On a Learning Curve

Six Months Later

It is hard for me to believe that I have been a store owner for six months! I feel like those months passed in a blur. Well, a lot of paint-covered, hauling furniture blur 🙂

First you should know…. I love this! Watching my dream come to a reality is absolutely awesome. The someday is today. The amazing people who started as customers and have quickly become friends. Nothing beats hugging a new friend.

But this is my first retail adventure (when I was a teenager I taught swimming lessons – so no mall work ever for me)……and that learning curve has been large. Last fall I asked everyone I knew…..tell me something about owning your own business. I learned SO much……from expensive wrapping paper and bags…..to be aware of rent costs…..to really trust and know who helps you on this path.

I’ve worked SO much…..from at the store, to finding treasures to getting them ready to paint. Painting, fixing, washing and tagging take a bulk of time. My hobby has become my job! But I am passionate about my job/hobby/my dream and that makes it all worth it.

So…passing on some advice:

1. Make sure you have six months worth of money set aside when you open your store. Rent (current and one month down payment), fees to turn on your water and lights, fee permits for signs…..so many things cost money to get started. I went through my “stash” in about three months. So blessed that I had those funds set aside! I also said no to lots of things. Sponsorships, etc. The one thing I said yes to was joining the Chamber. So thankful for that. They have been a huge support. I’ve also been blessed by Visit Grand Haven. They graciously put my store on their social medias. Grand Haven has a Downtown District that has provided numerous learning opportunities for me as well.

2. Work more at your store than anyone else does. You get to know your customers. You get to create that friendship, support, loyalty. You get to say please share my business and say thank you. Don’t forget to introduce yourself to your new business neighbors. Mine have been great about telling their customers about a new store.

3. If you are not a CPA get one to come alongside you. I’m certainly hoping it eases tax time for me. Yikes on that whole CPA/Accounting thing! Not my gift. So it’s important to ask for help with what you are not good at or enjoy doing.

4. It’s important that your family supports and encourages your dream. My hubby has been amazing with helping fix things, haul things and working as a sounding board. My sons, and daughter-in-law, have worked at the store, hauled things, and listened to me. Thankful for their embracing my dream as well.

5. Customers like change. I bring new stuff in every day. When something sells I redo everything. Change allows people to see things they have not noticed before. I love it when customers see new things and comment on how different things look. Customers also like clean! The store is vacuumed and dusted weekly. I love hearing people say how nice the store smells.

6. Social Media is a powerful tool. I’m still learning on this. (confession: I have two undergrad degrees in public relations and advertising – but both before the internet was invented!! Yes, the basics helps me….but social media is a BIG deal!!)……so again, I ask a LOT of questions, I pester people younger than me, and I work at trying to figure what is best, works, etc. Social media maintenance takes a lot of time as well. I post one pic every day on all my sites…..and know I should be putting out a weekly blog. Something to keep working on 🙂

7. LOVE LOVE LOVE what your dream is….because that makes it worth it.

8. Last, Balance. Truly work for balance in your life and owning your own business. My hubby told me last weekend that I don’t sit enough. I poured everything I could into my store for the past six months. I’m thankful, and I know I needed to do that, but now I strive for balance. Your business is a business it is not who you are. What are all those expressions….work for a living don’t live for work. That’s where I am at today…..striving for balance.

I am thrilled to be the owner of my dream, Vintage Green, and have checked a major item off my bucket list! So…if you desire to open your own business…please know I would love to share with you <3 Blessings my friends! Joyce

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