I have been unusually quiet of late, been making a few changes in both my business and personal life. Firstly I have been spending more time in my garden, trying to grow more vegetables and become more self sufficient this year. I read a very inspiring book called 'Animal,Vegetable,Miracle' by Barbara Kingsolver about her family's attempts to eat only local, seasonal food for a year. She's a very witty and interesting writer, plus she knows an awful lot about the history and politics of food production, scary reading at times! This has encouraged me to attempt to grow heritage tomatoes from seed, heritage being older, scarcer varieties which are in danger of being lost if people don't grow them, tastier too I hope. So far they are coming on well, my new babies! Every morning the first thing I do is check on them and give them a quick spritz. I'm also keen to get some chickens, but that will need more thought and planning, so maybe next year.
Secondly I've also taken on the role of secretary for the school PTA, I'll be joining the WI next! It's the first time in my life I've got involved in any committee or group, so quite a departure for me, plus I'm not used to airing my opinions, so it will be good experience for me.
So as you can imagine I've been spreading myself rather thinly and something had to give and that turned out to be my ebay shop. I'd had a week of very busy orders and a few problems with items missing in the post and was feeling quite stressed, then I had a rude and unreasonable email from a French customer, which was the final straw.I realized I had no choice but to comply with her demands, or I would receive negative feedback and no doubt ebay would side with her anyway. I was also doing my accounts and could see that although I had a very healthy turnover on ebay, my profit margins were 'razor thin' as they say. Coupled with the constant threat of negative feedback, low dsr's and loss of top rated status, I suddenly realized this is no way to earn a living, financially or spiritually, especially given the type of products I am selling. I know most sellers don't particularly enjoy selling on ebay, but nowhere else, apart from maybe amazon, gives you so much exposure and brings in so many customers. So it could be business suicide to jump ship. But really I felt like I was pushed, by unreasonable customers, and a system weighted towards them. And over 1 month on I am still here, sometimes you have to be brave and follow your heart and I would have rather shut up shop completely than carry on working in that way. I also thought I'll take some of the advice given by the authors I sell, make a positive change and believe that good things will come from that. And I have been happier, had more time and probably because I've also had more time to spend on my website, I've seen visitor numbers and sales increase, plus I'm still selling on amazon, so my bank balance is healthier too. Ebay kept my shop for me for 1 month, in case I changed my mind, but there's no going back now!