day 11: the profit

I grew up surrounded by what I consider a savvy businessman.

My father is one of the greats, a man who showed us how to love people, how to serve them…how to give of himself.  Too, I believe watching him in business was my greatest teacher in preparation for running my own businesses.

I’ve had the privilege to own/run a couple of those now, this blog being my favorite…my forever “job.”  I’m no Donald Trump, but I thought I’d pass on some tips that have led me in the right direction when it comes to the bottom line.  I have to credit my father for a lot of them, and experience for the rest.

Profit is not everything to me, but opening a brick and mortar shop requires a business mind–it’s not a hobby or for the lighthearted.  It will require work.  

1.  First things first, decide if your business is a hobby or full-time.  This is really important–it will guide all other decisions you make.  You may be thinking, “well, of course it’s a full-time business.  it’s a business.”

But here’s the thing about that…you may think you want a business, but a business by definition is profitable.  For instance, you may think you want a full-time business out of your blog, but do you?  If so, you don’t just blog when you want or when you’re inspired.  You blog almost daily.  You focus on content, you email advertisers, you hop the social networks, etc.

See what I mean?  We have to define what we want from our businesses.  Do we want just a little extra cash because we love what we do?  Or do we want to treat our passion like a business and work accordingly?

Neither answer is wrong, but deciding helps us move in the right direction.

31 Days to OPEN | perfectly imperfect

my Annie Sloan friends, Patty & Lisa

2.  Surround yourself with movers and shakers.

Seriously.  The power of positive thinking and all that.  If you have dreams and vision, put yourself around others who have the same.  Matt is my person…in more ways than one.  But he believes in me…in my dreams and visions.  I have a few friends that I share the scariest of my dreams–I know they won’t offer empty advice or negative responses.  They’ll encourage me to pray about it, to keep it all in perspective in relation to my family, and to go for it if it’s the right thing!

31 Days to OPEN | perfectly imperfect

3.  No matter what kind of business you’re running, spend the bulk of your time on income inducing activities.

This is hard for most of us.  Running a business, no matter what kind, requires tackling mundane activities every single day.  BUT, those activities (filing bills/paying bills/calling vendors or answering emails/approving comments/some social networking) can’t take up the majority of your day.  The day should be filled with 80-90% income inducing activities, 10-20 % managerial activities.

This doesn’t mean you don’t run your business by checking off your daily to do’s, but it does mean you need to manage your time well, and as you grow, delegate those tasks to someone else.

For instance, with the blog, there came a point after writing the ebook that I was completely overwhelmed.  I had too many emails to answer, too many giveaways to coordinate, too many ebook links to send out/tech issues to deal with, etc.  I couldn’t focus on income producing activities like good content i.e. great writing or projects.  As soon as I could, I hired an assistant to handle that stuff so I could continue focusing on the really important things.

And with this retail space, Natalie will be there to help me with the dailies. I’ll focus on marketing, promoting, networking with other businesses, product choices and styling, workshops, etc.

See what I mean?

31 Days to OPEN | perfectly imperfect

4. Diversify your net income.

Oh my, for us bloggers, this is important.  And really, any smart businessman or woman would tell you not to put all your eggs in one basket.  For me, that meant writing eBooks, working with different advertisers & networks, deciding to carry Chalk Paint,etc.

As a retail shop owner, I’ll need to carry lots of lines, offer a variety of workshops, & push myself to think outside the box.

And as an entrepreneur, I hope to continue  to expand the “perfectly imperfect brand,” by possibly creating a furniture line, writing a real-live book,etc.

31 Days to OPEN | perfectly imperfect

5.  Be genuine, go with your gut, weigh your risk, and go for it all.

Here’s the thing: you can’t expect everyone to support your brand if you’re not the number one fan.  We have to be totally passionate, 100% committed, and 200% genuine (I started to say “believable,” but I decided that didn’t communicate what I meant).  We need to genuinely LOVE what we do, the service we provide, the blog we write, the readers we write for, the product we sell–we have to LOVE it, and show that genuine passion off to the world. Genuine is infectious in the business world.  It just flat. out. is.

There are plenty of people trying to sell random things to us–I’m sure you’re like me…I want to support blogs/shops/businesses that support me.

31 Days to OPEN | perfectly imperfect

If you aren’t behind your business, your purpose, then let me tell you what’s in the way of making it all happen.  You are.

We are not only practically making this decision to take another risk, but we are prayerfully making it.  In the end, if we are financially able to take the risk (that God seems to continually place on our hearts for a number of reasons), and it doesn’t work out–then what can we do about that?  Not a thing.

But…if we prayerfully make this decision, weigh the financial risk, and go for it knowing it will be used for the Glory of God, then what might we be missing out on if we chose to wait?

Here’s to going for it.

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**this post was written in a series, 31 days to OPEN.  Click here to read all of the posts.

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24 Responses to day 11: the profit

  1. Kara F. October 11, 2012 at 7:17 am #

    Thanks for sharing this wisdom Shaunna! I know the transition from hobby, to full-time to your vision isn’t easy, but you’ve done it with grace and have stayed true to your brand. I hope when I’m ready (and my husband!), I will take the same path of deliberateness (yep, I made up that word). Keep it up!

  2. JenO October 11, 2012 at 7:36 am #

    Thank you for this. I love that you have a passion for what you do, but also the business skills to calculate the risks. I know that you will succeed! BTW, I am loving this series. What an eye opener to the challenges and rewards to opening your own retail space. I cannot wait to see you at your grand opening! I won’t miss it!

    • perfectlyimperfect October 11, 2012 at 7:50 am #

      Thank you, friend. That means MORE to me than you know!!! :-)
      shaunna

  3. Megan H October 11, 2012 at 9:48 am #

    Thank you for this inspiring article, Shaunna. I am an avid reader of your blog and love learning about how you do what you do :) I am a new blogger and your 31 day series has been such a great road map of things to come in the future if I continue to work hard and pursue my passions. Thanks so much! And I can’t wait to see your shop come together!

  4. Emily @ Ask for Roses October 11, 2012 at 9:55 am #

    I love this! Reminds me of Proverbs 16:9, “In his heart a man plans his course, but the LORD determines his steps.”

    It sounds like you all have done your planning and praying and I love that you are following your dream. It’s so inspiring. :) Keep up the good work!

  5. Jessica @ Dear Emmeline October 11, 2012 at 11:06 am #

    Shaunna you are one inspiring lady! I’m not in the position to open my own shop but one day I might be and I’ve loved getting a little peek at the process! :) I love that you lay your faith out and are relying on God in the building of your business. I have full confidence that your shop (and brand ) will succeed but isn’t it so comforting to know that if it didn’t that God has a purpose in that as well? Answer the call, work hard, follow God’s will, ride the wave, you never know where it might lead!

  6. Shanna Gilbert October 11, 2012 at 12:40 pm #

    Your post couldn’t have come at a better time. These are all things I’m considering myself with my blog and furniture business. Thanks for taking the time to help others out!

    http://www.restorationredoux.com

  7. Kim @ Plumberry Pie October 11, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

    Great post. I’ve been trying to figure out what I want from my blog – make something more of it or just have fun with it? Deep down I’d like it to be more than it is today, but like you said, then that changes how I would handle it completely. Great points to think about. Thanks!

  8. Denise October 11, 2012 at 3:36 pm #

    Great post! Have been thinking and thinking ! Still figuring out what I want to do – I know that is something that I need to think about.

  9. Marian October 11, 2012 at 6:08 pm #

    Shaunna,

    This was such an interesting post to read today. I just formed my own LLC and got an EIN number TODAY. I have been asked by the Lord to help develop novice artists by running my own barn sale style show and I am amazed how things just seem to come together as long as I have faith. Snaps for you guys and not being afraid to follow where He leads. I have been astonished how much more exciting His plans for me are than my own would have been.
    Marian

  10. Alison of The Modern Cottage Company October 11, 2012 at 7:44 pm #

    Shaunna I loved this post, so well said. I am so excited for you and this new journey of a shop. I especially love that you are prayer focused in your business, I really try to do this too. It especially helps in the times that you don’t know which way to turn {and the times when you are just doing fantastic}. So happy for you.
    -Alison

  11. Beverly October 11, 2012 at 8:18 pm #

    Shaunna, wow! You and Matt are both such great examples of how to “do it all” with the heart and understanding of what is important. I love reading how you and starting this brick and mortar is beginning and the fact that you did not let the decision to open in 31 days stop you from making the Disney trip. I am glad you know that you cannot do it all yourselves and there is nothing wrong with hiring people to assist you when needed.

    I am not sure if you have ever heard of Andy Andrews from Orange Beach, Alabama. I think you and Matt would love his books, especially The Traveler’s Gift. I know you are crazy busy but if you have a chance I hope you will pick up one of his books. They are short, easy reads filled with GREAT perspectives. I love The Noticer also.

    Continued best wishes for your business and family fun too.
    Beverly

  12. Caron White October 12, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    All so true! Especially right now when I am buried in building an upgraded website, and it has become so evident that in order to continue reaching my goals and doing what I love, I will have to hire another person for some of the things that I can delegate.

    Great post!

    Caron

  13. Jackie October 12, 2012 at 8:45 pm #

    Shaunna, what an amazing post. I really enjoy reading all about your store start up. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and being open and honest about it all.

  14. Jeannie-JB October 13, 2012 at 12:16 am #

    Congratulations Shaunna & Matt – congratulations on your latest business venture. I know it will be a great success with God guiding you. Thanks for inspiring us (those of us who aspire to have the same kind of successful business(es) that you do, and also for giving us practical advise. Glad you are having fun with the little ones too!

  15. Nicole October 16, 2012 at 5:31 pm #

    Thank you for the update! Like so many others have stated, you are inspiring. This is such a fun topic to follow and I think a lot of us have the same dreams you are carrying through with. Good luck!

  16. Stephanie October 17, 2012 at 12:06 pm #

    I think this is great advice and a good reminder to us all.

  17. Claire ~ alittleclaireification.com October 17, 2012 at 2:59 pm #

    I so wish I had read this post when we opened our storefront in 2007. I am just starting out online and it’s a little scary after the crazy economic downfall in 2008 I have just shied away. I am an entrepreneur at heart but i want to be intentional about my blog and I also want to love what I am doing. The 31 days has been tough on me – but in a good way. I am so inspired by your site. Can’t wait to see the finished shop!! Will gladly add a button (if someone will tell me how – lol – working on it) to help promote. I support you and your passion for what you do. Love it!
    Claire

  18. Blissful Duo October 19, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    LOVE the post! So excited for your and your new shop!!! Blessings and Success!

    Kayla / BlissfulDuo

  19. Pam October 20, 2012 at 12:26 am #

    What an unexpected post!! Just don’t hear from one’s heart steps on how to succeed in a business in this day and age (w/o forking $$ out for a seminar)..mighty generous and thoughtful are these recommendations. Like you said…for God to get the Glory…what a motivation there alone for one to want to succeed in business….I believe that’s what Truet Cathy had in mind..For God to get the Glory..otherwise he would have opened on Sundays…and I do believe God is getting the Glory in his business..there is NEVER a day I go by that place that it is not packed with people!! Congratulations on your new endeavor..May God get the glory in your business and maybe one day I’ll come visit your shop since I live right around the corner in Georgia. I just love your blog..thanks for sharing your life and heart!! I’ve learned a lot in the last 4 months.

  20. LouAnn January 1, 2013 at 6:28 pm #

    Stumbled upon this tonight, what a great post. I really needed to hear #5. I have been half committed to my business for a year now – I do love it, but more as a “hobby” – with the economy and other things happening in our family, it is time for me to get out of my own way and “go for it”!! Thank you for sharing from your heart. May the Lord richly bless you. :)

  21. Janny August 28, 2013 at 1:27 pm #

    Not sure how I got here, but this is amazing. Thank you.

  22. Anne Shetty June 30, 2014 at 1:03 am #

    Thanks you! You are a gift to this world and an inspiration. I just saw your blog and I dont remember how. I have the same vision for a store but I am really new to the blogging world (anneshetty.com) yet my husband is (daddyblogger.com). I just saw a space for rent one block from where we live and thinking of opening a store similar to yours. Thank you for this info.. And I will keep praying about it and not just get too excited. Thanks once again! :-)

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