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Has anyone started their own business and NOT made any money?
45

inabizzlefam · 20/05/2016 22:38

am just starting out as self employed. Have signed off JSA and am absolutely terrified that it will all go tits up. I won't make a penny (online shop) and will end up not being able to support me and the DCs.
Am I overthinking it all and the majority of new businesses succeed ......eventually?

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annandale · 20/05/2016 22:42

You've done a brilliant thing starting your own business.

I have to be honest though and say that it is very hard making money from your own business. I am sure you can do it, but make sure you access all the support you can - there used to be business advice via the council, talk to the business adviser at your bank. What sorts of things are you selling?

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inabizzlefam · 21/05/2016 20:26

sorry, only just seen your reply.
Am selling good quality branded dresses on ebay. Have only just opened an account with them so am limited as to how many items I can sell atm, so realise that it may be tough at first. But I am not really qualified to do anything outside the home as have been a SAHM for a few years so thought this might be viable.
I might be deluding myself but I can't believe there are no sucessful businesses on ebay.
Have to do this though as claiming JSA for the past 3 months has been soul destroying. Left EA DH at the same time so just wanted to claim JSA until I got on my feet again.

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annandale · 21/05/2016 20:49

My experience is that many women have zero confidence about employability after being an sahm. I think you've shown huge resourcefulness already.

Is it feasible for you to look for paid work as well? I think it's fair to say that making a full living from scratch from a home business is really tough. Hope it works out in your case.

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StickyProblem · 21/05/2016 20:52

I think most people would have a paid job at the same time (or keep claiming JSA), until the online store takes off, which could take a few years. Best of luck to you.

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ImperialBlether · 21/05/2016 20:53

Do you know you can claim tax credits if you're starting up a small business?

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MariaSklodowska · 21/05/2016 20:58

Yes you will be able to claim Working Family Tax Credit. That would take the heat off.
I have been doing that for five years, declaring earnings of five to six thousand.

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inabizzlefam · 21/05/2016 21:49

Well I actually statred claiming JSA as someone told me it was a stepping stone to the National Enterprise Allowance scheme. As soon as I first signed on I applied for the NEA and wrote up a business plan which was accepted. I will sign off JSA next week then receive financial help in weekly payments fron NEA for 26 weeks until business gets going.
Have looked into tax credits and can claim them too, but my HB will be reduced and I won't be able to get free school meals for DCs anymore.
I really don't want to be reliant on benefits, but until STBX agrees finances in divorce settlement, I feel very anxious about this venture.
And yes I do get the whole SAHM low self esteem thing regarding work.

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AndNowItsSeven · 21/05/2016 21:54

I think you will really struggle with up to £49 a week for six months then no extra help. It takes a long time to build up a business and eBay takes a big cut.

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RunRabbitRunRabbit · 21/05/2016 22:02

Oh dear. Why did you sign off JSA?

I work with startups fairly often. Rule of thumb: 3-5 years before you make a living out of it. If you make minimum wage equivalent after a year, after taxes of course, then you are doing really well (do you know how to do your business taxes?)

I hear lots of business cases built around the fact that the person really needs this to work because they need the money and/or they need it for their self-esteem. Sadly, that's not how it works.

Such people often fail to do proper research and planning because they can't bear the pain of discovering the flaws or risks of their project. Reality often sucks. They need to believe it will work because they are desperate

I suspect you are one of those people. You need to investigate what eBay sellers make, what makes them successful or not, what the sellers count as success, do they have other jobs, other sales channels, etc. You need to contact ones you respect and ask for advice. You could start by browsing the many forums for such businesses, including the one on MN.

My advice is to go ahead and try it, after you've done your basic research and planning (and have listened to what that tells you, especially if it isn't what you want to hear). But the business is the thing on the side that might make you a living in 3-5 years, with luck and shit loads of late nights and weekends working. In the meantime get a job doing something related where you can learn skills to help you while earning enough to not be desperate and will allow you to rebuild your confidence, perhaps clothing retail or anything involving supply chain management or contracts. There are lots of supposedly low status boring jobs that aren't if you are using them to learn the back office tricks of the trade and associated skills, e.g. stock management for a retailer.

Good luck.

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Joshuaseb · 21/05/2016 22:07

Worst thing I ever did. Watch out for useless accountants who give wrong advice

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MyPeriodFeatures · 21/05/2016 22:20

I started on March first and have earned £150 doing something aside from the core of what my business plan is going to deliver!

I'm not expecting to earn much yet, I'm aiming for 3'900 in the first year and will be happy if I do £3000.

The biggest barrier I have is technology. I'm shit. I've paid a really sharp young student I employed when I was employed as an assistant manager of an organisation to make me some leaflets. £50.00. Problem now to put them into a pdf and send them to printers etc. Then other stuff like putting materials together. I'm a single mum and literally knackered all the time. Always.

On the side I've done a vintage flea market and I love it. It's easier than the other business and fun.

I will continue with developing the consultancy stuff because it's my career and I have started writing, not yet paid but I've got a good blog platform. Excellent in fact.

I'm going on a women in business course on Monday and am going to be brave and ask for some endorsements etc. Tbh though, I'm knackered all the time and actually don't mind being on a tiny income as the pay off of having a less stressful lifestyle is better for us.

God knows what to do, I need to keep some sort of career going and earn something .... Thanks for the off loads. It's tough being a mum and needing to work, really tough.

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FATEdestiny · 21/05/2016 22:29

Have you seen how many people sell branded dresses on eBay? Many are high street stores themselves selling via eBay. This is your competition.

Selling via eBay can be a great way for a small retail business to start. But you need to pick your market very carefully. It's hard to get noticed in thousands of search results. But retail specialist items or find niche markets and eBay is brilliant. You need to be one of a dozen sellers, not one in several thousand.

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MyPeriodFeatures · 21/05/2016 23:40

Great advice runrabbitt

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ImperialBlether · 22/05/2016 11:00

MyPeriodFeatures, you paid someone £50 to design a leaflet? And they haven't even saved them in a format you want?

Get yourself onto PeoplePerHour next time - you'll get that done for less than half the cost and they'll do exactly what you want them to do.

Which format are they in now?

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Creasedupcrinkle · 22/05/2016 11:05

Watching with interest

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Jemmima · 22/05/2016 11:09

Watching too. I've just started my own eBay business OP. I did a business course with the OU first and worked several years in a large retail store and then ran a small boutique. Learnt a lot. Was a SAHM before

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chanice · 22/05/2016 11:16

I done the same as you. Signed off went on NEA and tax credits. My business is very slow. Renting baby equipment in London.
Tax credits do not leave you alone especially Concentrix. I was only into my first year when they contacted me wanted all my bank statements, invoices, expenditure, breakdown of what I do everyday. Even when I sent that they didn't seem satisfied.
They are changing the rules soon aswell. You have to earn a certain amount otherwise they wont give you working tax credits anymore. It's hard.
But you should still try, you never know.
Keep the postage costs precise and advertise on Facebook.

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Lollylovesbones · 22/05/2016 11:17

I set up a company last year - I am expecting to make a loss for the first 2 years and even then it will never make me rich. I work part time to cover outgoings.

I'm watching with interest as I have a great deal of expertise in my field but have no idea about marketing myself or even where to start. I think I should look at using social media - Twitter, Facebook etc- but don't use either of these personally so wouldn't have a clue about using them professionally.

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JeffersonCrisp · 22/05/2016 11:23

I have my own online business - took me 12 months before I actually made enough profit to start drawing a wage as all monies were ploughed back in to buy more stock.

Three years later I have two standalone websites and shops on etsy (x2) folksy and ebay and make enough to pay myself a part-time wage and contribute towards the household bills.
I currently work 3-4 hours a day in summer and full time Oct -Jan

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Jemmima · 22/05/2016 15:15

It's good to hear your stories. I think it's a constant reassessing process too. Changing things up that are not working so well. Watching what others do and working out how they do it.

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annandale · 22/05/2016 15:20

I really really think you need some sort of paid work as well. Is it an option? Do you have any current or potential childcare?

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Routenationale · 22/05/2016 15:32

Can you add something different to your business? So you have 2 businesses on the go?
How old are your dcs?

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OurBlanche · 22/05/2016 15:37

Well... those of us who go the JSA/NEA route do it because the JSA runs out/is not appropriate and the NEA takes over for a while.

I can't keep on claiming JSA just because my new business doesn't take of like a rocket! That would be benefit fraud!!!

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OurBlanche · 22/05/2016 15:43

Oooh! That posted already Smile

My 'primary' business has just repaid the setup costs and running costs to date... and now the work has dried up a bit... new markets now need to be contacted.

So, whilst waiting, I am setting about the second, the 'run by the heart' business. Hopefully both together will keep me occupied and earn enough.

I would expect it to take a couple of years to start feeling worthwhile. I may, or may not, take part time work over the winter months this year.

But, however complicated it gets, it is far, far better for me than remaining as a teacher!

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FATEdestiny · 22/05/2016 16:20

It can work out, if you have the right product (and I wouldn't suggest high street clothing on eBay is the right product, unfortunately)

I started hobby "selling" my product on eBay just as something to keep my brain engaged during my second maternity leave. That was 2005.

"Selling" in inverted comers because I retailed at cost price just to see if anyone bothered buying. They did. Price rose buy the business wasn't paying enough for me to give up work for another 12 months or so.

I then had 2 glorious years with business booming and me thinking I'd hit the jackpot. I gave up work and dedicated myself to my own business as well as looking after a young family.

Then the 2008 recession hit...

Everything went pear shaped and you do need to roll with these sorts of blows as a small business owner.

I took the time created by the lull in sales to teach myself coding and how to create a retail website from scratch.

Now, 11 years after my eBay retail business started, I don't give any of my profits to eBay anymore, all business is done thro my website. It's a healthy profit, I reinvest regularly and my google rankings are doing well.

For now, my business isn't multi-million, but is enough to be able to be a SAHM to our 4 children and fit work around my children.

In terms of the OP, I'd find it difficult to take the risks needed in early business if I was wholly relying on immediate profits. I could only have successfully grown my business at times when it was ok if profits had fallen (because making changes might reduce profits just as it might also increase profits).

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