The year has absolutely flown by and to say I’ve learned a lot along the way is an understatement. In some ways I’ve come to greater grips which how much is actually humanly possibly in one day while in other ways I keep thinking that I can do more, push harder, and make bigger strides.
Anyone who has owned a business can tell you how rewarding/challenging/fulfilling it is, but today, to pair with our 25% off sale that were running shop-wide through the weekend, I am going to share with you 25 things I’ve learned this year. Some are encouraging, some are humorous, some are stupid things I’ve done, and some are downright heartbreaking. If you own a business or are thinking about owning one in the future… take heed! Here we go!
ONE shipping costs are highway robbery. I didn’t realize this before I started and I was shocked to learn how much it costs to ship something across the country. Unfortunately, so were my customers and lots of people left carts abandoned once they got to the shipping page. I’m still working this one out, but offer breaks on shipping where I can (if you’re local to Columbus you can pick up your order! Just use CBUSLOCAL at checkout!)
TWO same is true for shipping samples of designs from overseas. One $1100 fedex bill was enough to knock me off my socks.
THREE I started having full conversations with the dog. I do her part of the conversation too. This is inevitable when working solo.
FOUR I doubt moves and decisions I would have been so confident about in the corporate world. When there is nobody around to give feedback you start to wonder if your great idea really is so great.
FIVE When it’s your own money, the risk is 10 times harder to swallow and can cause #4.
SIX People always say, “Oh expense it” like that means it’s free. It’s not. Just because you get the tax back doesn’t mean it isn’t still an expense that hits your bottom line.
SEVEN It’s soul crushing to get bad feedback. Everyone needs to learn and everyone needs some constructive criticism, but hearing that someone is unhappy with something that you pour your soul into is devastating. I have learned there is no way around that, just ways to deal with it (wine helps)
EIGHT There are surprising pockets of support from people you’d never ever suspect it to come from. Just people in my community and random readers are some of the most supportive people for me and I didn’t anticipate that at all… which leads me too…
NINE Depending on your community is vital. Trunk shows, local media, other shop owners and local commerce resources have been utterly invaluable. If you’re starting a business, get involved with other business owners in your community.
TEN There is no ‘off’ switch. I heard this often from others and with running the blog, I thought that I understood that feeling of working around the clock, but it’s worse that I anticipated. It all goes back to #5… when you’re heavily invested, you feel like you’re wasting your own money if you’re not really pounding the pavement 24/7. I constantly feel like if I’m not working on the line (or emails or marketing, or whathaveyou), I’m not doing my best. Awarding myself some downtime seems so so frivolous and makes me feel guilty. I have yet to come up with a solution for this feeling.
ELEVEN I go multiple days without wearing makeup because, chances are, I won’t see anyone other than Matt or the Fedex man! This has done wonders for my skin!
TWELVE Same for my hair!
THIRTEEN I have no clue what in the world to call myself. When I meet someone at a party and they ask what I do, I sputter something crazy sounding and then kick myself for not having something more intelligent/cool to say.
FOURTEEN I can make appointments in the middle of the day! No more waiting 3 months for a haircut!
FIFTEEN I’m not as organized as I thought I was. This actually kills me to say out loud, but I am Monica Geller organized, which means everything looks peachy on the surface, but I have a lot of shit piled into a closet and hope no one opens it. When it comes to business, this is not ok.
SIXTEEN I’ve learned that iCal is my best friend. I was NEVER into using electronic calendars before, but with the amount of changes and swaps and appointments that go down, paper just doesn’t cut it anymore. I’ve become one of those people who say, “let me check my calendar” and this is NOT because I think I’m really important, but because I have no freaking clue what I’m supposed to be doing tomorrow (forget next week) so I really have to check.
SEVENTEEN Imports and Logistics companies have nobody working for them that can actually help you with anything. They all act like you are 100% familiar with exactly what ships are coming into port on a given day (NO, I didn’t know that the 28 day shipment came into port Los Angeles on day 26 because I don’t have a direct line to the F%$&ING CAPTAIN). And then they will charge you for holding your product for 2 days because you did not know it had arrived early. Thanks for the phone call two days ago, jerks.
EIGHTEEN There will be days when I want to scrap the entire thing and go lay in a ditch somewhere. I choose ditch because on these days I am too big of a failure to lay on something like normal like a bed or a beach.
NINETEEN There will be days when I really truly feel like I are going to rule the world one day. All of the clouds part and I see a glimpse into the future where my company is thriving, my brand is a household name, and I am it’s leader. One day like this this can get me through weeks like #18.
TWENTY I’ve learned that I can figure anything out with the help of You Tube.
TWENTY-ONE I learned that I need help. This pains me to admit, but I didn’t think I needed ANY help. I can do it myself, after all, right?? Wrong. I’ve been humbled and I know that I asking for help doesn’t mean that I’ve failed even though sometimes it still really feels that way.
TWENTY-TWO Owning a business will change your marriage. That person who was once your partner in crime is now your partner in business and there is a slightly different interaction there. Problems that exist in the marriage before starting a business will only exaggerate. Matt and I are still learning how to ask each other for things and how to be better communicators with each other. A business conversation can feel so threatening coming from someone who knows all your worries and faults. It’s that transparency that we get to ‘fake’ our way through in the corporate world, but there is no faking when its your husband or wife.
TWENTY-THREE I’ve learned that sometimes making a video with your dog and sending it to your husband in the middle of the day is the perfect thing to break up designers block.
TWENTY-FOUR I’ve learned that things change. The direction I thought the brand would take last November are pretty damn far from where we’ve decided to actually take things. I’m not upset about that at all and happy that other doors opened than what I even knew existed. (bluntly, I literally had no intention to wholesale and now that accounts for a good portion of my business).
TWENTY-FIVE Sometimes a walk outside fixes everything.
There are a lot of heavy things here, and I definitely think that I’m still ‘in the trenches’ so to speak. Which means that I am still working my way through finding my feet, working out my processes, and learning the best way to handle issues that arise. Each day I feel more and more confident that I can make this work even if I do have days like #18 here and there.
When people ask me about starting a company, I always say that it’s not for the faint at heart. It’s for people who love to work, immerse themselves in it, and thrive when it thrives.
Thank you, thank you, thank you for coming along so far on this journey with me. You’re a big part of what keeps me going day to day and I wouldn’t be here without you guys, your support, your sharing, and your kindness!
AND….. (as if this wasn’t enough) our Holiday products are in shop starting on Monday, November 17th! Get excited, there are some darling new additions!