5 Lies That Held me Back from Starting my Business
1. There’s already so many makers
I was haunted by something I heard back in college by a fashion designer I shall remain nameless. They had said that it would be impossible for young people to break into the design world, because all good design has already been pioneered, and that it would be suicide to enter into a creative field as a designer, because everything we make will be a copy of a copy.
I believed this to be true for a long time, until I opened my eyes and realized that this notion is utter rubbish. You know what I say to that fashion designer?
BRING IT. Bring me the challenges. Bring me the difficult design decisions. FORCE me to be innovative.
Dealing with an oversaturated market actually enables me to pioneer and generate good, original work. I think that most people these days are afraid of young people, because we are basically forced to figure things out for ourselves in every aspect of life, and we are pretty darn good at it. ( Especially since millennials are getting screwed over every which way, but that’s another rant for a different day).
2. I can’t afford it
While this is certainly valid, and it did keep me from starting for a very long time, I’m not letting this stop me now.
It was very hard to not go hog wild in the beginning and buy all of the things once I had an EIN because you can “expense that”. (Ok, well, maybe I DID buy a few props for styling my shoots). However, I did have to start my business off in the red. And while that’s not fun, I have no regrets about it.
When you make product, it’s almost near impossible to not start out with a little debt. I’m not justifying it by any means, but you can be smart about it. Smart enough to not let it hold you back. I started my business with a very clear vision and plan to break even the first year, and turn a profit the second year. I had savings that I put towards it, and I have a separate savings account that I contribute to every single week that is solely for my business. I make sure I pay my business credit card off every month. In full. So if you’re looking to start any kind of business, keep these 3 things in mind:
You do not need everything, right at the beginning. It’s SO tempting to buy all the things when you’re starting out. A new desk chair, a brand new camera, “props”, a new outfit for your Instagram profile picture… believe me, I get it! And I can justify any purchase all day long. But that’s how debt happens. Debt that can take years to come back from. And trust me, that new outfit is not worth it. So start small. Start with what you have. Invest where it matters, and you can always upgrade later.
Cover your bases. It’s important to make sure that you are making enough or have enough saved to cover your basic needs, like insurance, your LLC, your product costs, craft show costs, your website domain, etc. (AKA, your fixed expenses). If you have any left over, think about investing it back into your business before buying something fun.
Save, save, save. I play a game with myself that my savings account has to be an even number. Every week, I deposit my paycheck into my bank account, as well as a portion of everything I sold that week online, or at craft shows. If after all the deposits have been made, let’s say my new savings balance is $1,852.91 (arbitrary number). I will then deposit an additional $47.09 so that my balance is an even $1,900. It’s the little bit that adds up. Over time, you’ll be surprised how much you can save just by rounding up! Believe me, you can still save money and start a new business.
3. I’m not smart enough
This is the biggest lie I’ve ever told myself. And I think it’s the biggest lie you may be telling yourself too.
I never saw myself as someone with a “head for business”, and so I just never thought I was cut out for it. I was very happy working for other people, and doing what I was told, because it was easier. It is way easier to show up at 9, do what you’re told, leave at 5, and not have to think about it again until 9 the next day.
After a while I realized that this way of life didn’t fill my cup. I kept dreaming about what I would do if I had my own business, and that’s when it hit me, I can do this.
I paid a visit to Magnolia Market last year in Waco, TX, for their annual Silobration. Yes, I am a complete Fixer Upper fan girl, even though I don’t love shiplap or rustic décor, I have always admired Chip and Joanna for what they have accomplished and who they are as people.
I stood on the grounds there in Texas on a hot October day and I thought, “If they can do this, I can do this”. I still believe I can do this, and I prove to myself every single day that I can.
Self doubt still creeps in and tells me that I’m in over my head and that I don’t know what I’m doing. Quite frankly, I don’t know what I’m doing half the time. But, there’s the internet and Youtube for the things I don’t know how to do, and there’s an amazing community of creatives that I’ve chosen to surround myself with that lift each other up and help each other get through it all.
4. I don’t have the time
Do I wish there were more hours in the day? Abso-freakin-lutely.
However, I was able to change my mindset surrounding this notion that I “couldn’t possibly” run a business, work full time, meal prep, spend time with my boyfriend, see my friends, work out, and keep my house clean.
It all sounds pretty overwhelming when you think about everything you could be spending your time doing. I get it. But what helped me eventually get over that hump was when I decided to make my business a priority, but also not let it rule my entire life.
The world won’t implode if I don’t post on Instagram today. If I want to take a day off to have some me time on the weekend, or go to New York for the day with Jon, or go see my family, I’m going to do that.
Conversely, I can’t always go home after work and be a couch potato, no matter how much I want to. But nothing will happen unless you make it happen. The Calvary isn’t coming.
5. I’ll never “make it”
…is the biggest lie because..
1) There is always room at the top, and
2) no one started there.
Also, “making it” looks different for everyone.