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Consulting

I get the most heartfelt requests for help on a daily basis. People see our website, learn about what our family is doing, and it resonates with something deep inside of them. I think this is wonderful that you see us as friendly and approachable enough to seek help from us.

For those of you who would like a business making goat milk soap, I would like you to know two basic things. First, if this is the business that God has for you, you can succeed at it. Second, it is not easy. Jim and I each regularly work over 60 hours a week on our business. There have been times that we work more. Because we also have a family to raise and homeschool, these long hours can be painful.

I also need everyone to understand that Jim and I had money to invest in our business to make it grow. We initially put almost $75,000 into launching our business. So if our success seems amazing, it's because we had the money to support ourselves and the business while it took off. On a side note, I'd like to say that we saved that much money never making more than $40,000 a year and raising a large family on a single income. So it's possible to do if you're willing to sacrifice. But if you think you'll be able to grow a self-supporting business without having any extra capital, my advice would be the only way that can happen is over a very long period of time or if God is blessing it above and beyond what is normal.

You also need to know that Jim and I are natural business people. My degree is in Systems Engineering with a minor in Economics. Jim's degree is in Economics with a masters in teaching. We understand how to run a successful business.

My advice to you is to learn how to make good soap, consistently. This can take up to a year or more, unless you've been given a proven recipe by somebody else, because you need to make sure that your soap (and your soapmaking process) holds up over time. What do the bars smell like/feel like/look like when they are 6 months old? a year old? People will buy from you and forget about the soap. When they find it in a year, they will judge you by what the soap is like a year later. Also, know that as your demand grows and you move on to bigger batches, things change and you have to learn new tricks all over again.

Once you know how to make good soap, start giving it away to everybody you can. The more people who try your soap, the faster your business will grow.

I also want you to know that your business will require cash like you could never imagine. Every time you start to have a little bit of extra money, the business will require it for something else. A general rule of thumb (which can vary widely but we've found to be true) is that for every $1 (pretax) that you want to earn, you need to gross $5. So, if you want to take home $20,000 before taxes, you need to sell $100,000 worth of soap.

Make sure you're legally covered. Do not sell soap without liability insurance. Make sure you pay sales tax and are legal with your state. You're doing this to help yourself and your family, so do not risk losing everything you own because you don't want to pay for liability insurance.

Find a good accountant and lawyer. If you're going to treat this as a business, you have to treat it as a business. Otherwise, treat it as a hobby, but again, know how the laws apply to you.

Set your pricing right, from the beginning. As you grow, your costs will rise. If you set prices too cheaply up front (a very common mistake), you will lose customers later when you have to raise your prices.

Expect competition. Everybody who has a goat thinks they can make and sell goat milk soap right now. It's one of the "hot" items. Many of them will start a business. Few will succeed. If you want to be one that succeeds, you'll have to have a solid plan on how to succeed in a market that is currently saturated with goat milk soap. There are thousands of people making goat milk soap on a small level that you will be competing with. Many of them do it for fun and will undercut your prices because they are not trying to run a business. They're just trying to make some extra money on the side as a hobby. That's fine, do not feel you need to compete with them on price. You want your business to be based on great soap, not cheap prices.

We are one of just a few businesses (that we know of) that supports ourselves completely with our goat milk soaps and no outside employment. Our success is not normal (to which we attribute God's grace, a ridiculous amount of work, and really incredible kids that are natural salesmen).

We enjoy helping people, but as our business grows, our requests for help are growing beyond our ability to handle them. We are raising and homeschooling a family of eight and running a growing business. Our time is very valuable (especially to our children) and limited. If you would like to consult with us on soapmaking, goats, or a soap business, please follow these steps:

Please note, as of this time, I have no consulting hours available. Please email me if you would like to be put on the waiting list.

1. Paypal $50 to goatmilkstuff@gmail.com or call PJ with a credit card number if you do not use paypal.
2. Send PJ an email stating that you've sent the paypal and listing the questions you would like to discuss.
3. PJ will send you back an email listing several times that she is available for you to call.
4. This initial phone call will last for 15 minutes. At the end of that time, you can decide whether or not you feel you need extra consulting.

Consulting Fees are as follows:

Initial Consultation: $50 (15 minutes)
Follow up Consultation: $300 per hour (available in 15 minute increments)

To those of you that think this is a high amount of money, I need you to understand that you are taking time away from my family. Thanks for your understanding and know that if I had more time, I'd gladly share it!
PJ

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