I've been a bit preoccupied of late, trying to get back to grips with running my small business from home, hence the lack of posts for a few days. It's not actually easy trying to make money from a small business, I've found. Despite not having any overheads to take into account, I find it quite difficult to make it pay, so I can imagine how hard it must be for people who rent premises and have all the accompanying bills to pay. Running your own business is certainly not an easy life.
I got a bit of a shock when I did my accounts the other week. It turns out that I hadn't been including some of the fees I have to pay when selling and when taken into account this meant that I made even less money than I thought. I'm philosophical about it though and am hanging in there, in the hope that I can continue to grow things and start making more money. Not huge amounts, although currently any money made does tend to get reinvested in new stock.
Part of the reason for my not making it pay so well, was that I splashed out on a new filing cabinet to make my work area at the kitchen table much more organised and tidy. I don't regret it at all, as it does make life easier to have things properly organised, but even this small expenditure can make a difference and has to be thought about carefully. In addition, I've had to start paying bank charges each month on my business account, which I've never had before. I'm not trying to gain sympathy with this post, and neither am I trying to drum up more business, as I tend to keep blogging and business quite separate, I'm just pondering on a few facts of life I've learned in the process of trying to become self-employed.
I know this is not an unusual scenario and many businesses struggle to make a decent profit and pay themselves a decent wage. Even some big businesses can take years to get to a point where they are profitable. Nothing worth having comes easily I guess. I'm trying to put it all down to experience and appreciate the huge learning curve I have experienced. Even if I don't continue the business beyond a few more years, I've gained valuable insight into the process and hopefully won't have ended up in any debt either.
With any retail business I think the difficulty is in the buying. I always find that buying the right products, i.e. ones that sell and are profitable is the challenge. I, however, have no professional buying experience, so have to go with what I like and what I can identify with my limited experience, as potentially 'good sellers'. I learn more with each purchase and find myself constantly having to be flexible in my approach, that is what makes it so enjoyable and interesting, ergo the challenge. It would be different, however, if I desperately needed the income to live, if it didn't earn me enough money then, I would have to give up and get a job.
Whilst not making excuses, working from home can have it's difficulties, I don't always apply myself as much as I should really and if I did it could probably make a big difference. It's very easy to get distracted by domestic life. I'm making a determined effort to really knuckle down at the moment as it is the lead in to Christmas, my busiest time and I'm trying to take steps to make sure I capitalise on this and maximise sales. I'm hoping this year to finally pay back a small personal loan I made to the business when I set it up. At least once I've done that, I will be much closer to making a genuine profit. Keeping it small suits me because of the freedom it gives me, but it definitely isn't an easy option.
Has anyone out there had a similar experience?