I have to say I am a lot farther along than I was a year ago. For that I am proud to be where I am right now, the shop looks like I have always dreamt of it to look, my soaps have transformed me and my life in a completely different journey that I have never before dreamt of. I am excited about my passion, determination and frustrations that I commonly feel on a daily basis now while running a business. I have gone from being a stay at home mom that cooked, cleaned, tutored kids, washed clothes, and was the main disciplinairy within my family. To now being an all business, worried about bills, never home, and 'cook? What's that mean' bottom line all about business person.
For me this past year has been filled with ups and downs, trials and tribulations, happy times, profiting times, to bottoming out and feeling like I've hit the brick wall type of business person. The person who is frustrated over family issues, emotionally exhausted, financially strapped to the bone and stressed out constantly about all the money and where it goes, from the business.
Being a business owner has taught me a lot, i've learned frustration, I've been humbled by flops and errors on my own behalf, I've learned the true meaning of passion, determination, and endurance, because without learning these things and truly understanding them you will not ever achieve a successful business. But one the feel good side of it, I've learned: accomplishment, success in what i love to do, and the direction I would like to continue. None of which I would have been able to do if I didn't take on the journey of being a business owner, and non of which would have mattered if I didn't know the true ups and downs of running this business this past year.
Here's a few tips and things I have learned when running your own business, some of the unatractive parts of it, but real reallity.
When you are your own boss, you cannot expect the day you open your doors, that people are going to flood your shop and buy buy buy from you. Now depending on where you are, if your like me a in a very small town there are a few things you should know. First off, you cannot depend on 'local sales' to carry you streadily throughout the year. Instead your going to HAVE to market yourself. Now from what I have learned you can get a radio add in a local radio station for between $6 per add to $20 per add (depending on IF your radio station has packages you can buy), now your add will run 4 times every day (at various am & pm hours). Or you could go tv and try a local tv station, get into their 'Buy Local' campaigne which includes a tv comercial a web page on their official site and comercial ads that run 70 times per month (this is based on their smaller packages). This type of advertising will cost you $500 - $3,000 per month depending on package size more ads run longer ads run etc.... There is always your local news paper(s), and these ads can run you $50-$125 per week....
Then you have the Credit Card Merchant Service Companies can make or break a new business. Since the first of this year alone my fees have went from 10% of my credit card sales to 20% of my credit card sales is taken monthly from my total credit card merchant service company (which we are currently looking into another service). A 'Knuckle Buster' (the old fashioned paper slide the card to umprint on a piece of paper reciept like) will cost you $20 (if your company doesn't want to give you a brand spanken new one). OR you can buy a swipe machine, but remember these terminals wil cost you anywhere from $150-$1000 (again depending on the type of machine you want), then you have to add in adding a phone line now, add in another $35 per month, plus the merchant company you are using has an additional fee just for swiping the card usually $.25 - $.75 per transaction (that means per card number that crosses the line, and if you are calling them in your charged more like $.65 (like me) just to call in each credit card that comes through the door) off the top! Then there is the %'s that fluctuates and can be as high as 30%, mine doubled since the first of the year, so we are shopping around at this point.
Listen, I did not start this out to complain about the shop now that we are a year into it, I'm writing this because not only do small businesses not get appreciated and cherished like they should, they do not get many breaks, if you own a small business it is the most grueling work you have ever done. You work all day long into the night, you're paying out to nearly everyone and their brother, and you are so drained both creatively and emotionally, you have to have the passion to go back and open those doors every single day.
I would like to give all Micro & Small Businesses Owners my hats off to you, one never knows what it truly takes to open those doors every single day, some days knowing that we are not even going to meet our daily essentials in sales, but we sit down with each individual person and give them the individual attention that makes us stand out as shop owners.
For all those that are just starting or thinking about opening their own real brick and morter shop, I say in all honesty and from what I now know, you have to have a lot of passion, determination, and endurance to love and nurture the growth and development of a small business. It's a journey that you have to learn to overcome your own obsticles and fears.