Many people spend years picturing themselves working from home and structuring their days however they want them to be. They also want to make money, lots of it.

In business we're taught to make a lot of money, we need to scale our business. In fact, before our business is even off the ground, we need to create it with the sole purpose of growth and eventual sale for a huge profit.

Leah Andrews, the owner of Queen of Snow Globes based in Australia, discovered the craziest, least scalable business idea could just be the one that gives you your freedom if you're prepared to look past the much-touted small business advice that "scaling is everything".

She started her business of creating custom-made snow globes in 2012.

"There was also nobody making single custom pieces -- everywhere I looked was either stock standard designs that were available in the thousands, or if you wanted custom, you had to order a minimum of 500 globes of the same design," she said. "If I'd been listening to all the standard advice about minimum search volumes, I wouldn't have bothered building the website."

But, she did. Within six months, her website was ranking in the first position on page one of Google.

"Even though those monthly search volumes were relatively low, I was getting a lot of clicks," Andrews said. "Given that nobody else was prepared to make single custom pieces, I started getting inundated with requests. I couldn't keep up, and had to keep increasing my prices until the number of requests leveled off to where I could handle it."

Andrews spent at least one year adjusting her prices to the point where people gasp at how much she charge for one snow globe. She gets regular orders every single week from people around the world, who are ready and willing to pay whatever it takes to get their dream design in a single, unique piece.

Today, Andrews business has grown significantly through her expansion into large-scale quantity production that includes custom pieces for Quentin Tarantino, Kurt Russell, Channing Tatum, Steve Martin, and Netflix, to name a few.

"Of course, that is a much more scalable part of what I do, but that would never have happened if I had taken the approach of my competitors: that creating single custom pieces is not scalable, and therefore, does not make good business sense," Andrews said.

When Andrews started Queen of Snow Globes, it wasn't with the intention of moving into quantity production. That happened organically and as a direct result of having such satisfied and vocal clients.​

Most businesses reject the notion of doing things on a smaller scale because they're assuming people won't pay enough to make it worthwhile.

"The trouble with that thinking is that it can take you away from the opportunity to do something that is wanted specifically because it's so rare," Andrews said. "So many would-be entrepreneurs may be stuck because they're trying to think of that one thing they'll be able to grow, scale massively and then sell for a fortune."

Andrews thinks the world needs more small and specialist services that focus on giving people things they can't get anywhere else. For her, that was connecting with clients on a very personal level really fulfilled her.

Published on: Apr 10, 2017