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It All Starts With A Dream (or just a desire for a Nap)
By Rox Sailors

For many years I struggled getting out of bed in the morning and coming up with some sort of a plausible excuse for not going in to work. Itís not that I am a lazy person, or that I didnít enjoy being around other people, or even that I didnít like my job (not that much, anyway). I just had other things that seemed more important on that particular day (i.e., everyday) like, Having Fun; Gardening; Sewing; Sleeping;... I think you get the picture. You have probably noticed that there are no really good excuses to use because you want to take a nap. The few times I did call in sick (and really didnít feel ALL THAT BAD), made me feel so guilty that I did in fact, spend the rest of the day SICK.

So there had to be a change, something I could get excited about, something I liked to do, and something that I could support myself and my kids by doing (I am a single mom of three). And the big kick, I wanted it to be all of that wrapped up in a nice pretty package, just waiting for me to come along and open it up.

I tried a few things out, sewing, crafting, selling at craft shows, consignment selling at some of the local shops. Nothing that would generate an income to live off.

I came across handmade soap quite by accident, I had extremely dry skin and had heard that handmade soap was gentle to the skin. So I went to the shop, bought a bar, took it home, and did not use it, because I felt I had spent so much money on it that I could not afford to use it. I am a ďdo it yourself-erĒ by nature, so I decided to make my own soap, thus saving myself tons of money :-)

Approximately $500.00 later, 750 bars of soap later, (all drying on a bakerís rack in my kitchen) and some dead grass where I had dumped some rather toxic waste (soap batch gone very bad)....I was on my way to my dream life.

I loved what I was doing, and spent countless hours on the computer learning from the pros, visiting with them online, subscribing to newsletters, mail groups, buying books, and testing recipes, and more recipes, and more recipes, and eventually developing my own recipes.

Now, what to do with those 750 bars of soap setting around drying...

I gave soap to my friends, my family, co-workers, samples to shop owners, any way I could give soap away, I did. And I asked for feedback from everyone that I had given the soap to, listened to what they liked and what they would still like to have, revised and added ingredients and fragrances, and then began selling at the local Farmerís Market. From there, I had shop owners come to me at the Market and ask if I would consider consignment selling or wholesaling the soaps and bath salts.

Things were going along good, but I still had to get up early on Saturdays to be at the Market downtown by 6:30 am. I still had to work full-time at my regular day job, and I was spending 6 hours at night making soaps and salts.

I decided to take the next step, set up my own shop, be my own boss, set my own hours, yep I am the soap queen :-)

I found FREE Web Site space and started writing copy for the soaps. I didnít have a digital camera, so I took photos of the soap and scanned them onto the site. I couldnít afford a merchant account, so I asked people to email me or call me if they wanted to order something.

As you can imagine, that didnít exactly send me running to the bank with a bag full of money to deposit. In fact, for two years, I didnít have ONE sale on my web site.

I got discouraged, nearly quit the soap business, almost let the web site go when the FREE period was up, and it was time to make a decision. I had to take a leap of faith, put the money up for a year commitment on the web site.

Then I got serious.

I read everything I could online about website submissions, ezine advertising, search engines, html, wholesale, retail, auctions, newsletters, FFAís (Free for alls), merchant accounts, upgrades, you name it, I read it. I studied it, lived it, and then APPLIED it.

I added products that complimented my own products, teamed up with affiliates with similar interests and products, restructured the web site, and kept an open mind, eyes and ears to be able to offer what my customers wanted.

I still have a part-time regular job, but I am pursuing my dream of being my own boss, setting my own hours, and someday, maybe even sleeping in once in a while :-)

Never give up focus on what you want, because believing that you can do it is half the battle. Imagine yourself as a success, and you canít fail. You may never be rich, but the friends you make along the way as you are learning the ropes are something you canít buy anyway.

I still have a ways to go to be totally self-sufficient, but in two short months I took my weekly web site hits from 42 to 587, and still going up. I know I will make it now, I have confidence in myself, a lot of help from new friends, and most of all, a loving Lord who pulled me through some pretty tough times.

Rox Sailors is the owner/manager of Simply Romantics and Grandma Roxieís Simple Things, Editor and writer for "Simply Romantic Antics", and has written numerous articles. She invites you to see her web site at: http://www.simplyromantics.com

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