I need a mentor who has a B/M shop - warning this is a long post

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Original Post

I don't even know where to begin with this post, but I could really use someone to chat with about having a business outside of Etsy. I *thought* I was treating my Etsy shop as a real business - getting the tax ID number, paying sales tax, branding my stuff, occasionally selling wholesale, etc.

Well, today I realized the rate that I was selling, and was trying to come up with reasonable stock to get ready for Christmas, and I kind of freaked out about how much there was to do.

Then, I got an email from a legit large customer base magazine letting me know that my products would be in their issue hitting newsstands mid-August, and could I please fill out this page for "credits." But of course no guarantees until it actually goes to print.

I'm totally freaking out. I'm gonna have to hire help, and I don't even know where to begin. My accountant husband says that I have to hire a real employee since they will be doing specific jobs for me - in other words, not an outside contractor.

When I got into this, I really hadn't bargained for medicare, unemployment, withholding taxes, etc. In fact, it never occurred to me that I would ever need to hire anyone.

On top of everything, I'm a stay-at-home-mom (work-at-home-mom?) to 3 very young children, and I just don't know if I'm ready for this. Then I think, well, its now or never, and I *am* really passionate about it, so I should go for it, right?

Holy cow, what to do. Deep breath.

I would love to talk to someone who knows the ins and outs of a business with employees, the trials of inventory and outsourcing and all that. Please :)

Posted at 11:51pm Apr 23, 2008 EDT

Responses

antb says

Sounds exciting!

Personally, if you like doing it all yourself, I would raise your prices until your sales slow to a pace that is manageable and comfortable to you. I mean, why not do less work for more profit?

Posted at 11:55pm Apr 23, 2008 EDT

AlasMyDear says

oh wow! i so can't help, but i'll bump this for you.

congrats on getting to where you are...so great! it sounds scary to me too, though.

all the best with it! i know you'll do it :)

Posted at 11:56pm Apr 23, 2008 EDT

antb says

Oh, and if you did hire folks, I am pretty sure you would have to close your Etsy shop and open elsewhere, since you would not be a collective if you have employees. (I think).

Maybe contact Admin to find out!

Posted at 11:56pm Apr 23, 2008 EDT

Oh, yeah, antb, I totally know that I couldn't sell those things on Etsy anymore. I'm thinking that I'll keep my shop and use it as a test market for my newest designs, or things that I still enjoy making that aren't I Spy Bags. I would never sell anything on Etsy that I didn't totally make myself (or my mom, since the shop is ours together)!

I'd even thought about having 2 separate lines, sort of. Like I have some more clever or custom things that I keep making myself, and some things that I just pass on and sell more in bulk.

I don't know yet, I'm just trying to let it all sink in.

Posted at 12:02am Apr 24, 2008 EDT

antb says

It sounds wonderful and overwhelming! Congrats!

Posted at 12:03am Apr 24, 2008 EDT

I like the idea of less work, more profit. Hmm, maybe you're onto something antb!

Posted at 12:03am Apr 24, 2008 EDT

jkollmann says

You might not need to hire an employee, per se. Consider using a temp firm and just have them send someone a few hours week on an as-needed basis. You only buy the time you need. If you even need it.

Or look for a small business person who does "mother's helper" type services as their own business and with you as their customer. They are an independt contractor and responsible for all their own stuff. They bill you, you pay them, you take it as an expense.

And if it's less than $600 a year, perhaps just for a few weeks when the flood hits, you might not need to do anything at all because it's considered casual labor. No witholdings etc.

I highly recommend the book "Mommy Millionaire". It will give you insite and help you feel like you're not crazy........yet.

Posted at 12:36am Apr 24, 2008 EDT

jkollmann says

Clarification - by "mother's helper" type stuff I don't mean taking care of the kids. My sister used to pay someone to go to the post office every day to pick up and drop off mail and packages, sort and file work orders, and make emergency trips to the grocery store.

Posted at 12:39am Apr 24, 2008 EDT

mymy had a shop and gemmafactrix does... there are other's, but I can't think of the names right now.

Posted at 12:43am Apr 24, 2008 EDT