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At what point is it just a leap of faith?

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Old March 10th, 2011, 01:27 PM   #1 (permalink)
kelliann74 kelliann74 is offline
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Default At what point is it just a leap of faith?

Hi! This is my first post but I've been stalking you guys for awhile.

I am a Speech Therapist about to lose my job due to budget cuts. Oh well

My true passion is all things crafty anyway!! So, at 36, it's time to move forward with something I love. I'm currently doing all the "homework" I can think to do to get an embroidery business off the ground. My question is "How much homework did you do?" At what point does it just become a leap of faith...where you just believed you could do it so you did it?

I plan to work out of my converted garage and figure I can get up and running for around 15k (please tell me if this is grossly underestimated). I'm not looking for big income (we've never had that and wouldn't know what to do with it if we did). Just looking for more time with the kids doing something that I love.

So, my next question is this: How long before you broke even? I know this varies from person to person but I like all the "true to life" information. I can't go without ANY income for too long but luckily I will get paid over the summer without working.

I won't even bother the "what machine do you recommend" because I can see that there are a million different answers! There are going to be vendors at an event at the end of the month so I should get to test some out and see what is best. I will ask this, though: Which of the better machines are relatively portable? I also hand sew a lot of baby/kid items and was thinking that craft fairs are a great way to advertise.

Thanks so much!
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Old March 10th, 2011, 03:29 PM   #2 (permalink)
nametags nametags is offline
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Default Re: At what point is it just a leap of faith?

We did exactly what you're contemplating last year.

Good luck.
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Old March 11th, 2011, 05:29 AM   #3 (permalink)
Earl Smith Earl Smith is offline
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Default Re: At what point is it just a leap of faith?

First of all , good luck and sorry to hear you are about to be laid off.
15K should be enough to get you started, especially if you look to buy the portable Brother PR650 machine. I dont know the prices in the States ( If you are in the states) but the PR´s are a good start up machine and 15K is more than enough. They also have some on board software for text and a few pictures as well. If a complicated design comes along then use an external digitiser.
If you want a more robust, commercial machine then 15K should buy you that and maybe software as well. But it will use up your entire budget and leave nothing left over for a rainy day.
Break even? A good queston and that will be down to you and your ability and luck at finding customers. I broke even in my second year with my start up costs of around $25K. This is my third year , Ive now bought a second machine , Im not growing much but Im not loosing trade either.
Good Luck
Earl
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Old March 11th, 2011, 10:37 AM   #4 (permalink)
nametags nametags is offline
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Default Re: At what point is it just a leap of faith?

One piece of advice.
When you start dealing with the dealer, you'll find they won't come of their retail price very much, in my experience.
When you decide on a machine, get quotes from several dealers, and never tell them who the other dealers are. It worked for me.
On the pricing, switch gears and tell them you want accessories added to the purchase. Add more standard hoops, and a clamping system with several hoops to your purchase. Add more thread spools, and a few boxes of good bobbins. Get more backing, and add more types of backing; i.e. adhesive, soluable, mesh.
If they have a certain type of digitizing program that comes with it, make them upgrade it to the top tier,,,,,,it really costs them nothing to upgrade, they just try to charge you more.
Add an extra hat hoop, or hat hoop accessories.
These people are just like car dealers, they'll only give or offer what they have to, to make the sale. Negotiate hard, and you'll come out on top.

Again, good luck.
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Old April 7th, 2011, 08:53 PM   #5 (permalink)
azsandy azsandy is offline
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Default Re: At what point is it just a leap of faith?

kelliann74
Im pretty much doing the "homework" thing as well. Ive been reading alot of sutff on here, but just joined and finding my way around. Im glad you asked those questions, but what Im worried about is that with the economy the way it is, I would hate to make the investment of starting then have everything go south. I know I sound paranoid about jumping in, but it is a big leap!
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Old April 8th, 2011, 09:59 AM   #6 (permalink)
nametags nametags is offline
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Default Re: At what point is it just a leap of faith?

We were paranoid too,,,still are. But, you have to have the disposable cash to buy this stuff. SO, if you're borrowing the money, loan or lease, you've got to have the cash coming in to pay the payments. That's plain and simple.

The economy sucks, and will for awhile,,,what type of area do you live in, large or small town or city. Suburbs or downtown?
Will you do this out of your home, store front, flea market, etc? There's expenses with each, but different ones.
IMO, you have to have some cash to buy garments with to get some samples out to folks. You have to show them what you can do.
How's your friend network,,,would they buy from you,,,,,
Don't overprice yourself at the start,,,,but, you have to pay for what you're doing.
Look around your area,,,,are there others doing this,,,,check out the towns around you, malls, shopping centers, flea markets, etc.

Good Luck.
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Old April 8th, 2011, 03:10 PM   #7 (permalink)
EnMartian EnMartian is offline
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Default Re: At what point is it just a leap of faith?

I think it's always a leap of faith. You have to believe in yourself before anyone else will believe in you.

If there is a embroidery trade show in your area, definitely attend. That will give you a chance to see a lot of vendors and machines.

Don't forget a big part of making a business a success is letting people know you're there and what you can do. Wear your work. Always carry business cards. Have a Twitter account and a Facebook page and make sure you're active on them. Be selective about who you follow or friend and have a clear goal in mind about with whom you want to connect.

Join your local Chamber of Commerce and go to any business luncheons or gatherings they have.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 01:19 AM   #8 (permalink)
azsandy azsandy is offline
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Default Re: At what point is it just a leap of faith?

Thanks for the great advice nametags and EnMartian. You have good points and I appreciate the input. I am interested in your opinion on all of us who are expressing interest in starting up a business. Do you feel there is sufficient work, with the economy, to support many new small business ventures?
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Old April 11th, 2011, 02:04 PM   #9 (permalink)
nametags nametags is offline
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Default Re: At what point is it just a leap of faith?

You didn't mention your location, that's fine, or your area (rural, small, large,city,etc.). That's a key factor.
You'll be competing with the same type of people as yourself,,,,"Moms With Machine", so to speak. Other folks that just bought a machine, and started. They've usually found their niche after a time, so find one that will be yours. As of now, you may think you're about the only one doing this. But, in my experience, as soon as you start, and people find out, they'll start telling you who all is doing it as well.

Make sure the money you invest is somewhat disposable. Meaning you can do without it, and not have a huge payment.

Good luck. PM me if you have any other questions.
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Old April 11th, 2011, 03:57 PM   #10 (permalink)
EnMartian EnMartian is offline
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Default Re: At what point is it just a leap of faith?

I think a lot of success depends on how well you plan, and how willing you are to put yourself out there to get business. A lot of new business owners think if they have a website or start a blog or a Twitter account that customers will flock to them. It doesn't happen that way. It takes a lot of patient work and effort to build name recognition, whether you're online or working in your local neighborhood. You have to be willing to publicize yourself whenever you can, while still maintaining your standards of work and customer service.

Starting a business is never easy, but a lot of businesses have been started when the economy was not at its best. The lessons you learn now will certainly help you prosper when the economy does get stronger.
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