Understanding how retailing will affect your lifestyle
Updated: Oct 24, 2022
When you think of retail, do you think about all the hours that stores are open 24/7? Or how much time a merchant spends replying DMs on social media?, “For the love of God,” you may ask yourself, “how much can a person work?” Well, I have good news and bad news.
First, the good news: You can’t work all the hours that the store is open. If you think that you’re going to have to in order to “sacrifice” at the beginning, you’re crazy. I’m all for sacrifice, but I’m definitely not for torture!
The fastest way to an unhappy life and career is to work seven days a week. It hurts the business. You aren’t fresh, you become short tempered, and you start to feel like a rat on a treadmill. My recommendation for retailers to work five days a week and take the other two off. The businesses whose managers do this are much healthier, and their staffs are happier and more creative. Getting out of the store helps your business by getting your mind moving and inspiring new ideas.
A major advantage of retail is that your business is usually local; thus, you don’t have to travel. Sure, there’s the occasional buying trip — but at least it’s not every week. You’ll probably have only between two and six of these trips per year.
And the best part about the retailing lifestyle is that you won’t ever have to stand in line on your days off. Nothing is ever crowded — when you’re running your errands and doing your shopping, almost everyone else is at work! It’s great: When the whole world is shopping, you are working. And when the whole world is working, you can go shopping!
Now, here’s the bad news: You will not work the normal Monday through Friday, 9-to-5 schedule because that’s not when people shop. Working on Saturday is a must — in most retail businesses, it’s the busiest day of the week. The same could be said for Sunday (but with fewer hours). The bottom line is simple: You must be in the store when you’re doing the most business. Here’s why:
You need to meet, greet, and get to know the customers.
You need to know why certain items sell or don’t sell.
Will you have to work long hours? Probably so, but so will anyone who’s starting a new business. Can you be in the retail business and lead a normal life? Absolutely! Yes, there’ll be times when you’ll have to put in your hours, but for the most part you’ll be able to live a very normal life. So how many hours a week should you work? Up to 50 hours — and that’s enough! Make an exception only if you’re planning something out of the ordinary, such as a promotional event or a sale.
Retailing is a marathon, not a sprint. You must pace yourself.
So why retail? Why not? Retailing is fun, exciting, and ever changing. It’s also collegial — as a retailer, you are part of a group. The group may include neighboring stores, your state association of retailers, or the state and national associations of retailers in your industry (such as the Jewelry Retailers, Convenience Store Retailers, Appliance Retailers, and so on). These groups all offer trade shows, educational seminars, and member benefit programs. Best of all, being in these groups allows you to network with others who do exactly what you do.
The retail business can be the most exciting business in the world. The income potential, the lifestyle advantages, the thrill of the buying process, the challenges, the contact with people, and the sheer pride of owning your own store are what make retail a wonderful career option.
Sure, you’ll get frustrated and question why you entered the retail industry — but you’d feel this way starting any new venture. New things are always difficult in the beginning. Change is difficult, but change is good. So get excited, and enjoy your journey. It’s all out there for the taking if you’re up to the challenge. Have fun!
From the challenge of finding the right products to sell, to the thrill of buying it, and the excitement of unpacking it and showing to potential customers what you have in store, retailing can be one of the most exciting and exhilarating experiences you ever have. Nevertheless, 15% of all new retail businesses on average fail within the first two years. Why? Because people don’t spend enough time learning about selling products in order to understand whether it’s right for them. This doesn’t have to happen to you. Retail business is a wonderful business — if you’re the right person for it. In this series, I'll give you an idea of what the retailing is all about so that you can decide whether it's right for you.