Tired…

Oh God, I am just so tired. I checked the exchange rate today…. and RM has strengthen against GBP… Good news for some.. bad news for me… this means that I would need to revise the price of most of my items AGAIN!!! It is a hell lot of work to do that… and also higher prices means less sales… and less sales means less income…

But if I do not increase my prices, my profit margin is so low that I might not be able to cover expenses??? Or maybe just break even???

Just want to chill out for now… don’t even feel like thinking of working… or selling right now…. Give me a break here…. :(

 

Business is bad :( ….

For the first time in so many months after I went full time, I am starting to have doubts within me…. Recently for the past 2 months, my business has been suffering…

I have started to question myself whether my decision has been right in going full time… It seemed so right 2 months ago when I was on a roll!!! Now, things have slowed down and I am starting to feel the financial pinch… All the savings and earnings that I managed to gain in the past few months have started to dry up… Why??? Because I still have bills to pay… No matter whether I am earning or not, I still have to pay for my insurance, petrol, childcare etc etc… And these can come up to a lot of money….

Luckily hubby is covering for the major expenses like our housing loan, utilities and all other household expenses… Otherwise, I will file for bankruptcy already :)

It just takes 2 bad months to wipe out all the good work… Sigh… and it is very demotivating… :(

And so… what do I do? First, pray about it… ask for help from a higher force… :)

Then, now, I need to see what else I can do.. I will probably open up another eBay store in AU site…. AU’s exchange rate is getting stronger against the RM…. but I need $$$ also to open up the store… and now I really need to be prudent…. $$$ is limited… I really need to prioritize…

So pray for me that I am able to pull through this rough patch… hopefully without any permanent damage…

 

Finding a better, more efficient system

Yes, it is time to think of efficiency. Since going full time into my online business, I have increase my inventory. Also, I have more orders now than when I was doing this part time. It is high time to streamline things and have a workable and more efficient system.

But finding this system is challenging. There is no ready-made, off the shelve solution that I can adopt. Why? I guess because every person’s needs is different.

Now here is a list of what I need:

1) I need a good storage system (for home business) as my stock is mainly piled into plastic containers now. It is getting difficult and much time is spent in stock retrieval. Also, stock take seems to take forever.

2) I need a good inventory system (whether it is using plain old Excel file or some sophisticated system). This is because I am cross referencing my stock in ebay and also my online shop. It takes a lot time to keep the figures correct and updated.

3) I am thinking of expanding my business to selling in more ebay sites. I am only selling mainly in one ebay site now. But since I am doing it full time, I need to think of expanding and how to go about it. So, all the more that I need a good inventory system to keep track of stock. I can’t be selling “phantom” stock that I don’t have!

So, if anyone of you out there have a workable system that works for you, please do recommend it to me! Share share lar…. :)

Playing juggler… I am not!!!

Why juggler? Because that is how I felt the past week. Kids are home for nearly the whole week and I think I am really going nuts.

I think that I must be the worst mum in the whole wide world and I can’t believe that I am saying this… I am thankful that kids are going back to their nanny again starting next week!

Well, first of all the reason that they stayed home is because their nanny is off on a short holiday. And I thought since I am not “working”, I could juggle the kids and my business. I guess I took on more than what I could actually chew and swallow.

Tempers run short… OK, at least mine did… And hubby was really very patient with me and let my temper runs its own course… sigh… sorry about that…

But, I guess this goes to prove that I am just not ready to juggle kids with business YET!!! And I still need help with kids when I am trying to reply to queries, stock taking, planning out listings etc etc. I just could not concentrate with interruptions every 2 minutes… Mummy, how do you read this word? Mummy, mei mei is climbing the staircase! Mummy, do you know what is 1000 plus 1? Mummy, please hold my hand and teach me how to write. Mummy, I don’t know how to write….. and so on and on and on….

And yes, PLUS a toddler who insists to sit on my lap at my computer when I am trying to do some work, showing me she can help me reply to emails. Hmmm… should I be thankful that I got 2 enthusiastic helpers? After all, employers everywhere are looking for such employees who would go the extra mile rite?

Sigh… not to mention I need to rush to prepare their lunch and dinner. Plus washing and cleaning and tidying up the mess they make. And grabbing a few minutes here and there to check my emails, dashing off quick answers to most of them.

So yes, my business did suffer quite a lot this past week. It has slowed down tremendously. My stock is a mess. No time to take photos of new stock. My listings are down and I just hope I did not mix up my buyer’s orders last week. So, this next week, I will be playing catch up!

So, please don’t think too badly of me that I am not able to cope … and to mothers out there who are doing this juggling everyday, I salute you!

Hope that I will be able to master the juggling act one day…..

Working vs “Not” Working

OK, since I have been “jobless” for nearly 4 months now… I feel that I am entitled to write this post now :)

Oh well, I am not exactly jobless but you get what I mean… I run my own online business full time now… besides taking care of things at home. Kids are still at the nanny.

Let me tell you…. it has been a blast! For working mothers who are contemplating to be WAHMs, I truly recommend it. It can be frustrating at times… but the pros much outweigh the cons. Or perhaps I am tired of the corporate world? Hehehe…

What are the pros? For starters, my hubby can enjoy home cooked meals for dinner almost everyday…. hehe… of course there are some days where I want a time out too! Thus we pack dinner or eat out. But I will cook something simple for dinner almost everyday. Saves money and much healthier!

Yes, kids are still at the nanny which means that the amount of time spent together with them is still the same… no matter whether I am working or not! But the difference is this…. if the kids are unwell or need a visit to the doctor’s or even if they would like to go swimming in the evenings, I could accommodate! By just rearranging my time…. With a full time job, it would be difficult. Well, beware, this does not mean that you put in less effort in your work at home… you still need to do what you need to do. Just that it is easier to arrange to do it at maybe 10pm at night? Instead of 6pm when it is time to prepare and cook dinner?

Of course, you could arrange your own time out too! Maybe you would like to avoid the weekend crowd and long queues at the local shopping mall? No problem! Just got during weekdays! Need a massage and a facial? No problem! Just rearrange your time!

Still not convinced? Or maybe you are asking now… what are the cons? Well, it is discipline, discipline, discipline! Rearranging your time for some leisure or other commitments does not mean that you neglect your business. It just means that… rearrange time. For some, it is difficult if there is no one to look over your shoulder, following up on your progress in your job. You need constant supervision and attention(affirmation) that you are doing things correctly from your superior.

If you are running your own business, there will be no one to tell you whether what you are doing is correct or you are on the right path. YOU and YOU alone decides that. How much money do I want to invest? How much time do I want to spend doing this? Is the effort worth it? Is there a better way to do this tedious job? How do I improve efficiency for this time consuming task? YOU and YOU alone have to ask yourself all this tough questions and answer them. No more discussing with boss and see what my boss say and follow his lead. No more fixed $$$$ every month, whether I do the job well or not…

Oh, wait, did I mention $$$? Yes, I did… You have to get used to the idea of not getting a fixed amount of money every month. When business is good, you get more. When it is not so good, you get less. And sometimes, it is a lot less…. that you find that you might need to eat grass that month!!!!

Oh.. don’t worry!! I am not eating grass… all thanks to my hubby!!! Hehehehe… so I guess pre-requisite to going full time as WAHM – a supportive hubby is a must!!! No joke!!!!

Well, some people might also miss the camaraderie in the office. Working at home can be lonely at times. But I find it therapeutic. Perhaps I am a loner/introvert at heart and feel most comfortable when I am alone…. :) But well, this can be remedied. Ask your ex-colleagues out for lunch or dinner :) and catch up the office gossips.. Or maybe reconnect with long lost friends whom you can never find the time to contact when you were still working?

So, for me, I think besides the $$$$ part where I am still getting used to, life has been a blast! I felt more relaxed and not so tense. I wake up in the morning looking forward to the day…. This has to be good for my health (psst.. another pro.. hehe)

So, what are you waiting for?

Are you suitable to work at home?

Since I resigned 4 months ago, I have been doing business online full-time. The thing is, I have started selling online for 2 years before I take the plunge to go full-time. And since then, many friends and colleagues are envious that I am now my own boss… well, literally… hehe….

I tried to tell these same friends and colleagues of mine that being your own boss is NOT a bed of roses. No need to feel envious. They would like to have the freedom I enjoy too. So, I did offer to some of them to teach them to sell online. They reassure me that they are really interested and ask me all kinds of questions on how to get started, how to get payments, what to sell etc etc… And so, I answered them again and again but till now… none of them every got started….

Are you surprised? I think now, the question would be, are you suitable to work at home? Are you suitable to be your own boss?

These friends of mine ask me to teach them how to sell online. But, when it comes to starting it off, everyone got their own reasons. It ranges from, I need to attend a cousin’s wedding, my kids are not feeling well, I do not know what to sell, I want to sell this but I do not know how to start, I am not computer savvy like you, I do not have transport, my hubby took the car, my kids will disturb me when you are teaching, I need to sleep at latest 10pm every night, I need to accompany hubby on this trip to the shopping complex….. ok, you get the idea.

People are actually paying for courses to learn how to sell online. And yet, here I am offering to teach for free…  All I can say is these friends of mine are not ready to become their own boss.

Let’s say, if their job requires them to come back that day itself to complete some things, otherwise they risk being fired. Do you think they will still come up with these excuses? Then, why do they come up with these excuses when it comes to their own business?

The problem with most of us is that we think that since it is our business, we should have more free time and flexibility with our time. This is true… up to a certain extent. There is no free lunch in this world. You have to be ready to sacrifice in order to start your own business.

When I started, I made lots of mistakes. Also, during the initial stage, I did not have anyone to guide me. I wasted lots of time and some money just to try things out. Until I met someone online in the ebay forum who is really friendly and helpful who pointed me in the right direction. Even so, I had to find out things for myself. In your own business, you can’t expect to be spoonfed. When you receive a piece of information, you need to act on it. Think about it. Do more research yourself and see how this piece of information affects you. Not just blindly follow or keep pestering and asking what should you do next (In a job, you could still consult your boss).

You need to allocate time to work on your business. It is definitely possible to start things off on a part time basis. But you need to manage your time wisely. I had many late nights. Mostly sleeping at about 1-2am in the morning, maybe 5 days a week. After getting the kids off to bed about 10am, that is when I start doing things related to my business.

You need to prioritize…. For me, when I need to make a decision between my job, business or family…. it is quite easy for me. First priority for me is always family. If my hubby can help me out on that, then it is great. If not then family is still my first priority. Second priority is my business. Last comes my job. So, let’s say I have this seminar I need to attend for my business and at the same time I have this function to attend in my job. Which should I go? For me, it is simple to make this decision… I will attend the seminar for my business. But I realise for some people, it is actually very difficult to make a decision as they have and always put their job as the first priority! Yes, even before their family.

So, if you think you are really suitable to work at home and be your own boss, answer the questions below honestly….

1) Am I committed to setting time aside EVERYDAY for my business? No slacking off….

2) Am I committed to grab any chance there is in order for my business to success?

3) Am I always making excuses?

4) If this is my job and I need to do it, will I still make this excuse? Or will I somehow arrange things so that I am able to achieve it?

Don’t feel inadequate if you are not the type to work at home and be your own boss. It takes all kinds of people to make the world go round….