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Sat Dec 15, 2012, 07:13 AM

Think Twice Before Quitting Your Job to Sell Homemade Jam

http://www.theatlantic.com/sexes/archive/2012/12/think-twice-before-quitting-your-job-to-sell-homemade-jam/266295/



"Small business" has always been embraced by politicians, the phrase a lazy stand-in for "good, hard-working, salt-of-the-earth Americans."

But now, in many progressive communities (Austin, Brooklyn, Portland, my hometown of Chapel Hill, NC ), small—very small—businesses have gained a new, distinctly groovy luster. In these parts, people speak of an "artisan economy" of "hyper-local" businesses selling "handmade" goods. In this new artisan economy, running a teeny-tiny business is not just fulfilling, it's morally good. Not only are you pursuing your creative goals and rejecting the rat race, you're also striking a blow against corporate behemoths and all they represent—greed, environmental destruction, the homogenization of culture.

As the idea of an artisan economy gains mainstream purchase, it's being especially promoted as a way for women to find work-life balance. The parenting site Babble published "Top 50 Etsy Parents," in which the crafty moms (for they are mostly moms) gush about how Etsy has allowed them to achieve work-life balance, put family first, spend time on what really matters. There are legions of recently published books with titles such as Handmade to Sell and Etsy Success, whose cover features a picture of a young woman literally balancing a baby on her hip.

But here's the thing these books and articles don't mention: Microenterprise works for a very lucky few. It fails for a vast majority. And, although it may be dressed up in new hipster duds, microenterprise as a solution for work-life balance is nothing new. It's as old as selling eggs on the farmhouse porch. And it doesn't work.

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Reply Think Twice Before Quitting Your Job to Sell Homemade Jam (Original post)
xchrom Dec 2012 OP
KG Dec 2012 #1
OneGrassRoot Dec 2012 #7
raccoon Dec 2012 #2
Freddie Dec 2012 #3
Patiod Dec 2012 #37
snappyturtle Dec 2012 #4
OneGrassRoot Dec 2012 #8
snappyturtle Dec 2012 #10
theKed Dec 2012 #40
Le Taz Hot Dec 2012 #15
snappyturtle Dec 2012 #59
Orrex Dec 2012 #19
Ilsa Dec 2012 #35
Blecht Dec 2012 #42
AnotherMcIntosh Dec 2012 #52
snappyturtle Dec 2012 #60
Orrex Dec 2012 #61
snappyturtle Dec 2012 #62
Orrex Dec 2012 #64
snappyturtle Dec 2012 #67
Orrex Dec 2012 #68
snappyturtle Dec 2012 #69
Orrex Dec 2012 #70
Silent3 Dec 2012 #71
zeemike Dec 2012 #21
elehhhhna Dec 2012 #23
rtassi Dec 2012 #24
eShirl Dec 2012 #5
Quantess Dec 2012 #6
sammytko Dec 2012 #9
eShirl Dec 2012 #12
Le Taz Hot Dec 2012 #14
magical thyme Dec 2012 #31
Le Taz Hot Dec 2012 #39
Ilsa Dec 2012 #36
eShirl Dec 2012 #47
Ilsa Dec 2012 #50
AnotherMcIntosh Dec 2012 #53
In_The_Wind Dec 2012 #11
rtassi Dec 2012 #26
In_The_Wind Dec 2012 #32
Recursion Dec 2012 #27
In_The_Wind Dec 2012 #30
Patiod Dec 2012 #44
Le Taz Hot Dec 2012 #13
xchrom Dec 2012 #17
MADem Dec 2012 #46
maindawg Dec 2012 #16
WinkyDink Dec 2012 #29
MADem Dec 2012 #48
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #65
MADem Dec 2012 #38
sammytko Dec 2012 #43
MADem Dec 2012 #45
alcibiades_mystery Dec 2012 #18
Recursion Dec 2012 #28
datasuspect Dec 2012 #66
Starry Messenger Dec 2012 #20
Honeycombe8 Dec 2012 #22
Cal Carpenter Dec 2012 #25
flamingdem Dec 2012 #33
Freddie Dec 2012 #49
AnnieK401 Dec 2012 #34
whatchamacallit Dec 2012 #41
Odin2005 Dec 2012 #51
WCGreen Dec 2012 #54
Arugula Latte Dec 2012 #57
WCGreen Dec 2012 #58
EmeraldCityGrl Dec 2012 #55
madrchsod Dec 2012 #56
HiPointDem Dec 2012 #63

Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 07:17 AM

1. blanket autoxchromeDURec's

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Response to KG (Reply #1)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:29 AM

7. LOL...I second that. ;) n/t

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 07:19 AM

2. And it doesn't provide you with health care coverage. nt

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Response to raccoon (Reply #2)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 07:46 AM

3. Yup, you better have a husband with a Real Job

Of course the Repugs never consider how much small business would boom if we had true universal health care.

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Response to Freddie (Reply #3)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 10:15 AM

37. I've been saying that for years

Employer-provided health care is stifling innovation.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 07:55 AM

4. I take exception to this article.

I did the Mom craft thing for many years and believe me, it was lucrative. True, I didn't have health insurance coverage but many Moms in conventional jobs don't have it today. Health insurance at that stage of my life was cheap....maybe this isn't today; I don't know.This avenue allowed me to be home for my kids and taught them work ethic in person. The kids, when they were old enough, went with me to art and craft venues and helped with transactions. From that they learned making change and interacting with our customers, etc. My everyday work day costs were nil and we didn't have to pay for day care.

I quit teaching the month before the first of my two children were born and never looked back. I had a wonderful teaching experience of only 7 years. I gave it my youthful, enthusiastic best and was proud of my contribution. However, I am prouder today of the 40 years I have worked for myself. The home made business evolved over the years from doing craft shows (13 yrs.) to selling wholesale and now is a mix. I had a shop/studio for several years too. All these experiences have come together now offerring me the opportunity to sell designs to big companies and exhibit in museums. With the internet today, I know many who do well. This article is a wet blanket. Wirh internet exposure and networking dreams are coming true even in our lack luster economy. This isn't to say I haven't experienced hard times and had to get creative in selling but who hasn't had times that were harder?

I say, "Go for it!"

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Response to snappyturtle (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:31 AM

8. Very cool!

I've been an advocate for these cottage industries (shows how old I am by using that term, I suppose ), now called microenterprise, for decades.

I get the point being made in the article, however; it's not for everyone. But I certainly encourage anyone who moves ahead with eyes wide open to pursue this path, especially in light of the tools today, as you say, snappyturtle!



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Response to OneGrassRoot (Reply #8)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:02 AM

10. Thank you. My business is pleasureable....I'm so lucky! nt

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Response to OneGrassRoot (Reply #8)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 10:19 AM

40. I would say

the article is more cautionary than discouraging. If you can afford to potentially not have a real income, should it not take off, then by all means, but dont slap on an apron and some kitschy oven mitts and expect envelopes of cash to show up. Expect disappointment and be pleased with success.

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Response to snappyturtle (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:19 AM

15. Quick "hi" to Snappyturtle

who took time out one day to give me some wonderful advice on this very subject.



LTH

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #15)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:52 PM

59. Oh, you're so kind. This lifestyle has been good to me. I've badly needed income a couple

of times in my life. Once when my husband lost his job and severance wasn't very good and once to totally support myself and help my college kids, 20 years ago to present day. Today I spend a lot of time on demographics to understand who I am selling to. That knowledge doesn't change what I sell but I have similar products at different price points....it works!

I've found a helpful website. After you decide where you want to sell (wholesale to retail) type in shop name on top of this homepage and you will pull up not only that store but many around it. It tells who shops there as well as what the average sale amount is. Terrible English, I know but I'm pooped tonight!

http://www.bundle.com/merchant/detail/astor-gift-and-home-palo-alto-ca-3478740/#prices

This 'astor' gift shop is just a sample page.....go from there on the same page as directed above.

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Response to snappyturtle (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:31 AM

19. Forgive me, but I think that you're simultaneously missing and proving the point

We've been doing "the craft thing" for several years, and although it has provided us with welcome and much needed supplemental income, it has yet to be anything close to lucrative. Your own success is terrific, but you're simply one of the very lucky few that the article's talking about. And I would suggest that self-starting a home craft business 40 years ago is very different from starting it today.

Participating in numerous craft venues, I have met a great many people who have tried and failed, and very few who can afford to do it exclusively. Most work at least one other full time job or else have the good fortune of a well-employed spouse, or both. In fact, most of the successful ones aren't even crafters so much as they're distributors of pre-made products, which is a very different situation.

I applaud your success, but I urge you to recognize the statistical rarity of that success and to realize that you're demonstrating exactly what the article is describing.

Advocating caution is not the same as being a wet blanket.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #19)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 10:12 AM

35. Excellent reply to present balance. Thank you. nt

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Response to Orrex (Reply #19)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 10:21 AM

42. You said this so nicely

I was thinking of typing a response, but I probably wouldn't have shown so much tact.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #19)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 03:20 PM

52. Well said.

 

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Response to Orrex (Reply #19)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:58 PM

60. One has to work to find success in this business. One tip: never do a show with

commercially produced goods. Ask. Do juried shows.

Actually, starting a business in crafts 40 years ago was much harder then. SOoooo much info on the net. Back then finding shows to begin with was not easily done. Supplies? Can't get them where you live? Internet Exposure without expensive avertising? Internet. Selling more cheaply than at shows? Internet. Really, I wish I had had the internet 40 years ago. I'd be better off today.

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Response to snappyturtle (Reply #60)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 12:09 AM

61. That's fine, but it doesn't change my point

You are the anomaly, rather than the standard. The experiences that you describe simply reinforce this.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #61)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 07:50 AM

62. I know many anomalies. The experiences I describe are typical

of success.

I don't want to argue the points. I am saying that with proper preparation, commitment and a realistic goal success can be acheived. This isn't rocket science.

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Response to snappyturtle (Reply #62)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 08:01 AM

64. Now you're changing the goalposts

You were initially talking about the ability to support oneself solely through a self-run craft business. Now you're refering to a "realistic goal," which I submit is a very different target. What, exactly, do you define as a "realistic goal?"

For that matter, you say "the experiences I describe are typical of success." I don't doubt that, but the important truth is that success is rare. So if you take as your sample group those who have succeeded, then of course the characteristics of members of that group will be "typical of success." That's like saying that every baseball team that has won a World Series has won a majority of that seven-game series.

I don't want to argue the points either; you have your experiences, and I have mine. If they do not coincide, then there's no point in us bickering about it.

Suffice it to say that in my experience it is hugely difficult to achieve the kind of independence that you began by advocating. It is more realistic to hope for a modest supplemental income as a complement to an existing, stable income. If others are truly able to achieve independence and success, then again I say good for them. Their stories remain the exception and not the rule.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #64)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 08:54 AM

67. Excuse me for wanting to encourage people with enough sense

to pursue this type of business. A realistic goal is individualized!!!! Your goal may be different from mine. MY goal was to support myself and my kids. I did it. Most could......IF they did all the homework involved....that's all I'm saying. If someone is acheiving modest success then they're doing something right and need to learn how to expand that. Some have no success and it's usually fairly obvious why that occurs. It's all a game and lots of tweaks....fun and rewarding if one is willing to learn, to keep a positive attitude and to keep at it.

You're right that the characteristics of the successful are the same. I studied those succeeding and adapted those methods to my business and voila! Success. Yep, it's almost as if there's a blueprint.

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Response to snappyturtle (Reply #67)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 09:19 AM

68. Again, bravo to you for your success.

However, you shouldn't assume that everyone who fails is undone by failing to follow this mythical blueprint that you cite. Myriad factors contribute to the success or failure of a given enterprise, only some of which are under the control of the individual.

If you have negotiated that obstacle course to a degree that you consider successful, then good for you. But if you have these conversations in the future, you should bear in mind that others are every bit as talented as you and have tried just as hard and with just as much dedication, yet they have not succeeded.

Don't succumb to the delusion of the self-made success; at least, don't pretend that such success is as purely self-made as you're professing.

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Response to Orrex (Reply #68)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 08:26 PM

69. I'm tired of discussing this but I made my success. If skilled artisans don't bother

to do their homework they will fail just as those with poor craftsmanship. So, yes, after 40 years I guess I'm delusional in thinking I made myself successful. There I said it. Happy? But if not me, who? Believe me there was no one else.

If you think what I'm espousing is mythilogical....so be it. YES, there are many, many factors to deal with and many are under the control of the individual. I made mistakes. I learned from them. I actually tire hearing talented people whine who think that success will come if they put enough online or enter enough shows. It doesn't work that way.

I think your objections to me are of a personal nature pertaining to either yourself or someone you're close to.

DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT and maybe, just maybe you'll learn. I'm done with this thread.

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Response to snappyturtle (Reply #69)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 11:39 PM

70. Okay, but before you go

Understand that I haven't claimed that you're delusional in thinking that you've been successful. Instead, I've pointed out that it's delusional to think that success results exclusively from your own efforts and not from a fortunate coming together of many factors, of which hard work, talent and perseverance are just two components.

I think your objections to me are of a personal nature pertaining to either yourself or someone you're close to.
I know that you would rather believe that, because it makes it easier for you to dismiss my objections, but it's not that simple. My assertions are based upon hard fact and upon experiences which, as I mentioned up-thread, differ from yours. Your error is in diminishing the reality of those experiences, preferring that they be sour grapes or some other trivialization. Sorry, but it ain't so.

DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT and maybe, just maybe you'll learn.
Instead, I ask you to realize that others have done something different, and have learned plenty. Your success has made it difficult for you to understand what they have learned.

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Response to snappyturtle (Reply #69)

Mon Dec 17, 2012, 07:27 AM

71. What you're not acknowledging is the role of luck

A person can do everything right, follow all of the supposed lessons of success, fail and try something different, and then still not succeed. If your first thought when you hear something like this is "keep trying", you aren't understanding how luck plays a role in being able to "try again" after a failure.

A lot of people are just barely able to support themselves through a first attempt at a business. Any stumble wipes out the possibility of trying again -- not everyone has a spouse's income to fall back on or savings to live on. Not everyone can rely on a spouse's health insurance or get by without insurance.

All of your hard work is not being denied. What's being said is that other people work just as hard, just as smart, with just as much determination... and still fail.

I know this doesn't fit with what motivational speakers say, that it goes against the mythologies of success that Americans love. But truth and motivational, inspirational rhetoric aren't the same thing.

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Response to snappyturtle (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:32 AM

21. Here here!

And my guess that this is starting to catch on sense the media is starting to discourage it...the one thing big business hates is competition,

About 15 years ago I met a guy that had chickens and he took the best care of his hens of anyone I had seen and he sold the eggs and put the money in a bank account to finance his sons education...and he is still selling those eggs today...I know because they are the only eggs I will buy..and now his eggs are in some locally owned markets....and no doubt his son is being educated from this simple enterprise...it benefits him as well as people like me that WANT food that is raised without chemicals and crap.

I agree with you....go for it and don't let them talk you out of it.

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Response to snappyturtle (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:34 AM

23. yep - if you don't try it won't happen for sure.

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Response to snappyturtle (Reply #4)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:34 AM

24. You are wise ... and steadied ...

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:20 AM

5. I can't help looking at the photo, thinking,

"They should strain the little seeds out of the raspberry jam if they want to sell more."

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Response to eShirl (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:26 AM

6. Or offer two kinds,

one granola style, and one seedless. I like the seeds, because it takes away some of the "eating sugary jam is just like eating candy" guilt.

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Response to eShirl (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 08:38 AM

9. No. It gives it that homemade authentic look.

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Response to sammytko (Reply #9)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:12 AM

12. and no repeat business from me

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Response to eShirl (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:16 AM

14. By definition,

jam has bits of fruit in it. Jelled (strained) juice is jelly.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #14)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:50 AM

31. yes^^^^ jelly, jam and preserves are 3 different things.

Me, I'll take preserves first and jam second. Jelly is a poor, poor third. Just sayin'

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Response to magical thyme (Reply #31)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 10:17 AM

39. It's also a terrible waste of produce.

You're throwing away the pulp and using only the juice. And if you're entering stuff in for competition (country fair), the jelly has to be completely clear which means you set the juice out over night and let the extraneous material settle to the bottom, then take only the top, clear portion without the extraneous stuff and throw the rest away. (Wasting food drives me crazy.)


LTH

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Response to eShirl (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 10:13 AM

36. I bet Seeds make it healthier due to roughage. nt

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Response to Ilsa (Reply #36)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 11:05 AM

47. I just don't like getting them stuck in my teeth.

I suppose I could strain them out, smash them up good with my mortar & pestle and add them back in.
Honestly though, I'm just too lazy to do that when I can buy it seedless.

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Response to eShirl (Reply #47)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 03:16 PM

50. Yeah, I have to pick them out of my teeth as well.

And it's a harder task for some people.

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Response to eShirl (Reply #5)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 03:22 PM

53. Why would anyone buy raspberry jam without seeds?

 

Do stores even carry raspberry jam without seeds?

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:11 AM

11. Owning your business means never having a day off.

When I'm home, with my coffee cup in hand, I'm still thinking about work.
It ain't easy being your own boss if ya wanna succeed.

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Response to In_The_Wind (Reply #11)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:36 AM

26. yep, it becomes your life ..

So you better like it a lot!

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Response to rtassi (Reply #26)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:51 AM

32. I love it!

It's rarely boring.
I get to meet new people, some nice some not.
Bottom line ~ I never have to work with unpleasant people twice.

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Response to In_The_Wind (Reply #11)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:38 AM

27. As a friend said (advising me on my startup):

"You've had a bad boss before, right? An absolute maniac? When you work for yourself, you work for the biggest asshole maniac boss ever, and he is you."

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Response to Recursion (Reply #27)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:45 AM

30. Your friend is right.

Mr. In_The_Wind was looking over my shoulder laughing at your post.

I am obsessed with my equipment, signs, knowing the current rules and regs.
Yep. It keeps me real.

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Response to Recursion (Reply #27)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 10:33 AM

44. Absolutely true.

My boss is just that evil, but she does allow me to roll around the floor with the dachshund in the middle of the work day, which is nice.

For me, self-employment is either working insanely hard or not at all ("not working" = paperwork, housework, bills, yardwork, pets to the vet, etc). Not working is stressful because I never know when the next project will hit. It's a narrow, narrow niche business, so work is either there, or it's not. I get people's overflow work, and either the business as a whole is busy and I'm working, or everyone is slow, and it's useless to try to drum up work.

When I am working, it's usually multiple projects and I'm working 7 days a week until 9 or 10 at night. A big chunk of business is the last three months of the year - people who want to be burn off their entire research budget by Jan 1. This means Christmas is more stressful than fun.

This year I wised up, found cheap flights to Key West, and rented an apartment for a week mid-Janaury. That is what's keeping me going.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:15 AM

13. Love ya, Xcrome

but on this we (partially) disagree. I understand that very few earn a living wage on the homemade jam, artsy/craftsy stuff (didn't know there was a name to it -- Artisan economy). I know, I've been selling macrame items for years (no, I do not make owls -- it's micromacrame) and if I had to survive on it I'd most definitely starve. Having said that, I believe that we, as a society, have to move away from being so dependent on corporations. Whether it's growing our own food, using a barter system wherein we TRADE goods and services with one another, form guilds (remember guilds?), give neighborhood seminars in areas of expertise (how to make furniture, square foot gardening, how to can/preserve foods, etc.), have neighborhood pot lucks, form work groups to help people do repairs to their homes for the cost of only materials (preferably donated) . . . get the idea? . . . we need to get away from depending on the almighty corporations. It's left us completely dependent and unable to do for ourselves things which would have been part of everyday living for our great-grandparents. We've sacrificed all of that for the sake of convenience and it's us who are the losers.

Now, how we go about changing our corporate-controlled society into a more sustainable, neighborhood-based society is beyond me. I tried with my own neighborhood and it went over like a turd in a punch bowl.

I'm just saying I don't think we should discourage the idea of self-suffiency quit so quickly.

LTH

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #13)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:22 AM

17. honestly -- i just think of it as something to consider.

i've owned my own business and i loved it.

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Response to Le Taz Hot (Reply #13)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 10:57 AM

46. Why not push corporations towards more loyalty and respect for those they employ?

Back in the old days, you hired on with a corporation for life--unless you were a total screw up. Now, certainly, people are more "portable" these days, but is that because they really want to be, or because they feel they need to be?

If corporations offered more assurances and security to people, people would be more inclined to be loyal to them. Perhaps the tax structure could reward "loyal" corporations who take care of their employees, and screw the bejesus out of those who don't with higher tax rates and penalties for their perfidy? That works for me...

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:21 AM

16. Good advice that heard one day in about 1989

on some radio program,probably PBS, said that everyone should have a home business. An extra income source. We all have some kind of talent, some kind of interest. Home industry should be the norm rather than the exception. My grandmother made our clothes, she had her own kiln, and if she chose to or out of necessity she could have baked for extra income as she did back in her day. It was common a hundred years ago for every American home to run some kind of service/ farm/ or industry to make ends meet.
What happened? Commercialism happened.

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Response to maindawg (Reply #16)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:43 AM

29. "Common"?? My grandparents (I'm 63) never "ran" any kind of "service/farm/industry."

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Response to WinkyDink (Reply #29)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 11:06 AM

48. My great grandmother cleaned the homes of others to make ends meet.

She also cooked for them. She didn't "enjoy" doing it, either, but there were a lot of children and the husband's "laborer" job (which, though backbreaking, came with a pension--a novel thing for the time--we're talking almost a century ago) wasn't enough to make those ends meet. When she was done doing that, she still had to wash and boil the clothes on the stove, wring 'em out, hang them to dry, put the coal in the stove to heat the house, clean the joint, cook, mend, shop and do all that other "women's work" crap--though my great grandfather was an "oddball" for his time who had no problem doing the "women's work" of polishing/waxing floors on his hands and knees, and taking out the rugs to be beaten in the backyard. My great grandmother's envious pals thought he was a "prince" as a consequence.

Those "good old days" were exhausting for a lot of people--my people, certainly!

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Response to MADem (Reply #48)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 08:01 AM

65. my uncle ran a little sawmill on his days off from working in a sawmill. plus the farm chores,

 

haying, etc.

his wife didn't work outside the home but she worked plenty in it. their whole lives were work.

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Response to maindawg (Reply #16)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 10:16 AM

38. Back in the "good old days" people were lucky if they had Sunday off, and they worked an 80 hour

week.

Even today, with commuting time and familial obligations, a good 60 hours a week are spent working or going to/from work and dealing with kids' activities, etc.

This article isn't saying "Don't!"--it's simply saying "Be aware that there are pitfalls, that many are not successful, and don't give up your benefits on a pig in a poke."

I think that is good and sensible advice. I think the smart business person would start out doing their thing part-time, not giving up their bennies, and making sure they could pay the bills, and gradually transitioning to full-time small business if the business is successful and not a "faddish" thing.

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Response to MADem (Reply #38)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 10:21 AM

43. Yes, go into it with your eyes open!

Some only see the money made from a sale

They don't take into account the materials and most especially time put into it. If you are averaging 1 dollar an hour, wouldnt it be better to get a min wage job?

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Response to sammytko (Reply #43)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 10:49 AM

45. I always ask myself, when I get that Handyman Urge, "How much is your time worth?"

TIME spent IS a big deal. If it's your living, you don't want to be slaving at it for twenty hours a day at a "salary" that ends up being less than minimum wage.

Even when it comes to doing stuff yourself around the house, if you don't know what you're doing, it can be much more expensive, in terms of time and energy--to say nothing of expense when one buys the wrong damn thing and ruins it so it can't be returned--to "DIY." Half the time I figure that it'll take me twice as long to do it as someone who knows what they are doing, so I say "Screw it" and hire someone with talent!!! It gets done right the first time!

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:24 AM

18. The push for "entrepreneurialism" is the great scam of the 2000's

Needless to say, it is the inescapable buzz concept in every college and university in the country, with everyone from the provosts to the lowliest first-year student trumpeting the "entrepreneur." The big corporations laugh all the way to the bank, as people who should be politically active in curbing their power and questioning the social structure of capitalism instead embrace capitalism - to their own detriment - through the phony concept of entrepreneurialism. Essentially, as soon as I hear somebody say "entrepreneur" or "entrepreneurial," I immediately recognize that I'm speaking with either a straight-up grifter or a total mark.

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Response to alcibiades_mystery (Reply #18)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:40 AM

28. I don't know. The craigslist/etsy thing has its good sides

But, yeah, I reach for my wallet whenever I hear that word, too.

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Response to alcibiades_mystery (Reply #18)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 08:03 AM

66. the republicans ran on that concept as early as the 94 election

 

from people like newt gingrich.

the gist - they bandied about all glowing heralding the coming age when we'd become a country full of entrepreneurs and subcontractors.

they naturally couched this in a bed of phrases like "choice," "freedom," etc.

no links, no source, just memory from the time.

point is, they knew what they were doing, none of this is by accident.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:31 AM

20. Running a business is tough.

Artists who make it in my field (ceramics) spend just as much on the commercial side of things as they do the artistic. Once I got done with school, I realized I wasn't really cut out to support myself that way.

Unfortunately they gutted the NEA individual grants and the CAC almost went dark while I was in school, so that avenue got closed off too.

"These words hold true today. While the rise of Etsy and the proliferation of craft fairs and artisan markets may offer more venues for microenterprise, the fact remains that the crafty home businesses so dewily portrayed in magazines are hardly the solution to work-life woes. We need bigger changes for that: paid maternity leave, more flexible workplaces, more equally shared parenting. Don't quit your day job."

This paragraph is key. Although as people have stated above, they've made this work for them, it shouldn't be used by pundits as a libertarian smokescreen to pare down the social safety net.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:33 AM

22. I believe that. I've read that most new businesses fail - businesses of any size. nt

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:35 AM

25. K & R

and a comment...

Anecdotal exceptions do not disprove the reality of systemic problems in our economy.

More power to the people who manage to make this work, but make no mistake. This is not feasible for the vast majority of people and the system itself discourages success of such enterprises.

In addition, while there are certainly some greater beneficial social aspects to enterprises like this succeeding, they do not pose a significant challenge to the status quo. It is a lifestyle choice for one person or family (for those lucky/talented/privileged enough to succeed) and the customers/clients they serve, but they are not radical and the major faults in our system cannot and will not be remedied by these efforts.

I am saying this as someone launching a small, local business myself. I am not judging anyone.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 09:53 AM

33. Vermont is a haven for these mini-enterprises, good to see someone

expose the fact that most are not terribly profitable.

Though Yak meat sounds interesting! Also those Tibetan rugs are nice.

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Response to flamingdem (Reply #33)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 01:09 PM

49. Vermont will be even more of a haven for small business

Once their single-payer starts. Hopefully a great example for the nation.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 10:07 AM

34. If you have a good job, no I would not quit it especially if you are nearing 50

and need health insurance. And you are correct that the vast majority of business ventures like this fail. That being said, employers seem to be increasingly willing to get rid of good people/employees for no good reason. They ask for more and more and give less and less in return. I won't go into the story of my life, but I did try very hard to start a small business when I turned 50. Note that I was in an impossible career situation, not like someone leaving a secure, well-paying career that they basically enjoy just because they are a little frustrated. After 4 yrs. and spending too much money on the business while making very little income from it, and being increasingly physically unable to do the necessary work, I ended up selling it for pennies on the dollar. Due to my physical limitations I was approved for disability right away, which I understand is unusual. Anyway, that and a modest amount left over from an inheritance are what I am surviving on right now. I am currently trying to figure out some way to earn a small extra income (within the disability guidelines and my physical abilities.) If if I am lucky enough to find a part-time, low paying desk job working for a sane, rational employer that has some humanity left I will consider myself extremely fortunate at this point. Note: I do live in a "right to work state" and always have, so that might part of the reason for my experience/comments.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 10:21 AM

41. This article blows

Much of what it states may be correct, but for those who don't have a day job to quit, it's disheartening.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 03:20 PM

51. This is what a Marxist would call a "bourgeois affectation".

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 03:28 PM

54. As an accountant, I have seen at least 100 small business people strike out on their

own...

This is over about 20 years or so of preparing tax returns and developing business plans.

What I have found to be true, in my experience, is that a lot of people mistake a knack for entrepreneurial acme with a strong dislike of having a boss. That is NOT a successful way to strike out on one's own. In fact, that is why most of small business fail and fail hard.

Out of those 100 or so sole proprietors, only two are still up and running. A music store that depends on giving lessons and a small attorney who has been lucky to win two large lawsuits for clients.

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Response to WCGreen (Reply #54)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 03:52 PM

57. Wow, that is a disheartening report.

Only two percent or so hung in there ...

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Response to Arugula Latte (Reply #57)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 04:12 PM

58. a lot of people start out under-financed.

Most successful small business will require at least a full year of money to fall back on in that crucial first year. More than that, not having a realistic business plan is also a big reason for failure.

In my case, MrsWCGreen works full time so we were never really dependent on my income to survive.

My best year ever was in 1999 when I had ten small business to take care of, free lance writing for a local magazine, did about 125 tax returns and also served as the paid Treasurer for a few democratic candidate. And that year I had a net earning of $15k.

I spent a lot of money, close to $20k to net that $15k and I also ran myself literally into the ground.

Within two years I was disabled and headed on my way to the lung transplant I am testing for right now.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 03:30 PM

55. WA. State recently passed a law allowing people to produce edible products from their home.

Previously they were required to prepare in an industrial kitchen which is not
possible in most homes. Kitchens are still required to pass health safety standards
and there is a ceiling on the amount of revenue people are allowed to generate.

Seattle homes are allowed to have chickens and one goat. I know that sounds so
strange in an urban setting but It's amazing how creative people have become with
postage stamp lots for growing organic veggies, and keeping the chickens and goats.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sat Dec 15, 2012, 03:44 PM

56. my wife and i owned our business for close to ten years

she was the worse boss i have ever had. actually we were rather successful but the small business taxes and the ability to secure a credit line forced me to go back to the 7-3 jobs.

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Response to xchrom (Original post)

Sun Dec 16, 2012, 07:55 AM

63. kr. and i'll add to that: a lot of the stories hyped in the msm about this kind of thing are the

 

stories of upper-class trust fund types. with incomes to fall back on (spouses, e.g.) or connections that helped ensure their success.

i know that because i've researched a few.

it really pisses me off because lots of ordinary joes believe this crap & get sucked into it, to their detriment.

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