The Overzealous Sales Friend

fb-sellingI decided to update my original post, because a few interesting things happened since I wrote this. Instead of backing off, sales moms seemed to take this as a challenge! Like, “That person didn’t sell it right, no you really need this, here try mine.”

My original post follows, along with updates:

If all you do is post about your home business, I’ve probably already stopped following you. If you are a well-rounded status poster that sneaks it in there when relevant, then you and I can still be friends. (This is still true)

Jamberry wonder woman nail wraps
My fancy Jamberry Wonder Woman nail wraps

So unless I am actually interested in said business, right now I do not need any leggings, fitness shakes, essential oils, purses, sports drinks, cookware or expensive skincare. Nor am I interested in joining your team and spending all my time bugging my friends to buy my stuff. (OK, so I have to confess, I got sucked into Jamberry nail wraps. I even agreed to do a Facebook party. So I did actually bug all my friends to come to my “party” all so I could get some free Jamberry stuff. Will I do it again? No. I didn’t enjoy being a pushy salesperson. And of course I was invited to join the team. I cannot imagine doing that over and over. It’s just not my thing.)

Yes I understand plenty of you enjoy it and make good money doing it. I’m glad you guys have a passion for what you do. It’s just lately it seems like every time I meet a new mom, she wants to sell me something. I’m happy to hear your sales pitch once, get it out of the way, then let’s just be friends. (This seems about half and half. I have met some new moms who are cool about their sales jobs, but some are just overly wrapped up in it)

If you guys threw more parties and plowed me with alcohol, I’d be more into it. I did go to one R&F get-together because I was promised mimosas and I’d get to wash my face. (my needs are simple) My face felt great, but not “sign up for the monthly delivery program and spend just under $200,” great. I’d need WAY more mimosas to agree to that. (The only party I’ve been invited to so far was my own, and it was on Facebook. BTW, that is NOT what I meant by Party)

lipsense flygirl red
My new favorite LipSense in Fly Girl

To be honest, I really would like to try that LipSense stuff, but one girl I know selling it sent me a sample of a bland color and no gloss so I didn’t get how I was supposed to test it out if I couldn’t even follow the directions she sent with it that expressly said to use it only with their special gloss. All it did was feel weird, then dry and weird. I think someone should throw a LipSense party where we all try a bright color and then eat and drink different things to test out the staying power. That’s the sort of thing I’d be into. (A funny thing happened after posting this – a LipSense rep read it and contacted me. I was impressed by her ballsy approach and blatant disregard for my rant about leaving me alone and actually agreed to sample it again. Guess what? I loved it. I bought 3 tubes and later went back for more. I even briefly contemplated being a rep but decided not to add anything else to my very full plate.)

So this concludes my random rant about everyone pushing their agenda. You guys keep on pushing! Just, you know, not at me, lol. (As a side note, I actually admire those who can do the pushy sales thing. It’s not me. I’m more like, you want to buy this? Cool. You don’t? Cool. I’m much better at reviewing and presenting info. I’m more of a passive sales person.)

**P.S. – Just to be clear, I’m Not a rep, this post was not sponsored by anyone and the links go directly to the product website.

 

 

10 Steps to Starting a Business with No Money and No Debt

Three Muses Inspired Clothing
The Three Muses Boutique

I’m going to veer from my usual geek/parenting posts to talk about how I started my business without spending any money or taking on any debt. This is geared toward retail and craft business, but I think some of the principles could apply to any business.

I started Three Muses Inspired Clothing in 2005, after selling a bunch of my old costumes on eBay and discovering there was a market for what I do. By 2007 I quit my regular job and went full time with the costume business. In 2009 I opened a retail boutique, which I ran for 7 years. During that entire time, I was never in debt, I didn’t even owe money on a credit card. My business did well because I started with a good foundation. When I closed in 2016 it was because I wanted to focus on my family and new baby. And I knew if I wanted to do it again, I already knew how to get it started

So here’s the 10 steps I followed to create my business. This isn’t an overnight solution. It’s a long term method for people who are ready to get started working toward their goals instead of just talking about them and dreaming.

  1. Forget about the business plan. If I sat around trying to write a business plan then I may have never gotten started. My plan looked something like this: Make things, Sell them, Open store, Sell more things. Just know what you want to do, and start doing it in some small way.
  2. Stop asking for money and start earning it. When I went to the SBA, I was the only one in the room with 20k in the bank and actually ready to start a business. Everyone else was there to find out how to get funding and apply for loans. Now everyone wants to get quick money with crowdfunding. Wat happened to earning and saving for something you want?
  3. This is where the retail-specific advice starts – start selling on eBay (or some other well established sales site). Sell stuff you already have or stuff you make. Price it to sell. I sold my old costumes and then when I ran out of costumes I started pulling old clothes out and transforming them into costumes to sell. I also sold a lot of extra junk I had around the house. I started with eBay because it’s easy, you already have a ready audience and it doesn’t cost anything unless you sell something.
  4. Open a PayPal account and use it only for business. All sales go into the account and any purchases for the business should come out of that account, not your personal bank account.
  5. Reinvest that money into the business and don’t use it for anything else. In the future, don’t use credit cards if you can’t pay it off all at once.
  6. Use your time on the sales site to learn about your business- what sells, best pricing, how to ship, dealing with international sales, etc.
  7. When you move out of hobby mode and actually start making enough money to call it a business, then get legal. You can visit your local SBA for help on this. They will let you know what you need to do (business license, Tax ID, zoning, etc.) Once you have all the legal stuff squared away, you can open a business bank account.
  8. When you have your own customer base then move to your own website and start crafting your brand.
  9. Promote the hell out of yourself without spending a ton of money on advertising by going out and getting involved in the community. I made costumes so dressed up and went to conventions and handed out cards. I promoted my product by getting out and being seen and photographed wearing it.
  10. Keep saving and reinvesting. Make regular deposits from PayPal to your business bank account. Once you’ve saved up enough, start shopping for a place to open your store. (Or do whatever big business move you were saving up for) Congrats, goal achieved!

The unique thing about starting a business this way is that you should already have a successful web business by the time you make a big leap or big investment. So you have a safety net. My website floated my store for the first year. Then things evened out and by the end the store outsold the website. This is a totally unconventional method, but it worked for me so I figure it could work for others too. I wanted to share since I see so many people wanting to start a business but not making progress because they are too busy just looking for funding. It’s more rewarding to start working toward your goal and fund it yourself. Unless you need like a million dollars to get started building jumbo jets or something. Then yeah, you should probably start looking at funding and investors. lol.

Good Luck! And if you have a small biz you are trying to get going, feel free to advertise yourself in the comments 🙂

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Sew Geek Mama on Etsy

wonder woman child costume and accessoriesI closed my boutique and website but decided to keep my Etsy shop open because I really enjoy making things! I’ve been able to add a bit more to it now that Keelan is taking regular naps and sleeping well at night.

https://www.etsy.com/shop/SewGeekMama

I make a lot of Wonder Woman accessories and pieces people can put together to make their own costumes. After I had my son, I started making child size accessories too! The little Wonder Woman in the photo is a pic a customer sent to me. I would have loved something like that when I was little so it makes me really happy to be able to make them for other little girls now. I had to make due with cardboard and markers, lol.

Sew Geek Mama on Etsy
Sew Geek Mama on Etsy

I Don’t Know How to Not Work

I’m currently in the process of closing my business I’ve run for the past 11 years. I grew it from a little kitchen table eBay enterprise to a real brick and mortar boutique. It was something I dreamed about doing since I was little. I wanted to grow up and own a costume store, so that’s what I did.

I’ve always had my own business. I started at 6, coloring rocks and selling them door-to-door. I can only imagine if there was an Internet back then, I’d have a rock decor empire by now. I started this business making costumes myself and then expanded into retail and then manufacturing my own line of corsets and costume items.

I always said if I had a baby, I’d just keep right on working, and I did just that for the first year. In fact, I couldn’t wait to get back to work. Then a funny thing happened and I couldn’t wait to get back home. Instead of thinking about work all the time, I was looking at photos posted by the daycare and seeing my son playing, painting, learning and doing all the things I wanted to share with him. And here I was, stressing out over other people’s orders and watching my son grow through pictures.

So I decided to take on a new job. If I was going to be a stay at home mom, then darn it, I was going to embrace it and become CEO SAHM. And to do that, I needed to cut out all the distractions and close my store and main website. But, I also can’t stop doing what I love! So I will continue to make costume things for my Etsy shop when I can. I’m not pressuring myself to crank out a huge inventory, or take a lot of custom orders. I plan to just go back to making what I want and posting it for sale.

And if you happen to like costumes, corsets or cosplay – check out the site before I shut it down Dec. 15th. Everything is marked down below wholesale, and there is a still a good bit left:  www.3MusesBoutique.com