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The Business of Being in Business

As children, we all had dreams of what we wanted to be when we were growing up. Girls carried around dolls pretending to be mommies. Boys carried around cars pretending to be race car drivers. As we became older we pinpointed exactly what we thought we wanted to do so we planned to go to college, business school or trade school. Upon completion of our education or higher education, we found employment or started our careers. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m not sure when this entrepreneurial thing came to play. Never had I thought about having my own business. Sure, no one wants to work for someone else forever, but sometimes it just happens that way.

So there I was with an idea that began with wanting to do something different for Christmas presents. Maybe I can sell this stuff? Now I didn’t go into this thing with big hopes of maintaining my current financial obligations with it solely, but I expected to at least make a little extra money on the side. But how do you do that? I didn’t know anything about being in business for myself, so I did what I thought I needed to do.

When I first started this I thought I was being unique! Little did I know so many other people were making homemade lotion! However, I didn’t allow that to discourage me, I was going to give it a try anyway. I looked at other businesses similar to what I was thinking of getting into and took note of what I liked and what I didn’t like about pricing, packaging, presentation, etc. That’s the first thing, you have to make your product unique in whatever way you can. You also have to be competitive and try to find ways to make your product stand out. I was at a vendor event and a lady came to my table and told me her sister did the same thing, but my packaging was better. Yay! I stood out.

This is a trial and error thing, some things will work and some things won’t, you just have to

pinpoint what is and isn’t working. Initially I started out with all these fragrances that I thought everyone would like, well I’ve got plenty of fragrance oils and essential oils that I hardly ever use or I’ve never used. I’ve learned what my clients like and if they like it, I figure others will too, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it!

The name, what should the name be? I started out with a whole different name that I still love but it wasn’t unisex. I thought my biggest customers would be women, nope! My most faithful clients are men and this was before I introduced the beard balm and beard oil, so I had to change the name. That was pretty easy, I am a First Lady for real and they do call me Lady Tee, so my sister in law suggested I go with I said before, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Take all things into consideration when naming your business, but keep it simple and unique to you!

How do I get my product out there? Start within your immediate circle of family, friends, co-workers, fellow church members, etc. I had my first presentation at church. I started what I called the Entrepreneurial Corner, it was an opportunity for those in our church who sold products to present their items to their church family. I wasn’t the only entrepreneur in the congregation, there were others so it worked out for all of us. Oh, don’t get offended if those in your immediate circle don’t buy your product. My biggest clients are not family members and I’m not mad about that. I have people outside of family that absolutely LOVE my products and they continue to be faithful customers. In other words, don’t sweat the small stuff. Hmm, at first I wasn’t sure what I would write about but this is getting long, huh? So I will finish up! How do you determine if this entrepreneurial thing is worth it? Let me just say I haven’t made a ton of money...yet! But I love doing this and I love hearing the benefits my products give to my clients. When talking about my product to potential customers I don’t make up stuff. I tell potential customers what my clients have told me in how Lady Tee’s Skin Treatment has been a benefit to them and hope that will be enough for them to at least try the product. I also love when customers return and become clients! If this is a side thing with potential of being a main thing, you have to love what you do. It takes time for you to see the fruits of your labor, for some it is immediate for some it is not, at least give it 2 years to see if this is really what you want to do. If you still love it after a few missteps and care enough to perfect the areas that need perfecting? You are ready to be in the business of being in business!


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