In June I saw an ad for a thrift store that was for sale. I can honestly say that at that time I was not looking to change jobs or become my own boss, but something hit me. I thought, "I can do this.” The price was right, the location was good, and I had worked at a thrift store once before a few years earlier.
I contacted the seller and found out that she had moved to another state and would not be able to be back in my state for a month. I took that time to pray, ask friends, and talk to my old boss. I began to feel that if I didn't take this chance I would regret it.
I’m fortunate that my current employer agreed that I could continue to work for him on a part-time basis with the caveat that I had to successfully handle both jobs. Thankfully, my other job is on the computer, so when it’s slow in the store I have time to do my other work.
I purchased the inventory late on a Friday afternoon, signed the 1-year lease, and went to have the electric and water started the following Monday. It was too late to have it turned on any sooner. On the drive home I was excited, nervous, and thought, "Oh crap, what did I just do?" I did some work in the store over the weekend, but couldn't do a whole lot without power and water.
On Monday, I went to get my business license and found out I had to get two of them: one for the city and one for the county. I then found out where to get my sales tax certificate, opened a business account, and talked to a CPA. The following day I arranged to have phone, Internet, and business credit cards.
I wanted to sell home-baked goods as well. I wanted my store to be different from the other stores downtown. After some research on the Internet, I called the health department to see if I could sell baked goods and he assured me that it wouldn’t be a problem, but that I needed to check with the department of agriculture. I called and found out what guidelines I had to follow to sell my home-baked goods.
I was finally at a point where I could concentrate on how I wanted my store to look. My best friend drove 10 hours to help me get ready. We worked our butts off! The store was organized and had a completely unique feel. I opened 8 days after buying the place!
I’ve been open for 4 weeks now, and I can tell you that I’m extremely grateful that I can still do my other job. I’ve had days where I only made $5.00, and one day didn’t make any sales. I know it will take time for the business to be successful. I made enough to cover the bills for the month, but that was because I didn’t take any pay for myself.
I would advise that if you have no other source of income you should have at least a year's worth of capital behind you. I went in to this endeavor knowing I needed to commit to at least one year. I believe before the year is up I will be able pay all my bills, repay my investment, and be able to pay myself.
I’m almost 59 years old and this is the first time I’ve ever done anything like this. Sometimes you just have to take a chance on yourself!
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