Hello Friends!! Yesterday I shared one of the risks I took early on in my blogging days, when I was first starting out in my business!! To clarify I don’t not consider myself a risk taker, or one who embraces chaos and uncertainty which are the first words that come to mind when I hear the phrase “risk-taker”. But I’ve been slightly surprised with myself over the last five years or so, as I’ve begun to grow my business, and realize that risk taking is necessary process in order grow. I believe it’s all part of embracing the process as we stretch ourselves to do bigger and better things! So today I’m going to continue with Part 2 of Embracing the Process. If you missed Part 1 I would highly encourage you to read that part first, so this doesn’t seem totally out of left field. Anyways here we go….
The next step! After having what I considered somewhat success at my Market Days booth, I decided that I should pursue more avenues to sell my items. Did this mean opening up an Etsy shop or online store? To be honest the thought of shipping costs scared me right out of taking the leap to sell my items online. There was a tiny antique shop I used to drive past every time I went to the grocery store. It was a charming farmhouse with a huge barn attached that had been transformed into a consignment store that sold antiques and hand made items. A wide variety of just the kind of items you would expect to find in an old barn turned shop.
Since I had gotten so much positive feedback, I started wondering if I should have a more permanent place to sell my pieces. My husband and I used to daydream about what it would be like to open up a shop one day, and sell our own items that we made in it. That dream still resurfaces every now and then, but with the overhead cost of setting up a store not feasible at the time, committing to a booth in this cute boutique barn was about the closest I would come to owning a shop. I contemplated the decision for weeks, until I finally shared the idea out loud with my husband. Even though my feedback was always positive, I would always get hung up on the fact that it was something I “hand-made” and therefor wasn’t professional quality. *Remember the whole fear of not having a degree, so therefor I couldn’t be a “real” interior designer? Same lie, different approach.* After much encouragement from my husband, I took my second huge leap and signed a contract committing to lease a booth that I was going to now fill with my own repurposed home decor items. This was such a huge step for me, because this was an ongoing commitment – not just a one time shop, and the stakes were a bit higher in terms of the financial commitment. I was putting myself out there at the risk of people liking my handmade items enough that they would buy them so I could cover my rent every month for that tiny space. GULP! I bravely stepped forward, with the support of my husband, I jumped in with both feet! I was sure that this was just the stepping stone I needed to achieve success. I patiently waited with my hopes set high.
I sold 3 items the first month, and a few more the following month, but after 3 months things began to slow down. After the holidays everyone was recouping and spending less, and I told myself to wait it out, because after all success isn’t built overnight. But after 3 consecutive months of no sales it was time to make a decision. I had told myself in the beginning that I would only do this if I made enough money to cover my rent of the booth. I was starting to feel uncertain, and uncomfortable, and I needed to find out where these feelings were coming from. I did some soul searching to figure out why was I feeling this way? I would ask myself, “would I still long to make things even if it meant costing me in the beginning?”. I realize that not everything comes free, and that there is typically some start up costs to starting any business. But after weighing out my options, and discerning my feelings, I realized that I didn’t really want to make things even if I had to pay to have them there until things picked up. Turns out making “home-made” items with two toddlers, was not my cup of tea. While I enjoyed making the occasional DIY or craft, and I was somewhat good at it, however clientele at the boutique I was selling my items in, didn’t fully appreciate the farmhouse style that has grown to be so popular today. I was done, and when I came to that decision I was immediately filled with peace that only reaffirmed my choice. I gave my 30-day notice and never sold a hand painted sign again. Sure I could have stuck it out, and maybe it would have panned out, but come to find out the store I was selling my items in ended up closing down only a few months after I had left. At the end of the day I just wasn’t enjoying it like I thought I would, and if anything I found it robbing my joy more than contributing to it.
I learned that even though I decided to walk away from it, that it didn’t mean I had failed. I had taken a huge leap into chasing my dream. I tried something new, and put myself out there, and made it possible for people to tangibly hold the decor that I had decorated my home with. At the end of the day, it just wasn’t the right fit.
Just because others had found success in it, did not guarantee that I would. But because I was willing to take the leap and try something new, something that to be honest – scared me, I was able to confidently walk closer in the direction that I was supposed to be going. Not stuck down a path that I miserable in, that would ultimately leave me wondering “what if?” and ultimately unfulfilled.
I struggled for a while afterwards thinking that if I stepped away from my booth at the antique store, that I was quitting or giving up on my dream, and I needed to realize that this avenue just didn’t fit into my dream. Our paths will change but the core of our dreams never will. Sure it might look differently than where we thought things would end up, but remember my comment about taking a leap and not knowing where you were going to land? We need to remember that we don’t always have a perfect idea of what our landing place looks like, but I know for sure I’m going to trust the one who does!
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