Small Business Owners — a Pessimistic View with Some Potential!

Sometimes when I’m bored, I start fantasizing about my future business endeavors — and I wonder if they are possible.

I have three ideas — weddings, Shaman Scents and an anarchist cafe/collective.

For all three, I would like a space in a prime location.  With some research, I’ve found that renting can be anywhere between $800 and $1,500 a month.  The wedding business would break even and make a small profit, Shaman Scents would fail immediately, and the cafe/collective might hardly break even.

If I got lucky, I would purchase a retail place and not rent, or perhaps find a donated/very affordable space that had been vacant or has multiple uses.  But when push comes to shove, spaces are expensive, cut into profits a lot and start the whole sha-bang off walking on a tightrope.

I am so glad that people “go out on a limb” and try to start a small business, at the same time, I feel like these endeavors may be going extinct as people find the risks of failure are too high.  These owners almost always take out loans and go into debt, and eventually in 5 years or so at most go out of business.  They offer prices that might be slightly high, but low enough to keep customers, which is good, but are unfavored to the “Walmart crowd.”  I would love for small businesses to be more sustainable — taxes don’t help — but luckily the entrepreneurial spirit of people shines through and with some hard work they get something started!

Luckily, however, the internet is awesome and most of my business endeavors can be solved by it.  There are tons of physical spaces that may already be successful enough (or struggling enough) to jump on and either use for vendor space or pay a minimal fee for vendor space.  Advertising is very important regardless of location and I find that money is best spent on that over space for now.

I am hoping to “retire” with the cafe/collective, when I have enough money that I wouldn’t mind using rather than profiting — in which I can tie in the weddings/Shaman Scents/anything else with that space — hopefully buying a location for this near a school and community that creates benefits for everyone.

Deanna posing at my "dream space" for the cafe/collective/library. Located at 36th and Lancaster in Philly. "Chemicals, Drugs" -- an old pharmacy!

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One thought on “Small Business Owners — a Pessimistic View with Some Potential!

  1. I used to work at an infoshop (anarchist bookstore) as part of a cooperative, last year, and that was the best job I’ve ever had. Every city should have one (too bad there are absolutely NONE in “the Shire” when there are so many small cities which could benefit from some radical ideas coming into town).

    What’s upsetting is how so many infoshops and anarchist cafes/coffee shops close down fairly quickly compared with other firms. It’s all because of bullshit like paying rent, etc. and the fact that a lot of people don’t do that much to reach out to their communities but instead focus on attracting more “hipster” types. I hate the idea of advertising and I think the best way to solve this problem would be to simply host more events and use the infoshop as something like a radical community center as well. That’s what the shop I was part of did and it’s still very successful. But all the time other shops shut down simply because it’s very difficult to keep it going. One in Montpellier in Vermont just closed and another in Portland, OR is having a difficult time staying afloat. It takes a lot of effort.

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