>> Wednesday, October 14, 2009
I filed for a tax number and Seller's Certificate from the State of Maine this week, and am waiting to get paperwork for that. I have no idea what will happen when my husband and I file our taxes this year, but since I only estimated making $200 for the year, hopefully it won't be too bad. I have *no* idea if I filled out the online form correctly; there is an assumption that one knows what is being asked for each fill in box and drop down menu. I guessed.
I ordered 2 lbs of undyed fiber, bought the vinegar I need for the dyes, and photographed my first two braids of roving. I'm not very happy with the pics, so will try again soon. I need a brighter light for the outside of my lightbox.
I set up a free account with Quickbooks Online for my income/expenses. So far, this business has cost me $157.40 (not counting the dollar something for the vinegar). That doesn't sound too bad, especially considering most of that was put onto a $100 visa gift card I won a while back. The free version of Quickbooks is very simplified, but so far, I like it. I haven't been able to find accounting software that I've liked for a business; most of the free stuff I've seen is for personal/home accounting.
I verified my checking account with PayPal. Now I'm a "verified" member and can use either my credit card or bank account for purchases. I am combining my paychecks from work with my husband's in HIS bank account, and hope to use my old checking account for the business.
I am keeping a list of ideas for my shop - thing like product themes, contests, freebies, etc.
I am taking an online freebie class about starting your own business. So far, I've learned lots of good stuff. I'm taking notes to refer to later.
I am looking for fiber business owners to intern/shadow next summer. I haven't contacted anyone yet, although I do have a few people in mind. I would like to begin sending letters in the spring, explaining who I am, what I want, and why they should let me. I figure if I can get my shop off the ground over the winter - have some sales, grow a business - they will be more willing to help me. The fiber/knitting community is very supportive of small businesses, even when they technically "compete" with each other.
I am thinking about long-range goals: Getting a TM, having a graphic designer design me a logo and possibly my own webpage (speaking of which, I'd better snag the domain name today if possible), branching out to brick and mortar stores as well as other online vendors (TLE, for example). I am also trying to find ways/space to maximize production possibilities. Right now, I can dye two, possibly three 4 oz. bundles of fiber in an evening, and they take about two days to dry. I can only dye two nights a week reliably, thanks to my second job.
I am working on pricing and shipping costs in my head. I will have to play with these as I start shipping and see what actual costs will be. Ideally I'd like to be able to say I ship for free (first class) with an option to upgrade to Priority for another two dollars. Does that sound fair? Depending on cost of shipping, I may charge a small fee of a dollar or two to offset the costs. I'll have to wait and see. Initially, I will be offering free shipping as an incentive to get people to purchase fiber from a brand new shop.
Question: should I start a new Etsy account using my company name as the seller name? It will start me back to a zero ranking, but perhaps I could link to my boutrosbabe shop? Or does it matter what the shop is named? I am starting to think it does, and I need to know before I start listing items. Help!