This blog is a collection of business ideas, so the majority of my posts give a hint, an inspiration, but not step-by-step directions or, at least, basic guidelines. This explains why I get a lot of mails and comments with requests for more detailed information on how to bring interesting business idea to life. For these purposes I've launched a special section - First hand interview: share experience, where successful entrepreneurs tell about how it all started. Today my guest is Jenny Ford from Monkey-Toes.com and I hope her interview will asnwer some of your questions regarding home-based business. 1. How did you came up with idea to hand-paint and sell children's shoes? Was it just a hobby once? I took a hand painting class, called "Tole Painting" and became quite good at it. I would whip through projects faster than most of my peers, so I was always on the hunt for new projects to start. While searching for something new, I found hand painted shoes which I thought were absolutely adorable. I tried my hand at them, loved them and decided to create my own designs. I always knew I would start a business, I just had no idea what that business would be – this one seemed to be a good fit and I had such a passion about it. 2. I get a lot of mails from my readers with only one question – how to open an e-shop, what are the steps? What did you start with? One question, with a really long answer! Initially, the first two years or so, was me working full time, and starting to have my babies (now 10 and 11). During that time I did a lot of research on manufacturers, trying to find wholesale suppliers for the different components and searching for a way to sell them, copyrighting the designs and getting my business papers finalized. I read a ton of books and asked a lot of questions during these days too, I was probably so annoying to anyone and everyone who knew anything about business. I set up at a gift fair right before Christmas and launched Monkey Toes. Right around the same time the website launched. 3. A bit indiscreet question: what is the amount of initial investments necessary to open an e-shop similar to monkey-toes.com? Initially, I opened the doors of Monkey Toes with a $5000 loan from my Stepdad and Mom. This went to all the inventory and the fees for the gift fair. Later I had taken on more loans to produce more product and grow. I haven't ever factored in a ton of money for advertising, my method has been a lot of public relations (magazine, radio, tv placements). I found that PR suited my product pretty well and it was something I could do myself and get results (and the cost was nothing if I did it myself). The media has always loved Monkey Toes because they've got a great story, they photograph or show well in print and on TV. It's a win for everyone. 4. Launching an e-shop is just the first step to successful business. Where did you search for clients? Did you buy advertising and what type of advertising seems to be the most efficient? Do you think that unique business idea can make its own way through word of mouth without any advertising at all? One of my largest revenue streams has been wholesale – selling direct to stores who then in turn sell to the consumer. This is a great option if you have the margins to work with. Plus it gets your brand out there into states that may not know about you. I also did a lot of drop shipping business – another great way to get your brand out there on websites all over the place. 5. What would you advice to aspiring entrepreneurs, who plans to open a home-based business? Make sure you're starting a business based on something you're truly passionate about – the hours are long and the money might not come quickly, there has to be more that drives you. I had a ton of business ideas before this one, but they came and went almost overnight. I've always felt a fire in my gut about Monkey Toes, it's been a passion that still goes strong even after 12 years.
Source - Business Ideas