Having had three natural and happy births (so far) and having set up house, organic garden and begun home schooling, my wife and I decided to turn our attention to a home based family business. Since I work from home and my wife is the primary carer, we needed something that would fit in to our life style without becoming a unpleasant burden.

“We have learnt that a home business that fits in to our lifestyle is a real possibility and want to pass on our enthusiasm, success and tips to others.”

Our criteria for a Natural Home Based Business was:

  • Must be easy to maintain from home
  • Must be something we and our three girls can grow up with and enjoy doing.
  • Must not hog all our time
  • Most importantly, it must be the kind of business that provides a slow trickle of income over many years since it would be the basis of our children's inheritance.

    Choosing our Market

    We settled on board games and wooden chess sets and decided to sell online. In particular we aimed at a niche market: Fair Trade, Traditional, Hand Made and Educational Board Games and Chess Sets.

    We love the philosophy of Fair Trade and we found so much cultural and educational value in Board Games that are hand made by the countries that gave them to the rest of the world.

    Fair Trade put us in contact with other small home based family businesses around the world. It meant supporting very talented artists and their families in a productive way as well as providing all kinds of educational opportunities for our children. Board Games have history, they have a story to tell.

    Whether it's making and crafting a wooden chess set from Madagascar or India, or learning through some of the excellent Australian Designed Educational Board Games; we loved the concept and our girls have enjoyed the learning.

    The more we dug, the more fascinating the journey. We found some of the most beautiful board games and chess or backgammon sets in far away places like Mozambique, Peru, Tunisia and Nepal, as well as the more commercial places like USA, UK, China and Europe.

    Our simple Criteria for our Chess Sets and Educational Board Games was:

    1. They Must be Classic Board Games or Chess Sets and have some lasting appeal.

    2. They must be Clever Board Games. Easy rules with endless strategies and opportunity for creativity.

    3. They must be Beautiful. Good looking Wooden Chess Sets and Board Games. Hand made where appropriate. The kind of Chess Sets, Mahjong, Backgammon or Kids Board Games that you want to put on display – not just stuffed in the cupboard.

    Setting Up Shop

    We don't have money to burn, so we needed to be shrewd here. We chose a very attractive, well supported open source (free) shopping car known as Prestashop. Its clean, neat, easy to use and Google friendly. And, we chose paypal to compete our sales. Safe, secure and easy for others to use.

    We didn't spend any money on advertising or marketing. We paid for our domain name and that was really it. The rest of our money went in to our products. We were aiming at 10 sales a month to slowly build our children's nest egg over time. We took the long view and highly recommend it to anyone serious about online business. Like everything good in creation, things take time to grow.

    Maintaining and Building our Business

    having sourced our products, set up our “Games from Everywhere” online store, it was simply a matter of packing and sending orders.

    We enjoyed doing this almost as much as we enjoyed playing the board games and hand carved wooden chess sets we kept finding in unusual places (places like Ecuador and the Galapagos Islands – who would have thought!).

    From time to time we wrote articles on some of our board games, their history, rules and origin and published these at reputable sites. We told the fair trade story in our product pages and ensured that each product page had loads of good original content.

    We also made sure the links to our product pages had our key words in the URL. We were relying on organic Google, Bing and Yahoo searching and so SEO (search Engine Optimisation) was vital.

    Yes, we had to do a lot of learning, since we had absolutely no experience in online selling. But we have come to learn that slow and steady wins the race. We knew we could pay money to buy a bunch of back links – most of which are here today and gone tomorrow. But we didn't take that option.

    Instead, we worked hard at making our site attractive to Google (by using good keywords and content) and easy to use for our customers.

    Has it Worked?

    Yes! Our wooden chess sets, Mahjong, Board Games and Fair Trade Gifts regularly feature on page One of Google in Australia. We don't use adwords, haven't got time to waste on the thousands of marketing strategies and paid advertising possibilities – and we have not paid others to do this for us.

    We have tried, in all things, to do it naturally and in a way that promotes the social health of our family. And it has worked.

    Games from Everywhere has become one of Australia's most trusted sites for it's unique range of Quality Educational Board Games, Fair Trade Gifts and Hand made Wooden Chess sets.

    We send out orders every day and maintain our presence on the Big Wide Web by doing the little things: Good content, popular articles, Social Media like Facebook and good old fashion customer service.

    Is there a place on the web for honest and satisfying business for the natural family? We think so and we encourage others to consider it also.

    "Will we be millionaires? Probably not, but that was never our aim."

    Our aim was satisfying, enjoyable and productive work, and we think we have found it.

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    Author's Bio: 

    David and his family are the owners and Publishers of Games from Everywhere.

    A resource for High Quality Fair Trade and Educational Board Games for Kids.