What would Grandma do? I ask that question all the time. She is gone but her voice is in my head, and whenever I'm in doubt, I hear her loud and clear.
I'm in doubt a lot these days. It comes with the territory of selling online. Opening a business is like embarking on a home improvement project that seems straightforward until you tear down a wall and find 3000 brown bats roosting between the joists. (Read about that here.)
When I walk into my basement storage room and see the boxes of inventory, staring at me with an accusing look, like I'm not doing enough to make people love them, I get a pit in my stomach that all small business owners can understand. It even has a name: the "Trough of Sorrow". (Paul Graham, world famous internet start-up investor, came up with that.)
When I'm in the trough, I wonder what Grandma would do. She herself was a talented crafter who sewed pretty calico quilts and stitched adorable felt ornaments. But she never sold them, except at the church bazaar to raise funds for Sunday School.
Once at a family picnic, my cousin Natalie and I figured out that if you take a jumbo marshmallow and knead it between thumb and index finger for ten minutes, it eventually becomes warm and stretchy. "Like taffy!" we exclaimed, and we gleefully scraped it off our fingers onto little squares of wax paper, which we then attempted to sell to our relatives for five cents a pile. Because who wouldn't want to buy a piece of stringy marshmallow kneaded to death by a pair of sweaty eleven-year-olds?
Grandma bought a pile. I didn't see her eat it, but she gave us each a shiny nickel just the same.
So, although Grandma would probably think Finder Not Keeper is a little crazy, she would help me. She would pat my arm when I get fretful, and chide me to be patient. She would warn me to never take a wooden nickel. And she would have absolutely no tolerance for a trough.
Photo of my tools for selling online by Renn Kuhnen.
Want to read more about the perils of internet enterprises? There are so many! I post every Friday. Subscribe below. And though it appears that I will sell just about anything, I won't sell your contact information. You have my word.