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|Thu, 09-18-2008 - 11:57am|
Hello: My name is Liz and I have been searching all over the internet and ivillage for a forum on starting your own business. Glad I finally found one! I am just looking for a place where like-minded people (especially women) can help me flush out my ideas. Here is a brief summary of the business I have started and how I got there. First, I will tell you that I ended up following a career path that I did not like for many years simply because of momentum and the expectations of others. Basically, I had said as a youngster that I wanted to be a lawyer (I come from a working class family and my sisters and I were the first to go to college, so I did not have any first hand experience about what working as a lawyer was really all about). I was a bright student and it seemed like everyone expected me to aim for a "serious" profession. So, most of my college classes were all about preparing for law school - but by the time I was graduating I had started to doubt that I actually would have the personality to be a lawyer. However, I received a scholarship to attend law school and my father sat me down to explain how this was a dream come true, he always wanted one of his children to achieve such success etc. So I went to law school and, since I follow directions very well, received good grades but still doubted if I could really be a practicing lawyer (since I shy away from any type of confrontation). To make a long story short, I graduated from law school, reluctantly took the bar exam for my state, passed, and then got a corporate job as a senior paralegal/jr. attorney. I was never really comfortable in my role and when I had a child in my late 20's/early 30's it became really difficult to work in the corporate world when I so badly wanted to be at home with my child. I lasted 4 months working after she was born and finally insisted that I would sacrifice lifestyle to be at home with my daughter. I did go back to work part-time as an attorney at a non-profit agency for a few years when my daughter was 3yrs old but the fact that I always felt like I was pretending and forcing myself to act like a lawyer eventually caught up with me even in such a touchy-feely attorney job. SO I dreamed of being creative and doing work that is not corporate. While in college I never even tried out any other areas of study such as art, but all my life I have always loved doing arts and crafts. Most recently I had begun fabric painting and t-shirt decorating and was really having fun doing it. I decided to open an arts and crafts studio near my home focusing on fabric painting, which I did in February of 2008. I soon realized that it required WAY more commitment, money and know-how than I had, so I closed it in July. However, while I was in business I stumbled across a product that allows children to have fun decorating t-shirts as a party activity without the mess of traditional fabric painting or tie dye. I held a few parties at my arts and crafts studio using the new t-shirt decorating products and was really impressed with them. The founder of the product has his own business as a "we come to you" party activity and is very successful without the pressure of the overhead of an actual space (requiring rent, utilities etc). SO, I realized that it made more financial sense (and would fit in with the part-time schedule I want as a mother) if I did not maintain a physical party/arts & crafts space but adopted the founder's business model of "we come to you" parties and activities at private birthday parties, children events, schools, girl scouts etc. Although I had a few of these t-shirt decorating parties at my studio space when I was open, I am just getting started with the business as a "we come to you" home based operation. At the present time I have just purchased an ad that will run in the October issue of my local parents paper and have my first at home birthday party scheduled for September 28th. I am hoping that I can use this message board as a community of others starting their home-based businesses to exchange ideas, post triumphs and challenges, etc - basically for mutual support of our efforts. Are there any other birthday party related or children related at home business owners also on this board? In general, I would love to hear about what you all have started or are thinking about starting for your businesses and what stages you are at in making your dream happen. Thanks for reading if you made it this far (the lawyer training leads to very verbose writing I am afraid).