Monday, February 13, 2012

Finding Balance

I'm once more debating balance. Balance of time divided amongst the have too's such as house cleaning, food preparation, and now two businesses, yes, two home businesses. You see I didn't have enough to do so I'm starting a new business? Not buying it? Okay, how about I need more money to accomplish my goals? The main one is making things easier. Sound like another oxymoron? Well, so is Easy Living The Hardway. I'm just a woman full of oxymorons. 

You see we've come to a point where my husband's knife business is more than he can keep up with along with his main job that provides insurance and stability. You would think this would bedtime to cut back.  BUT, this second job provides extras and a way to express his tremendous art talent. It does leave him with little time to work on home and livestock projects. Add in three little girls who's main father figure is Grandpa and you see understand his very tight, time constraints.

That leaves the huge need to make things easier around here for me. No, I'm not willing to get rid of my garden or my livestock. They are the source of my improving health and mental well being, so we need to come up with ways to make them easier and more profitable.

 We of course are making things more complicated to accomplish that, hence the oxymoron. Maybe I had better explain more fully. You see, we badly need good strong lasting hay feeders for each livestock pen which would save money on hay wasted and time cleaning up that wasted hay. Plus, hay kept off the ground means fewer worms are transported into the livestock tummies. We need a shade type shed for the yaks and it doesn't look like my husbands going to have time to make it any of them so I've found some really sturdy hay feeders on the Internet. Not just any feeder for we have goats which don't need a horse or beef feeder, and yaks that are naturally short but have horns and like to use them as tools to move things.

But alas, no time and no moolaw, (money) to pay for another mans product.

A used tractor has badly been needed for some time and I could run it. Something I can't do with our neighbors extremely finicky one that my husband uses only when desperate. Hence, things don't get done. We could hire more of the house improvement jobs out to contractors saving time that my husband doesn't have to do them. Plus, they would get done quicker.  

To do all this and more, we need a larger income. Just being frugal isn't getting us where we need to be quite fast enough. So our oldest daughter, who is in need of some cash too, got with me and we decided to start a craft business on etsy. I can do this work on my physically down days when Addison's disease is whipping my behind and where if I had a normal job, I'd have to take sick days. 
Besides, it provides a wonderful creative outlet.

I knew it would be challenging starting up this business but I had no idea there was so much to do. If you are thinking of doing an Etsy account, you would be wise to read down this list of things we've been working on, other wise skip to the conclusion below.

1. Come up with a name for a business that appears on the first page when googled on the Internet.
2. Scout out our market to see if there is a demand for our product. Plus, see if there is still room for us in that market or if it is saturated already. Figure out how to set our product apart from the pack without raising our costs above the base customers are willing to pay. 
3. Figure out the approximate time needed to produce the product and do the business end or in other words paperwork, social media time, shopping for materials, designing, advertising, packaging and mailing and see if we can afford the hours taken from our other responsibilities.
4. Guesstimate the cost of wear and tear on equipment, (because at some point they will have to be replaced), cost of electricity, materials, and figure how much we will make for our time. Is it enough?
5. How are we going to get the word out doing advertising.
6. How do we package our product? I'm still drawing and designing it. What calligraphy do we use for our name and what should our heading look like on etsy along with our policies.
7. Set up bookkeeping in cyberspace so that the two of us in two different states can do the bookwork. ( A big learning curve for me)
8.Set up a bank account for the business.
9. Goals of where we want to go. I would like to have a line of medium end and high end products. For example, the same product just one line is made of quality cotton fabric and the other of leather with my custom made buttons etc.
10. What products will have a higher profit margin that will make up for others that we won't make much on, but we will likely sell a higher volume of, drawing more customers to us. 

With the advertising moving way ahead of schedule with a free advertising opportunity in magazine moving in to play, it has pushed the pedal to the metal and we now have to be up and running in half the time we planned. Good news yes, panicked YES!!

The grand daughters helping Grandpa clear the driveway, Sunday.
I'm going to figure out a flexible schedule where I blog on certain days and do social media on others. I'll let you know what I come up with. Then do something I've never done before, set aside hours each weekday to work on the business. I'm going to become a working woman now. This will change my garden plans and ways I've in the past spent my time. I will gain a greater understanding of those of you that hold jobs outside the home and this blog will be better tailored to you.

Yes, those who know me, know I've always worked hard. I love it. My kids think I'm warped and that I have a hard time telling the difference between work and play, true. This time it will be different though, I will be bringing in an income and juggling a job and home. 

You are probably wondering what we are creating for Etsy? I'd tell you but I want one more week before I unveil it. The photos still aren't quite up to snuff, the Etsy site isn't fully designed yet, and I've more drawing to do this week for the packaging.

To top it all off, my cooking classes I've offered through the rec-creation center all fall and beginning again after Christmas, may of just finally taken off. The group last week asked for weekly classes. I think not, but we'll try every two weeks. That means I've some organizing to do on that front also. Who would of thunk that this Autistic, homebody would every grow up to be a business woman? I never would have dreamt. It just goes to show you that if you put your mind to it, it's amazing what you can accomplish. Life takes us on such a interesting journey.
Sweeping the driveway, with a man sized broom, proved harder than our three year old thought.
So stay tuned not only to see what we are creating for our Etsy shop but I've some garden planning and cooking in the works. I'm going to start another kind of wheat bread today and whip up some wheat based home-made grahmn crackers shaped into hearts. I've been thinking what to do for the grandchildren that isn't just more sugar for Valentines Day tomorrow and I've decided those yummy crackers are just the thing to make and have their mom tuck into their lunch boxes.

 Last night, the middle grand daughter, with a mouth full of home-made angel food cake from the freezer, fresh whipped cream, and thawed strawberries, spouted," I love coming to Grandma and Granpa's house! This is so much fun." Yes, balance will have to include plenty of time for them, the greastest gift of all --family.

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