Service, Product or Both?
As you begin thinking about starting your own business, you´ll need to determine whether you want to offer a service, a product, or both. Consider the following as you narrow down your ideas:
1. With a service, you need to have some flexibility in your schedule. For instance, if you are going to run a pet sitting business, you´ll need daytime hours in which you can stop at the homes and take care of the pets. You´ll also need to have long stretches of time open so that you can go from one house to the next. If you are offering bookkeeping services for a company, you may not need to work during the day, which would leave time available for another job on the side until your business picks up, but you will most likely have to meet some deadline, and you may be much busier at certain times of the year than in others.
2. With a service, you rely solely on yourself unless you go into business with another person. You don´t need to worry that someone else will not get something done in time. You can set up the business exactly as you want. Of course, this also means that if something goes wrong, you are solely to blame.
3. You may be able to take some time off. For instance, if you are freelance writing you can stop taking jobs for a week so that you can go on vacation, or you can get the work done in advance so you don´t have to take it with you. If you are offering in-home massages, yoga lessons, or haircuts, you can schedule clients around the time that you need off.
1. You´ll most likely have to rely on other people in order to run your business. For instance, with my diaper bags, I´ve had to work with a designer to get the pattern and prototype completed. I order the supplies from various companies, and when I begin selling the diaper bags, I will have to work with a company who will then create the diaper bags. Keep in mind that the more people you involved in your business, the more that can go wrong.
2. You´ll need more money at start up. If you are creating a product, you´ll need to create samples. You´ll need to test the start up. You´ll need to package the product. You´ll need to purchase the supplies. These all cost money.
3. Time off will be difficult. If you are selling a product in a store or online, you will need to be available at all times to process orders and handle the business side of the sales. For instance, you can´t "stop´ customers from purchasing a product while you are in Hawaii soaking up the sun. However, in many cases all you will really need are a laptop, cell phone, and Internet access.
4. Storage. If you are creating a product, you will need a place to store supplies and finished products, along with packaging that needs to be used to mail out your products. If someone else is designing the actual product, you´ll need to make sure when you hire this person that they are willing to hold your supplies and to tell you when the supplies need to be reordered. You don´t want a large order to come in and, at the last minute, learn that the person creating the product is not well-stocked.
5. Good Help. You have to make sure that the person you are using to create your product is creating a well-made product. When I began shopping around for a seamstress for my diaper bags, I looked at companies across the United States. I wanted to make sure that the person who would be producing the final product that is going out into the hands of consumers is creating a well-made product. My name is all over this company, and I am the one that will suffer if the product is not well made. Also, I found that it would be easier to hire someone living in the LA area than someone living in another state. This way I can drop off and pick up orders each week, which will give me a chance to take a look at them before they are shipped out.