Colburn loves magazines, so every weekend we go to at least one bookstore. I used to look at books until I got a nook which rocked my reading world.
Now I look at magazines, too. Mostly the jewelry-making ones, of course. But sometimes I look at the business magazines, too. Have you noticed how many are geared toward the person caught in the rat race who dreams of being self-employed?
Well, I got caught up in that dream in 2002 when Daniel H. Pink first published Free Agent Nation. At that time home decor magazines wrote big spreads on building your home office by clearing a corner of your kitchen. Hah! You’ll need more room than that.
In the mid-nineties I learned on the job how to create a website, and in 1999 I took on my first private client. Soon after that, I left my corporate job (with insurance and other benefits) and became a full-time web developer. It was a good supplemental income for the household. Notice I said “supplemental."
I’m not here to say self-employment isn’t a good thing. There are many elements of it that I enjoy very much, i.e. no office politics, freedom to work your own hours, ability to make decisions without getting approval. I’m also not going to encourage any reader or friend to try it themselves. But there are a few things you should know.
This is how I spent my week simply setting up a small, online jewelry store:
- A trip to the courthouse to get a dba (assumed name). This is required for opening a business checking account at the bank. The form has to be notarized now, so I had to go back when the notary had returned from her lunch hour.
- A trip to the bank to open said account. I did this to protect my personal account from any problems related to online payment processing. Also, it makes my accountant much happier to keep the money separate.
- Did I mention the importance of an accountant you can talk to?
- A phone call to the State of Texas sales tax office to update my info and research the type of jewelry business I’m in. Necessary for obtaining the correct NAICS code.
- Then I spent approx. 20 hours over two days setting up the store using the online tools provided by ArtFire.com. This included payment policies (PayPal, Amazon Payments, and Google Checkout.) I also researched product pricing and shipping costs. Then I wrote the shipping, guarantee and return policies for the business.
- Today I drew upon my web skills to register a domain name, set up an email address that forwards to my business Gmail address and made decisions about private registration.
- Then I designed my new business cards and sent that info to be printed.
- All this work and I didn’t make a single penny. Nor did I create or photograph any of my jewelry. Therefore, there are no products in the store yet.
No help. No advice. No feedback. No encouragement. No one around except Thomas the Gray Tabby Cat and Susie the Queen of All Chihuahuas.
If that sounds attractive to you, you might be crazy enough for a home-based business. Go for it!