My Tiny Business Beginnings

Image from Flickr.

Image from Flickr.

Hi. My name is Christine. And I own a tiny business.

I get asked a lot about what I do for a living. And when I say that I have a tiny business, I get asked even more questions. (When I had a salary and benefits and people asked what I did then, the response was normally, “Oh, that’s nice,” before looking back at their phones.)

I guess what I do now is not very common. Or it’s just more interesting. It’s definitely more fun. So, I thought I’d start this little blog about owning a tiny business and things I’ve learned along the way.

What is a tiny business?

There aren’t any official definitions for a “tiny” business that I am aware of at present. But the U.S. Small Business Administration states:

SBA defines a business concern as one that is organized for profit; has a place of business in the U.S.; operates primarily within the U.S. or makes a significant contribution to the U.S. economy through payment of taxes or use of American products, materials or labor; is independently owned and operated; and is not dominant in its field on a national basis. The business may be a sole proprietorship, partnership, corporation or any other legal form. (source)

It also states:

The definition of “small” varies by industry. (source)

So, that’s “small” businesses. Personally, I think if you own and operate your own business that generates enough income for you to make your life work, then you are a tiny business owner.

What is my tiny business and what do I do?

I own and operate the Denym Dystryct (www.denymdystryct.com), an apparel store on eBay that sells mostly denim jeans. I have sold a couple pairs of shoes there and a few other denim items like jackets, shorts, and skirts. But my bread and butter have been jeans.

When did I start my tiny business?

I started the Denym Dystryct almost exactly one year ago—although it wasn’t called the Denym Dystryct at first. The first sale was for a pair of True Religion straight legs to a gentleman in Canada. That was an exciting day.

How did I start my tiny business?

I started by losing my job. I recommend that if you want to start a tiny business, you lose your job first. It makes you desper—er, creative really fast. (Of course, if you prefer to hang on to whatever you do to pay the bills and want a tiny business as a hobby, that’s cool, too.)

Anyway, while I was sending out resumes and unemployment benefits were running out, my father gave me $200 for gasoline. Fortunately, my car is slightly fuel-efficient, so I used $120 of it to replace my dinosaur of a cell phone with a basic Android smartphone that could handle the eBay app and take decent enough pictures. I then used $50 to buy seven pairs of jeans from a local charity store. The last $30 I saved for when I did need gasoline later.

And that’s what I started with. I know other people have started with less or more. It really depends on what you’ve got to work with at the time and what type of business you’re getting into.

Do I make a lot of money from my tiny business?

“A lot of money,” I think, is in the eye of the beholder. I am not wealthy, but I make enough for what I need.

Will I keep going with my tiny business?

Yes, I think I will for now. I am only one year into this gig, and I have a lot of room to grow. I also have other tiny business ideas that I want to try. And there is flexibility and freedom in what I do now, which I’m not ready to give up for a salary and benefits again.

Are you a tiny business owner or interested in being one? What are some of your current businesses or ideas that you want to pursue?

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