Thursday, February 23, 2012

5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Opened Shop (and 5 things I Know Now)

Alison Little from aPearantly Sew asked me to share with her readers the 5 things I wish I knew when I opened my shop. After I got done with that list (which was harder than I thought it would be), I decided to make a second list of what I want all of you to know if you're going to open your own shop {{or have your own shop}}. I just wanted to share my heart and my knowledge after being a business owner for the past 9 years!

circa 2007 - 4 years after I opened shop - how things change!
5 Things I Wish I Knew When I Opened Shop:
1. that "overnight" success could take a while. I started my shop back in 2003 and it wasn't until 2011 that I was able to do it full-time where it generated enough income to quit my job.
2. that there is so much more to pricing than just doubling cost (or tripling). You have to factor in promotions, shipping materials, business cards, fees, etc. There is so much to factor in when pricing to still generate a profit that values your time.
3. how competitive and ruthless it can be. There are critical, negative people out there. You have to not dwell on the negativity and do what you were created to do.
4. how rewarding and supportive it can be. Among the small pocket of negativity, there is a LOT of positive, encouraging, uplifting business owners out there willing to help.
5. that what I love, others might not. It always amazes me when I come up with a product that I think is SO fabulous, then it doesn't sell. And then other items that I'm so-so about and it sells like crazy. Everyone has different tastes!

5 Things I Know Now That I Want YOU to Know:1. You don't have to go into debt to start a business. I started my business on $150 and have never carried ANY debt. Sell, reinvest, sell, reinvest. You don't have to have huge debt to be successful.
2. Don't let anyone else steal your joy (see #3 above). There is a small pocket of negative people that like to criticize and nitpick. Ignore them. Stay joyful. Keep doing what you love. If comparison is a struggle for you, take a break from social media and unfollow those people that bring you down.
3. Don't be afraid to learn new things. Trends are always changing. Don't be afraid to change up the look of your products or try new things. Sometimes ideas fail, that's okay. You'll never know until you try.
4. Encourage and help others. I'm not saying give away trade secrets, but as you learn and grow, share that knowledge. Encourage new business owners who are just starting out. Network and support other businesses. Give them a shout out on your Facebook or Twitter. Spread the love.
5. Customer service is KEY. This may be #5, but it is probably the most important. Customer service is super important to me. I hope that each customer I interact with (whether or not they're happy or not-so-happy about their purchase) feels my kindness and willingness to help in every email or Tweet I send out. I see so many business owners to publicly tweet negativity toward customers and who wants to support a business like that? Remember, word of mouth is one of the best forms of publicity...what do you want your customers to say about YOUR business?

What tips do you have for us?


  1. These are great tips! Thanks for sharing!

  2. I love love love these tips!! It is nice to know that it never happens over night - i need to be reminded of that DAILY!! :)

  3. Thanks for these tips! its so important to realize that not everyone is going to like everything you do or love and that it wont happen are the one who has to love it the most! thanks again

  4. Great insights, Amy and your positive and upbeat attitude about your life and business are inspiring!

  5. i love this! thank you so much for sharing!

  6. this was so humbling to read - and i love your items! this similar philosophy has been on my mind lately, so thanks for the encouragement - to find out and do what i love. :)


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