Saturday, 22 November 2014

Self-Employment, By Request

It's a snowy Saturday morning, I've had a toasted bacon sandwich for breakfast, and shortly I'll go to work. I won't move an inch.

I'm a great supporter of women being "traditional" if they choose to be, if finances permit, and staying at home to do domestic stuff. I did it for almost 30 years. I loved it. My kids loved it. My husband loved it. Happy home, tended garden, home cooking, and Martin was especially keen on the not having any domestic jobs to do like most modern men have to. Let's be honest, my family life is a wee bit idyllic.

However, my youngest child is now 18 years old. It became clear a few years ago that despite the entire family enjoying this idyll, it was hard to justify in a modern setting, and extra money would be nice. I had been selling stuff online for many years, but one day I just decided to think of it as a full-time business.

I invested all of $70 into it. (This is important, as you'll see in a bit.) I took it very seriously and devoted at least 8 hours a day to creating jewellery, phographing it, listing it online, and then re-investing the proceeds to purchase more beads and findings, to make more. Rinse and repeat.

About 18 months ago I noticed that when I sold beads and findings as is, they sold very fast. The profit was also higher, as I spent less time on these sales, just counting things into bags. So I also opened a supply shop on Etsy. It's doing very well. Between the higher priced jewellery sales, and the high volume supply sales, it really IS a full-time business these days. Looked at as an hourly rate for a 40 hour week (I actually work about double that!), I'm now earning more than most of my friends, and I don't have to go anywhere to do it. I'm still investing most of what I earn back into my business, but there are all sorts of treats coming out of it too.

I have expansion plans, and how. I can no longer do it all by myself, and Tom is my able assistant. If/when he pootles off to college I'll need a replacement, but Rhiannon is also heavily involved, she just needs to move closer. It's all in the plans.

The person who asked me to write this did so, because of one comment I made privately, which was "OK, I'm going to do my favourite morning thing now, see how much money I made as I was sleeping". She came right out with it and said TELL ME HOW! So here I am. Here's how.

First find something you love. LOVE. Passionately. You'll be spending an awful lot of time doing it. If it's something you MAKE, get really good at it. Study hard. Know it inside out. Practice. Be an expert. If it's something you simply buy and sell, then know your product intimately. Study its history. Find reliable and economical suppliers. Study the mail service. Learn about customs. Find good local packaging resources.

Then buy one chicken. No, don't, but follow the principle.

Buy one chicken, sell it, buy two chickens. Sell them, buy four chickens. Eat one, sell 3, buy 6 chickens. Eat one, sell 5, buy 10 chickens. And so on. That's the principle.

When I do my taxes in 2015 I have to declare my business assets. My conservative estimate in beads alone is $10,000. I'm still trying to calculate the rest. Remember, I started with $70.

Yes, of course, there has been a few hundred thrown in now and again since then that was not business income, but there's also been plenty paid out, so it waaaaaay more than covers it. It certainly cancels it out.

It didn't happen overnight, and it was a lot of work. And? Patience, diligence, and hard work never hurt anyone.

In return I have NO BOSS, my co-worker is my cherished child, my hours I pick and choose, the weather can bite me, I'm doing what I love, while multi-tasking on and offline (soup, anyone?), and listening to my choice of music. It's a dream job.

Is it secure income? HELL NO! There are many factors that could screw it up for me in an instant, but life's like that anyway. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

Need more details? I'm right here, I'll share. Can you have a franchise? Not a fucking chance, LOL.


  1. That's how I grew my saddle restoration and re-selling business. I started with £20 and by the time my then partner drank all the profits, it was worth around £200.

  2. Thank you for sharing your winning formula. It is a blessing to be able to work from home. Now if I can only find the 'what...' ;) With you as such an exemplary coach, one cannot help but be enthused. Continued success in all you do, and with your eventual expansion plans. ~ Blessings! :)

  3. I am not a maker or crafter but have repeatedly extolled you as an example to artisan friends. You ROCK.

  4. I am happy for you and so incredibly jealous at the same time. I am so proud of you!