Perhaps the biggest misconception is working hard will get you ahead when the truth is working smart is the only option for success. Whether you work a 9 to 5 job in an office or run your own business, the cards are generally stacked against you. Working smart is learning to do more with less and turn average income into truly sustainable income over the long-term. Too many people define success as working hard to pay their bills and will shy away from taking any calculated risks out of fear, while failing to see that breaking even every month without savings and investments could prove to be far more catastrophic than perhaps making a less than stellar realty investment or taking a loss on an unlucky stock purchase. Running a successful business requires planning, discipline, and constantly thinking ahead. Some of the factors to consider: -Sufficient target revenue -Estate planning -Tax exposures -Investments -Liabilities -Savings -Debt management -Total expenditures -Credit -Healthcare, HSA, Health planning -Retirement savings Moves such as taking a home equity line to remodel a kitchen, buying a new car, paying rent, selling your current home to purchase a larger home, attending an expensive private university, having an expensive wedding... really need to be carefully considered and mostly like left to the rich and famous. When I hear about someone graduating a private school with $100,000 in student loans, $25,000 in wedding debt, renting an expensive apartment, and buying a new car, I absolutely cringe and am dumbfounded by the thought process. What I like about running a business is having more control and choices, but those choices carry with them a large burden of responsibility. We are full-time online and in theory, full-time Etsians. If we were willing to place all of our eggs in one basket, we could definitely do quite well selling on Etsy alone without having additional sales channels. I highly recommend having your own website and looking for other opportunities outside of Etsy as a good backup. The risk though is spreading yourself too thin and having a portfolio of mediocre projects without focus which is our current situation. When we truly focus 100% on Etsy, meaning promotion, listing new items, reworking old listings, forums, promoted listings... the up-ticks here are huge. As we spread out and perhaps spread ourselves too thin, I notice we slip below the Etsy "effort threshold" and experience dramatic decreases in business. Balancing and juggling takes hours of planning and getting it right is most definitely a huge challenge.
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