A few years back, I started an online jewelry business.
I wanted to strut my creative juices, and make a little coin while doing it.
For a while there was growth in my business, but then I hit a plateau.
Has that feeling ever happen to you?
In order for anything to succeed it has to grow, continuously!
Now looking back I can see my mistakes clearly.
MISTAKE #1: NOT HAVING A NARROW DESIGN FOCUS
Man, if I could go back and shake myself, I would. Not staying with my design purpose was a BIG MISTAKE!
In the midst of me selling my jewelry, a particular style of jewelry became really popular on TV.
So I was asked to make the jewelry similar to style on TV.
I needed the money and enjoyed having satisfied customers, so I complied. But the truth...I wasn't satisfied.
Every time someone wanted to purchase the "popular" jewelry over the jewelry I created from passion, it killed me.
In the end it was one of the demises of my business. I built a customer base around a product design I wasn't passionate about.
TAKEAWAY: Know the customers you want to serve, but don't lose your purpose in becoming what others want you to be. You can't be everything, to everyone!
MISTAKE #2: NOT ASSESSING THE MONEY VS. TIME IN BUSINESS
Girl, FINANCES, FINANCES. They are so big in business and personal life. So ask me why I NEVER sat down to do a real assessment of the time versus money I spent in my business.
Never once sat down to calculate the time it would take to make one set of earrings.
At one point I did estimate how much the materials for one set of earrings costed me.
Now I know, "Don't ESTIMATE in business, know exactly what it cost."
Have you ever watched Shark Tank?..What is the first thing they ask the presenters? Do you know the numbers? How much does it cost to produce that item?
I would have gotten eaten alive. I didn't have a single idea what it cost to produce a set of earrings...from materials, to cost of time producing, to cost of gaining a customer. NADA!
I could just hide in corner after telling you this last part...I never once added a price for my value!
I never gave myself the money I needed to stay in business. I was too busy trying to adjust every time the wind blew because of the fear in selling.
TAKEAWAY: Sit down and make a price list for supplies, if you have a product. If you sell a service asses the value in the material you present. Ask yourself, "How much time and/or money can it save people?" Also measure your prices against others in business. You don't want to lowball your industry just to gain customers. Then you devalue everyone, including yourself.
Don't be afraid to charge what you are worth. It keeps you and the customer accountable. Your work will arise to the level and value you place on it. You will burn out if you work below your value.
MISTAKE #3: NOT LETTING GO OF FEAR
WOW, this one completely took me out of business. This was my biggest obstacle and the most detrimental to my business. The fear of failure, the fear of success, just plain ole' stinking fear.
It stunk my business up so bad..the business didn't survive.
I was afraid of any personal interaction outside of creating jewelry.
I was terrified to sale. I was terrified to be the face of the brand, but more importantly the speaking face of the brand.
My lack of growth reflected in my business. I wasn't ready to stand in the forefront. Ultimately my fear won out over my business.
My inability to see what I wanted for myself and brand ended the chance I had to grow my business. It also halted any prior progress I made in the business.
TAKEAWAY: You should never give up! Don't give up when things seem bleak. "When your back is up against the wall, it is breakthrough on the other side." Keep, keep pushing on. Tell fear to kick rocks, I got a destination waiting on me!