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?

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

  1. WOW!! LOVED reading your message and it touches my heart to hear that you just CAN’T give up your passion.
    My passion is photography but feel intimated because even though I’ve done it all my life I am still a beginner.
    I’ve wanted to start my own business but just don’t know where to start so I end up giving it up the thought until I read inspiration stories such as yours!!
    Thank you so much for sharing!!



Leave a reply

<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong> 


This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.