Starting my business has been a wild ride so far. I’ve had to maintain an enormous amount of confidence about the uniqueness of my jewelry and my mission. I’ve also had to ‘gird my loins,’ as my mother would say, against the negatives that have flown at me from all directions, primarily my own mind.
I consider my business start date the day my website went live in October of 2017. It took about six weeks of constant work to reach the ‘good enough’ state to go live, but hanging out my proverbial shingle is when I consider myself officially ‘in business.’ I enthusiastically sent out an email to virtually everyone in my contact list and put up a notice on my Facebook page announcing my new, exciting endeavor. I was thrilled the very next day with my first sale, and not from someone I knew but from word of mouth – even better. I was on my way, or so I thought, to a booming business. Successive web sales came in dribs and drabs, but at that rate the only outcome would be to give up my dream and look for employment elsewhere. Not. An. Option.
I had managed the communications department at my last job, including the web site and social media staff. I hired experts and learned a lot from them. I needed to employ the methods they taught me – Google AdWords and SEO as well as social media posting and ad boosting. It wouldn’t be too long before I’d be reaping the benefits of my web marketing knowledge, right? Well…
Nibbles, dribbles and, more often, crickets. Yikes. I spent thousands of dollars on AdWords and Facebook ads for months, targeting my little brains out. Google even gave me one-on-one lessons and mentoring. And it got me, wait for it, wait… ok a little longer… Zero sales. Yes, that’s correct, nothin’, nada, zip.
How long is long enough? When does one know when to fish or cut bait? How much of the savings account should be depleted before trying other, potentially more expensive and slower methods of making sales in this saturated market? How does one get ‘discovered’? My belief in my unique product was strong but with such weak sales, doubt was creeping in.
I could not let negative fears overtake my ambition, but that was much easier said than done. I made listening to ‘how to get rich’ audiobooks part of my daily routine to keep positive, forward-thinking thoughts stronger than the dark ones that hovered, threatening to overtake my mind. I bought several books and rotated listening to them repeatedly. Surprisingly, I did not tire of listening to the same books over and over. It felt as though each day I listened, a different lesson would reveal itself to me. It was like opening a book to a random page and learning exactly what I needed at that moment. I began to notice that the books had overlapping themes – relentless persistence and a crystal-clear, highly detailed vision of what success looked like. By not giving up or accepting defeat the successful businesspeople were able to overcome what was, to some, crushing amounts of failure before enjoying massive success and riches. I could do this, right? Again, easier said than done.
I survived my first year in business and began my second, but the cloud of doubt and failure felt like a shadow I couldn’t shake. I doubted my pricing, my work, my methods of selling, my ability to succeed. It was a daily fight I had with myself. This was normal, right? I think it is.My antidote continued to be the daily dose of audiobooks in addition to positive feedback I received, both from those who loved my work enough to reach for their pocketbooks, as well as from the much larger number of would-be customers who gushed about my work as they walked away without purchasing.
Searching for a coping method to overcome my doubt became another part of my daily routine. I’d remind myself that Thomas Edison, the inventor and owner of thousands of patents, failed in the range of 10,000 times in his quest for the electric light bulb. If he could persist, certainly I could, too. Henry Ford went bankrupt and had very little formal education. He was successful because he believed in his vision and refused to give up. The same can be said for musician Ed Sheeran as he had no plan ‘B’. I’m embarrassed to admit that I do have a ‘plan B’ – finding other employment. But that very backup plan is part of what drives me to succeed.
So persist, I will.
Winners picture winning. I’ve had a vision since the day I decided to go for my dream and that mental picture is seeing myself on television, talking about my road to success and thrill of achievement. I see it clearly. When you see me there, know that it wasn’t an easy path, but the only one worth taking.
No doubt about it.