Last fall, eBay Main Street conducted an essay competition asking contestants: how a law or other government regulation has impacted their eBay business - or how enactment of a proposed law could impact their business in the future. The prize? A free trip for four to Washington, D.C., including a private tour of the U.S. Capitol building.
We received a lot of great entries, but Jim and Kelli Shaw's essay stood out. The Shaws are high school sweethearts from Sterling, Mich., who dreamed of working from home together. After Jim sold some old Coca-Cola® bottles on eBay for more than $100, the Shaws realized an eBay business could be a viable way to live their dream.
Today, the Shaws specialize in selling women's designer clothing and accessories through their online company Dream-Adventures. Kelly left her previous job in 2005 and Jim left his a year and a half later. Despite the success of Dream-Adventures, the Shaws have experienced frustration with government regulation, most notably the tight rules on lending for the self-employed.
In 2008, the Shaws began construction on a 2,400 square-foot expansion to house Dream-Adventures. Unfortunately, they have had trouble finding a lender that will refinance their existing mortgage and allow them to finish the construction - even though Dream-Adventures is profitable. According to Jim, their self-employed status caused some lenders to classify their jobs as unsecure.
The Shaws hope the government will create a plan to assist small business owners in similar situations and improve relationships between lenders and the self-employed. As Jim says, without small business owners, part of the American dream is lost.
eBay Main Street congratulates the Shaws on their winning entry, and we look forward to hosting them on their trip to Washington, D.C.