By Kate Pierce, owner/founder of Antipodean Love
For the past four years, Kate Pierce has run her giftwares store Antipodean Love out of three different inner city apartments and now from her home in Ballarat.
“The business has grown exponentially and as a result, I have developed quite impressive packing and storage skills! Here are my tips (learnt through many a late night and wrapping frenzy) that I believe can create a sense of sanity for others looking to launch a business from home:
Research. I cannot stress this enough, particularly during your initial planning stages. I would love to say that I had a robust business plan in place but it was more of a notebook filled with figures, notes and ramblings. Look at the market, identify your competitors and work out what your point of difference is. What are you going to deliver that they cannot or that you can do better?
Remember why you started. Ask and constantly remind yourself, ‘why am I doing this?’. You have to love working for yourself as it can (and most often does) become all-consuming. The lines between home life and work become very blurred. As much as I try to set clear boundaries between both, when you live and work out of the same space it is inevitable that there is some overlap. There is also a lot more to an online store than setting up the website, sitting back and watching the orders flood in. You need fire in your belly and a desire to succeed.
Get creative with space. This may sound obvious but most of us do not have a west wing or a huge unused space in our homes that we can work out of. You need to be mindful of what space you do have and how your work space will fit into your home. While my girls have loved copious cardboard boxes to play with, you have to feel at peace with orders coming in to your home and that the business at times can encroach on your space. We started off with a desk and storage in our bedroom, to taking over a bedroom altogether, to taking over the largest room in our house. We have played many games of Tetris with boxes and storage in our home.
Consider unavoidable costs. Shipping will be one of your largest costs/expenses. Research this and be mindful of your products’ weight and dimensions. If you are looking at flat rate postage (and let’s be honest we all like to know our postage fees upfront) postal charges vary widely in Australia dependent on destination. So if your products can fit in to a designated 500g or 3kg Australia Post satchel, you could save yourself a lot of cash.
- Get systems in place. I am not talking crazy procedures and process flows but look at all the ways you can make your life easier. In the early days, you will most likely be writing addresses on the delivery satchels (I know I did) and when I automated this procedure it freed up an enormous amount of time.
Outsource as you grow. As a one-lady show initially, I could not and was not able to do it all myself. Where possible and within financial constraints, you need to delegate and outsource. Try and engage with local people and look at the resources you have available. Also look at your friends and family as you may be amazed at the connections and knowledge they can offer.
Above all, be confident in your concept and willing to evolve and change. Work hard, be nice and good things will happen. Things do take time but with patience and determination you will be amazed what you can achieve. Having your own business is so rewarding and fulfilling. I’d love to provide advice where I can if you are starting or running your own business from home. Please feel free to email me at [email protected].