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Business Bits - Discovering Skills for Small Business

Monday, July 26, 2010

In my previous life I was an educator of high school students with special needs.

My life, that is, before baby Jack and my Etsy shop.

In many ways it was my calling....and it might still be. I taught for seven years.  It is where I learned a lot about life.  I learned what an accomplishment really means....and  I learned the human spirit has a tenacity I had undervalued. I learned that hearing a sixteen year old read their very first sentence can be the most glorious experience in the world.

I learned all this....and surprisingly, I've come to find out, I learned a lot about business too.

                                                  {photo courtesy of Montclair Made }

I started my Etsy shop with the hope of garnering the extra income we needed to stay home with our son. I soon realized that an online shop doesn't sell itself and that I needed to find some business savvy somewhere. As I've navigated these waters for the last two years,  it's been clear that much of what I learned in the classroom shaped me for running a successful shop.

I think we all have those skills from our "previous" or "other" lives that we can apply to our sites to become stronger business folks.

A few classroom lessons I now apply to my Etsy shop:

1. Authenticity Goes Along Way:   Learned this on my first awkward, anxious day. Teenagers can see right through you. Being genuine earns a lot of points.
2. Bulletin Boards Matter: I worked in a tough school in a rough area. But I painted the bookcase, hung up awesome posters, and pasted student work on the wall. These at-risk kids kept coming back.  Decor sets the tone & expectations.
3. Sometimes Your Best Isn't Enough: While teaching, I cried a lot. I poured my heart out & sometimes watched it fail.  This happens. This is life. I learned to brush myself off & start again tomorrow.
4.  Put in the Time: big commitment equals big success & nothing comes easy. all those sayings are true.
5. Students Really Do Appreciate The Extras: Really, who doesn't? Going beyond the ordinary can establish trust & loyalty. And it feels good.
6. Stagnancy Equals Failure: grow & read & learn & research & expand & stretch & try & push & apply
7. Lectures Don't Really Work: People respond when talked with not talked to 
8. Celebrate Everything: it's essential to find accomplishment in all the little things....and then do it, really celebrate it all!

 ps..... I write this post in honor & celebration of the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act today. Hooray!

So tell me....what skills are you applying to your business?


FabricsNQuilts said...

You definitely have a teaching gift! Teaching, to me, is putting the same idea into as many forms as necessary to get the point across. You have said things here that will resound with anyone that reads it!


sue@solsticehome said...

so true and so well said! thank you for sharing this.

OriginalCyn said...

I printed this post and hung it up on my inspiration board- I needed to see this today, thank you!

Bridgett | Perideau Designs said...

Great post! I'm still learning a great deal and although I haven't mastered it yet but hoping to apply patience to not only my business but my life.

Allisa Jacobs said...

Thank you for the kind words! I'm glad this post has resonated with others :)

live a colorful life said...

I always learn so much from your business bits. I admire what you have done with your business. Thanks for the continued inspiration.