Sunday, June 5, 2011

My Reality of owning a Micro Business (Small Business)

Lilac Ave was born nearly 3yrs ago. At the time, I needed something for me, beyond Navy wife, mother, housekeeper, cook, financial planner, etc. It was also obvious with all our moves, having a self contained job could be beneficial. It would be a dream to make an income out of LilacAve.
Well here we are almost 3yrs later, and LilacAve has exceeded my expectations, and continues to grow. It is exciting and still brings on the happy dances when sales are good. However, the other side of the coin is exhaustion and hard work. However, I suppose this fits into the "hurts so good" category...because I love being busy. I cannot explain the pride you have from building a business, LITERALLY by hand.
LilacAve was born when we lived on Lilac Ave in Virginia. We returned to Virginia just a few weeks ago. I still have lots of friends in the Hampton Roads area....and many ask "Will you return to your old job?". I usually respond that I cannot imagine leaving my business, I have to see how the story ends.
However, I thought the following thought processes could be interesting for those looking to have their own blossoming business, or for people curious about what goes into a handmade business. It comes to mind because I have thought about...."Would I want to return to a corporate environment again?". These questions came to mind, after I've established I am a business, and now what? What's the outlook not just next year, but in 10yrs, 20yrs.
So here it goes, from my point of view...the good, the bad, the ugly:
The great stuff!!
  • I LOVE being able to be creative. And I don't just mean, making things pretty. I mean molding a business. Needing to think of how to keep the bar going up, to add new things, to keep the momentum going. And guess what??? I can try any, all, some, none of my ideas. They don't need approval, they don't have to succeed.
  • I love having a flexible schedule. I can meet a friend for lunch, volunteer to chaperone a kids field trip, take them to the Doctor, and no one to worry about being mad, if I need to call in sick if my kid is sick. I remember honestly asking myself when I worked in an office, "Is he/shesick 'enough'?"...and then the guilt of asking myself that question would kick in.
  • I get to work in my pajamas. 'Nuff said.
The not so good.
  • I work EVERY single day. Granted this is my choice. There are some days I work more than others. However there is not one day, I am not answering emails, promoting, working on orders, etc. I can say, I probably work more hours than I did working full time, and there is no paid vacation. It is hard work.
  • I miss having co-workers. It was always nice to have daily adult conversation at lunch every day, friendships, and of course someone to help when the workload is heavy. Luckily, I may have some volunteers soon that can help me with some aspects of my business during super busy times (bring it on holiday, we'll be ready....bring it on!!!!!)
  • I do miss having a steady paycheck, no matter what. Yes, sometimes business exceeds my goal; but it is definitely not a consistent thing. Some weeks can be slammed, and others not. Sometimes I can change absolutely nothing in how I'm doing business, and there are no sales....even though I am promoting, even if i have a sale, even if I am giving away stuff. There is just no real control over how much or how little business, I get. All you can do is do what you can, and hope there is a follow through.
  • No matching 401K at LilacAve. Luckily, our medical is covered by my husbands military career. However, I wonder, if this business becomes my forever long will I be doing it? Will I still be doing it 20yrs from now? 30yrs? When can I retire? Will i be contributing retirement pay for my husband and I? I can honestly say, all this was taken care of by my corporate career.
soybeans dreaming....weird that they don't dream of being a soy candle?!
I don't say this because I in any way, don't want to have my own business. I LOVE it. I love it like it is part of me. It IS part of me! I just say it, as there are things to think about. Truths about having a long term business, and the questions and thoughts that it may trigger.
I'm fully commited to figuring out some answers to the cons, but well knowing as business progresses, more questions will arise....but I plan to have the fortitude to surpass.

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