Small Business, Small Steps: 123 Jump!


Last night, we sold the first piece of furniture in what I hope will be a swift and painless moving sale. It was our little red teapot that sold for €5. It's interesting that with that first sale, it was like firing a starting pistol, and now we are in full-on Operation Canada Goose mode. (That's our moving to MontrĂ©al mission's code name.)

My brain is pretty firmly planted in the future and my lists of things to do are constantly running through my head. The future of English Muffin is a big part of those plans, as once in Montréal, Big Chuck and I have decided that I'll take some time to focus solely on EM and see if I can't make a real go of it. That's right, I'm taking the leap into full-time self-employment. I have a lot of stress about this, to be honest. I worry about money, about having the ability and the skill to run a real business, about the thing that as entrepreneurs we're not supposed to be afraid of, but I totally am: FAILURE. That said, it's an incredibly exciting opportunity and I'm so happy with where life has taken me. I never would have thought... any of it!

On the business side, there is so much to do to get English Muffin off the ground, and so many things I want to re-do as well. Our time in Vienna was a perfect testing ground, and now I'm confident that people are interested in my work, and that it might be time to *gasp* invest some real money in my company. To date, I've put in very little money, and basically (with the exception of my Animal Alphabet Posters) print everything as it is ordered. I think this was a good way to do things, especially in the beginning. It allowed me to jump in and start, and the risk to me financially was very minimal. However, this model doesn't allow for very much product expansion or development, and if I want to move my business forward, I believe that's where the future lay.

So over the next few weeks, I'm hoping to get a *gasp, again* business plan of sorts together to help guide me through the next few months and years. I have big plans for this little muffin, and as always will post my progress, successes and failures, right here on the blog.

How about you? Have any of you made a similar transition with your small business? I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Happy Wednesday!

(image: B$/ram)


  1. Sometimes, you don't need to overthink something right? You've got a good feeling and you have really great products! I'm always amazed at my parents, coming to a new country, setting up shop in the middle of what is now the Gay Village downtown Mtl, and they made it work. For over 25 years! With no money in their pockets, 1 pair of shoes (my dad) and a dream to start new (after the 2 wars in Korea). Seriously, if they can do it, why not you? Good luck! Looking forward to watching your dream unfold and blossom!

  2. Thanks so much for your comment Chantale! I love stories like that, congrats to your parents. I think you're right about the over-thinking part, sometimes it's best to just jump right in - I mean, what's the worst that can happen?!

  3. I know I just commented about this yesterday on your last post....but I feel so much of what you are feeling!

    I'm going to be temporarily in Europe next year and probably won't be able to get a real job...so my small business at etsy will be my focus too!

    It is completely scary to invest money into something when you don't know what will come of it. My business has really opened my eyes to the risks people take when they try to open a larger scale operation. I think I would have a heart attack if I tried to open a real store or restaurant or something!

    Good luck with all of your planning....I'm sure the list is HUGE :)

  4. wow congrats! This is really an exciting time for you right now. I came across your blog a month or so ago and have been checking back regularly,especially for 'Small Business Small Steps'. I recently moved from Chicago to Minneapolis and did just the same thing. I had been working "on the side" for a while and so the move was a nice starting point to jump off from. I have freelance design projects that I'm taking on which helps with bills (for me this has been key...i like the security).You're right, it's scary...every day. But when you know you must, when you feel the need to jump out on your own then there's really no choice. :) Have goals, set up timelines and just keep honest to what makes your business "yours". Good luck! Can't wait to see where this all takes you!

  5. I am touched to read your post as I am at the same situation as well. It takes a long process of "thinking" to confirm to be solo. Money has been the top item spinning in my heads a year ago, while I decided to be a full time jewelry designer.

    Congrats for mustering the courage. And good luck :)

    If you heard about the book,
    escape from the cubicle nations

    It map help a lot to ease part of the stress.

  6. I'm so excited for you and I'm hoping that you can make it your full-time job. I know I told you yesterday but I'll be moving to San Jose (now I learned it will be mid-July and not August like I thought) and I'm hoping to use the months until then to make Etsy a bigger part of my life. I'll be posting my successes and mistakes while reading yours to get a bit of an inspiration. It's such a big move for you! I think I'll also write about these steps for Handmade Spark and would love to team up with you to think of certain topics week by week.

  7. Hi Bess, I'm Silvia, from Italy, and I completly understand your feelings, just because these are like mine!
    I've done "the jump" last month, requesting my vat number and starting my home based business in quilting.
    Now I live 2 hours at time... 2 hours of absolute happyness and optimism, and 2 hours of fear and worry about future, money, failure... then again happyness.

    What I'm doing now is going to as much as I can craft market to promote my creations and my workshops, I'm running a website with a shop, that soon will be both in italian and english, to reach also international customers.

    I've also in mind to run a free e-zine about patchwork, because I've never found one in italian.

    I've got tons of ideas that flow out of mu ears, just like you.

    Bess, I think that we have to be optimist, strong and go on also when we see big difficulties.

    I wish you all the best!!!

  8. Wow! that is so exciting! someday I hope to take what I'm doing on the side and make it my full time job.

    good luck! I hope it goes well for you, i really do. I'll keep coming back to see how it's going. you have tons of support in the blog world!

  9. Thanks so much for all the support you guys! It's so nice to know that I'm not alone. I will definitely keep you updated on how things proceed.
    xx bess

  10. Hi Bess! i just discovered your blog maybe a month ago. even though i've never met you, i have faith in you. your blog has been helpful to so many. You have taken the 1st step in acheiving your dreams & that is telling your dream & goals to someone. In your case, lots of someones! Can't wait to follow you on your journey!!

    I am a 1st grade teacher & part time jewelry maker. I dream to one day own my own bead shop...got to get my 4 yr old growing 1st though. =)

  11. Congrats on taking the leap!!! That is so exciting and I'm sure you will not regret it!!

  12. i'm excited to follow along on your journey! good luck :)

  13. yay bess!! can't wait to have you in montreal and see where EM takes you. i'm positive there are great things in store for you ;) xo kate

  14. How exciting! I'm sure you'll love it here.
    Good luck with the move : )

  15. Best wishes! I think you'll do great :)

  16. Best wishes, I totally encourage you to go for it! That said, I also really, really recommend developing that business plan. It will help you define what your profits can be, and what can result depending on what you do with those profits.

    Years ago, a plan I developed helped me determine when to hire an employee. Too soon and I'd lose too much profit, too late and I wouldn't be able to keep up with the work flow. Amazing what you can learn from numbers.

  17. Bess, I'm a little behind in my blog reading! You're moving back to Canada and expanding your business! Big and exciting changes!

    I just wanted to say, I think the number one thing to remember when you are starting your own business, is to be yourself. So simple but truly, it is what defines you and makes what you do unique, and that is what will keep people's interest. And keep blogging! Blogging has been such an amazing springboard for so many creative people to get the word out for relatively little to no expense. I can't imagine where we'd be without it! Anyway good luck with everything, and when you are in Toronto (which you are now, or were?), swing by our shop and say hello!


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