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to feel furious with myself at wasting this time

(98 Posts)
uselesscow Mon 20-May-13 22:13:52

I am a sahm and my dh doesn't earn that much. Last year I had the brainwave of setting up my own Etsy/craft shop selling items that are quite unusual and that I thought there might be a market for.

Tonight I have closed my shop having taken my last sale and wish to god I had never bothered. I've spent the whole time it was open wasting time trying to make it work for us to bring in much needed income and have completely failed.

I stood freezing my fat ass off at craft fairs smiling away politely while people just walked by without a glance at the things I'd made, which just felt humiliating. Promoted and promoted and promoted my shop via facebook, twitter, pinterest, blogging, everything you're supposed to do. Wasted money on books on how to sell your crafts. And all for virtually nothing. I've made about £250 in a year, and have easily spent that on books, supplies and other shite. About £20 a month. My husband who is very talented and good at what he does can make that in less than an hour doing freelance work.

The stuff I make is quite easy to fuck up as well. I've cried tears over orders that I've mucked up and had to start again. Snapped at my husband. Ignored my dcs trying to get the right photo in the right light of my products rather than playing with them.

Sorry to rant, I just feel like I wish I could go back in time and tell myself not to bother. I honestly thought it would be a small second income for us but it has just been a stressful time consuming money consuming nightmare. Guess I am just destined to be useless.sad

oldendaysending Mon 20-May-13 22:17:03

YABU - stop being so hard on yourself. Times are tough, and I know small businesses are pedalled as the saviour to SAHMs but the truth is so much more complex than that. Not your fault, and doesn't mean you're not talented: the market is awash with craft stuff just at the moment.

Melawen Mon 20-May-13 22:17:59

Hey - you're not useless and it wasn't a waste of time - you've learnt a lot things and gained experience in so many ways. It just wasn't to be, but you can now use all those hard earned skills in other ways. Chalk it up to experience and go and do something else!

squeakytoy Mon 20-May-13 22:18:34

dont put yourself down so much.. you tried!

its a tough time for almost everyone at the moment, and few people have the cash to spare for craft items..

it is very very difficult to start a home business.. for all the success stories that you read about in magazines, there are probably hundreds if not thousands that dont manage to make a profit.. and unless you are incredibly talented, with a lot of friends in the right places, it is a lot of effort for little reward

be thankful you arent thousands in debt.. and just put it down to being one of those things.. you arent a failure..

puffinnuffin Mon 20-May-13 22:21:16

But at least you know you have tried everything to make it work. It is brilliant that you had a go. You are not useless at all. Well done for trying. It won't have been a waste and experiences learnt will come in handy somewhere down the line.

jollygoose Mon 20-May-13 22:22:33

like oldenday says please dont be so hard on yourself, you tried your best, something else will come up and it will get better.

CalamityJ Mon 20-May-13 22:22:42

Fair play to you for trying! I'll bet it is galling to try and fail but better that then never to have tried at all. Is there anything you can learn from it to make you feel it wasn't a total failure?

Whoknowswhocares Mon 20-May-13 22:22:46

Useless would have been sitting on your laurels and never trying to set up the business. Or half heatedly dabbling at it. Or 'investing' huge amounts that you didn't have in a risky venture
Not every business idea works. But you tried and did everything you could to give it a proper chance. At least now you know and won't always wonder what could have been

WorraLiberty Mon 20-May-13 22:22:53

YABU at least you tried

The market seems to be flooded with craft stuff and it's a very 'personal taste' kind of thing.

If you had the guts and determination to try something like that, then you'll have the determination to find some sort of employment that guarantees you a wage.

Enough with the self pity though. As much as I understand it, it's not productive so lick your wounds and get on with it.

And good luck thanks

AThingInYourLife Mon 20-May-13 22:24:10

Not turning any kind of a profit in your first year is not that surprising.

And I don't believe that time was wasted.

You must have learnt a lot from all your application and effort.

Maybe this product wasn't the right one.

But that doesn't mean you have failed.

And useless people don't work that hard to create something.

Now you're an experienced entrepreneur.

What's next?

The real waste of that time will be if you actually start to believe that you are useless.

Stop sulking and feeling hurt that people didn't buy your things.

You did a worthwhile thing. It didn't work out.

Time for whatever comes next.

BriansBrain Mon 20-May-13 22:24:37

Ease up on yourself, you tried and have learnt new things off the back of it.

Hassled Mon 20-May-13 22:25:22

You've shown more initiative and gumption and willpower than I have - more than I'd say most of us have. You should be patting yourself on the back - you didn't roll up into a ball, you tried to make things better. That's an achievement. You tried your hardest and it didn't work - so you've learnt what not to do, which is still learning.

niceguy2 Mon 20-May-13 22:27:53

OP, I know how you feel. It can be quite a rollercoaster ride. A while back I started my own little business doing wedding photography. Right now I'm having a bit of a wobble over whether it's all worth the hassle. Don't get me wrong I love the actual photography part. But the bit I hate is all the marketing & promotion which you must do in order to get your name out there. And like today where I've had one potential customer cancel because they've decided to risk a newbie to save a bit of money. Another I'm meeting at the weekend but I can see on Facebook how many people are vying for the business and it appears to be a race to the bottom. It just seems like the actual photography part is only a tiny bit of the overall effort and quite soul destroying when you see really crap 'photographers' with no idea undercut you and more seasoned pro's who are good lower their prices to compete because it's a saturated market.

It seems any business which you can do at home/weekends is heavily populated now thanks to the likes of Facebook. It's been a dream and a curse. I have a close friend who runs her own crafty business too making jewellery. Her secret seems to be in the sheer number of hours she spends marketing and networking on Facebook.

If you like, PM me your details and I'd be happy to ask my friend to give her opinion on your facebook page.

SavoyCabbage Mon 20-May-13 22:30:46

Don't beat yourself up about it. I admire you for doing it all in the first place, really I do.

And it's not a waste. You have run your own business now.

Is it not the case that most businesses don't make a profit in the first year?

EmmaBemma Mon 20-May-13 22:31:26

You tried something different, you put everything you have into it, and sadly it didn't work out. You have nothing to be ashamed of and you are not useless. Be kinder to yourself!

SavoyCabbage Mon 20-May-13 22:31:51

Also, it's good for children to play by themselves and its good for them to see their parents doing things that don't revolve around them.

uselesscow Mon 20-May-13 22:32:54

Thanks everyone for your advice and supportive words.
I can't really see the point of keeping it going as I don't see what would change over the next 12 months to make it suddenly profitable - niceguy, I get what you mean about the promoting and hassle making it feel as if it's not worth it. Thank you all x

frostyfingers Mon 20-May-13 22:41:51

You tried - that's the main thing - rather than sitting about doing nothing. You have learned stuff, you know what works and what doesn't, how to run a business (if you didn't already), etc. You've done more than I could. Don't be too hard on yourself, you are most certainly not a uselesscow!

RaspberryRuffle Mon 20-May-13 22:46:53

You tried, which is better than not having tried and imagining all this income you missed out on.
I tried to be self-employed for a while alongside my day job, hoping to make some extra cash, didn't set up my own business although that was how it was 'sold' to me, and I ended up losing money, and feeling so stupid. Now I look at it as a learning experience. You have gained experience and insight, don't beat yourself up.

SoldAtAuction Tue 21-May-13 02:25:38

Last year I worked part time in a shop catering to tourists. It sold all sorts of craft items, quilts, woodwork, jams and jellies and such made by local artists.
One of the things I learned is the person supplying materials made a lot more money than the people trying to sell finished products.
One fellow cut wood for signs, crafts, tole paintings, etc and made a great profit. The people selling the finished products made some money, but put in far more hours, making things, marketing and such. They also ended up trying to shift things by the end of the season.
Another girl collected sea glass and shells from the beach and sold them to crafters. Some of the finished products sold at a great price, but a lot of stock was still there at the end of summer.
Some of the crafters /artists that were successful tapped into the more utilitarian/useful side of things. Selling reusable cloth diapers was working, selling expensive dress-up tutus for toddlers, not so much.
It is fantastic that you made the effort to start your own business, so many people never get past the day dreaming stage. Take what you have learning, and grow with it. Come back stronger, maybe with a different plan, but with the same ethic. It will pay off, if you keep at it!thanks

TolliverGroat Tue 21-May-13 02:39:41

You've learned a lot, though. You know that if it costs you £X to make a product you are ultimately going to have to sell it at £Y (rather than the £Z you originally thought) to turn a meaningful profit once your costs and overheads are taken into account. You know that having the best product in the world means nothing if you can't get people to buy it and that marketing is HARD and time-consuming. You know not to sink time and money into a business unless you've done your research and have a concrete business plan. Many people take a lot longer than a year to realise that stuff.

Maybe there will be another business idea along later down the road that will help you put those lessons to good use. Maybe you'll just be able to pass them on to your children so that they don't have to make their own mistakes.

Bedtime1 Tue 21-May-13 15:40:32

Well done for trying and giving things a go.

If you have tried everything marketing wise and your a nice friendly person and don't put people off at your stand then I think the answer lies in your product. What was it you were selling ?

FasterStronger Tue 21-May-13 15:58:17

no so uselesscow

most people would consider me a successful business woman - but I have lot count of the number of times I have made a mistake or thought I am an idiot.

your recent efforts are not wasted, if you look at what you have done well and what you need to do better/differently next time.

the trick to getting something wrong, is to pick yourself up & begin again. it gets easier.... I made a bad client mistake a couple of weeks ago & felt really stupid. I did my best & it was not good enough...

its ok to get things wrong but now you (and I ) must learn from them.

tripecity Tue 21-May-13 16:02:39

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

minouminou Tue 21-May-13 16:09:35

Soldatauction has just given you some belting advice!

How about selling packs of a selection of the materials used to make your....whatever they are? Include a few colour/texture/size options in each kit (I'm stabbing in the dark here, as I don't know what you sell). All you need to do is lob them in a bag and post them off, then people at the other end can put in the labour! You'll save loads of time.
You haven't wasted the time at all - you've learned loads and it is a tough old market right now.

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