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Topic: Women's Small Business

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Len S. (lens) - , - PaperBackSwap Team
Subject: Women's Small Business
Date Posted: 7/23/2007 4:58 PM ET
Member Since: 12/21/2006
Posts: 797
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August is recognized as Women's Small Business Month in the United States. Do any of our female members run small businesses? What do you consider the biggest advantages and disadvantages of owning your small business? How'd you get the inspiration to give it a shot in the first place?

Any male members have spouses that have gone down the entrepreneurial road? How does it affect your married life?

Date Posted: 7/23/2007 6:21 PM ET
Member Since: 12/11/2005
Posts: 3,592
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I operate a small business.  It is The Goodie Jar -- www.thegoodiejar.com  It all started out as a way of selling my handcrafted items. I was just getting tired of lugging my stuff from craft show to craft show. I started my first website in 1993! Boy was that a sad little page.  I do not consider myself a pro on web design in any way shape or form, but I do consider myself to have come a long way. I'm taking SEO classes on the net and have improved my rankings on the search engines so much so that I am #1 for many search terms!

I love having an online business... I meet so many great people for different parts of the country.  The largest percentage of my customers come from TX --not sure why, they just do!

The biggest advantage, from a customers point of view, IMHO, is my customer service. I always email within 48 hours with the DC# of the order.  Unless an item went out of stock before I was able to remove it from the site, I try to ship within 36 hours of when the order was received. I also offer repeat buyer % off.  And I offer a newsletter/Sale in an email to subscribers!  Come take a peek and sign up!   www.thegoodiejar.com/newsletter207.htm

Thanks for looking --can't wait to see who else is in business!



Last Edited on: 7/23/07 6:22 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
L. G. (L)
Date Posted: 7/24/2007 2:14 AM ET
Member Since: 9/5/2005
Posts: 12,412
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In the past I had a business where I sold my pottery wholesale to stores and gift shops.  My biggest problem was keeping enough inventory, because I worked a full-time job on top of making my pottery.   I eventually burned out and stopped, but it was fun while it lasted. :)

Date Posted: 7/24/2007 5:33 PM ET
Member Since: 5/22/2007
Posts: 1
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I sell used books on a couple of popular websites. Hoping to have my own website someday. I loved books and reading since I was a little girl, so selling books is a good choice for me. I used to have a small book store, where I also sold used books, but it was just too expensive to run so I just recently closed it in April.

Date Posted: 7/24/2007 9:06 PM ET
Member Since: 7/8/2007
Posts: 1
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My mom owns her own bussiness.  The Mediation Center of Tallahassee. We just hit the one year anniversary of the Grand Opening.  She is a family law mediator.  The bussiness is currently quite slow and my mom wants to give it up, but I think she should stick with it.  I know she loves doing it even though most days we don't have much cash to spare. I'm very proud of my mom.



Last Edited on: 7/24/07 9:06 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/24/2007 10:34 PM ET
Member Since: 10/26/2005
Posts: 377
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I guess that you could say ours is woman owned!   I started it with my husband and was the sole jewelry maker in the beginning.  It's evolved quite a bit from the beginning, though!   We never took advantage of any of the benefits you can get having a woman owned business.  I really wish that we would have!

Our site is www.shanrene.com  we just started a side website www.ecustom.com  My husband is a programmer and is the creator of both.  He's pretty amazing!!

Date Posted: 7/27/2007 3:18 AM ET
Member Since: 11/2/2005
Posts: 499
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In April,  I became the owner of a small business.  My husband and I bought it as an established business, in fact , it has been around since about 1950.  Fortunately, as a "certified woman owned business" we are entitled to special consideration when bidding on certain jobs. I work at the business and my husband is our part-time salesman. We do custom embroidery and uniform sales (police, fire, postal, industrial, etc.).  We were able to hire the manager (also a woman) to stay on and continue to manage the store and a part time woman who has been there almost 50 years doing embroidery. Most of our embroidery is now computerized but we still have equipment to do it the old fashioned way. In fact, she is now working on jackets for a local drum and bugle corp that is celebrating their 50th anniversary this year. 

We started a website (it didn't have one) , but it is still "under construction" ---   www.hesslettering.com   

   Before this I had been in  business selling small plants, herbs and perennials mostly, at a local farmers market., a one woman operation and really small(but fun). I can't say I'm not nervous about  this new(to me) business, but so far it is going very well and my husband is hoping that he will be able to quit working for someone else and devote more time to our own business. He has been a salesman for many years and enjoys selling very much.

My husband and I are both in our fifties but still excited about finally owning a business of our own.

Date Posted: 7/27/2007 9:42 AM ET
Member Since: 9/4/2005
Posts: 57
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I have 2 small businesses from my home.  My bread and butter is  a small preschool/daycare for toddlers.  I keep mostly teacher kids so the load is light during the summer.  right now I have all little boys that keep me on my toes all the time.  THey don't let me get away with anything. 

I also sell AVON. It's been a great excuse to get out of the house during a busy day & see people. I have found that a lot of my customers are just as glad to see me as I am them. Its kinda like I'm a profesional friend who happens to sell great makeup. 

www.youravon.com/michellehawkins.com

My website has made shopping for them easier.  When they pick out what they want, they get on my website & zap me the order.  I have family who live further away that have it shipped dirrectly to them from the wear houses.  Pretty nifty if I do say so myself! 

Its neat to see so many different small businesses.  Thumbs up everyone!



Last Edited on: 7/27/07 9:42 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/27/2007 11:15 AM ET
Member Since: 5/28/2007
Posts: 26
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Hi everyone! I'm a freelance business writer who writes primarily about how to start up different types of businesses. You can see some of my books at www.cdavisfreelance.com.  Although writing is my passion, I did not start my business out as a writer. About 10 years ago, I left the law firm where I worked as a legal assistant and started a business as a freelance administrator.  I worked for different organizations and individuals by attending meetings and taking minutes, transcribing tapes, sending out letters, designing newsletters and websites - basically anything that an in-office administrator would do.

One of my clients is also a writer and a good friend. Working with her enabled me to get a close look at how the publishing world operates.  Since I already had some experience writing articles, reports and newsletters for some of clients, I included writing services in my business and things really took off. Then my friend/client/mentor asked me to join her in writing a business book. We have since written two books together, as well as worked on other projects. Plus, I have written other business books featuring my own byline.  It has been extremely gratifying to see a couple of my books on the PBS wishlist.

Working for yourself can be very rewarding. It can also be very frustrating, especially in the beginning. Depending on what type of business you have it may take a while for the coffers to start filling up, so be patient. Also, network like crazy! Join groups and organizations that will place your name in front of others who may be interested in your services or products. Always give out two business cards at a time so the recipient will have one to keep and another to pass on to somebody else. Send out a press release by tying your business to a significant holiday or organization. Several posters mentioned having a website and this is critical for any type of business because it really expands your marketing potential. Through your website you can also offer resource articles, a newsletter, helpful tips, shopping cart, advertise specials, etc. - anything that will keep visitors coming back.

 



Last Edited on: 7/27/07 11:17 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/27/2007 3:30 PM ET
Member Since: 11/13/2006
Posts: 1
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I have a shop on etsy -> honeybeehill.etsy.com where I sell my funky handmade stuff. I'm in the process of incorporating, so I may look into some woman-owned business resources. Eventually I'd like to resale much more than I craft myself. Someday I'd like to open a brick and mortar business, but with an infant and trying to finish college, who knows when it'll happen!



Last Edited on: 7/27/07 3:31 PM ET - Total times edited: 1
Date Posted: 7/27/2007 6:36 PM ET
Member Since: 12/2/2006
Posts: 175
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Not only do I own a small business (audio recording speakers at conferences, meetings and seminars) but I work with my husband.  Talk about the double whammy!! LOL   Both have some pros and cons and there are days I'd like to chuck it all.  Overall, I am happy to be my own boss and don't know if I could ever work for someone else again!

Date Posted: 7/27/2007 9:27 PM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2006
Posts: 4,669
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LOL, Gerri.  I've got the double whammy too :)

I own, with DH, a used book store. We love what we are doing, especially now that we've changed our lifestyle to make the store be profitable.  I too can never see myself going to work for some one else, after making all the decisions. :)

 

Date Posted: 7/28/2007 11:12 AM ET
Member Since: 7/2/2005
Posts: 3,444
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I have had my own successful business in webdesign for 7 years, but have recently decided to get a regular full time job. 

I love what I do and could easily continue on my own, but am at a point in my life where I needed to make a decision.  As a one person shop I could only earn as much money as I had time.  Being the janitor, bookkeeper, webdesigner, secretary only left me with a certain about of billiable time and the only way to earn more was to expand and hire people.   Supervising people who would depend on me for their living just didn't appeal to me right now. 

I started the business when my girls were in grade school and now one is in college, the other high school, they are old enough not to need me as much.  I knew it was time to either expand into an outside office with employees or head another direction.   I have wanted to go back to college for a long time so I applied for a job at a local university and got it.  My benefits will be great as I get tuitition reimbursement for me (and my daughters), I will have the flexibility to work classes into my workday and I get to learn lots of great technology and still get paid while learning.  In my own business if I wanted to take the time to learn a new program/technology it was my time and not paid. 

I have decided to keep some of my existing clients and keep the business name running.  I am sure it is going to be a stretch working full time, going to college and working part time, but in the long run it is the best for me.

For those of you thinking of going out on your own, I recommend it.  For me it worked out great when I needed it and gave me the skills and flexibility with my girls.  Now that I am older I am ready to make a change.  I have a feeling that I will get back on my own after I get my Masters (or maybe doctorate).

Now my whammy is that my husband works at a university in the same area as mine (our buildings are half a mile apart) and we are going to ride to work together every day.  It is going to be challenging because we have different driving styles.  I am planning on getting books on tape and tuning him out on the drive in......  Wish me luck I start tomorrow.

 

Date Posted: 7/28/2007 11:38 PM ET
Member Since: 3/28/2006
Posts: 480
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Healing Paws Rehab is the name of the business I own in partership with another lady.  We're both physical therapists and wanted to apply our skills to our passion.  We rehab mostly dogs, but do get a few cats.  The dogs are either recovering from surgery or injury, or are just dealing with arthritis.  We have a pool, an underwater treadmill, ultrasound, electrical stimulation, and most any other thing you would associate with human rehab.  It's sometimes difficult, sometimes frustrating, but mostly very rewarding.

Date Posted: 7/29/2007 10:27 AM ET
Member Since: 9/24/2006
Posts: 64
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It's wonderful to read about all these women-owned small businesses!  I'm a soapmaker and jewelry designer with a shop on etsy, brooklynniteowl.etsy.com.   I've been creative all my life and love love love having a place to offer my handmade goodies!  Of course, like most artist/crafters I have a day job (which I actually like!) which helps pay the bills.

I highly recommend a visit to etsy.com in general (and, of course, to my shop in particular!) ... etsy is probably about 80% women artists, 20% men.  If you want to support artisans of all types and genders, visit etsy and go shopping!  Truly amazing array of handcrafted goods at very reasonable prices, made by very talented individuals!

Heather

Date Posted: 7/30/2007 7:13 AM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2006
Posts: 4,669
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Sherry, your business sounds awesome.... I love the doggie underwater treadmill.  Our little girl had knee surgery last year and got to use one twice in her rehab.

Any words of wisdom for us for our 9 year old shepherd/lab living in a 2nd floor apartment?  I just know his hips are going to start hurting pretty soon.

For the atisan/crafters- do you ever go to craft shows to sell your wares?  If so, is it worth traveling to really big ones? I ask cause our town hosts one of the largest on the East coast, and wonder if it really is worth it for the crafters/artisans to travel to have booth? 



Last Edited on: 7/30/07 7:15 AM ET - Total times edited: 1
nmb
Date Posted: 7/31/2007 12:10 AM ET
Member Since: 6/26/2006
Posts: 197
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Hi!  I sell jewelry through Premier Designs (mostly home party shows, but also individual orders & catalog shows)...  I just started, I've done 2 home shows so far and have 2 more scheduled in August.... very slow start since all my family is out of state & I have only a couple close friends....  but I'm having a great time w/ it so far!  It's nice to get out w/out the baby occasionally, plus a great idea for him to get "Daddy time"  (since that's the only time really that it's just the two of them). 

Date Posted: 7/31/2007 9:49 AM ET
Member Since: 2/11/2006
Posts: 65
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Date Posted: 7/31/2007 8:36 PM ET
Member Since: 12/11/2005
Posts: 3,592
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Hi Sam,  It really depends on what you are selling (or better...what the public is buying), how far you travel, and how good you are at traveling/doing shows.  Many times by the time you pay for traveling expenses (gas, food, hotel) and the entrance fees (which can be in the thousands).... the profit really doean't make it worth the while.

I know I could NEVER do a large show ---mainly because I just don't have enough stuff to sell to make a large enough profit.  I figure if I'm going to go further than 30 miles away, I want to be able to fill a small uhaul type trailer. 

I used to do lots of the small church-y type shows...but it became a huge hassle compared to selling online! I used to hate it when people walked up to my booth, picked up one of my cross stitches, and said "now I could make something like this."  Well, yes, I believe you could.....after you bought the materials, found the pattern, taught yourself counted cross stitch, ripped it out for the 3rd time cuz you screwed up, then wished you'd just bought mine! :>)

Date Posted: 8/8/2007 1:34 AM ET
Member Since: 7/11/2006
Posts: 3
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In the 70's my husband and I bought a nightclub which I ran while he continued to work outside.  We left the nightlife and moved and opened a Donut shop together, in which he worked for a short time, then went back to his regular work...I continued to run it for several more years....eventually sold it and opened a Merle Norman Studio which I ran for many years till I decided to retire and just help my husband keeping books for his company.

Biggest advantages of your own business....setting your own hours and answering to no one except your customers.  You are only limited by what you are willing to put into the business.

Biggest disadvantage.....you work twice as hard for more hours to be a successful business.

The inspiration??? I guess just tired of working for others.....and it seemed like a great adventure.  Have been self-employed for more than 37 years.....and it has been a "great adventure"!!

Date Posted: 8/8/2007 7:58 PM ET
Member Since: 9/30/2006
Posts: 44
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Hi all :) It's great to read about your enterprises. Anyone who has the guts to strike out on her own deserves to be proud of herself, no matter what the outcome. My hubby & I started a part-time business making personalized marble coasters for wine lovers. Started as a birthday gift for my dad and he liked them so much he ordered 30 for holiday gifts (gotta love the family support!!). We're really just starting out and don't yet have a web presence (but if you'd like more info, PM me--I'll be glad to e-mail you ::grin::) Eventually my hubby would love for us to be able to sell enough for him to work at it FT while we do shows together on weekends, but no specific plans yet.

Date Posted: 8/9/2007 11:53 PM ET
Member Since: 7/27/2005
Posts: 1,676
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I'm an artistic photographer, specializing in nature photography.   So many, many benefits- being my own boss, setting my own hours, being in control of how and where my work is sold/shown, controlling what I photograph and when, and more.  I am very thankful that I can use what I do to bring attention to environmental concerns.  I love what I do so I almost feel guilty that its all tax deductible. ;)

I guess the biggest drawback would be that the income isnt always a steady flow.  But, I guess that goes for most artists. 

Years ago I was very shy about putting my work forward, but my husband encouraged me and was behind me a hundred percent.  Then, one of the first people to see my work became one of my biggest supporters (and later one of my best friends).  Which brings me to what is probably the biggest benefit of having this business- the people I meet and the friends I make. 

Date Posted: 8/12/2007 12:57 PM ET
Member Since: 4/2/2007
Posts: 180
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I ran the beauty shop in the health center of a retirement home for 16 years.One of the best things is being able to set your own schedule as to days off or vacation.Of course,taking any time off is hard because of all the re-scheduling and paper work that has to be done before you leave and is there waitnig for you when you return.Also,people tend to forget that when you are self-employed there is no vacation pay or sick or personal days.If you don't work-----you don't get paid.

Date Posted: 8/13/2007 7:13 PM ET
Member Since: 7/27/2007
Posts: 1
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I GET PAID TO PARTY!!  SO, I LOVE BEING IN BUSINESS FOR MYSELF!!!

I earn FREE trips and meet new people.  I earn lots more than I would working at the mall PLUS it's a lot more rewarding and challenging AND I receive the tax benefits and recognition for my achievements.  Most of all, I like the communication skills, the confidence, and the business savvy that help me in so many other areas of my life.

For anyone that has considered a "dare to be different"... take the plunge!

www.myeeconsultant.com/cferguson.htm

Date Posted: 8/15/2007 11:34 PM ET
Member Since: 7/5/2007
Posts: 28
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My husband and I work from home and have a graphic design and marketing company. We've been at it since 2000 and its great being your own boss, we are at home with our son which is wonderful, but running a business is always a challenge. We are always balancing doing the work we have with finding new clients to help when the other jobs are done. As difficult and time consuming it can be, I wouldn't trade the freedom we have and the chance to spend more time with our son. Plus we are doing a job that we love...we love to help business owners grow through marketing and advertising! It's so rewarding to see how our work helps them. So if anyone needs a graphic designer to create or print brochures, business cards, post cards, a web site, etc...check us out at www.astraeamarketing.com! Free credit to any paperbackswap.com member who does business with us or sends us a qualified referral!
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