Starting a business, even a tiny one like mine that doesn't require a huge financial outlay, is scary. I'm putting myself "out there". It's like revisiting all those "what if nobody likes me?" fears I had as a kid - what if nobody comes to my party? What if nobody sits next to me at lunch? What if they all laugh at my book report presentation?
I've had the idea to help people organize and sort their photos for ages, since I discovered my passion for documenting our life better once T was born. And after I completed a year of my family's Project Life scrapbook, I thought I could do this for others who had no inclination or time to be crafty.
But that little naysaying voice in my head convinced me that no one would pay for that sort of thing. (Even though I know tons of friends who are drowning in unsorted, unprocessed digital photo files, and have 18-year-olds whose baby books are unfinished or not yet started.)
I finally got the push I needed when my friend Laura mentioned for maybe the third time in her blog comments that I should just start that scrapbooking business already. The Universe works in mysterious ways, and finally it just yells at you when you're not getting the message.
At first, it was easy. I'm a project manager by trade and by personality. I knew all the logical steps I need to take to set up a business, and since I already have a successful handcrafted metal ID tag and keepsake shop online, it was easy to run through those things. I purchased domain names, set up a new website, took photos of my work, wrote a business plan and floated it around with some trusted friends.
And then the project stalled, while I twiddled knobs on the website and filled out tedious forms about business licensing.
The next obvious step was the hardest one - put up listings and actually *allow* people to engage me to make a custom album for them. People can't buy if you don't have anything for them to purchase, right? That is Essential Business Rule #1, and even 5 year olds with a lemonade stand know that they need to have cold lemonade ready if they want customers to come.
So last night I did it. I "turned on" the shop I had been fiddling with for weeks. This is my "soft launch", for a few weeks while I iron out some remaining details on the website and add more projects to my portfolio. And instead of sitting quietly hoping someone will come to my party, I'll be out there telling everyone I know what an awesome party it's going to be!