I made myself laugh the other day when I referred to my business as a three-legged business.
It's not hard to explain. I run three independent businesses that are linked because they're all me and my creation.
- Mee a Bee - the children's bags that I design, sew and sell via my Etsy shop
- Chatty Cafe - an English as a Second Language conversation class held in my home, here in Japan
- Jacqui Miyabayashi Creative - you're here! Where I help other creative women to start and build businesses like mine.
At times I have tried to hide what I really do because I wanted my operation here to appear professional, maybe bigger and more impressive. That was exhausting. Keeping up the pretence.
This is what I do:
I sell bags. Not many these days. I decided that helping others to market their small businesses would be more fun and more satisfying than marketing my own business. I've talked about this in other posts. I still love to sew. I still love buying fabric. I still love seeing my bags on kids.
I teach. Nine lessons a month. As part of these classes I bake. Sometimes I think I would like to give up these classes but I love my ladies (and my men). They keep me on my toes and force me to do my housework. It's a guaranteed income source. I'm a positive influence in my local community.
I consult. I don't have tons of clients. I would like more. I work really hard to provide the best possible experience and help the clients I have now. I don't always charge for my services. I love seeing other women succeeding.
How did this all start?
You can read bits and pieces of my story all over the net. Or ring me up and I will tell you about it personally!
In 2007 I started a secret blog called Blooming in Japan. Although I had tons going for me I had a niggling feeling that my degree in business management and marketing was just going to waste. I wanted to start a business. I'd already been trying for years and had a few abandoned projects up my sleeve.
That same year Mee a Bee and Chatty Cafe were born.
Mee a Bee was the result of a desire to start a business once and for all, any business. I was not a sewing person or a fabric addict at that point. No more than a passing interest. I decided on bags for kids after doing a search on Etsy, noticing trends, seeing where there might be opportunities and aligning those with my skills and my circumstances. You could say I was just lucky. Or not, it's been a lot of work.
Chatty Cafe was something I had been thinking about for years. I had already tried a few ways of doing it and decided that was the only way I wanted to teach, if I taught at all.
Jacqui Miyabayashi Creative is where we are now. It's a multilayer story. I wanted to expand. In honesty to make more money. I thought I would try to scale Mee a Bee. Then I changed my mind.
I kept thinking about my degree in marketing. I looked at my bookshelves - equal parts books on sewing, parenting, and business development.
I examined my personal philosophy. A kind of feminist approach. Nothing against men at all. I just like to see women empowered.
I listened to what friends were asking me about. "How do you do it?" "How do you make money from your blog, shop, lessons, etc".
A typical work week
- Monday - business admin - banking - sometimes client calls - planning - marketing - housework
- Tuesday - twice a month lessons with my gentlemen for an hour - sewing - client work - marketing
- Wednesday - twice a month Chatty Cafe classes until lunchtime - client work - marketing
- Thursday - three times a month Chatty Cafe - client work - marketing - sewing
- Friday - twice a month Chatty Cafe - client calls - marketing - sewing
So my three-legged business is that.