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Owning your own Business Series: Keeping records & Accepting money

Nope you are not ready to open yet because you need to serious think about HOW you will keep track of our inventory. I have not mentioned the IRS yet but will do so now, you do not want to make mistakes in this area EVER and how you will avoid that is by keeping meticulous records on every single thing that goes on in your business. You do not need to buy an expensive POS (point of sale) system, if you can afford it then go with it but if you can’t there are several other inexpensive bookkeeping software that also doubles as inventory trackers. Keep every single receipt if it has to do with your business, if your business happens to be a one person operation like mine is, FORCE yourself to do your record keeping at least once a week. You will thank me later for repeating this “RECORD KEEPING AT LEAST ONCE A WEEK”, no excuses DO IT. Do a little research on a software that will work best for the type of business you are doing. I use microsoft excel but I was an accountant for most of my life and if you do not have the experience, no worries get yourself some easy to learn software and I have heard that Quick books is easy to learn and use but I have no clue so check it out. Use properly labeled file folders to keep all of your receipts in, again this will make things so much easier if you have to go hunt for a certain invoice, your last months power bill OR a receipt for office supplies. Make these things HABITS and they will come naturally to you. Let’s just say that IRS did come to audit your business, I hope they never do but the reality is they could. If you have everything organized, neat, and easily assessable the agents can quickly look for whatever it is they want and the time spent is short on both of your parts….see there is a crazy reason for being organized.

How will you accept your customers money ? Things change at a quick rate on how people can spend their money and think to the future with this. Since I have opened, I only accept Master Card/Visa and cash. I have my merchant account thru my bank and that works great for me but that might not work for you. Again think very carefully because yes certain credit card companies and merchants have requirements. Merchants may require that you do say at least $5000 in sales per month to get a certain rate and if you don’t then that rate is doubled, BE CAREFUL what you set up. Lower is always better and if you make more YAY. Also make sure if you are going to accept ALL credit cards that they too do not have a certain amount that they require you to reach in sales each month. If you read very carefully all of the do’s and don’ts or you could do what I did, went into the bank and said I want this, this and this can you do that, and they could. You are almost ready to move forward to open your business. Hopefully I am not sounding like a negative, unhappy business owner because I am not, I LOVE my business but really just want to give all the real information so that no one get’s stuck with a bill you can’t afford. Yes it did happen to me which is really why I decided to pass on what I know so that it doesn’t happen to anyone else.

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Owning your own Business Series: Finding Vendors

At this point you should have done your homework, the business you have decided to open is needed and etc. etc. Now where will you buy your goods from ? Wholesale vendors can be both easy and hard to find AND again I promised no lying, some can me a nightmare to work with. You want to read every little thing on “their” requirements. Be very careful about any wholesale vendor that requires you to purchase a certain amount of product from them every single month OR if they want to automatically charge your account every month. The reason I caution against that is let’s say you find what you feel is a great product and of course you want to think positive, you can move $500.00 wholesale price of that every month. You get your great product at a great price AND your customers won’t even look at it. YIKES yes this does happen and first let me say do not panic, you won’t get it right every single time and it isn’t a big deal but the really big deal is here UH OH you signed up for automatic payment and a promise to move so much of whatever this product is……be careful, again read their requirements before making a huge commitment. Finding good vendors to fit your needs takes some time, don’t just use the first one you find. Do your research and find several, in this case variety is going to be your best bet.

Next is price, it is a very good idea to make sure that you will be able to mark up no less than 50% if you can mark up more than 50% that is great but yes there is going to be times that 50% is all you are going to get BUT if you will be selling quite a bit of that product at 50% mark up that will be much better than only selling a few at a 70% mark up. The bottom line is the key here. Another key factor in selecting vendors are what is the minimum order ? Yes almost all wholesale vendors have a minimum order again you want to be selective here because sadly yes there will be times when you really want to make that sale but just don’t have $500 on hand to buy with. Depending on the product, that may be worth it and it may not be, planning is so important with keeping your inventory full, saying it again CHOOSE CAREFULLY. Now last but not least to import or not import. I say maybe and it depends on what you are importing. If you happen to find this fantastic product that you feel will really fly off your shelves AND again you have done your homework, no one for miles around are selling this fantastic product and if it is selling online, you can sell it at the same price and people will come buy from you because taa daaa no shipping. In this case I say IMPORT. Remember when you import you usually will have to import a large amount of something to make it worth while. Make charts and notes so that you can see EXACTLY how, if people did buy the product, will play out.

Owning your own Business Series Where to put it

You have decided what your business will be and now it is time to figure out if you need office space, web space, or if it will just be done out of your home. I have ran a small craft type business from home and this was my problem; getting things done. I would do everything that needed to be done such as laundry, cleaning, what to make for dinner and on and on. So I discovered I do not have that type of personality that makes it great for me to work out of my home. Office space for me it has to be. If you happen to be the type that can easily work from home then I say go for it and I am glad for you, again I am not the type that can do that. Next I want you to sit down and SERIOUSLY think out this scenario and yes this is necessary before you sign a lease. Think this is your slow slow month, how much money would it take for you to barely get by for a couple of months? You need to include in this figure ALL overhead costs such as electricity, phone, any payments that you may have incurred to get started such as credit cards or loan payments, I think you get the idea here. Now the reason this is necessary is because YES you will have these months, all new business’ do and you don’t want to have a high rent expense hanging over your head but you also don’t want to start your business in a dump either.

Next is as always location location location, this does matter. Say you decided to open a yarn shop, well you do not want to be next to a craft type store than can easily sell yarn and a much cheaper rate than you can because they buy in bulk and well you are a little business and can’t buy in bulk yet, so maybe in a nice downtown area, next to a book store, or if you live in a small town like I do then just about anywhere can be doable. Next is security, you don’t want to have your customers worrying about their safety coming to your business so dark back alleys are out UNLESS this fits into your type of business. Parking, is there enough parking, if it snows in your area is that street plowed or can it be cleared by you as customers won’t come if they can not easily get to you. Size and storage space as you will need a small area for yourself, you know for snacking and having a cup of coffee when you are not working hard. Heat and air conditioning are also important and yes I did have to figure a few things out as my business is in a house that was built in 1867 and yes you guessed it no modern heat or air but I solved that with portable heaters and a portable swamp cooler. Does the place have the flavor or character to suit your type of business ? How much will you have to invest in it in order to get it business worthy to open your doors ? Again depending on the type of business you decided on, in that area of town will they allow your type of business and who are your business neighbors ? These may seem like small things but trust me they are not and just a bit of checking before signing any type of lease can save you alot of headaches down the road. Yes it may seem that you are looking forever for the right place but don’t settle as you really want the place you finally choose to be a location for a good long time. When you do finally find your perfect or pretty darn near perfect place, SIGN A LEASE. I signed my first lease for 2 years and never regretted it as it kept my rent low which is the purpose of signing one, read the lease very carefully before you sign.

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Owning your own Business Series

I have been asked ALOT about what it is like setting up and running your own business and living the life that you want. I want to be VERY clear, I am not an expert on this subject and yes somewhere either online or in person, there are plenty of others that are much more qualified and far more successful than I am. What I will promise you is the honest, dirty little secrets, truth about how it actually is. If you are looking for a get rich quick scheme or you expect this series to be filled with OH MY this is all such wonderful stuff with fluffy butterflies and angels singing….NOPE that will not be coming from me, sorry. Nothing depressing or hopefully won’t be discouraging anyone who wants to either start their own business or wants to kinda compare if you are heading in the right direction and at what point do you say time to change things up.

I can only tell you how it has been working or not working for me and again I want to clarify very carefully, this is how “I” have done it and it will be my experiences, what I have tried so far, why certain things did not work and why certain things have worked. It won’t be a “do it like this or else you will fail” but hopefully more of a down and dirty to the point of what it really takes to run a business, how to keep afloat during those lean times (yeah they don’t tell you any of that in the run your own business seminars and how to get rich books), what I have done to keep my chin up, my opinion on when to switch sides so to speak, and many more subjects. I have read just about every book on how to run a successful business, how to be positive, how to’s on just a huge amount of information but again not one speaks on the deep dark scary secrets (ok I will stop it with that stuff, just kidding). None of it will contain how to get rich quick, I will not require you to buy anything but what I would like to ask of you please, if any of my up coming articles help you in any way….PASS IT ON. If you really want to give something if they help you Please consider giving a monetary donation to your favorite Animal place, such as a shelter, pet sanctuary, non kill shelters or adopt a shelter animal. Not too much to ask ? Also feel free to email me your thoughts even if you think I suck, all criticism are accepted as I think that will be the first article, how much “friend” advice should you take or in a more simple term, if they really knew all that then why don’t they have a business. Yes I am just a tad sarcastic but it is my style so again hopefully this series will help those who are thinking of getting their feet wet and living the “I own my own Company” life. Oh yeah you need an email it is crochetqueen1 at yahoo dot com sorry don’t want robots getting it.

Welcome 2015 and TAA DAAA

I always try my hardest with this computer stuff but finally I GIVE UP sorta. There will be no more look at the fancy schmancy from me, the fact is I am one heck of a business person, accountant, crocheter, knitter, writer about it and a few other things but I am NOT a computer geek. From know on I will do what I can computer wise and I have certainly given the “I want it to look shiny” a good try but I have also wasted countless number of hours to do it. Yes I could pay someone but again being honest I can’t afford that and just like I won’t work for free I certainly don’t expect anyone else to. This won’t be bad it will just be one less thing that I will stress about and I can get back to writing more and really enjoying it.

Thanks to all of you that have stuck around waiting for me to come to these silly realizations but hey I can walk away from my computer program flops with my head held high. Oh how I am ever so grateful to those of you who do it and for those of you who take HUGE pity on me and give free themes, widgets, and other things that will help me make it look a little cool anyway. What you can expect to see is more on the craft side, especially Machine Knitting that I am in love with right now, and of course other sporadic crafts. I still do have my shop open but have stopped selling yarn, but I am designing more and making more stuff. How I did it was to let go of some of the things I am just not good at and although presentation is very important, again prefer to concentrate more on what I am good at. Happy New Year all and get to crafting.

Website extenstions .co vs .com

This is a bit of business craft related and as some of you know I also own other websites that I try to keep up on and one of those is a very very popular one call now how I ended up with that site is no one has really done anything with it since 2001 so I decided to put it back up and try to revive it, which I have been doing.  I have also been trying for several years to buy the which is owned by a nasty nasty foreign company (go type in to get the name of the company so I don’t get sued calling them names on here) now they have ownership of it and are under the impression that I am either made of money (quit laughing) and or that I am somehow a fool and willing to pay a ridiculous price.  Recently I thought they had come to their senses and turns out they haven’t and at this point I no longer even want that extension of my site because well they have held on to it for too long AND pretty much making it worthless.

Why I KNOW it is now worthless is one it has been 14 years they have held on to it with no activity and two, I own the co extension.  I have been pretty happy with that and I recently read an article and found out not only do I actually come out a winner with this but I do not need the .com as the .co is actually taking over with alot of websites so yes I highly recommend that you invest in purchasing the because once you get that up and running AND continue to use it guess what ?  The search engines (we all know how important a search engine is to getting listed) will list your .co site way before your .com site.  Hope that made some sense.  So needless to say I will no longer be in pursuit…ahhh who am I kidding I do not have that kind of money to buy the .com but it is nice to know that I got the better end of the deal in the website name game.

It is very frustrating that these companies buy up website names and hold them hostage for not only me but many others as well BUT there is a light at the end of the tunnel which is why I am spilling the beans here, THEY ARE NOT INVESTING IN THE .CO because it is just a bit more expensive (thank you to the domain goddess for this little help) to register a .co domain and it will not be profitable for them SO with that in mind go get that website name you have been wanting.  Stay tuned and continue to craft.


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Summer is almost gone ALREADY

Hopefully where you are it is a bit dryer and not so rainy as we are getting. Don’t want to complain too loudly as we really do need the rain. Have been working on alot of things and now finish up alot of things to make way for new things, hahaha. Stay tuned we are still here and working away. We did add a forum and please bear with us as we get all that worked out , it will be great. Don’t forget about out new Paranormal site.

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BAD BAD Blogger

Yep it happens to all of us, we start out with alot of pep and then we sort of get busy with life and next thing you know it has been almost 2 months since a post has been made. Please accept our apologies but we are back on it really. Please check out Craft Euphoria Paranormal where you will find some pretty interesting post and it is only getting better, and Craft Euphoria Crafts with a new article about Quitting. We promise to be better bloggers and to make time to share with all of you. Thanks for sticking with us this far.

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It’s ok to Quit

I just closed the yarn portion of my shop but don’t feel sorry because it was not for lack of business. Had plenty of business and being one of the most unique business as a New Age/Yarn Store things can get pretty hectic. No doubt about it I did love my store but honestly something had to give, being a one woman operation can get a bit overwhelming and tiring very quickly. I did have 5 glorious years, working on my 6th with just the yarn alone but I have also had other things that I just really wanted to accomplish. Thus the title of this article “It’s ok to Quit”. Most of us are told things like “don’t be a quitter”, “quitters never win” and etc. etc. Just not true actually knowing WHEN to quit can put you back on the winning track faster than a speeding bullet!!

Yes I do know how to delegate but for me my business is very personal and it is hard to find someone who loves it like I do. When you own a business that is not in the “raking in a million trillion” every year, it can be hard to be able to hire help. BUT I do have a road that I have been wanting to travel down and as previously mentioned, something had to give so it was the yarn. I have had in my head for too many years to count an entire design line that has never even been thought of and in order for me to make that happen I HAD to lighten my load so to speak. I will not lie, it was devastating trying to pick what to cut out because I love all of it but had to be realistic if I wanted to get the other accomplished. Here is how I came to my decisions.

Look at the bottom line, IF you have to let some things go it certainly is a case of who your customers are and I won’t sugar coat it here, where you are making your most money. NO it isn’t always about money but when you own a business you MUST look to the future of how you will or won’t keep your doors open and how you will be able to fulfill your personal goals as well. If you are not grounded and balanced then you will not be giving your customers the best of you and we all know that is a MUST for a successful business. I really struggled with this until I started to look at big business and realized they do it on a constant basis. They keep what works and throw out what doesn’t, how many times have we just loved say a type of cleaner, soap, or even type of food only to find out later it was discontinued because not enough people loved it as much as we did. Unless that particular thing was the only reason you shopped at a store, more than likely you are still shopping there and may or may not be still looking for that certain something to replace what you loved. Again won’t lie here, I was terrified to quit a portion of my business that I started with and the day I did not renew my business license for the yarn I felt sick. It did not last long I am currently working like a crazy person, charting out and planning the new line of designs that I do plan on self publishing and releasing soon and have never felt better about my decision to QUIT a part of my business. Take the plunge, sit down and look hard at what you are doing and see where you can “Quit” a few things.

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Cleaning Up your Craft Room

If I wasn’t so embarrassed, I would of taken a picture of my craft room but instead I will just sort of explain it to you. Yarn everywhere, some things in the right place but very disorganized, things thrown in boxes, lots of totes with just about everything under the sun thrown in, well I think you get the picture. I am sure that more than likely my disorganization is the result of some deep rooted something or another BUT after all this time I decided to clean up. First I started with my 2 rather large legal size filing cabinets that were full of patterns. I went thru them and honestly (that is a very important thing when cleaning up and out) decided what would be going and what would be staying. The results were a 5 shelf book case of what I wanted to keep and the rest I took to my shop to sell. Once I cleared that hurdle, yes I procrastinated about another month before I got enough guts to attempt the actual craft room.

I played hooky one Saturday morning and hit the second hand stores before I opened up and there they were, my extra kick in my back side that I needed to “get r done”!!!! A 3 piece office set which consisted of one low piece with 9 smaller drawers, one piece with 5 short in height but long in width drawers, and one piece that has 2 drawers. I don’t really know if this was a bedroom set or an office set but anyways at $120.00 for all 3 pieces it was a win for me. I have my husband get them home and I purposely had them put into the family room, my reason, they would be in the way so I would HAVE to clean out my craft room in order for them to fit. Well that worked, I got busy on Sunday morning and stayed after it, again using honesty I cleaned, sorted, until I felt satisfied with it. Results are now I know exactly what I have, it is organized, and I feel like a ton of bricks have been lifted from me. Yes I am a little bit ashamed that I have accumulated that much stuff but the good thing is I got rid of what I HONESTLY (there is that word again) know that I will never use. From now on I will certainly think about a purchase instead of just grabbing it because it is craft related. Now hopefully this may inspire those of you that need it, to clean out your stash, books, or even yarn. Good Luck

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