Dawn Menke previously explained to My Business how her company came about – as a means of earning money without sacrificing time with her kids or resorting to a part-time job that left her bored and under-stimulated.
Since those days in 2003, she has gone from selling second-hand goods on eBay out of her garage to running her own team of 20 staff at her Gold Coast-based business Delta’s Dazzling Costumes.
Dawn has these tips for other parents looking to enter the world of self-employment:
Stick with what you know
According to Dawn, your business is much more likely to be successful, and leave you with more time for your family, if you rely on your existing skill set rather than trying to do something completely new.
“I've always had a background in selling, so I knew what to buy when I was working in the retail world and what people wanted,” she explains.
Do your homework
“I also research products, so if I see something that I like, I'll go 'Right, who else has it?',” says Dawn.
“And on eBay, I'll see what else the person has bought, I see how much I can get it for, what the cheapest price is, so I do my homework on what's going to sell and I check out my competitors.
“So I think to start, you need to decide what the product is going to be and research what you're going to sell and see who else is selling and if you can do the same thing.”
Perfect your writing skills
It might not be the most obvious tip, but Dawn suggests you brush up on your writing skills if you’re to be successful in virtually any business – including retail.
“You've got to have a knack for writing as well – your descriptions and your titles of what people are going to search for,” she points out.
“There are that many people selling the same thing on eBay, the same product, it's just the people who do it better [that make the sale]. They describe it better, they have better pictures.”
Don’t take on too much
While you are likely to start off as a one-person show, Dawn says you shouldn’t be afraid to take on help as your customer base increases.
“You've got to have staff to help you as the business grows,” she says.
“Don't start ruining your reputation and try to do it all on your own.”