That time I got the grand idea to start up my own business…and failed.

June 11, 2013

As some of you may know, I’ve been working at my new job since February of this year. We moved cross country over a year ago andย  I couldn’t find a new job in our new area right away. Being the new girl in town and not having made any new friends yet to keep busy with, I started to become desperate in my negative self talk around 6 months in, especially about my financial situation and feeling bad for not being able to contribute to help my husband pay for basic everyday things. I was lucky to have saved up a nice nest egg while I was working per diem shifts xray in my last job (there was a huge differential) so I was able to support myself with basic needs such as gas for the car, dog food, vet visits, yarn (yes, yarn is a need!) and other things like that while I was unemployed for a year. My husband managed the rent and utilities. We also used a good chunk of my savings on relocation costs and so after a year, my savings was finally dwindling down to a scary low.

Desperation makes you do seriously stupid things, this I can account for. So what did my dumb ass do? I decided to start my own dog boutique business. In August 2012, I applied for a tax ID number, registered my business name, applied for wholesale accounts and set up my own website with Volusion. I used another big chunk of my remaining savings on all of this and much to my dismay, the website that was hosting my shop ended up charging me way more than I anticipated. A fee here, a fee there, a charge for doing this, a charge for NOT doing that, and with NO customers to help me dig out of the hole. And here I was with a ton of dog stuff in my basement and no one to buy it. What the hell did I get myself into?

After 3 months of being charged ridiculously high fees for hosting my shop and having a SSL certificate on my website (a secure shopping cart that accepts credit cards), I decided to hell with fucking Volusion, I’m moving to Goodsie where it was only $15 a month.

So I spent a week moving all my product listings over to this new website, and I still wasn’t making any sales. I tried advertising on my own blog as well as with a few very generous other bloggers who I swapped ads with. I had a twitter and facebook page but it wasn’t enough. My efforts were pointless. The only way I was going to see some sales was to spend even more money by purchasing advertising on Google or other websites. I thought about having a big name blogger host a giveaway for me but offering up a prize wasn’t enough. I had to shell out $100 just for her to host it. At this point, I didn’t even want to think about spending one more dime on a stupid store that was quite frankly pissing me the hell off.

After a few more unsuccessful months at Goodsie, I cancelled my account and with my tail between my legs, I started listing products on eBay for close to wholesale prices just to make my money back. What a fucking flop. How pathetically embararssing is that? I feel so dumb having thought I actually had a chance at running my own business. What was I thinking?

I was mad at myself for wasting my savings on this venture (which could have gone towards, oh um, our HOUSE that we just bought but noooooo), I was mad at Volusion for springing these fees on me that cost more than a week’s worth of groceries, I was mad at the people who said they would buy something from my shop but didn’t, I was mad that none of the places I bought merchandise from would accept returns, but I could only be mad at myself for being so impulsive, stupid, and giving up.

I don’t really have any mind blowing advice to offer up other than do not let desperation get the best of you when or if you are ever unemployed. Don’t be impulsive when it comes to business ideas. And if you decide to move forward with your business idea, you better set aside $1000 for advertising costs so you won’t be shocked in the end. You’d probably have better luck getting a brick and mortar store in town where people will actually see you instead of having an online shop where you are drowning amongst millions of other competitors.

So over the last year I’ve been slowly selling the remaining boutique items on eBay and giving stuff away to friends with dogs. But other than that, I’m stuck with this stuff and its a constant reminder of my failure and impulsiveness. And I don’t want to have to bring the remaining merch with us to our new house, but I can’t just throw it away so I guess I’m stuck with it some more. I do have a ton of collars and food bowls if anyone wants any.

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