Why I Started a Product- Based Business
It has been a long roller coaster ride as an entrepreneur for the last thirteen years! I started my entrepreneur journey after realizing that I wanted to be present more for my young child. I worked as an associate at a law firm for less than two months and left because I missed my son so much. Of course there were other professional reasons, but the biggest reason was my child. At the time he was only a few months old and I hated bringing him to daycare in the morning time. I hated my boss that made comments about me leaving work at 5pm (although I was finished my work); he felt that the sign of a good attorney was their ability to "burn the midnight oil". I found myself picking up my son once daycare closed at 6pm and brining him back to the office with me while I worked on projects that really were not urgent and could have waited until the next day. I did this because I felt like I had something to prove. It made me so upset to feed my four month old crying baby in my office, in an office building with NO ONE else present. It was so pointless...
I left the firm and ultimately decided that in order for me to have the best of both worlds, I would have to start my own firm. Having my own firm would allow for me to have the flexibility that I wanted AND allow me to make a good income. My husband (at the time) had a stable position as a law clerk with the federal government; therefore my son had awesome health coverage and I could work on my private practice without worrying too much. I loved the freedom and the flexibility that entrepreneurship offered: I scheduled court appearances and client meetings around my son's schedule and eventually planned around the scheduled birth of my second child. I did not miss a field trip, an awards ceremony, an extracurricular activity...NOTHING! I loved it!
Fast forward.... in addition to the law firm, I operated several service based business in the years to come. The same planning and schedule juggling occurred. Eventually as my children got older and started asking questions and paying more attention to what I did for a living, I started to feel like I wanted to build something for them. They had spent so many years watching me work and amazingly had a pretty good basic understanding of how business worked by just listening and watching. I wanted them to have something in which they could apply their knowledge in the future.
I have witnessed and read about many parents leaving their children large down payments for a home, a large trust account, rental property, etc upon the parents death or upon the child reaching a certain age. These parents had planned for many years on how to be sure that their children were starting their adult life in the best position. As a first generation college kid, my dad had a plan for me to be able to go to college and I appreciate that. However, I was not born with a silver spoon in my mouth and did not have the things that I have witnessed and read about. Every generation has the obligation to do better than the previous. My dad put me in a better situation than his father had placed him and now I have the responsibility of placing my children in a better situation than mine and so forth and so on. When you know (and witness) better, you do better!
Building a service- based business to leave for them just didn't seem like the thing that I wanted to do. Building a product-based business made more sense. It has more scalability for when you are trading dollars for hours, there are only so many hours in a day which at some points limits your income and growth! Further, what if they did not want to be lawyers? What if they did not want to provide business consulting?!? I knew for about a year that I wanted to build a BIG product brand, but I had no idea of what to offer. While on a business trip to Morocco, I fell in love with the leather goods that were available. I collected business cards while I was there as I knew that I'd want to purchase more for myself in the future. While on the plane ride home a lightbulb went off! THIS was the product that I could sell! I got home and got started on plans for what would months later be known as Made Leather Company.
My idea was for my kids to take part in conversations about the business, learn more and eventually take over the business. My thoughts were for them to take over the family business; they could sell it and use the profits from the sale to give them a good start in their adult life or; use the profits from the sale of the business to start a new business in which they may have more of an interest. Whichever option is chosen, I would indeed be leaving a legacy for my boys.
In the meantime I am teaching them about selling, marketing, taking inventory and more. My thirteen year old listens and understands, but he is not nearly as in to it as my ten year old. My ten year old takes many of the pictures for social media, he is the first to eagerly begin opening a new shipment of merchandise upon arrival, he talks to others about the product and the sourcing and has accompanied me to vendor at events. Recently, he was bothered because I did not allow him to attend a wholesale meeting with me and a potential retailer for the brand! The business is as much my "baby" as it is his.
Building a product- based business was very different from building a service- based business. For starters, there is more of an upfront cost in starting a product- based business; however the amount of money one can make is truly unlimited. In addition, there is a bit more research and behind the scenes work that goes into a product- based business. Also, you develop that product once, maybe do a bit of tweaking, and spend the rest of the time marketing and selling! I can't really say that I prefer one over the other. Despite the differences, I like both!
Are you interested in leaving a business for your child(ren)? It is literally like an alternative or a great addition to creating a savings account for them. The best part is that when you build it, they will watch and learn! They are like little sponges that will just take it all in and in turn will see entrepreneurship/earning their own money as a standard way of living. The lessons and experiences you can provide are lessons and experiences that they will likely never get in school!
Do yourself a favor and check out my training on starting a product- based business. Learn what I have done to create a thriving retail business in a relatively short period of time.
- What to Sell
- How To Get Products
- How to Create a Product Line
- How to Brand Your Products
- How to Price
- How To Ensure Your Profit
- How to Market
- ow to Get Your Items in Stores
Click here to purchase the previously recorded webinar.