Feeling Stuck with Amazon and Losing Momentum.

So it’s been a while since we’ve talked about my business, right? Mmmhhh, mmmhhh.

Hey everybody, thanks for joining me for another episode of The Bootstrap Boutique, where beginners build businesses.

So you may have noticed that the last few weeks I have talked about pretty much anything except building my Amazon business.  Yes, there’s a reason for that.

You know how momentum can like, kill a sports team or how it can make them do plays that they would have never made before? That’s how kinda how I feel right now, that my momentum, or lack of momentum, is killing my ability to get anything done in this Amazon business.

It all started a few weeks ago when I was trying to send an international wire from my credit union.  And they said, “actually we can’t do that here, you’re going to have to go find another bank.”  Well from there I had to go through the whole process of getting another bank account set up which for a business account is no small feat.

Then I had to send a wire and wait for samples to come in.  For whatever reason, the bank in China, they couldn’t find my money for a week and a half, so we were just waiting.  Luckily, once they did finally get the money, they sent the samples within like 2 days, so that was great.  But because I had paid for four sets of samples, I wanted to make sure I had four sets of samples to review to know who I wanted to do business with.

So, finally, I’ve got all that, I know who I want to work with, I’ve got their pricing and I’m trying to set up some shipping.

Oh let me throw another curve ball in there, my husband and I are moving six hours away next month, so I can’t exactly have them ship samples to me because for one thing, I won’t be in this current house anymore and two, we don’t have anywhere to live yet, we don’t have a moving address, so that’s not going to be an option.  I’m trying to work with a third party fulfiller that will receive my products in, package them and ship them to Amazon.  Also, because I’m doing that, it’s going to kill my profit margins, but I’m at the point where I’m like, “Megan, if you don’t do it now, it’s never going to happen.”

So this to me is really just like a sample case totally and I’m hoping that as long as I can make my money back from it I will learn some stuff and make a better profit the next shipment.

So, yeah, it’s been tough around here guys and I know that building a business is not sunshine and rainbows, I get it.  But I didn’t think that I would come up against this many obstacles.  What I’m thankful again, and I’ve said it over and over is that my monetary investment so far, has been pretty small.

I know there’s people out there that are building Amazon businesses right now and I want to hear from you, I want to hear about how much you’ve struggled get that first product off the ground.  Or maybe you’re like, “Yeah, I just did it. It took me like two weeks, whats your problem?” You can tell me that too, but I’ll hate you just a little bit.

So that’s what I’m thinking, thats why I’ve been talking about all the other stuff that I like to talk about which is kinda musings on business, I’m probably going to do some book reviews of really helpful books that I’ve read in the past, even if they are kinda old, because you want to hear what I think about that, right?

Alright guys, so that’s why I haven’t talked about the Amazon business here in a while, I just don’t feel like there is a lot to report.  That’s probably not true, there’s still some things I’m doing, it’s just nothing is really exciting.  This part of it is kind of a grind.

So, hang with me, we will get there, I want to help you think about different businesses that you can start, even if you love your day job, like I do. And we are going to build this thing bigger than we ever could have thought together.

Don’t forget to subscribe to this channel so you never miss a video, also you can go over to the website, thebootstrapboutique.wordpress.com, as always feel free to email me, thebootstrapboutique@gmail.com, I love reading what you have to say.  Or you can follow me on twitter @megloftin.  Thanks, we will talk again next Wednesday.

Do Summer 2016 Challenge with Jon Acuff

Hey guys, my name is Megan and this is The Bootstrap Boutique, where beginners build businesses.

Today, I’m going to tell you about a project that me and Jon Acuff are working on this summer.

Ok, thats not entirely true.  Jon Acuff has no idea who I am.  But he did recently announce his Do Summer 2016 Challenge which I decided to take on because, I need something else to do with my time.

So what is the Do Summer 2016 Challenge?  It is an annual challenge that Jon Acuff puts out to really take the summer and focus on a project that you’ve been putting off for probably, way too long.

You know, I was trying to brain storm different things I could do, that could be like, 15 minutes a day deep cleaning your house and at the end of the summer your house is super, sparkly clean, yay!  It could be working on learning new recipes and healthy recipes to feed to your family.  It could be learning Spanish or Mandarin or French or Latin, for some reason.  So that is the whole idea of the Do Summer 2016 Challenge.

So I had to decide what I wanted to spend my 15 minutes a day this summer on, and what I chose to work on is learning computer language or computer programming, I don’t even really know what its called.  But, I want to have an online business, right? So in order to do that I figure that I should probably have a small bit of knowledge and computer programming or coding or whatever, of which I clearly have none.

I looked around at a couple of different programs online where you can learn coding and I choose Kahn Academy because Kahn Academy has a great reputation for all kinds of free online learning and really I just need something basic to just get me started.  I’m not trying to go out and program some amazing website.

Just if I could learn what HTML even stands for, that would probably be good enough for me.

I hope by the end of the summer I can create at least some sort of really basic webpage that can be pushed out.  Now this is not what my entire business is going to be built on by any means but I do just hope that what it does is give me a good understanding of what is going on in the background as I do create online businesses.

Now here’s how I know Jon, he gets me.  When you sign up for his challenge, he sends you a link to a downloadable printable that you print out, this is what it looks like and you go and everyday you fill out each little box that represents your 15 minutes.

The completist in me loves the fact that by the end of the summer this is all going to be colored in.  It just makes me excited.  I know its weird, we all have our things, lets just go with this.

So if you want to Do Summer with me and Jon Acuff, who remember, has no idea who I am, go to dosummer2016.com to get signed up.  The challenge has already started but do not let that be a reason to hold you back if this is something you’re interested in.  Go do it today.

Hey guys  thanks so much for joining me again this week, be sure to subscribe so you never miss an update.  I post videos every Wednesday about the steps I’m taking to build my business and just kind of musings on starting businesses and taking action and creating freedom for yourself.  So I will talk to you next week.

Everybody, take care!

Making A Decision Is Making Progress

Hey everybody my name is Megan and this is The Bootstrap Boutique, where beginners build businesses. I’m trying out a new tagline, what do you think?

Did you know I have never made a wrong decision?

It’s true. Now, notice that I did not say I have never made a bad decision because let’s be honest, I have made plenty of those.

But I never have made a wrong decision and the reason I say that is because this:

Decisions are progress.

If you are someonelike me who has a really high need to know before you start a project or if you suffer from analysis paralysis which is where you have so many decisions that you are trying to make. See, like right now I can’t even figure out what the words that I want to come out of my mouth are so I just stumble over them. That’s another form of analysis paralysis.

So if that is something that you suffer from, what you need to do is just make a decision.It can be a really small decision. You know, when I was trying to set up The Bootstrap Boutique and get this thing started, there’s literally a million things to do, right?

And one of those things that I needed to decide on was like, a color to use for the branding and I chose this kind of like, peachy color, honestly I put almost no thought into it.

But if you pull up the full spectrum of colors that are out there and it is overwhelming.

Do I want to be blue and show trustworthiness, do I want to be green and show naturalness or yellow and have lots of energy?

I justchose the one that I chose because I thought it was pretty and because it doesn’t really matter.

So, that was progress that I had to make because, I’m not kidding you, I could have sat there all day and done that. Same thing with choosing fonts, same thing with do I want a WordPress or Blogspot site or whatever the free blog platforms are out there right now.

You just have to make a decision and go with it. You are very rarely in your life going to make a decision that you can’t change down the road, and that’s an important thing to remember.

So if you’re ever feeling stuck, just look at your options, think about what you’re feeling stuck on and just make a decision on it. Choose a path, you can probably change it later.

Hey guys thanks for joining me this week. Be sure to come back next week, I post videos every Wednesday about the process of building businesses and then what I am also doing to start my own business.

So, next week, I’ll see you then. In the meantime don’t forget to subscribe so you never miss an update.

Take care!

Why You Should Create Multiple Income Streams

Hey everyone, my name is Megan and this is The Bootstrap Boutique, where I document my journey to creating a small online business.

Today I wanted to talk about diversifying income streams, and why its really important to do that.

For anyone that’s not familiar with the concept of income streams and what I mean by that, really an income stream is just a way that you receive money.

So for most people, its going to be their day job.  You go, you work forty hours a week and you collect a paycheck every so often.  That is an income stream and that is by far the most common one that’s out there.  You can also of course have income streams from rental properties, from stock and bond portfolios, so interest and dividends, or from a small business or even just a side job.  So maybe you have a photography business on the weekends or maybe you just deliver pizzas.  Those are all different income streams that you can have.

Now most people are just going to have their job and they are good with that, they don’t think they need anything else.  But I got thinking about this a couple of days ago, you know, I think I have a pretty steady job, I think my husband has a pretty steady job, but what if something happened to one of us? I work in a very highly regulated industry where the actions of someone else could effect me and actually effectively put me out of the industry.  That is a really scary thought when you, when you actually sit down and think about it.  Alternatively, my husband is a veterinarian, and not only is he a veterinarian, but he works with horses.  So horses are really big animals that can spook very easily and the potential for him to get hurt on the job is absolutely there.  We do have disability insurance on him, but it would not be enough to cover his salary in the case of him being seriously hurt.  If he was out of work for a while that would really hurt our paycheck.  So thats why, or its one of the reasons why at least, that I thought I should really start something else.  So, you know, this is one of my something elses, which I’ll talk about in a little bit.

We do have a rental property that we have received a little bit of money on here and there but we’re actually in the process of selling it and trying to simplify our lives a little bit on the whole, as I on the side with my side business and with The Bootstrap Boutique work to make my life a little crazier.

But anyway, so why is it important to have diversified income streams? Well, just for that very reason.

What if I lost my job, what if my husband became injured and couldn’t work?

If one hundred percent of your income stream is made up of your primary job, then you just took a pretty serious knock to your income.  However, if you have your day job, you have a side hustle, side business, you deliver pizzas on the weekend, or you dog sit or you do all of those things, or you have a great investment portfolio that you can pull some money out of for a while, then all of a sudden that job loss is a lot less scary.

It really gives you some freedom and some breathing room in your budget should you need it.

So take it back to the whole thing about me deciding to start a small business.  I’ll talk about my “big why” in another video, I don’t know if I’m really ready to put all that out there yet, but one of the reasons why I felt like it was really important for me to start something different is because I just wanted another income stream.

So this small business, I don’t expect it to replace my day job, I actually really like my day job, so I wouldn’t be in any huge rush to leave it, but I did recognize that there is some risk inherent in that job and the ability to earn income from somewhere else was pretty attractive.  Also, I have this small business that I started, I also started The Bootstrap Boutique, right? And you may have noticed that sometimes in order to catch these videos, you have to watch an ad, or at least five seconds of an ad.  So, you know I’m trying to monetize that and use my side hustle to my side hustle as another income stream for me.  I think so far, I’ve earned you know, nine cents off of it or something like that, so not like its earning me a ton of money right now but I really hope that as I figure out a little bit more of what I’m doing with The Bootstrap Boutique and more importantly how I can use it to help other people out there in the community, that it is something that can contribute another income stream to our family.

So I just wanted to hear from you guys out in the comments, what are you doing to create other income streams, do you already have other income streams in place? And is this something that we can talk more about in another video?  I’d be happy to do some research and talk with people and figure out some other income streams that we could share to help somebody out there in the world to create a little more financial independence for themselves.  So hit me up in the comments, as always, please like this video, share it with your friends,  you can subscribe to my channel, I would love that.  You can send me an email at thebootstrapboutique@gmail.com and I’ll talk to you next week.  Thank you!

4 Questions You Must Ask Yourself Before You Start a Business (Plus a Bonus).

Hey everyone, my name is Megan and this is The Bootstrap Boutique, where I document my journey to creating an online business.

Today I want to talk about four questions that you should ask yourself if you are thinking about starting a business.

So, in previous videos I have talked about my little moleskin notebook that I always have with me and I use it to write down thoughts and ideas that I have throughout the day just so I can get it down somewhere and then keep going about my day and being kind of a productive person as far as my day job goes.

So I was reading online a couple of days ago a website that had these questions on it, so I did not come up with these. I should attribute them to someone, but I did not write down what website I was reading, or maybe it was a book? I should be thanking someone for those questions but I don’t know who that someone is, and I, I really feel bad about that but I’m still going to put it out there because I’m sure they would want their ideas shared.

So, four questions that you should ask yourself if you’re thinking about starting a side job.

Question one is “What do you know?”

So, if you’ve ever done any writing and you say “oh I don’t know what to write about!” people always tell you that you should write what you know. And starting a business around something that you know could be a great idea for you.

Question two is “What don’t you know?”

So, is there something that you need to discover a solution for that you didn’t even know was out there, thinking just kind of outside of the box about business solutions, that could lead to a great opportunity for you.

Question three, “Where are you willing to put in the work?”

I about a year and a half ago I guess, had great aspirations of doing ballet as my primary form of exercise. Well, I signed up for adult ballet class that met at nine o’clock at night and I was about six months pregnant at the time and you know it just turns out that I’m actually not willing to go to adult ballet class at nine o’clock at night. So, I really wanted to do it but I was not willing to put in the work so as you can guess, I’m no more flexible now than I was back then.

Question four, “What do you expect?”

Do you expect to start a business and make a million dollars in your first year? That is really going to determine what kind of business it is that you can start. You’re probably not cutting grass. You’re probably doing something with a much higher value add than that. Do you expect to work four hours a week on the side or do you expect to work one hundred hours a week like its a start up? That again is really going to effect the type of business that you start.

So there’s four questions that you should think about if you really want to start a business. And I hope that’s helpful for you.

I actually have a bonus question that is, “Are you ready for it?”

What if you are more successful than you ever dreamed? What if you’re not successful
at all? Are you prepared for both of those outcomes? Because, they could both happen.

They could happen where you’re not successful at all and then you tweak something a little bit and all of a sudden you’re more successful than you ever dreamed.

There is such a thing in small business as being too successful to start where you can’t keep it up, and then you turn into being not successful at all. So its absolutely not one or the other its a continuum, or somewhere around it.

But I’ll tell you this. If you think you want to start a small business, do it. Because it will be so rewarding to know that the success you have no matter if its a little bit or a lot, is all because of something you did on your own. It is such a cool feeling. So get out there and start something now if you think you want to. You don’t have to do it forever, just get out there and try it. It’s so much fun guys.

Leave me a comment, tell me the answers to those questions if you remember,
them. Hopefully you wrote them down too. And you know always, or as always I should say, feel free to like this video, share it with your friends. I’d love to have you as a subscriber and come back and join me every week as we chat about business stuff like this. Always, you can email me at thebootstrapboutique@gmail.com.

Thanks guys!