I was stunned to look down at the clock to see that we were actually 5 minutes over! Seriously, did I just talk to this reporter for 3 hours about the start of RuffleButts?? The amazing thing was that she is so good at her job, I felt like I was chatting with a long lost friend. That, and the fact that I was telling the story of my 1st born, my dream come to life. I am so busy running the daily life of this business, it is extremely rare that I take a step back to review the journey. My journey plays out with a mix of drama, a total comedy, and even a little horror (like when my first RuffleButts shipment arrived only half sell-able!). I just never thought that my story was interesting enough to share with millions...but am COMPLETELY flattered that they think otherwise!
So, to take a step back...that reporter that I speak of is Lori Weiss. She is an amazing writer that covers stories that are very close to my heart. Marlo Thomas has this incredible series on the Huffington Post called It Ain't Over...Till It's Over. The series is also shared on AOL...huge!! The series shares stories of inspirational women of all ages and walks of life. They are all interesting stories that pull you in and remind us that anything is possible at any time. It was when I received a phone call from Lori that I was blown away to even be considered for this series! I have talked about it here on the RuffleBlog for years, but it has been a passion and goal of mine since day one, to share my story (the journey, the celebrations, and the tears) in hopes of inspiring others and sharing an honest journey. We are all at different places with different dreams, but we all share similar fears, obstacles, and intimidations. When I started this business I was not lacking for the glossy entrepreneur story found in magazines and on TV daily, but what I struggled to find was good old honest advice and feedback from someone who had fought from the same trenches.
When I decided to do Shark Tank last year, a big part of that decision was to share our true story with the world. To show other mompreneurs that it is totally possible, but not without a climb. I came from nothing, no experience, no connections in the industry, no trust fund. I started this from scratch and am still climbing my mountain (with a super talented team and family beside me today). I have learned a lot of lessons, many the hard way, but it is 100% possible and I have never doubted that. With that said, I have faced every emotion possible, and intimidation certainly was a huge hump I had to put behind me in the beginning. It was when I realized that every successful person that I admire was a newbie at some point, I became determined to make it work. I likely shouldn't admit this, but it is probably monthly that at some point in the day I wonder what in the heck I am doing playing with the big boys. I feel inadequate, uneducated, inexperienced, and in over my head, to be quite honest. It is in those moments when I either go to Mark (my husband, partner, and best friend) for a pep-talk or I shake it off and keep plugging away. I refuse to give in to those thoughts...and to be quite frank, I don't have time for them!
If you are reading post this with a dream ahead of you, please go read the series. It is not about the experience, the connections, or the glossy story. Don't get me wrong, those things certainly help sometimes, but it really comes down to your will and your attitude. How determined are you? These stories that have captivated me on Marlo's series, they are not of women who had those things, they are of women who had a dream and went for it. Dreams come in all shapes and sizes, they are not necessarily an entrepreneurial dream, but all dreams are worth living. A lesson I learned watching The Little Engine That Could with my kids last night: If you think you can, you will. If you think you can't, you won't. Either way, you are right. A valuable lesson at any age!