Thursday, July 17, 2008
Keep your head up
Since starting this business over a year ago, I have had good days, rough days, days when I am walking in the clouds, days when I want to hide in my bed, days when I want to strangle someone, and days when I just can't believe how lucky I am to be pursuing a dream and running my very own business! This job is like any other in many ways, it is not perfect, it requires a TON of work, and it definitely keeps me on my toes. The major difference is that it is very personal. They are my creations that I am sharing with the world, my customers, my sales goals, my successes, and my failures. As much as you say business is business, it is still very personal.
Through this experience I have been so fortunate to "meet" some amazing people on this same roller coaster. Women that have launched their own businesses, pursuing their own dreams. Over the past week, I have spoken with three incredible women, Lina of Mia Belle Baby, Rachel of Comfort Matters Inc., and Maria of MamaOm, all on a very similar path. Yesterday, I spoke with Lina on the phone after receiving an email from her that reminded me so much of myself in the early stages of launching www.RuffleButts.com. Lina is a super talented designer, but also, so importantly, she is a hard-working business person. As she is launching her line, which she has been developing for the past year, she is facing the same obstacles that so many of us face, not only in the beginning, but many days along this journey.
Lina went on a few sales calls last week and although she received orders for her brand new products within the first few sales calls, which says a ton about her line, she heard her first negative reactions. This is always so tough to swallow because any negative feedback makes you second guess your own decisions. This conversation with Lina took me immediately back to my very first trade show, where IF someone actually stopped to talk to me, half of them had their own opinions to contribute..."you should have used a different color button", "this print is awful and won't sell well", "oh, this will be your best seller". Funny things is, they were all wrong!! I took their opinions so seriously the first time around, but as I slowly figured out that they were just that, the opinions of a few, I realized that I should trust my gut. I won't always be right, but so far, so good. I also quickly learned that your products will not be liked by everyone...there is not a single product on this planet that is.
So many of us will have these days where we second guess ourselves...our design choices, fabric selections, advertising options, do we or don't we hire help, do you take on PR on your own or work with a specialist, who do you trust to manufacture your products...this list goes on and on. Sometimes I second guess the way I handle challenging situations. Sometimes I come down hard on myself when our sales slow down for a few weeks. But I guarantee you, no matter how little or how long you have been in this business, or any business for that matter, you are not alone. We are all on this insane roller coaster of a ride with loops, hills, twists and turns. Have faith in yourself, push through to tomorrow, and take time to reward yourself for little victories. To be honest, one of the things that gets me through my really rough weeks is to pull up my old emails from customers praising our products and my business. I am blessed to have the most supportive, considerate, amazing customers in the world and they make what I do worth it.
Keep your head up and your sights set forward, don't compare your business and/or products to others, turn to mentors when you can, and share your knowledge with those behind you.