When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an entrepreneur. Actually I was one. My sister Zadi and I had a million money making schemes. We gave foot rubs for cash. We found cool rocks and polished them up to sell to unsuspecting adults. We sold small candy bars (for considerable mark up) at our Mama’s booth at the Sikh summer solstice celebration . We started a club with a friend. We were called the B.O.P.S. (Business Opportunities Parties and Shows). We washed cars, had a garage sale, etc. It felt like we were always scheming a way to make some cash. At 11 I started getting hired by neighbors and friends to start babysitting…mostly for very short periods with my mom just 4 houses down. At 13 I got my first job. I worked at summer camp and spent a month away from home.
My parents have owned a few businesses over the course of my lifetime. They have lost and won with business in a number of different ways. I know I get that entrepreneurial spirit from them, and maybe Grace and Ava get it from me.
I’ve been thinking about business again over the last few months. I became disenchanted with business over the last decade or so. It’s hard seeing losses. It felt unstable to me. I don’t think you can have a true appreciation for the fear that can happen when your family’s business goes under, unless you’ve been there. It was our bread and butter, and the roof over our head, and one year, within a few weeks, it was all gone. I was thirteen at the time.
This is probably the main thing that scared me about thinking of going into business for myself. The thought that it could all go bust. It’s so much risk and so much work. And yet, the thought draws me to it. It’s like a magnet.
My thoughts on money and one’s livelihood had evolved over the years. I was very happy to marry a man with a profession. A steady paycheck, a pension when he retires. It’s a modest living, but stable and sturdy.
In the same measure, I realize that a single paycheck in a household has major limitations. It restricts how much we have to spend and save greatly, and if something were to happen to Tommy’s job we would be in a world of hurt rather quickly.
I used to be able to work outside the home part time. My Papa watched the girls for me for free, but with two little ones in diapers, I know that it’s more than he could handle. Heck, it’s more than I can handle sometimes. And I also feel strongly that I want to be home with the boys for these first couple of years. And I always want to have a flexible schedule to be able to spend lots of time with my children. It’s a tall order. I know this.
But I also know people can and do create this for themselves. I know some of them. Either through entrepreneurship, a profession, something else that I’m not thinking of, or a combination of all of these. Over the last few months I’ve been doing a LOT of research on the subject.
Some of the things I’ve read:
Early Retirement Extreme Jacob Fisker Lund wrote this blog, and then a book on the subject. He recommends not outsourcing tasks, living cheaply…extremely cheaply, and banking the rest and investing, it’s the epitome of living like no one else. I go back and forth on this. I think it’s a better strategy for a single person. It’s hard to pinch pennies FOREVER, when you are raising a family. Although I bet a certain aspect of this could work if a family were very creative.
Over the past few months, I’ve become a huge fan of Pat Flynn who writes the Smart Passive Income blog. He is a regular guy who was laid off in 2008, and then he went into business for himself and he focuses on automated systems of income such as internet marketing so that you do not have to be present for a transaction to take place. With this in mind, I started thinking about doing some affiliate marketing myself and started cloth diaper review website.
So far I have made 29 cents. Even though I have read about this a lot, I have no clue what I’m doing. But I’m having a blast….except when I get really frustrated. Then I’m just really frustrated.
Pat Flynn also talks about writing your own digital products about things that you know about and putting them up for sale on Amazon…etc. My mama and I have been wanting to write a series of children’s book about gardening for about 5 years now. So we’re taking the opportunity to just jump in and do it. My sisters may help with this project as well. We have most of it written and are trying to figure out this whole illustrating thing. I’m so nervous, but it is also satisfying and thrilling.
In this process I’ve been intrigued to learn about marketing. And so I recently read the book Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook by Gary Vaynerchuk. I enjoyed it, although it was more for someone with an established brand….and yeah, I’m not there. But I really enjoyed reading it. I think people who are successful in business have such a different perspective than workaday folks.
So, these are the things that are percolating in my mind. What about you? Have you or your family learned to have multiple streams of income? How has this changed your outlook and future? What resources do you recommend reading?