Success is relative....
- One day or night-I'm not sure which because it all blended together there for a few weeks-a friend of mine was over helping me paint the new Once Upon A Craft workshop (blog post of the transformation still to come) in my basement. I don't remember the exact conversation but it was around the exhaustion and struggles and worries of getting everything put together and up and running. But she said something to me that really put into perspective how much I was discrediting myself and all of the hard work & effort & planning I had put forth at that point. She said, "Dude, you're already hella (pardon my french) successful". Up to that point I honestly hadn't stepped back and looked at all I had accomplished in a short time to appreciate how much "success" I already had. I think I was so far submerged in the "trenches" of pulling everything together that I couldn't look from the outside in and give myself a pat on the back!
- Fast forward a few weeks-I participated in a small boutique at a local school over the weekend. In preparation, I had spent several late nights and long hours over the weekend with my husband, my daughter and some very good friends working for "free". Side note really quickly-I could never accomplish everything I aspire to without these incredible people in my life supporting me and jumping in and working with me along the way. I don't even have to ask them because they are offering the minute they know what I'm doing. I truly don't know how I will ever repay them. Back to the boutique-unfortunately it wasn't the turn out that I had prepared for. I left with 1 less item than I arrived with BUT, I had handed out several May workshop flyers and business cards and talked to people about what I do. I will be honest-this was my only goal: to get my name and products in front of people that would otherwise not see it. So to me, the boutique was a "success". I could easily have been discouraged by that but I knew what I had was something people would want. I just needed to get in front of the right people. Since Saturday, at this moment, I have committed to sell all but 10 of the cute wood box with flower gifts I put together for the event. These are available ongoing in my online store by clicking the link above. I'm keeping my fingers crossed they are all picked up as promised in the next few days!
Don't undervalue/overvalue your time.....
- This one is tough for me. I invest a lot of time (and money) into planning & researching projects, getting supplies & finding vendors, creating online workshop registration, prepping & organizing project supplies, taking pictures, updating my website & Facebook page, promoting workshops, etc. And I know for a lot of people that don't "craft" or "build" or "create" a tangible thing, there is little to no appreciation or understanding for the time and money spent in creating something. I'm an extremely busy person, now more so than ever before. But I put so much thought, care, effort and pride into what I have to offer whether it's a completed project or a workshop that maybe I do invest more time into it than I should. So how do you put a price tag on that? I do some market research and try my best to be comparable to local standard & competition. I have also used and seen what the local competition offers and some of it is not to the level of quality as what I do. I hope that my workshops leave people taking something home they love and are proud of and that will last. Same with the completed items I sell. I do my best to make sure it will last. I know that there will always be someone willing to do what I do for less. Some unsolicited advice I've heard is that I should lower my pricing to beat the competition and win all the business just to get my name out there. My goal isn't to win all the business and beat all the competition though. I am confident that growing slowly while I figure this out and maintaining my quality is the best thing for me to do. I find that if you are too overwhelmed, quality usually goes in the dumpster. So I guess what I'm saying after all of that e-blabbering; Quality>Quantity.
Don't work for free....
- This goes a little hand-in-hand with the above of not undervaluing your time and is a tough subject to talk about. If you're doing a great job at something there will undoubtedly be a line of people you love that want you to do that for them for free or a "deal" i.e. they will buy the supplies and bring it to you. But hey, these are awesome opportunities for trading for some free labor! You're going to need it and on that note-
Don't try to do everything yourself....
- This may be something that I struggle with MORE than any of the other points here. I can be a perfectionist about things and have a touch of OCD. But I frequently bite off more than I can chew and although I try to act cool and convince my husband (or anyone else who has jumped in to lend a hand) that I've got this. I'm wearing a lot of hats right now. I'm a web designer/developer, a social marketer, a blogger, a salesperson, a field person, an instructor, an administrator, an accountant, a laborer, a contractor, a seamstress, a mom, a wife, and a full-time software integration engineer. Are you convinced that I've got this??? Pfffftttt.....ya, me either-and thankfully neither does my husband. I feel guilty taking up his or anyone else's time for my "little business hobby". But I am so extremely grateful for their support of me and my "crazy" ideas! I find that when I try to do everything myself I become a troll of a person. It's better to trust others to help me. No, they aren't going to do it exactly the way that I would do it. But at least it's getting done.
No doubt about it, having a business is a lot of work. There is a reason that few people do it and an even bigger reason why even fewer are successful at it. If it were easy, everyone would do it, right? *queue #inspirationalquotes here* I have spent some time reflecting on this journey and it's brought me a few realizations I wanted to share for anyone else who may be facing the same obstacles or discouragement and battling the same self-doubt monsters that I do at times.