Sunday, January 14, 2007
Women Who Are their Own Boss
I am now involved in teaching at our local Southern Oregon Community College (SWOC) here in Brookings, Oregon. My goal is to give my students the tools they need to be successful at whatever level they choose with an eBay business.
I am interested in teaching both men and women, but my passion is to give women the tools who have dreamed of being their own boss. Men seem to have been able to do this forever! I believe we can turn a simple plan into a successful business. There are many women who have already done this. It doesn't have to apply only to an eBay business. It is just something that I am familar with and I feel I have the skill to share tips on how to do eBay well. Ebay can be a jumping point...jumping into a million dollar website business or getting your feet wet to feel secure in opening a real store. These skills are transferable to any business plan.
If you are considering becoming independent in your own life by owning a business, you must already know whether you have what it takes to get up each and every day, stay on track and get the needed work done. For some of us, it is much easier if someone else is the task master. Even though I think I can work for myself, I often find it easy to talk too much on the phone, go from task to another only to find that I didn't complete something that was very important that day to finish. I can work 12 hours sometimes and find that it was 12 hours of doing many things and leaving out an important item like completing my bookwork. Bookwork is not my love.
You need to really look inside to define a dream that you have. What do you love to do. Some of us would love scrapbookings or making sweaters. Research those fields that you preceive as a love of yours to see what actually is happening. Can you get a fair price for a home-made sweater? Can you sell greeting cards that you have made or albums? You might go in another direction with your love by distributing yarn that you love, knitting patterns or other tools that are involved with that passion of yours. Greeting cards may sell for pennies, but what about die cutters for those intricate detailed flowers to punch out? Scrapbooking supplies may be a more profitable direction to take. Zero in on what you think may be a viable business and then research all you can. Visit similar businesses on the net or brick and motar shops. You may be able to provide a needed service such as dog sitting or teaching like I do. You need to become familar with the going rates in your area. Be as obsessive about this research as you are about your passion. I'd like to become as obsessive about my business details as I am about chocolate!
Working out of the home sometimes seems a good way to cut corners, but beware! Check up about the legal implications facing you. Can you run a business out of your home where you live? Can clients come to see you legally? Do you need a business license? I believe you will sleep much better if you follow the rules. Call your insurance man to see about a rider on your policy to cover any liabilities, get the health department involved if you are going to actually mix up some wonderous yummy to sell. Do your homework, check your list twice and sleep well.
Now, here is the boring stuff: You have to crunch the numbers to see if you should even go into your dream. Fill out a form showing what all your expenses are going to be before you spend a bunch of money and find your purse empty and your business still not going anywhere.
Get hold of the state where you live to make your name safe from being used by others. If you have put a lot of thought into what to call yourself, you sure don't want someone else globbing onto it! Buy a domaine name using that same name. Now, you have to search to see if the name is even available. But don't worry, there will be choices to make very close to your original thought that will work and be available. The internet can do both these task for you. I know because I was there looking. You may not think you want a webpage and so you don't purchase that domain name only to find out later that it is gone and you can't have it when you finally get around to it and it will be too late to change your business name. You want them to match if at all possible.
Depending on how complex your business is, a business plan can be just a few notes or it may be completely detailed. The difference is if you need to borrow money. Lenders want to see details. There is lots of information on www.ASBDC-US.org for lots of free advice. Line up your seed money. It may be just a few dollars because you already own your computer, but you will need business cards etc. www.vistaprint.com is continually offering great prices and some free items. They do a good job and they are inexpensive. They even have an electronic business card that you can paste at the bottom of every email to brand yourself. Notice the picture that I have used up at the top. I have used www.irfan.com which is a free picture service to write my name across the picture. No matter where that picture shows up, it has my web address. Someone may see it, get their interest perked and I might make a sale. www.irfan.com makes it easy to get the size above plus thumbnails with just a few steps. You need those thumbnail pictures for a website shopping cart.
Branding is very important. You want people to know it is you just by recognizing your logo, your colors and your business name. Use the same colors, designs, and logos on EVERYTHING and ANYTHING. If you are not that good at graphics, check out websites that can help you do logos. Hire that web designer that can see your vision. I am very happy with my web designer. She could see into my dreams! My webpage is www.winchuckriverstore.com. Now, when you see my website, don't you feel like you are visiting me? That's what I wanted - a warm inviting touchy feely trustworthy place to shop where my customers felt surrounded with things I love. I wanted to be like my favorite shop with the restriction of really not having a shop. I am only on the net. My dream was to have that place where my customers would come in to chat, shop and sit down in a comfy chair for a cup of tea. That wasn't a rational thought, so I tried to make it a make-believe place instead....but you could still shop. I could still make money!
Setting up a workplace can be a challenge especially when it is in your home. I am constantly battling my internet mess! I am sure some of you will be much better at this aspect of the business than I am!
Now that you are set up, you have those business cards piled up in your purse, get out there and talk, talk and talk some more. Teach a class on your passion, sell at a craft fair, network at the gym, bake cookies for the local hospital or nursing home and send a press release out that your business does this every month on the 15th or whenever. I'm sure that you can think of many ways to spread your news. I have just recently submitted an article to my local newspaper with a story about my new internet store, www.winchuckriverstore.com. Hey, it is new. It is a new business and the community needs to know!
If you have ideas to add to this blog, please submit them. I will always be extremely pleased if I can share your stories. I will help you spread your word about your business.
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We blog about our rural area in the Pacific Northwest . This blog is all about my life and the places where my mind wonders from day to day. Have fun reading and looking at pictures. We welcome comments.
Be sure to watch, just above this blurb, my husband, Jim, using his 10 foot hands-free electric fishing kayak
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Be sure to check out the separate blog to find out about our electric kayak, Kingfisher 10! You can find the blog at http://electrickayakkingfisher-10.blogspot.com . You can also read the features list on this kayak and purchase building plans and building kits at www.winchuckriverstore.com .
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- The Clark Family on the Winchuck River
- We moved to our current home on the Wild River Coast of Southern Oregon from San Jose, CA. Our family consist of Jim and Karen, two dogs and two cats. Karen's passion is gardening. Jim's obsession is building electric powered fishing kayaks and fishing.