Monthly Archives: August 2011

How not to do business

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In 2008 I started a business from home with the sole intention of being able to send our eldest to a bougie preschool. The seed for the business had already been planted before he started there, but once we got the first tuition bill…I started watering that seed with a vengeance. Fast forward three years. It’s 2am in my basement workshop, the hubs has finally given up and gone to bed, I hear the soft snores of sleeping children on the monitor, and I’m crying my eyes out.

Before this grand adventure started, I read a book for women entrepreneurs. “Just do it!” they proclaim. “Who needs a business plan?” they shout. “You are not a man, don’t do business like one!” they cajole. All of this assumes, of course, that you have some common sense. The book was full of quizzes. Guess there should have been one to check for that. But no, a license to do business and collect sales tax asks nothing of the sort, so off I go to recklessly endanger our personal financial security and my sleep requirements. Out of business and a few grand behind with a near-perfect product languishing on the basement shelves, I now know why having at least a shadow of a business plan and possibly taking my husband’s advice now and then could have saved my sweet little business from it’s untimely demise.

Lest you try this yourself unprepared, here are a few of my errors for your edification and amusement:

  • Not taking on a partner or an assistant when my working hours began to encroach upon my cookie-decorating and play-doh creation time with E. By the time I took on an assistant, I was drowning in orders and personal drama.
  • Not taking maternity leave. I actually took an order on the website from the hospital the day after having the baby. Why I had to make myself feel like a superhero, I don’t know, but it wasn’t worth it and probably contributed to a little undiagnosed but very real PPD.
  • Thinking that paper business records and receipts mingled with grocery lists and school forms would eventually just make their way chronologically into labeled binders. Paper doesn’t file itself, people.
  • Refusing to use my iphone for scheduling, note taking or anything other than texting or TMZ, really. Although this wouldn’t have solved most of my real problems, it would have kept me more organized which is half the battle for me.
  • Using 10+ supply vendors at a time.
  • Devoting myself to a product with 17 separate components that was completely non-mobile and had to be done entirely in my basement. (Why didn’t I take up knitting or embroidery or something else with fewer parts that I could do in the car or in line somewhere?!)
  • Being so excited to add new stores (the total got up to 11, plus a few one-offs here and there) that I would fulfill ridiculous requests and accept unfavorable terms to keep them happy and stay on their shelves.
  • Doing it all by myself, all the time. I didn’t let SB in on the technique for wrapping a paper label around a candle jar until way too late. He was always willing but I held those trade secrets too close to the vest for too long.
  • Trying too hard to keep the price low. My goal from the outset was to sell a product that I would buy. Well, I would buy it all right, and so would the thousands of people who actually did. Problem was, by not pricing it right and being unwilling to raise it as necessary, I dug my own waxy grave.

This is/was the story of my home business, may it rest in peace. It will resurrect when the guys are both in school and I have more time to devote to its success, but with a structured approach and a seasoned businesswoman at the helm. Wonder where I’ll find her?

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How to handle a hurricane

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We had an interesting week. Earthquake, hurricane, tornado. None got too close for comfort, but they all had the same question for us: “You wanna piece of me?” I didn’t just use that line so I could quote Britney, or maybe I did.

I’m no expert, but here’s how we got through it:

Step 1: Bring everything inside. Yep, put her right there in the dining room. Automatic seating for 12.

Step 2: Color. A lot. Involve everyone. Don’t let anyone off the hook. Someone find the dog and wrap his paw around a Crayola. I don’t care if he doesn’t have thumbs…he’s not getting off that easy.

Step 3: Make marshmallows. This could be the 2nd least veg-friendly food in the world, right after filet mignon. However, they worked and E was ecstatic. Their ethereal beauty and fluffy goodness took my breath away (or it could have been the cloud of powdered sugar) but next time I’d like to conquer them free of gelatin and refined sugar. Who’s ready for a challenge?

Step 4: Watch a movie. Or for LB, watch 45 seconds of something, then remember that you are a baby and have better things to do that are actually recommended by the AAP for someone your age.

Step 5: Notice that you are wearing matching pajamas. Challenge offender to a duel.

Step 6: Cry.

There you have it. Six easy steps to hurricane survival. At least, when you live nowhere near water yet the news people and the mayor have you looking for your will and sleeping with your ID in your shoe and you spend 48 hours together in the house, stocked up with 3 weeks worth of bread and water…and homemade marshmallow ingredients.

Hooray, we made it! Hope you fared as well.

Evanisms

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An early Sunday morning conversation between Evan and Mommy (who is still in bed):

E: “Wake up! According to my clock, it’s time to get up.”

Me: “What time is it?”

E: “It’s 8 o’clock.”

(Fast forward 10 minutes. I oblige, we get up and go downstairs.)

Me: “E! It’s only 7:30!”

E: “I know, but this is what time I get up for school, and since it’s getting close I need to start getting used to it.”

Me: stunned silence

Really? He played me big time. He’s only been on this planet 4.75 years, but his reasoning, time-telling and manipulation skills (among others) are just ridic.

Hello Stranger!

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So, yeah, I’m doing this! Because I like to talk. And, at the risk of further wearing out any ears that I want to continue to have listen to me (you know who you are), I chose a new audience and that is you. Congratulations! I call this “Hello Stranger” because I haven’t discussed/dissected my intention to blog to anyone lately, so if you are reading this, you probably found me on accident and are probably a stranger. It’s nice to meet you, and congratulations again!

I’ve been writing in my head for about forever, but nothing seemed significant important cool interesting “enough” to make me unearth the laptop and create the first post. (Where did I last SEE that thing? And how do I use it again? *blows off the dust*) If it’s not entirely mobile, I’m not dealing with it these days. But because the semi-organized thoughts were interesting to my internal audience I will at least list the most recent posts that never made it from the brain through the fingertips:

  • I am that mom
  • Makeup at the gym
  • The happiest sad
  • Organic Glitter
  • What husbands are good for
  • What husbands are good for, parts 2-infinity
  • WTF
  • WTF, parts 2-infinity
  • Bringing judgmental back
  • Geminiacal
  • Talking to myself
  • Paralyzed by choice
  • Coffee High

Coffee High is what brings us to today. After a 24 hour juice & miso detox, I was left with a headache and disappointment. Not that I won’t try it again, but really, did I just consume the juice of 12 organic carrots in one sitting for nothing? At the least, I expected to be able to read in the dark last night. Where was the light-on-my-feet sensation that was supposed to make me click my heels like a happy leprechaun on crack this morning? Didn’t have it, so I gave in to the coffee. Now THAT took me a few feet off the ground and straight to the computer to bang out some virtual therapy.  Pass the turbinado.

So, blogosphere, here I come. Secretly at first, and then like a 4-year-old kid, all boisterous and junk. Because coming in under the radar is so not my style. And so I leave you with the words of The Game, “…I ain’t goin’ nowhere, so betta get ta know me…” G-Unit!