The period between the old and the new, which I have decided to call ‘cheat’ time, is now upon me and I am feeling rather mellow (not really sure if that sums it up quite right but is the closest word I can think of). After spending so long putting every ounce of energy and thought into one thing, it is a strange feeling to move forward into the next. The problem I face is that ‘the next’ was not meant to start until I landed in Bangkok, and I don’t land in Bangkok til the 20th of Jan. This has left me with “well what do I do now”, common for most when they start a new adventure but I actually had a 5 year goal to avoid this and than went on to develop a yearly, quarterly, monthly and weekly plan to achieve it. Going off track; I can not stress how important these plans/goals are, the best business advice I have received in a long time. In fact, I thought my end goal was going to be hard, once I mapped it out from 5 years down to weekly tasks, I realised my end goal was actually selling myself short. Back on track; I am 9 weeks early thus creating my ‘cheat’ time rather than the usual ‘what now’ time. My solution, I am dedicating the next 9 weeks to get as close to some of next years first ‘quarterly’ goals as I can…I figure the first quarter will be the hardest so why not learn some of the mistakes now! The first of my goals was our Facebook fan page for Vurge Jewellery! After some research, some reviews and knowing I didn’t want to spend a single $, I have re-launched our fan page, very exciting and 9 weeks early, cheers to cheating. Til next time…….
So in front of me I have a brochure to go to the theater (Pygmalion for those that are interested); an idea I have not entertained since my mother use to take me (aka buy the tickets) but the illustrious scene that I love, what girl does not love to dress up and feel debonaire for the evening! My husband has actually agreed to be my date (shock horror) yet every time I sit down to buy the tickets I freeze and double think it and than walk away saying later. The tickets are not that expensive at all, but when I know that we only have 12 weeks to go before we want to be living from passive income only….each ticket is the equivalent to 8 or 9 new niche websites, so than my head calculates that (I’m running with 8 to be conservative) 8 niche sites a ticket, 16 niche sites between us hitting the goal of $15 a month (baby steps we are new at this) is equivalent to $240 of passive income a month. Now the tickets are going to cost me $240 a month! Okay so this is not the way we should be living or thinking but I feel that when we made a commitment to go hard 6 months ago so that we would be ready for ‘retirement’ day thinking like this is a must………I guess the theater will wait…..and with an extra $240 a month a new dress may also be part of the package….till next time
If you are expecting a fluffy ‘I love retail’ blog stop reading now, the truth be told retail is hard, and right now it is near impossible. As a retail business owner, my world has been rocked, my confidence shaken and some really hard truths learnt. The determination is still strong and the education is running hot, but I feel it only fair that some little hard truths about owning a retail store should be shared. Most articles out there will tell you that majority of small businesses fail in the first year, if you are past that point don’t break out the champagne just yet, we are in year 6 and still holding on…..tightly! However, the introduction of our physical stores this year highlighted some of the toughest lessons learnt yet. My top lessons:
Most retail stores make majority of their money over the festive period and the rest of the year remains fairly flat and stressful, you need to know that your estimated profits will cover the costs of the slower times in the year, or what I like to call the ‘blind spot’, if you don’t do a simple shoulder check, it could be fatal.
If your store is going good and you get a great deal to expand it does not mean that you should! If in a shopping centre you will most likely get approached and schmoozed by others, you will love the vote of confidence, it plays nicely on your ego. Remember other shopping centres are a business too, you are their customers, you make them money so yeah they will want you, they will do a sales pitch and they will tell you everything you want to hear.
You know the business books that you read, the advice that they give like “make sure you have enough cash to support a business for its first year”, “make sure you don’t grow too fast” better to have one store running really profitable than open more up quickly and have a failing kill the whole business…..well it’s true…..every single bit of advice, yet for some reason we read them and tell ourselves that it makes perfect sense but than justify to ourselves that we must be different and go ahead anyways!
Retail takes time, customers (especially at the moment) are more wise and cautious with their money. When you open a retail store you best be prepared to settle in for the long haul, and I’m talking ‘cattle class non-stop Australia to LA on a budget airline with a screaming toddler behind you, yes kicking your seat! I recently started noticing how long some of my favourite brands had been around before they were even a known and trusted brand……10 to 20 years. Ask yourself are you prepared to stick it out that long? Are you able to support your business that long? Are you able to stand a toddler kicking the back of your seat that long?
Staff are not your answer! They are a gift from heaven when they are amazing, they are a blessing when they do their job well, but I have learnt to be thankful if they show up, serve your customers politely and don’t break your trust. Most get bored, most move on and most just want their pay cheque. Managers are slightly different, in general it is a career to them so they want to do well, but remember your staff will only ever be 80% as good as you are, there are exceptions but good luck finding them.
I am still a super determined business owner and sales gal, and bring on the festive season but sometimes as owners we only want to read the ‘great’ stuff but we really need to know the tough stuff too.
Sometimes life hits you in the head with a brick. Don’t lose faith. I’m convinced that the only thing that kept me going was that I loved what I did. You’ve got to find what you love. And that is as true for your work as it is for your lovers. Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it. And, like any great relationship, it just gets better and better as the years roll on. So keep looking until you find it. Don’t settle.
Waking up grumpy is not exactly how I like to start my day, yet I can’t shake the bad mood. I grab Tim Ferriss’ 4-Hour Workweek and decided to read it on the bus which only made my mood worse. Ferriss describes the life that I want and I start thinking why am I not their yet, is it fear holding us (technically I should include my hubby in this conversation) back? Why don’t we just pack up and go…..the answer is not fear but honor. I gave my word to our business partner, and the girls in our team, that I would stay and help our physical stores til the end of the year. So stuck for four more months, not helping my morning mood, and stuck in Brisbane traffic. I would love to be moving my way through the Cameron Highlands rather than through cars that are frustrated! I realise these are not productive thoughts and must find a positive. The word ‘retirement’ jumps off the page, so to find my positive I calculate that I get to retire in 19 weeks at the ripe age of 29. In that 19 weeks I will get some additional ‘pocket money’ which will cover the initial exploring leg of our trip before we settle down. My hubbies parting words that morning where ‘keep dreaming’, and now I can!
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