Saturday, May 25, 2013

Shop Front v's Working from Home

PS Yes I know it's odd have the PS at the beginning, but I just read my post and realised it's a little long. So I wanted to let you know first. Maybe get a cuppa ;-)

Does having a shop front make you more credible versus working from your home when it comes to your business? Is working from home seen as just a hobby and that you're not a serious business owner?

I have struggled with these questions for quite some time now. I am a business owner working from home. Does this mean I am less of a business compared to those who chose to have a shopfront? Is my business seen to be just as serious as those who have a shopfront?

I have chosen not to have a shopfront for many reasons. Some of which are, we have 2 young children. Working from home allows me to be able to do pick up's and drop off's to school and afternoon activities, during school holidays I don't have to pay for vacation care, $65 per day per child. Yes I know that you do get a percentage of this back from the Government, but that's 3 mths later, which means during school holidays I have to find an extra $650 for every week their in vacation care. That's a lot of cupcakes before I can even break even! Working from home allows me the flexibility to be able to look after the kids during these times. This does mean that trying to work with 2 young children is near impossible. It's the constant, mum I'm hungry, mum he hit me, mum she looked at me, mum we're bored, not to mention the sweet sweet sounds of them fighting and arguing throughout the day. Or the shhhhhh kids I'm on the phone with a customer spiel as they're running up to you to ask you the very important question that just can't wait. It's enough to drive you to a mental asylum!

Another reason for not wanting a shop is having the added stress and pressure of working to pay for rent, electricity and other overheads such as staff for example. If it's a quiet week, well then, the fans will get cleaned and maybe I'll catch up on my washing! I certainly don't have to worry about where I will find the money to pay for the staffs wages and rent. I've come from a family of chefs and hospitality workers I know how hard it is. I grew up laying on the freezer in the kitchen watching tv and doing my homework. It's not fun. However, I do miss telling the chef what I want for dinner each night and not having to worry about doing the dishes cause there was always waitstaff for that. Ahhhhhh the memories! But I also remember, not seeing my parents, not going on holidays, not having time to sit and do the little things cause there was always a million things still needing to be done in the restaurants and cafes. Fending for myself cause I knew how busy and tired they were.

Running a business is not an easy thing. It's not pretty and glamorous. I certainly don't get around in a cutesy frilly apron, styled french roll updo, makeup that is flawless with little blue birds sitting on my window ledge singing. Quite the opposite. It's a boring old striped chefs apron, hair pulled back in a bun, no makeup and bloody myna birds pooping all over my back verandah. Oh yeah it's glamorous. I'm generally covered in a mixture of ganache, flour, eggs, and water from doing the dishes. Dishes don't even get me started on that. Never ending.

The idea that I get to have long lunches and coffee with my girlfriends is so far from the reality of it it's not funny. There are certainly some negatives to working from home, the big one for me is there is just no escape. Work is always there in your face. I remember when I use to work in an office, you would finish work and go home and it would just be a sense of ahhhhhh and you could relax. The day was over so to speak. For me I struggle with this. Sometimes I wonder if I should just get a shop for the mere fact that I can walk out, lock the door and go home. But is that a reason to get a shop? Probably not.

If I had a shop I could increase my capacity to take on more orders, people would no longer come to my home unannounced on a Sunday afternoon when I'm snoozing on my couch, yes that's happened, customers could just freely come and go, my lounge room wouldn't need to free of the kids crap, ummm I mean personal belongings, I could sell products which would increase my revenue and so on.....I also wouldn't be lonely. Yep, I admit it. Working for yourself can at times be lonely. There's no one to talk to, there's no one to bounce ideas off, there's no one there to kick your butt when you're being slack! I have been known to talk to myself at times just to avoid boredom. There I admitted it! But of course with all of that comes the extra stress and pressure of dealing with staff, paying the extra bills and expenses, having none or little free time with the family, not being able to take time off without the worry or stress of the staff ruining your business while you're gone, or even wind it back a little if it's getting too much, cause remember there's the rent and wages to pay and well the list goes on.....

There are certainly pro's and con's to having a shop or working from home. But for me there's no difference in the fact that I'm trying to earn a living like 99.9% of the population out there. I need to contribute towards my family like a lot of you out there otherwise we would not survive. And it's hard work. So I suppose that answers my question about being serious v's a hobby. More and more mothers are choosing to stay and work from home for the same reasons I am. In today's economic climate most households require 2 incomes. And going back to full time work for some is not an option, cause you're really only working to pay for childcare or after school/vacation care fees. So what's the point? I suppose I saw an opportunity to still be able to provide towards my family by working from home which still allowed me to look after our kids without having to pay for care. I know this isn't possible for everyone, but for me it was and is.

I think some of questions still need answering, like does having a shop front make you more credible versus working from your home when it comes to your business or is my business seen to be just as serious as those who have a shopfront. I'd like to think not, but I think the perception amongst people is that if you have a shopfront you're serious. I don't know if I agree with that. Shops pop up and pop down, so to speak. I've been trading as Happy Cakes now for 5 years this July and I'm still going. Happy Cakes has provided an income for my family over this period of time so to me it's a serious business.

I think that at the end of the day though being a shop front owner or work from home owner what we both have in common is that we're just trying to make a living. Working from home I don't believe makes me any less serious about my work and customers than those that have a shop front.

Would love to hear your thoughts though.

Happy caking.

PPS I told you!


Karissa Chase said...

I couldn't wait to get to the end of the post so I could comment. I even jumped onto the laptop for the first time in a week so I could type faster.
I have worked from home for 15 years now, seven of which have included child raising. Working from home and caring for children is the most difficult task in the world. I understand everything you have said. I too have dreamt of a shopfront but honestly I thought it would feel suffocating after a while. I would love having dedicated time just to work but at the same time, I would be stuck in that shop 5 days a week when it might be a great day for the park or the backyard. Having a skill that allows you to generate income yet stay home with your children is the greatest gift we can ever have.
As for home meaning hobby, I don't believe that is true for many of us. A hobby is something that you do in your spare time for enjoyment without any expectation of income. I work very hard at my business and it generates most of our income at the moment. Even when my husband had a great job, I still brought in 40% of our income and nursed a baby for 13 months.
There may be a time and place for shopfronts and right now I know my time is best spent with little ones.
Of course I would prefer it if I didn't have to stop work to wash dishes or cook dinner, but those things would always need doing either way.

burun estetigi said...

very informative post. i like it.
burun estetigi