Sunday, March 1, 2015

The Hazards of a Home Based Business - Selling Through the Storms

For the most part, running a business from home is a blessing and a breeze.  Selling our merchandise online is a hassle-free way of doing business. Etsy keeps track of all the orders, finances, and customer info.  And God brings the buyers just as He supplied the ravens for Elijah.   No bosses, no coworkers, no drama. We are solely responsible for our labor, time, materials, and bottom line. We don't have to deal with traffic, store hours, or long commutes.  We simply take our on-line orders, build them, package them neatly into boxes, load them in to the truck, and off to FedEx we go! 
Except when the bed of the truck looks like this:
That's 4" thick and frozen solid!

And the roads look like this:
  This winter has been an eye opener for us, both personally and professionally.  As I shared in my Meeting Winter post, this was the first real winter I've experienced.  For my husband, who was raised around this cold, white stuff - this was the first winter he had experienced in a while - but, more importantly, the first time he'd faced it as a business owner.
At first, we took it in stride. A little snow? No problem.
Just a few minor adjustments:
...Like a slushy trek to the shop. Better than a 2 hour bumper to bumper commute!
And a few extra chores on our lunch break.
 And ice skating around the lumber yard. Weee!
Such adjustments were nothing more than inconveniences - some even comical.  But, when the storms didn't let up, our eyes were truly opened to the hazard of a home-based business.  Our whole town shut down... but our Etsy shop was going strong.  We realized as we cared for our family's immediate needs by tending to freezing pipes, leaky roofs, and slippery porches, we also carried a second responsibility: the business.  We were in charge of the decisions, the risks, and our reputation - no matter the weather.
   Local shops and schools closed for weeks on end because of the harsh conditions. People were inconvenienced, but understanding of such closures because they were trapped in the same conditions.  But, our orders piled up inside as the snow piled up outside.  Our customers in sunny California (and other unaffected states) expected their orders to arrive on time - and we had promised just that. 
We were a little side-swiped by this dilemma. We considered sending out emails warning of delays due to the weather. But, instead we mustered the faith to build, box, and label the orders as they came in. We were determined to be ready when the roads thawed.  After a partial thaw, several inches of rain, and a hard freeze, it looked hopeless and my faith waivered.  But, we kept building and boxing.  And just two days before our deadline, by God's grace, our county lifted the travel ban.  We dug the truck out of it's winter coat, loaded the boxes, and drove....very FedEx. 

A little pre-travel detailing.

 I road with boxes across my lap since the truck bed was still full of snow.
Guess the plow didn't make it this far out.

The FedEx drop off parking lot

 The Lord brought us home safely and we count this all as a lesson learned.  We are business owners now.  We have orders to fill and deliveries to make. But, more importantly, we must keep the faith and sell through the storms.

No comments:

Post a Comment