Looking Back, Moving Forward
We are in the middle of moving across the state and as I was packing up my office I found a journal. In it I found a list of why I wanted to start an online business and what I wanted that business to provide. The list was written 5 years ago. It’s funny to look back at this list now and see what I have accomplished and what I still need to work on. I’m not your typical Entrepreneur so my list may seem a little trivial, but for a stay at home with twin 3 year olds I didn’t have much time to draft a formal business plan.
1. I want to be with my kids. My kids were only 3 years old when I started working on the idea of starting an online business. I knew that they would grow up fast; I needed to be home with them as long as I could.
I am very proud that I can look back and see that I have been able to do this. I have enjoyed every second of watching them grow up. It’s also fun that they have such a big part of my business. I used to ship all International Orders from my home. The kids would help pack the boxes; we would find the country on our globe then learn about the culture. It was a fun way to help teach my kids about the world – and get my work done. As I write this post my son is sitting next to me.
2. I want to have a flexible schedule. Part of staying home with my kids was so that I could be there when they were sick. I didn’t want to have to ask for time off to take care of sick kids. As most of you know, if you have more than one child, if one is sick the other will be the next week and you will be the week after that. One illness could last 3 weeks. I don’t know of any jobs that allow for that kind of time off.
I wouldn’t say that I have a flexible schedule, but it is definitely more flexible than most. What I didn’t see then was how hard it would be to balance everything at home. Comforting a sick child and trying to process orders, or do SEO was more challenging that I thought. But over the years it gets a little better.
3. I want to have money. Don't we all?! At the time we had one income and things were tight. I wanted to have money to take vacations, enjoy activities with the kids, or just extra money for the shopping. I wanted to be able to balance the checkbook without getting butterflies in my stomach.
It took a few years but finally I was able to have a payroll. Having two full-time payrolls in a household sure does make a difference.
I didn’t plan on the challenges of taking a vacation while running an online store that is open 24/7, but having a great business partner helps a lot!
4. I want an Identity and I want to feel that I can accomplish something. Ok, for all you Moms out there – just being Moms is an accomplishment, but I think we all feel some sort of inadequacy at times after first becoming a Mom. After being in the workforce to suddenly at home with two babies I felt very out of touch with my friends and the outside world in general. I wanted to somehow get my identity back. Not as a Mom but as ME. I wanted to feel that even though I will never accomplish the laundry, I CAN accomplish something.
I do feel that there is more to me than just being a Mom (although I am very proud of that title). As I look back at how far we have come I definitely feel a sense of accomplishment.
I am happy to say that after all this time; I feel I have fulfilled these goals. I am going to write down some new goals and put the journal away. I hope that I can come across it again in a few years and see that my business has grown along with my family and my goals have been accomplished once again.
Thanks for this! I'm just finishing my first year of my business, and I'm doing it for all the reasons you just listed! It is very hard sometimes, but I'm so thankful that I'm able to be home with my children while they're so young.
Your story is so inspirational. I also love the design of your website, by the way. I just opened my online store a couple of months ago. Question: did you use an SEO professional? I've done lots of research and have implemented lots of suggestions (different title & meta tags for each product, relevant key word use, cross links within my site, etc.). But so far, my site isn't ranking well in the search engines. Google is indexing about 20% of my pages. Any suggestions would be greatly appreciated! Nicole