Thursday, September 25, 2008

Q. How did you get started? Can I do this?

Q: Some of the most common questions I get are "How did you think of this?" and "How did you get started?"

A: I started many years ago when I was reading a parenting magazine that spotlighted a mom who worked from home. She rented storks. After thinking about it I realized that it would be the perfect home business for me! I had a baby boy and I was (am) obsessed with anything baby/kid related. I went down to my basement and drew a stork onto plywood and hand-painted it. It wasn't the best looking thing, but I was proud of it. I had been a professional graphic designer for almost 10 years, so I made my own brochures, post cards, business cards and website. I was hoping to get a few rentals a month and make a few bucks. Thankfully, I started getting a lot of rentals.

Q. Do I need to purchase a business opportunity or can I just make my own signs?

A. Yes, you can do it on your own, but please take a moment to read a little bit about what it's like to start from scratch. Most times once people realize what it's really like, they realize the value in starting with a business opp. and why we have so many happy customers.

Over time I started to get a lot of people asking me how they could start a stork rental business. That's when we decided to start selling business opportunities to help others quickly and easily jump into the fun part of the business (while avoiding the nitty gritty of starting from the ground up). The next request from our local customers as well as business partners was for other lawn greetings (birthday's, weddings, graduations & more). That's when I realized that I needed to rethink my business.

I decided that my pathetic one-piece 7 foot plywood & paint stork just wasn't going to cut it in this type of business. It took me over 3 years of trial and error (and more error and more error) to make the best signs out there. I've spent thousands of dollars on every kind of materials imaginable, trying to the find the best ones (the ones that would outlast any other). I've used plywood and mdo wood and pvc and latex paint and oil based paints and paints that cost $80/gallon. I've hand-drawn and painted signs, I've used pieces of colored vinyl, I've had images printed on vinyl from many different companies all claiming to have the same quality products (they didn't). I've tested clear vinyl coatings, vinyl spray coats and rolled clear coats...and I've left my signs au natural. I tried several structural designs to find what would hold up in all weather conditions. I've had one and two piece storks; and storks that had more pieces than I can count. I've played with various staking devices to find the one that is the sturdiest and easiest to install. I've had freehand-cut signs (with a variety of different tools - some worked, some didn't) and I've had machine-cut signs. Over all those years, I learned what works and what doesn't. I feel that we now have the best quality signs on the market. Now that we've perfected our materials, it was time to interview professional illustrators from around the world to find the one artist that could bring my sign visions to life. I found her! (fyi, this industry watches the web like a hawk looking for sign images that infringe on the copyright of others...just because something is on the internet does NOT make it 'free' and/or usable and altering someone elses images can also be considered infringement. Be careful!) Our illustrator is the amazing artist behind all of our signs! I later used my design background to design and build all of our personalized candy bar labels and our candy bar business CD as well as the marketing materials for our customers and our 30 page 'How to Start A Stork Rental' ebook.

....all from my home while raising my 3 little boys! Sweet Greetings is not a gigantic corporation with a huge staff. I am a mom who has devoted her career to this industry and helping others celebrate special moments. I love getting to know my business partners and helping them succeed. I don't do it all alone though! I have my wonderful husband and my family helping produce and ship our signs.

So, yes, you can start on your own, but by deciding to purchase a business opportunity rather than starting from nothing, you save precious time (and money) by avoiding the road I took. Most people want to do the fun part and not the logistical part that we've already done for you.

If you would like to know a few other things about me, please feel free to check out these online interviews:

"The WAHM Behind Sweet Greetings"

When I'm not working, my favorite thing to do is
spend priceless (fun!) time with my family

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