I don’t know why I find this business thing so nerve-wracking but I do.
(is it bad that I’m admitting that on the interwebs?)
All the time I read success stories about women (and men too but somehow the stories about the women stick with me more) who had an idea, thought that idea had promise, pursued turning it into a business and are now making it work. They went through all the traditional steps along the way - putting up a website, developing a product (or two or three or more), promoting their site and BINGO they’re rolling along.
I know for sure there’s a lot of blood, sweat and tears that occur before that rolling along phase happens. A lot of anxiety, a lot of nerves, a lot of self-doubt, a lot of questioning. A lot of “what the hell am I doing and remind me again of why I decided to do this?!?”
(or is that just me?)
Old habits die hard, even when they no longer serve a purpose. In my first career as an instructional designer for government and private sector clients, it was my job to develop complex training and organizational development programs that made a difference to the bottom line of the company. I was young (fresh out of graduate school) but I took my professional duties and standards very seriously because who wants to look half-baked in front of the FDA, Air Force, or Department of Justice?
Today’s entrepreneurial culture is completely different though. There’s still an emphasis on quality, sure, but technology makes the process an entirely different animal these days. Putting a product out is more of a flexible iterative process, one of continuous development, completely different from the “gotta get it perfect before we go to print because there’s no turning back” environment (which is the one I’m definitely more comfortable with, unfortunately).
So out with the old, in with the new.
Easier said than done.
All the reading and research I’ve done the past year or so says to “just get it out and improve it along the way.” As you can imagine, that’s hard for me to accept, this whole “it doesn’t have to be perfect” trend.
But the pursuit of perfect is the biggest black hole in the history of ever.
I know it, because I’ve lived in that black hole for nearly a year now, with not much to show for it.
So now I’m taking a big breath and jumping in with both feet.
(Trying to, at least. No one really tells you how hard entrepreneurship is for introverts and people who don’t spend their whole day, or even the majority of it, on social media. But good lord my real life is much more satisfying than my screen life so why would I do that? Because I want to build a business, that’s why. It’s a catch-22 and a frustrating one at that.)
Last March I sold my Stitching the States kits at a local homeschool fair, and they seemed to be received pretty well. I’ve sold a few more by word of mouth and every single sale is a thrill. The bits of feedback I’ve gotten have been good and they’ve buoyed my confidence to put myself out there for a wider audience.
Above all, I’m hoping the projects and supplies and (maybe, eventually, if the stars really align the right way and I get up enough confidence) creativity courses I hope to offer are things that families find helpful. I want to make the pursuit of handmade well within everyone’s reach. Handmade doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming or elaborate. It’s about making your own mark on things, in your own way. Life is what you make of it - it doesn’t have to be perfect, it just has to be yours.
Sounds like I could stand to take a little bit of my own advice, now that I think about it.
Visit the Fuller by Design shop to see my Stitching the States project kits, downloadable PDF pattern, and Fall Fabric Scrap Packs perfect for your own projects this season. I'd love to know what you think. And do you have an idea for something you'd like to see me offer? I'd love to hear it!