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  • lunasparlour

Reflections on being a Team of One: Small Business Owner

You're it. CEO, CFO, CMO, EIEIO.....

I started Luna's Parlour just before Covid as a creative outlet. I have an amazing day job that feeds my mind and my heart. I was looking for something to feed my soul. Something that energized me, allowed for creative or artistic expression, and provided a little joy to others along the way.

What I didn't fully understand at at the time was how much goes into running a side business IF you want to treat it like a business and not just a hobby. My goal has been to slowly ramp up this side business so that it becomes my full time gig when I retire in a few years. Easier said than done! I'm a team of one that handles everything from monthly accounting, financials, purchasing, production, and marketing - the latter of which is always the last priority (which is ironic to me because my day job has always been in a marketing field). My event schedule is inconsistent, making it difficult to bring on help. And then life has its changes. I started a new, very demanding day job role, we moved to a new home, transitioned to being mostly empty-nesters, and the market has been wonky. It's a lot of stressors and ultimately what suffers is the side business because you can only do so much before burning out in a full downward flaming spiral.

And you realize at some point that self-care matters. You have to reconfigure what balance is. The balance between your full-time job, your side business, your family/friends, and yourself. It ebbs and flows. Some weeks I do well with it, others not so much. Being a team of one when you're running a side business means making choices to not do things in order to make sure you're ok. Because if you're not ok, everything else will suffer.

As challenging as it has been, I wouldn't change it for the world. I have learned so, so much. I've learned how to find new U.S. based wholesale sources that let me keep my prices for both handmade and resale goods affordable. I've re-learned long lost accounting and finance practices (college was a long time ago....). I learned that you can pretty much learn how to do anything if you need to - build a website, integrate your website online store with other platforms, start to dabble in social media campaigns, balance your books, start to figure out how to do site selection for when you open your retirement storefront. When you're a team of one you can learn how to do anything - you don't have to be an expert. Some things you'll do really well with, some you'll get frustrated with and struggle. You'll never stop learning.

You'll also meet some interesting and inspiring people along the way. I find that when I'm questioning whether I should continue with this side business, someone will randomly say something to me that just inspires me to keep going. When I hear people tell me they keep a tree at their bedside so it's the first thing they wake up to and the last thing they see before they fall asleep so that the beauty of nature with them, that's impactful. When fellow side business owners offer encouragement and, no matter how good or bad business is, tell me they love seeing how my business is evolving - in a good way - it keeps me motivated. And it's the random people I meet at events whose words of appreciation and encouragement tell me I'm headed in the right direction.

In the end it has always been about finding ways to feed my soul and bring a little joy to others.

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