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I'm just coming across this forum & have already found many great resources and info! I would like everyone's opinion on something...

 

I'm currently a senior in high school. In November I opened up an Etsy store selling decals, and many other items with vinyl on them (ex. cups). Over the past few months I have had an overwhelming amount of orders (Averaging $2000 revenue a month). This is just by working on stuff some week nights and weekend. I have so many more ideas that I just don't have time to complete. I LOVE what I do! 

 

Time has now come to decide on a college, I have been accepted to all of my top choices. However, I would really love to open my own store. Sort of like a boutique with anything you can imagine with vinyl on it (license plates, cups, cake carriers, the list goes on and on). I have two different options I think:

A) Stop my business, and go to a college and get a degree to get a normal job. 

B ) Open a store (already found one :rolleyes:) In a major city nearby, it's right near a huge university so I could take classes online/night classes. 

 

I would just like opinions from other 'vinylers.' I am very passionate about my business and have put a lot of work into it. Opinions?

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Drove by a college once, looked interesting but not for me. Just remember a degree will be with you forever but not all businesses last that long. That being said the night class option may be the best of both worlds. Follow your heart.

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Drove by a college once, looked interesting but not for me. Just remember a degree will be with you forever but not all businesses last that long. That being said the night class option may be the best of both worlds. Follow your heart.

Thanks for your input! I'm definitely going to get a business degree so that I have something to fall back on if it didn't work out. There's no stores like it in the area so I feel like it would do good. I can't imagine "throwing my business away" after working on it.

 

 

Since your doing drinkware, you might want to check into and add etching!

That's a great idea! I've looked into it a little but and it seems very cool! Definitely going to put it on my to-do list.

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Got my business degree at the school of hard knocks. Bet your tuition is cheaper than mine and I still pay for refresher courses when I forget why i.don't do certain things. If your the only one in your area you already have a leg up over many startups.

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Yes, there's a few home business that I'd be competing with but nobody has a store front. I've found a small storefront (500 sq ft) for a very good price in a major shopping center in Charlotte, NC. I think that It'd be perfect to start out with. Hmmm, decisions decisions!

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Opening a shopping center (brick & mortar) location will suck up your time, and leave little opportunity for school.

 

However, that being said, your first step in this decision-making process is to see what is required in order to get a business licence, and then register for a Federal Employee ID # (FEIN), obtain a State tax ID #, and other permits & insurance as required to open a storefront (certificate of occupancy, which may include a Fire Marshall inspection).

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Please don't anything I say the wrong way, as it is solely meant to be food for thought. I am also making assumptions based on what info you have provided so far.

 

Right now you are running a part-time business out of your parent's home(I am assuming this of course by the fact you are still in high school). This is night and day from running a retail business in a major shopping center. Etsy currently handles a good portion of running your business, including marketing, cc processing, hosting, etc. You will now be responsible, both physically and financially, for every aspect of your business. You need to consider what your expenses will be and how much revenue you will need to generate just to cover your expenses. This is not even taking into consideration profit. Unlike Etsy, people will not just walk into your store without you spending the time and money to promote your business.

 

You are currently generating roughly $24,000 per year working "some week nights and weekend". Why can't you go to one of your top choice colleges and still run the etsy business? You come across as a very driven person, and I think you can easily handle the rigors of running your Etsy business and going to college. You are doing it now. If you got accepted to all of your top choices you must be excelling in high school. The part-time work might be just the distraction you need to deal with the stress of college. It would be better than waiting tables or flipping burgers, if you would need a part-time job while in school.

 

My point is that you should take advantage of the opportunity to get your degree now, as it is even harder to go back and do this later on in life. If the financial aspect of college is not a major factor, I would be even more against foregoing college now to open a retail business. The knowledge you will gain from getting your degree will give you an even bigger leg up on your competition. If for some reason the business does not work out, or you grow tired of it you can always fall back on your degree to help you attain employment. Key word being help, as nothing in this world is a given.

 

Good luck with whatever you decide.

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One thing to keep in mind is self employment taxes. If you sell $2000 a month and profit lets say $1400 a month, then you owe up to $420 a month in taxes. Take an hour and talk to a CPA to get a professionals advice on business tax.

 

Congrats on doing so well in such a short time. Make sure to stay away from copyrighted/trademarked designs, logos, and sayings.

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Opening a shopping center (brick & mortar) location will suck up your time, and leave little opportunity for school.

 

However, that being said, your first step in this decision-making process is to see what is required in order to get a business licence, and then register for a Federal Employee ID # (FEIN), obtain a State tax ID #, and other permits & insurance as required to open a storefront (certificate of occupancy, which may include a Fire Marshall inspection).

 

 Yes, my concern is time. I have already obtained a business license & state tax ID # for tax purposes & so that I'm not working 'illegally' 

 

 

Please don't anything I say the wrong way, as it is solely meant to be food for thought. I am also making assumptions based on what info you have provided so far.

 

Right now you are running a part-time business out of your parent's home(I am assuming this of course by the fact you are still in high school). This is night and day from running a retail business in a major shopping center. Etsy currently handles a good portion of running your business, including marketing, cc processing, hosting, etc. You will now be responsible, both physically and financially, for every aspect of your business. You need to consider what your expenses will be and how much revenue you will need to generate just to cover your expenses. This is not even taking into consideration profit. Unlike Etsy, people will not just walk into your store without you spending the time and money to promote your business.

 

You are currently generating roughly $24,000 per year working "some week nights and weekend". Why can't you go to one of your top choice colleges and still run the etsy business? You come across as a very driven person, and I think you can easily handle the rigors of running your Etsy business and going to college. You are doing it now. If you got accepted to all of your top choices you must be excelling in high school. The part-time work might be just the distraction you need to deal with the stress of college. It would be better than waiting tables or flipping burgers, if you would need a part-time job while in school.

 

My point is that you should take advantage of the opportunity to get your degree now, as it is even harder to go back and do this later on in life. If the financial aspect of college is not a major factor, I would be even more against foregoing college now to open a retail business. The knowledge you will gain from getting your degree will give you an even bigger leg up on your competition. If for some reason the business does not work out, or you grow tired of it you can always fall back on your degree to help you attain employment. Key word being help, as nothing in this world is a given.

 

Good luck with whatever you decide.

It's not taken the wrong way at all. Thank you so much for the thought and advice! I very much appreciate it. I will be taking into consideration everything that you have said. It is definitely another option to run my Etsy store while in college. You make a good point about the 'distraction to deal with the stress of college.' Although it has added stress, I love being able to come into my 'workshop' and escape homework and studying for a little while. 

 

Any option that I choose I will definitely be starting towards a degree in the fall. I've worked too hard in high school (and pulled many all nighters) to not do anything with my education. 

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Another thought... maybe find a location that has someone in it maybe with "to much space" and would be willing to "rent" you a small portion of their place, or work on consignment and put your stuff in their store.  The can also take orders for you.  For example, a "flowers and gifts" type location.  Just another thought to help display your items in a store setting with out having to run a business until your done with college.

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the gang pretty well covered it - figure how much you have to sell each month (every month) to break even - even before you make a dime.  like pshawny said of that 1400 that you pocket now - how much of that goes toward the rent, electric bill, insurance.  if you think you can double what you are doing now maybe the numbers work for you. but I would continue with the education end too.  with hundreds of thousands of cutters out there and more with cricuts helping friends for free - is it something you are willing to bet the rest of your life on?  I worked for 27.5 years to get a pension - so with self employed make sure you can make enough to self fund your retirement too

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I agree with dakotagrafx everything is just about covered. 

 

One thing that hasn't been mentioned is the the lease on the storefront you have found.  If in deed it is a lease and you for some reason don't make it your lease payment is still due every month until the lease is up for renewal.  Unless you're doing a month to month.

 

I'm for staying with your Etsy business and getting your degree then venturing out if you so decide.

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You say you are making $2,000 in sales...? So i am guessing thats before expenses. 

You need to figure out your amount of expenses too, from supplies, fees, shipping, and taxes, etc.

Also consider that when u open up a store, you may have to pay for insurance as well as utilities and other fees.

I was looking at a place for a store, they wanted $450 a month, then more for utilities, plus like another $100 a month for insurance, and then garbage fees, snow removal fees, etc. All that ads up fast. 

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You say you are making $2,000 in sales...? So i am guessing thats before expenses. 

You need to figure out your amount of expenses too, from supplies, fees, shipping, and taxes, etc.

Also consider that when u open up a store, you may have to pay for insurance as well as utilities and other fees.

I was looking at a place for a store, they wanted $450 a month, then more for utilities, plus like another $100 a month for insurance, and then garbage fees, snow removal fees, etc. All that ads up fast. 

what glen said - but then again working all those hours each month to break even is how you plan to increase your bottom line - right?   what about those months when sales drop - make sure to put enough back to weather the slower times too.  I am in a unique position that I don't want to grow to astronomical heights as in 5.5 years I plan on traveling more than the couple time a year I do now.  even now when I go for a week or two the business has to shut down.   not as easy with a storefront to close shop for that long - along with the thought of working a couple of weeks every month to pay expenses before making what I make the first day of the month is easy in my case.  each case and person is different but it is up to you where you want to be in 5-10 or 30 years

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every time I go out to eat I ask my server what their college degree is in. The point is, a degree doesn't guarantee a job. If you are passionate about your business, go for it while you are young. There is no sadder phrase than 'what might have been'.

 

There are plenty of people who manage to work full time and still get an education.

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Lol my college degree is in webdesign/programming, etc..

And i turn wrenches building packaging machines for a living, thats what pays the bills.

It was a bad time in 02-05 to go to college and trying to get a job in the horrible economy. Had to settle for what work i could get.

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Everyone doesn't have to go to College to be successful.

 

Unfortunately once you get out of the habit of studying and classes, etc.,

it is hard to get back into the swing of schooling/reports/assignments again.

 

BUT, basically you need to determine if you can successfully handle:

 

A.   A full time education plus a part-time business on the side (generally for 4 years)

 

B.   A full time business and a part-time education (adjustable time-frame)

 

C.   Just the schooling (generally 4 years)

 

D.   Just the business...(as others have said a storefront comes with MANY expenses)

 

 

You are wise to be thinking of this now.

 

Sue2

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my degree is in business management - jobs were tought in 85 too so I ended up in prison - so to speak

That sucks.

For me, there were litterally no jobs in my area, and i couldn't afford to move, and before i knew it, i had to start making payments on all my student loans.

But wrenching and building stuff is like second nature to me, ive always enjoyed working on engines, atvs, 4wheelers, etc.

So building machines wasn't too bad.

I was hoping when the company grew and added a graphic designer position, i would get it. But they never ever made it publicly known, then one day they had hired a girl for it. I was pissed. I didn't even know they were looking or taking applications for it.

Anyway, im out on the floor building expensive machines for $14 an hour and shes up at a desk designing graphics for brochures, manuals, advertisements etc for $18 an hour. Its just not fair

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my dad never went to college and has made 10 times what my wife and I have made (4 of the 5 wives appreciated that) so I agree on drive vs education.  I took the prison job planning on changing when the economy took off again but after a few years started looking at the pension and benefits (backk when there were good) and never left.  again thought about working for my dads company and making big bucks but with straight commission compared to guaranteed pay and benefits never took the chance.  lost chances sometimes are lost opportunities  

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We are all just a little farther down the road than you are and have the benefit of hindsight which is always 20/20 as I'm sure you've heard. I think working your way through college with your vinyl cutting is a great way to continue to grow and still get an education. While I don't agree with the concept the sad thing is that in your generation, getting a college degree is similar to graduating from HS was in my day. Silly really. I read somewhere that the greatest percentage of millionaires are in the entrepreneurial field, in other words small, medium and large business owners who took the risks to make it happen. An education can help that happen but just because you get a degree doesn't mean it's going to make the difference between success and failure. 

 

My day job is construction management and we have a saying that is very similar to one you may have heard: "If you can't do, teach. And if you can't teach, inspect." Ha ha! And how true it can be! So some college professor who has spent probably his whole life learning to teach something may have never applied the theory's he's trying to cram into your brain. There are always going to be exceptions to every rule and teaching in most respects is a fairly noble job but I have met plenty of smart idiots. In fact many of the jobs my outfit builds are drawn up by PE's (professional Engineers) who have never built a dang thing in their entire lives. I think this guys should be required to actually work in the industry for 5 years before getting their PE stamp. <end of rant>

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Thanks to everyone for the responses!! Everyone makes a lot of good points.

I don't want to totally stop with my business, because I really love what I do & I've put way to much time and money into it to stop. However, an education is a must. So I'm sort of in a bind. (I also don't really want to miss out on the college experience)

I have until May 1st to decide, decisions decisions

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I'm just coming across this forum & have already found many great resources and info! I would like everyone's opinion on something...

 

I'm currently a senior in high school. In November I opened up an Etsy store selling decals, and many other items with vinyl on them (ex. cups). Over the past few months I have had an overwhelming amount of orders (Averaging $2000 revenue a month). This is just by working on stuff some week nights and weekend. I have so many more ideas that I just don't have time to complete. I LOVE what I do! 

 

Time has now come to decide on a college, I have been accepted to all of my top choices. However, I would really love to open my own store. Sort of like a boutique with anything you can imagine with vinyl on it (license plates, cups, cake carriers, the list goes on and on). I have two different options I think:

A) Stop my business, and go to a college and get a degree to get a normal job. 

B ) Open a store (already found one :rolleyes:) In a major city nearby, it's right near a huge university so I could take classes online/night classes. 

 

I would just like opinions from other 'vinylers.' I am very passionate about my business and have put a lot of work into it. Opinions?

Do what I did....go to college and get a degree in graphic arts and/or minor/major in business & marketing. This gives you the option to keep doing what you are doing and learn some tricks of the trade and become a proficient designer as well as become rounded business owner. So why would you need to stop the business to go to school? You are in school now and seem to be juggling just fine with the two. You can make a killing in a college town...sell fraternity and sorority stuff such as t-shirts, decals, and anything that can be sublimated. Once you graduate then you can decide if the business is right for you or not. Then at least if worst comes to worst and the business doesn't work out later on you have something else you can fall back on.

 

I run my vinyl business on the side while working a salaried position in marketing for a national distribution company. I get full benefits, free software (full license of Adobe CC master suite  ;D) and even got hooked up with a Microsoft surface as my "laptop" along with my desktop in the office. I would like to eventually do mine full time as well but right now it's great knowing I can pay the bills and just "have fun" with the vinyl business. I've only been out of college for about 4 years now so being well under 30 I still got time to build my empire  B)

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Just having a state ID # and business license doesn't necessarily mean you are operating completely legal, what about federal? Are you paying tax on your income? I doubt it, just like 99% of the people around here I am sure, if you were paying taxes I think you would have a change of mind at picking the business over college lol.

 

I would say stick with what you are doing while going to school. A lot of people work crappy jobs to make some cash while going to school, you have the ability to do a relatively simple job that is quite fun. Perhaps you should look into swap meets and such in your area, could be something you do on the weekend. Also, maybe go around to some local businesses that you think your items could possibly sell well and work up some deal for them to display or sell your stuff.

 

This way you can still go to and finish up school while make profit and expanding the business. As you make money and learn more you can start purchasing newer and better equipment, open up your lineup of this you can do. Then when you are done with school you have a business that has much more potential as well as the education to fall back on.

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