Thursday, September 22, 2011

Owning A Business Isn't All Roses

I've had more than one person tell me they wish they could own their own business. Well, I have to say this - no they don't. Believe me, they don't. Not unless they know that the business they are opening is going to be a surefire hit with consumers, they don't.

Why do I say this? Well, for starters, my business has been open for almost three years. Yes, you read that correctly, almost three years. In that three years I have sold: 3 baby blankets ($80 total), 6 bracelets ($97 total), 6 pair of earrings ($6 total), 2 bookmarks ($13 total), 3 hats ($20 total), and 2 washcloths ($10 total). So in three years I have made exactly $226. I have paid out far more than that for materials, listing fees (eBay and Etsy), and monthly subscription fees (ArtFire).

I have purchased items for display purposes for craft shows. I have spent more money than I've made. In fact, I pay taxes for being "self-employed" even when I don't make enough to be taxed for regular income taxes. In short, I pay more than I bring in.

Owning your own business isn't all roses. If you don't have the time or the money to put into it, you might as well forget it. I learned the hard way - you can't just open a shop on Etsy, ArtFire, eCrater, or whoever, and expect it to just sell without having to work at it. You have to promote your shop(s). You have to get your name out there and make sure people see you and know you are there.

You  have to network. Twitter, Facebook, even MySpace. Possibly LinkedIn as well. Blogs and websites are good as well. Email and instant messengers if you can manage them as well are good.

Lately I've been trying to promote my Etsy shop as much as I can for as little money as I can. Why? Because I don't have a day job to back me up. I do freelance writing, which garners me some money to use to pay Etsy fees and the like, but I don't have much.

Am I trying to scare people away from opening their own shops? Not at all. I'm just hoping they'll read this and be prepared for some tough times ahead.

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