There was a period of time from early 2012 until late 2013 when I was not employed. During this time, I launched a small on-line business. I combined my love for taking photos with my husband's interest in expanding his wholesale engraving business into the retail realm.
To get started, I made sure I had inventory, a website, business cards, a business license (which was an expensive pain the a$$ to obtain from my town), a Facebook page, and a brand before I launched. I previewed at a church fair. I passed out business cards. I tried every way I could think of to resurrect the lost art of note writing (does anyone write notes anymore or are we all so dependent on email to communicate?). And then I waited.
I received some orders -- always from people I knew and to whom I shall be forever grateful for showing their support. But there were no orders from people I did not know. I followed all the guidelines the website company set out to increase traffic. No luck. I had a sale. I contacted my local Patch and they wrote a great story for me - terrific free advertising. Cue the crickets.
I like my photos. I love note cards. I love having engraved items -- they contain special messages that no one else has. I honestly thought we'd have a nice steady stream of activity. People need to re-learn the art of note writing for sure.
I never expected the business to cover our mortgage, but I had hoped to make a little go of it -- or at least to recover the start-up costs. I'm no quitter, but finally enough was enough. Operating at a complete loss feels bad.
The thing is, I really don't want to quit, so I'm not going to - I do need, however, to shift gears. Today, I closed the website down and moved the note cards over to an Etsy shop (here). I am a little sad, but it is the best thing to do right now. Keeping my paws crossed that this is the better way to go.
If you ever feel like it's time to quit or to give up a dream - I say to you - don't. Re-group and make adjustments, but never give up.