Monday, December 12, 2011

The Business of Being a Business.


I scream this, out loud, to myself - directing my angst at the many hundreds of thoughts hurtling though my head. Or, maybe it's the many thousands -they move so quickly it's hard to count.

Ideas launch like fireworks in my brain, where they sparkle and glow, seeming infinitely possible. Then the embers descend back toward reality. They cool and fade, quietly tucking themselves in to what could have been.

I'm not an entrepreneur by nature. Not even by design, if I'm to be honest. I think I WANT to be one out of necessity, because the thought of a 'real job' is terrifying.

If I were to truly dig deep, I'd find that the root to potential career happiness will be in creating something. Or, rather...creating something that provides a service, of sorts, that makes people happy.

My ideas aren't original, they've been done (and perhaps over done), but they stick with me because I like the romantic notion of earning a living through creativity. 

The problem with my own business is (besides not being particularly creative):
1) I'm easily overwhelmed by the logistics & research of starting a business.
2) Dismal follow through skills
3) Having a viable (a.k.a. NOT whimsical) idea.

I like thinking up things, submerging myself in the possibilities - the offerings if you will - while ignoring the nuts and bolts of what it takes to make a business work - as in, the actual W.O.R.K. part of it. 

I tried selling home products through Southern Living. I was actually pretty good at the party thing and talking about the products, but decorating? Nope. And, I had a hard time really getting into it because I finally just saw the items as more clutter - more things to dust and store! My business didn't last long.

I found a recipe for making homemade vanilla, complete with ideas to package it as nifty little gifts. My mind leapfrogged to wondering how I could make enough to sell at a farmers market, undercutting the "gourmet" versions sold in traditional markets. I see you laughing...I know, right?

Last week while in the shower, where ALL my ideas hit, I came up with The Cuppa Mobile (more laughing...just you wait until you hear the rest). In my area, as is true of many large cities, gourmet food trucks are becoming all the rage. My idea was for a small van/truck that sells cups of coffee, tea, cocoa, soup, oatmeal...whatever comes in a cup....all homemade and delicious (on most days).  This is where you start comparing me to the professor who invents Flubber.

And now, I fantasize about creating food-stuff gifts. Things like homemade hot cocoa mixes, with hand crafted marshmallows (because I had oh so much luck with the first batch I made - major NOT). Basically, creating a business that services the local community where a client calls/texts/emails to request a gift be delivered to someone. Maybe even supply employee appreciation gifts at larger companies, this being Silicon Valley and all. Or...oh!!!...creating a new home-made gift-of-the-month. One month vanilla, then vanilla sugar, hot cocoa, chai mix...see? Great idea, but feasible...not so much. The allure wears off quickly.

And, finally...a Girl Friday. I've thought about something like this for years, but a friend of mine has actually gone and done it. I'm thrilled for her, she is awesome and I wish her much success. She has that get up & go mentality and went for it. Me...not so much.

Again, it's all in the planning and figuring out the details, but the actual process of getting it off the ground is where I falter.

I guess, upon reading and editing the above, I am closer related to the daft inventor than an entrepreneur. Although, that isn't even true because I really didn't 'create' any of these ideas...they are borrowed from ideas others have created and actually done.

Being a stay-at-home mom has been great. I cannot even begin to express how fortunate I am to have been able to do it the last 13 years. But now my kids are older and I'm stuck. I cannot go back into an office, I'm sure it will kill me D.E.D.dead within hours of setting foot inside a cubicle...probably even minutes. But I'm ready to earn money. I'm ready to contribute to anything that will allow my family to travel and not put things off because we can't afford it.

Perhaps I should go take a shower and see if I can come up with some new ideas.

What about you? 
Are you doing what you want to do?
Or, are you existing through what you have to do?
If you could create an ideal business, what would it be?
(Disclaimer:  there is a chance I'll borrow that idea, just so you know.
But, if you've read this post closely you'll know that little will get done with it).


  1. My dream business use to be running a coffee shop for Moms. It would be a place they could come with their kids to unwind and have some form of provided child care while they sip on their coffees to socialize or just read a book.

    I love your ideas - the first step is just to sit down and write up a business plan. I actually found this site helpful in just pulling your ideas together and making the right steps.

  2. Okay, well, you know I'm living my dream of writing and graphic and web design. I LOVE the food truck idea, because I also want to do that.
    Along those lines, maybe one of those places where people can go and prep meals to take home? I always wanted to do that but have different nights like "date night" "gno," etc, where there is wine, entertainment, and possibly child care, depending on the night (or day or whatever).
    Playing off the handmade food gifts, what about gift baskets? Diaper cakes?
    Last but certainly not least, personal organizer?
    Are these lame?
    I still think you should just ADMIT YOU ARE A WRITER and pursue it! :)
    Okay, I'll stop nagging you about that.

  3. I'm not making the money I want but I am working totally for myself. And that makes me incredibly happy. Especially since it's winter and I think about all those mornings of scraping ice and risking my life on the highway to work for 'the man' lol.

    I have to say, I was kinda digging that cup idea.

    Your writing is incredible, ever thought about that?

  4. I didn't see the comment above mine before I posted. It's been settled! You are a writer! LOL

  5. I thought you were into world domination... this domesticated side of you is causing major cognitive dissonance for me.

  6. Anonymous3:12 PM

    Woopsie, forgot to sign out of my "other" blog account. See? The dissonance is ruining the rest of my thoughts!

  7. Victoria's View - hugely loving that idea. I love my little kid free days now, but would have really loved having a place to go with the little minions where evil stares from other customers were non-existent while the kiddos played & I sipped.

    Laine & Graylin - I'm evolving, painfully slowly...but I'm getting there. "Writer"...have not made peace with it yet, but there is still hope for me, right?

    Both Megan's - Aha!!Dual bloggin', I'm on to you (well, when you make it obvious, otherwise I never figure anything out). Fear not! Every endeavor needs funding, so until I have 'sponsors' willing to hand over their riches in exchange for some political standing in my new regime, I'll need to earn a few bucks for my World Domination wardrobe.

  8. Yes, you are a writer and there is still hope that you will accept this and then do something grand with it.

    I thought about doing a mobile food truck with the hopes eventually opening a brick and mortar. My business partner bailed on me and I've not done anything with the idea since. Plus, I think I work hard NOW. I can't imagine how much time and energy would go into running my own restaurant/cafe.

  9. Jane - my grandfather owned coffee shops over the years and I worked for him as a waitress - Never do I want own a food business like that. But a truck? That would be kind of cool.

  10. I don't think your ideas are laughable at all! Maybe one day in the shower you'll get the (metaphorical) lightning bolt of an idea you love so much you just HAVE to do it! (Or you could just accept that you are in fact a writer.)

    I'm sort of half-living my dream, right now. I want to teach, and I want to work with kids (double win on the dayhome front). But I am so tired of doing it out of my own home. My dream is to run a child care centre (OUTSIDE my home) that blends early education methods to meet the needs of each child. Now to find my sparkly cape...