No, this isn’t advice on how to start your own side hustle. I’m just starting myself, so if that’s why you opened, sorry to disappoint, but we still might be able to learn things from each other on this journey.
I will tell you from what little experience I’ve gathered that it is A LOT of hard work to start your own business from scratch (duh!) especially if you go it all alone. Like days upon days of nothing but sitting in front of the computer…
So, I recently undertook this ‘start my own business’ endeavor with the whole purpose being to help offset the costs of the IVF procedure, so my husband doesn’t have to find 2nd and 3rd jobs. Now, I am doing it at a little bit of a risk (I think I’ll pay at most $200 once the store launches), but I’m okay with this because I set this money aside at the start of summer, and I’m not paying anyone ungodly amounts of money to give me ‘advice’ or a mini-course on how to do it (more on these swindlers in a later post).
This has literally been my entire summer- that, this blog, and a few teacher-planning things sprinkled in there.
Recently, I’ve slacked on both this blog and my teacher-planning (or studying for the English Cert test- whoops!) because once I was ready to build the store (cause there was a good month of pre-planning), I signed up for the Shopify free trial and got to work. I had my reasons for choosing Shopify over others, but I used the 14-day Free Trial period as my ‘this has to be presentable by the end of these 2 weeks’, so with the exception of a few days here and there, I’ve been buried in Shopify trying to help my family keep from going further into debt with our IVF procedure. I knew that at the end of the 2 weeks, I wanted to ‘sell’ my shop to my husband because having his support is crucial to my success. It’s amazing what you can create when you are
Now, in the past I’ve done MLM (Multilevel marketing), and while there are products I love (Thirty-One bags are my everything!), I don’t like the whole ‘join my downline and host parties thing’- I’m not that person, and I realized that after I gave up on my Thirty-One ‘business’. Plus, these companies do not allow you the opportunity to really make money unless you’re super good at recruiting people to be in your downline, and that isn’t going to help me in my current situation. My husband is good at that kind of thing- he used to sell (is still enrolled) LifeVantage, and he still gets $14-$30 checks every month because someone in his downline is actively selling- he does nothing, but still gets a small check… I’m slightly jealous of that small check for nothing. I do currently participate in Young Living, but not as a salesperson, and, honestly, if I wasn’t wise to the fact that I cannot do MLM, I probably would have tried to sell that too… lol… I do love my oils, but that’s about as far as I’m willing to take that right now because with age comes wisdom, and I’m wise enough to not throw my money at a business model that doesn’t appeal to or work for me.
So, I chose to build my own business from scratch, and it’s been incredibly frustrating, enlightening, headache-inducing, rewarding, defeating, enriching, disheartening, fulfilling, baffling, and educational.
I am not a business person, so this has taught me A LOT, and I still have so much to learn. I cussed at my poor computer screen more times than I can count and learned to be ever-so-patient when trying to figure out where an error occurred that was causing problems on the site. Seriously, you miss 1 LETTER, and everything is thrown off!
Despite all the frustrations, I have enjoyed the last month and a half focusing on this new endeavor because it gave me a rejuvenated purpose. Yes, teaching gives me purpose, but I’m entering my 8th year- there’s not much prep to be done. And, I get bored easily, so the fact that I’ve had the same job for 8 years is something to be very proud of even though I no longer spend my whole summer planning my school year- those days have past. And while I love teaching and my
students kids, I want to grow my family, and we just found out that it’s going to cost us about $16-20K to do that… so… teacher salary isn’t going to cut it.
While I started this all with the simple desire to grow my family, I’ve come to realize that it can be so much more.
This business has allowed me to exercise my brain muscle and reconnect with the person I am and the mark I want to leave on this world.
In the past 2 weeks, my imagination has run further and further with so many possibilities if I can make this work, and that has given me a new purpose beyond my own needs. It’s no longer enough to just fund my IVF procedure, but why not grow my business to a point where I can donate money to grants for families suffering from infertility? Why should it stop with just me? Why not use my business to donate back to people in this country who need it- veterans, poor communities, schools, families, etc… I know it’s not exactly the best idea to start a business with the idea that you’re giving money away, but A) that won’t be until/if the business is established and successful, and B) my whole life has been about wanting to help others- I was in Girls Service League in high school, President of a Community Service Sorority at my university (Go Geckos!), and am the current sponsor of my high school’s community service group. I’d love to have a huge house and foster children and animals- like, my heart is too big for my financial means, and I’ve finally found something that makes me want to change all of that.
Creating this business may have started as a way to help my own family, but it also allowed me to reconnect with the thing I’m most passionate about- philanthropy- it gave me a larger purpose which is probably why I’ve worked even harder to make this a success.
So, what did I decide to sell?
Yup, I know there’s a whole bunch of online clothing retailers, so this was probably a stupid option, but I had to think about what I knew and what I was good at, and that was online shopping. Specifically, I LOVE finding clothes online, and I probably spend way too much money on places like Zulily (although they have gotten kind of expensive, so I’ve moved on from there). My daughter is constantly complimented on her clothes and shoes because they’re unique and no one else has them because I found them in an online shop. Sure, clothes from China come smaller, but that’s what a size chart is for- I have yet to have something not fit when a size chart was provided, and I could care less if the tag says “XXL” as opposed to “L”… if it fits, I’m cool*.
*Sidenote- I SO BADLY wanted to finish that with "I sits" and because it didn't work there, I'm bothered... so here's 2 memes to satisfy that.
I took my love of online shopping and my desire to both not go bankrupt and help others, and I built an online clothing boutique for families.
Yea, I made that sweet logo myself... it was a real pain in my a$$ and only took like a week...
Now, the store hasn’t officially launched yet because I didn’t quite meet my 14-day deadline, so right now, all you see is the Pre-Launch page. But, you can stick your email in there, and when I do launch, estimated August 1st, anyone already registered gets a discount!
I’m hoping to launch before August 1st, but I still have a few more things to work out and learn before that happens. Here’s hoping I don’t let myself get too distracted between now and then… especially with the new school year quickly approaching.
I will say, whether this succeeds or fails, I’m alright with it because I took a gamble on myself instead of some MLM company.
I know that at the end of the day, my heart is in the right place regardless of what happens with this business, and the only regret I would have is not trying it at all.