Saturday, 26 December 2015

Launching your dream

Daring to do what you love. The story of your future begins now.

How does a labour of love become a rewarding business?

Listen to the inner workings of your heart and you'll find that everything from collecting handkerchiefs to baking cookies, from mixing perfumes to tending sheep, can be a profitable business.

If you have a vision, don't hold back. But start small, and don't spend on all those fancy things people think you must have, Hard work and ambition are the key elements - and you re-investing your profits.


Artists - If you're artistic, there are various avenues to investigate. Use your art and what you love doing to generate an income. Design birthday and Christmas cards, gift wrap, albums, invitations, gift bags, gift boxes and coordinating tissues and cards, using your own sketches or paintings. At first it might only be friends who might covet your creations, but by canvassing book stores and gift shops, showcasing your work on POD sites (print on demand) like RedBubble, and there are many others, it won't be long before you're inundated with orders and sales! You can also expose your wares on your own blog or website and take orders yourself.

Gardeners - If you like gardening, doing what you love by setting up a herb garden opens the door to many opportunities. Herbal wreaths, aromatic vine baskets, bunches, sachets and herbal oils for the bath and skin are but a few ideas, enjoy great popularity and are always in demand. Expect to spend hours in the garden, but it's time that you will find therapeutic, because you will have plenty of time to think of innovative ways to use your herbs. Selling fresh Lavender or dried bunches, bound with a satin ribbon or raffia, for gifts or arrangements can give your income a great boost. Also use other fragrant plants such as roses Thyme and Rosemary. The list is endless as to what you can create with herbs.

Animal lovers - Here's an inspirational story of how one woman's love for animals turned into an unexpected successful business:

"It's taken a lifetime of searching and searching, but I finally found it," says Megan, who lives in the quiet of British Columbia with ten sheep, 20 lambs, a handful of hens and Annie the rabbit. She runs The Counting Sheep Inn, but not so long ago she was a lawyer, driving a luxury car and wondering why nothing made her happy. "When I was a girl, I taped a real estate ad for acreage to my bed and imagined myself running through the pastures in a long dress," she says. "somehow I got waylaid."

Megan took a dramatic approach to rer-outing herself. She quit her job, moved to a log cabin on a family member's rural property and apprenticed herself to a shepherd. "Being out in the middle of nowhere is the best meditation," she says. As she breathed away years of stress, she began scheming to make her beloved flock "pay their own way". She decided to cash in her retirement fund and open a three-suite bed-and-breakfast with a gift shop full of sweaters, knitted (in her spare time) from homegrown Merino wool.

Gradually word has spread and city folk come to feed the lambs, collect eggs for their breakfast, or sit by the fire for a private knitting lesson.

Clever Ways with Fabrics - If you have a passion for fabrics and sewing, creating unique one-of-a-kind items will have the orders flowing in. A large fringed linen guest towel can serve double duty as dresser scarf, just hung on the door of an armoire to soften al that wood, or thrown over a chair or a daybed.

Cotton night-shirts, lightly striped with a demure trim of lace, will have family and friends, and eventually customers, in total awe and will enjoy great popularity as gifts as well as for personal use.

Lace-trimmed cotton "medici" damask on the windows can double as shower curtains, letting the curtain panels puddle in folds on the floor. That way, it doesn't matter where a customer decides to use it - they'll fit.

Unique and special bed linen is always in great demand and there is nothing more blissful than sliding in between crisp sheets and relaxing on satiny pillows. Let your fabrics swap places - curtains can become bed hangings and lacy sheets can become curtains or table covers. Looking at fabrics with a fresh eye will pay off big dividends.

The Historian - If you're passionate about history, why not design note or birthday cards on an historical theme. Libraries, flea markets and the internet are great sources for finding images from the 1800's to the 1930's, using text that tells all about bees, or birds, how to read the tracks of wild animals in the snow, historical battles or inventions.

Wűrttenberg troops attack at Wörth

Renting retail space
In the current economy, you can negotiate your way into any number of leases or purchase arrangements now that the market is flooded with vacant space. Better yet, use that extra guest room for a humble office that allows you at least to launch the concept, then gradually build it into a larger success.

Until you have some sort of steady income, don't consider employees. But currently there's an immense amount of unemployed talent out there. These individuals would be thrilled to be part of a promising start-up. You couldn't get that kind of motivation and inspiration at an affordable price in the employment market three years ago. Take advantage of it now.

Office Furniture
Be innovative as far as office furniture is concerned - scour flea markets and second-hand shops or auctions, even your own house, where you're sure to find the odd table and cabinet or desk that you can utilise. No matter what you do, you'll need some funding, but careful calculations can give you the jump-start to begin with a relatively low monetary commitment.

A unique idea is still a unique idea. The message here is that we still need to do things, buy things and go places, economy or no economy. There's no reason you can't be the best solution for the people who need it.

Don't give up on your dreams.