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Create a Unique Business to Supplement Your Income
If you have been reading my pages, you are by now familiar with my situation. For those of you who don't know me, I am a single parent of an ADHD/ODD (with a couple of other disorders thrown into the mix as well) child. Unfortunately, my son's disabilities made it nearly impossible to accept employment, due to the severity of his Odd (Oppositional Defiant Disorder). This meant I had to rely on the 'system' to provide an income, much like a disability pension.
This translates to a low standard of living. Now I'm not sure about the rest of you, but this was not acceptable to me. So I sat down and thought about what I could do to improve my financial situation.
Time for improvements
Please don't get me wrong. I am most grateful to the 'system'. It kept a roof over our heads, my son's medications were taken care of, food, heat, and some amenities. It's just that, while I had the necessary money to keep us afloat, there was no chance of financial growth within the system.
The only options open to me were 'working from home', or starting my own business. I weeded through a very diverse list of home-based employment opportunities ranging from babysitting, secret shopping, opinion polls, surveys, and piece work, to affiliate marketing. Some I tried, only to discover they weren't for me, others took more time and effort than I could afford, and of course, there were a lot of 'scams'.
I started looking online for business opportunities, having tried my hand at mlm's (multi level marketing: Amway, Shaklee, Nutra Systems) and discovered that although they worked if I did, I was still relying on others to generate the majority of my income, and lets be honest...at the first sign of a 'no' most people folded up their tents and left.
There are a ton of opportunities online to start your own home based business, however, the majority of them required a substantial start up fee, which were well beyond my means. Once I started looking, I found many companies that offered down-loadable teaching programs, self help, how to improve your business, little known strategies to drive people to your website, marketing tips, you name it!
Although all of these were interesting, I had to ask myself, exactly how many other people are doing these very same things? Was there indeed enough room for me to make a comfortable living?
After thinking long and hard about it, I decided that my best solution was to start a business of my own.
Haron deZyne Originals is born...
Most professionals suggest finding something you enjoy, that gives you a sense of satisfaction. This will not only enable you to keep going through the early months, but it will be evident in the production of your work. Having a limited budget forced me to use my talents and handcraft my products. I tried sewing for a while, and was successful, but it wasn't what I was looking for.
I actually stumbled onto jewellery design by accident. I was selling my wares at a local market, and stopped by another vendor's table to view her display. She was selling crystals and stones wrapped in wire, and I asked if she knew of any places that taught her craft. As it turned out, she offered to teach me for a nominal fee, and I took to it like a duck to water.
I practiced with craft wire until I felt ready to graduate to the real McCoy, sterling silver. I conned a friend into driving me to a nearby town to purchase wire and stones from a lapidary store, and as soon as I walked through the doors I was hooked! Everywhere I looked there were polished rocks, mother of pearl, semi-precious beads, findings...everything possible for making jewellery. I felt like a kid in a candy store!
By the time I had finally selected my purchases, my friend had that glazed, "Oh My God is She Done Yet?" expression, worn by male shopping companions world wide. I quickly paid for them and we exited the store, accompanied by a huge sigh of relief from my comrade in arms.
Haron deZyne Originals
original, one-of-a-kind jewellery
Practice makes perfect...
The next step was to see if there was a demand for my products. So, I plied my goods at the local market and the occasional craft show. Everywhere I looked I saw jewellery, but nothing like mine. Slowly, I began to garner repeat customers and improved my skills. I downloaded wire wrapping patterns off the internet, borrowed books and experimented. I scrounged throughout the Lower mainland looking for unique things to make into pendants. Then I added shopping online to my repertoire, thereby expanding the types of products I could offer.
I took my work to a well known jewellery store in the area, showed the manager, and asked for his opinion. Not only did he give me a virtual plethora of ideas for my display, he taught me how to price my merchandise properly.
I up-scaled my work to include not only sterling silver, but 14k r.gold and higher quality semi-precious stones. Once I had established myself as a leading artisan with wire working, through diligence and practice, I turned my hand to marketing.
Not as easy as it sounds
One of the most important rules to marketing, is to become known for your expertise in your particular field. Ok, step one on it's way to completion.
Rule number two...be unique. What can you offer that the others don't have? What can you bring to the table that sets you apart from the rest? In my case, the way I worked my wire was different from anyone elses....I had developed a 'twist'.
Then I polished the overall look of not only my wares, but my display. Being that I work with mostly natural compounds and specialty glass, my presentation was created to enhance that feature, blending it with the sophistication of higher end jewellery stores. The day I encorporated the two aspects of my exhibit, my sales doubled.
Now it was time to build an online presence. Having a strict budget did not allow for the expense of having someone build a website for me, so I decided to tackle it myself. Using the tools that I had available, I slogged my way through page colours, logo designs, links, webhosting, ftp programs and the like. Then I printed business cards using the same logo as my site and included the web address at the bottom. With that stage completed, I began the next phase...exposure.
Business experts will tell you in order to drive traffic to your site, you need to be visible. The way to achieve that is through sites like Facebook, MySpace, and of course this one, Hubpages. The idea behind this is simple.
Even when shopping online, customers like to know something about the face behind the name. A personable website will capitalize quicker, and generate more sales on average than a website that promotes sales only. People like to be able to say "...I know that person...".
The trick, and you knew there would be one, is making your site welcoming, personable, friendly, and still professional. You don't want to be confiding too much personal information on a business site.
So how do you solve the problem? Very simply. You apply for a blog site, Facebook, MySpace, or in my case, Hubpages...a place where you can introduce yourself as a person, not just a business. This way, you become known and hopefully liked, which generates more interest in your information, in turn causing the browsers to stay longer on your pages looking for more new things to see, thereby getting more people clicking through to your links.
I still have a long way to go before my site and my products are the way I want them. I am branching out into more creative work that I hope to be able to post on my business site soon, and of course there are always new ways to improve my designs and showcasing. But the time and effort are well worth the satisfaction I derive from producing my art...wearable and otherwise.
Copyright Enelle Lamb 2008 - Please do not copy and paste this article, but feel free to post a link using this url: http://hubpages.com/hub/Why-I-Became-an-Entrepreneur