I am to blame, I know. It all started so innocently with a collectable gift to my husband that became a hobby and then a full-blown collection. Soon it became his obsession, overtaking our house (our garage, the laundry room, our kitchen! What would be next?) I demanded inventory be reduced by selling a few items on eBay. Right. Before I knew it we had our own eCommerce website for trading, selling…and even consulting!
What began as a simple and thoughtful gift has now grown into an almost full-time part-time micro-business with an almost 5,000 piece inventory. It will someday augment our retirement (if we ever do) but my husband’s dream is that it will provide our grandsons with summer employment and perhaps even help with college costs.
It is also a classic business involving inventory procurement, pricing, warehousing (NOT in my kitchen), marketing, web site maintenance, packaging, shipping and accounting. We do our part for the economy by employing part time help with website updates and shipping.
Witnessing the development of this micro-business reminded me that the simple keys to success really don’t change much over time:
- More than any other criteria for success, it really does help to love what you do. It takes passion to stay up in the wee hours researching, finding sources and reading everything you can find about your subject and your competitors.
- Persistence does pay. Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither is a business. As the business gets smarter, our margins grow and we push the profits back into the business.
- Listen to and learn from others, whether potential customers or advisors. You don’t have to take everyone’s advice but you can learn a lot.
- Be flexible. You need to be able to respond to market conditions or customer input to improve your business.
- Have a plan with realistic expectations.
I have to admit, not only do I appreciate my husband’s talent and success but I now actually enjoy my (occasional albeit increasing) role as “assistant.”