogs or sites for entrepreneurs. I ended up buying a book on Amazon that was directed towards women and the title went something like 'Start your own lady business'. Well this book was way too vague and the only thing I got out of it was that I needed to save money to open my business. I wrote down a goal and put it up on my wall 'save $5,000 to open my vintage store'.

Since at the time I had a long way to go before I got to that 5k, I decided to list a few things I had on Etsy and start selling there. I did a big old photo shoot and had my brother help me list the items up. At the time I was working 60+ hours per week and felt too overwhelmed and impatient to do it myself. He listed the items and I sold a few things, unfortunately I never kept up with it which I am now kicking myself for. Fast forward a few years and I discovered the 48 Days Dan Miller Podcast. I love this podcast and I believe it is one of the best ones out there to start listening to, it gives business ideas but it is not solely online businesses, which in my opinion helps you think through your options a little more.

I have been listening to this podcast every since 2009 and have tried to start a few business from the ideas I heard but none of them panned out, this was very frustrating. I tried to start a dry cleaning pick up and delivery business, a resume help business, a personal finance blog and nothing was working. I attempted to start a sustainable home decor business in late 2013, fortunately at this point I was maturing a bit as a person and my newfound patience was helping me a lot. The business did not work but I had taken this one further than any of the others. I remember just feeling so much frustration, it seems that everywhere I just kept hearing success stories from people who started their own business, and here I was, trying for so long and had yet to make a dime.

Finally on a Sunday afternoon which was a day off from work I plugged in and listened to a podcast I only listened to every once in a while. It was Pat Flynn interviewing a couple who sold full time on Amazon FBA. This podcast changed my life. It told me exactly what to do, download an app, go to the store and scan things, see what items sell for a lot more on Amazon, take them home and send them to amazon. Finally an extremely easy blue print. I did just that, the very next day I was at a KMart scanning and scanned a mason jar tumbler that was on sale for $3.14 and amazon sold it for $15. Bingo! I bought about 10, brought them home and followed the steps. A week or so later and they started to sell. This was pure joy! Finally I was making money on my own.

In the next post I will discuss how I actually got to my current business.