Business Blunders

I think running a home-based business is a tough job. Of course, sales and marketing seem to come naturally to some folks. They’re the sort of people that could sell water to a drowning man, and I’m the sort that couldn’t sell water to a man whose house was on fire. This truth was recently evidenced at a local farmers market where I sat with books for sale. 

To pass time while there, I decided to search up my website on the Internet and found, for some obscure reason, that a Web analysis had been done to determine its value. After tallying the profits and running the numbers, they concluded that I have an estimated net worth of—hang on to your hat—$8.95, and apparently rake in a whopping 15 cents per day. 

Step aside Bill Gates. 

Of course, that’s when book sales are brisk, I can’t expect that kind of big money to roll in every day. 

When I was younger I tried my hand at several home-based businesses, none of them successful. The first was for a popular cosmetics company. I like makeup well enough; have even been accused of single-handedly increasing the sale of ruby red lipstick worldwide, but liking it and selling it are totally different beasts. 

Mostly I urged people to save their money rather than spend it, which is a bit counterproductive. Plus, there was the whole demonstration component, where I applied makeup to naive participants. Sadly, after a party later referred to as the “clown-face incident”, women got a bit reluctant. (News travels fast on the home-party-pipeline.) 

Then came the crazy day I was talked into selling lingerie by a lady promising easy money and a lifetime supply of fuzzy pants. Whatever made me think I could do that? 

Showing large groups of women flannel pajamas, cozy fleece or cotton nighties was one thing, but when I found out I’d have to personally fit them with heavy-duty, corrective brassieres, I was done. This introvert collected her personal space, yanked on some steel-toed work boots and learned to drive trucks.

The grand finale was my leap into the world of vitamins and healthy cosmetics, so good for you they were actually edible. Of course, that wasn’t recommended, but still. These were worthy products to be sure, but again, selling them demanded a skill set I didn’t possess. Nonetheless, I tried my best, held a few parties and filled a few orders.

However ill-advised, my husband supported me in this venture and wished me well as, late for work one day, he grabbed his lunch and dashed from the house. 

Later that morning I stood at a customer’s door, happily handing over her order. Unfortunately, any thanks died on her lips as she slowly pulled a poorly wrapped bologna sandwich from the bag and squinted at it in the sunlight. 

I stammered out an apology, fully realizing this was not the worst of it. Right about now my husband would be taking a well-earned break. He would fling himself onto a hard bench in the doghouse (he worked on an oil rig) open his lunch bag, and stare in horror at two pink lipsticks, a jar of cold cream and a lovely palette of earth-tone eyeshadow. Edible? I think not.

And that was where I threw in the towel. Until now of course. All you who run a home business have earned my respect.

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