Friday, July 1, 2011

The Challenges of Running a Small Home Business

A bit of history...before LexiBeads, there was, and still is,  Alexis Studio Design LLC. It started out as a home business where I made jewelry, lampshades, sachets, and other small gifts. In 2009, I made the fatal mistake of opening a brick and mortar store...what a nightmare!!!  Buying furniture, painting, a new sign, permits, marketing... Still, I went in with a positive attitude, and I actually fell in love with the final product! My store had a Zen, Asian feel to it, with an aqua/ brown color scheme, lots of plants and bamboos, my personal Buddha collection and a beautiful waterfall. All that despite the fact that a well meaning friend hired an interior designer as a gift for me, and this designer, in keeping with my Asian theme wanted to add her homemade Christmas wreaths above my waterfall, and blue fishing nets in the store window! (True story!!!) Unfortunately, the store was in a terrible location, with no foot traffic, and I ended up closing the doors one year later. I look at it as a learning experience, allbeit an expensive one.

So, back to working from home. I did a few craft fairs, home parties. Some of my work was in galleries and boutiques. However, my website failed to pull in any business, despite the beautiful design by a web designer. So, I opened shop on Etsy, and later added LexiBeads.

As a single parent, who suffers from chronic migraines, it ain't easy running a business from home!!  My two children are at an age where they have an active social life, and lot's of activities, and need to be driven everywhere! And every doctor's appointment, dentist get the idea. I have no family nearby, and although I try to carpool with other parents as often as possible,  the chauffeuring eats up a big chunk of my time!

Then there are the migraines. I have them almost daily, see a neurologist, and a bevy of medications aren't helping. I'm now trying biofeedback.

So, then there are the businesses.  I'm the type of person who needs structure in their day...there's the shipping, the marketing, the blogging and twittering (tweeting?), the photographing...when the hell do I find the time to actually make the jewelry???  My stock and inventory are finding their way into every room of my home...even my bedroom.

Etsy is a fabulous community of artists, I really love it, but my sales are slow...there's alot, I mean ALOT of competition out there! It's a challenge to find a niche that will make me stand out!

I would love to hear from other small home business owners! Any thoughts, solutions, funny stories? I always feel it's easier to deal with these challenges with others who are going through the same...



  1. I'm a small business owner too (only on Facebook) Too Cute Binkies~&~Bows I too started on etsy and hated it! I love buying from there but selling isn't easy! So I started a "fan" page on Facebook and blew up! I'm almost at 500 fans and more busy than I can keep up with! I have two kids also! Both boys, 5yrs and 15 months! What handfuls they are! But I love them! :) just doesn't make it eat for me to keep up! so u tend to work at night when they are sleeping! Fcebook will be good for you. Fan other boutiques/stores ect. And they will pass on you page if you pass on theirs. Helps you grow quickly! I will post your page tomorrow. Also try (The Craft Show) (S.I.T.T.- send in the troops US) and there is a couple Others I can't think of but can send you these are sites that do nothing but promote fan pages on facebook! Also a better "store" than etsy that is free an totally customizable is they even have a tab for your Facebook page! Hope this helps some! Good luck!

  2. Ps I also suffer from migraines and I'm on daily muscle relaxers and preventers. I actually had surgery today in hopes it helps! I feel your pain! Good luck with your treatment! I know how debilitating they can be....

  3. Thank you so much!!! Those were very helpful tips, and it helps to know that there is someone in my boat who is succeeding! All the best to you, and let's keep in touch! I will also promote your store in anyway I can!

  4. I can't imagine how you deal with the migraines. My oldest daughter has them, too, and it really affects her day-to-day life.

    A brick and mortar store requires a great deal of responsibility, and though I have considered it, I am much more comfortable with online sales. I've had a website(s) for a number of years, got on Facebook awhile back and after building my personal page numbers, I started a fan page. I'm now nearing 1100 fans, though I have only seen a slight increase in business as a result. It could be that my products are more high-end, so I continue to research ways to increase sales. I also recently opened an Etsy shop. I signed up a couple years ago but never started a shop. It too has been slow, but again it is most likely due to the type of clients appropriate for my products.

    My motto: Never give up!!

  5. Thank you so much for your insight! As I said earlier, it really does help to speak with others in similar situations, and I will also do anything I can to promote your products! All the best!

  6. What a great post! While I dont have kids I can relate as to the craziness that comes with having an online business. I go to school full-time, work full-time and work on RandomAnn Design in what seems every spare second. We live in a very small apartment right now and the most frustrating thing for my husband is that my products (not to mention supplies!) are everywhere! But as crazy as it all gets I still enjoy it.

  7. That sounds like a pretty hectic lifestyle!! It sounds like you're able to manage it well!