I had to share this, because it strikes a chord with me. I have always tried to succeed at what I do, and, in the past, when I failed, I was dejected and felt that I couldn’t do it. When I was older… …and wiser, I sat down a few years after my first business went belly-up, and took a close look at what I had done wrong. What I realized set my feet upon a more cautious but determined road.
When it comes to business, I try to put my own spin on a business that I have passion for, but want to say “This is me.” with the concept. This is how I came about with the idea, in 2000 for Herbs To Go, my first shot at a home based business. Did I know anything about business? Hell, no, (Excuse my language.), but I wanted to help people, and show them that herbs and aromatherapy weren’t scary, and with the proper information, they could make informed decisions. I had two ways to make this herb shop idea, which seemed to be everywhere, my own. First, I would make a website with a blog that featured profiles on herbs and essential oils; so that people could read concise, plain language information about what they were about to purchase. Second, I would make it a delivery service for those who didn’t have time to come to me. I was pumped. I was trying to do this without a business loan. (Ouch) After a couple of years of being stuck in the house, I started taking my essential oils and herbs to Pow-Wows and outdoor gatherings to sell. I would lead workshops to teach people how to use herbs and essential oils. I loved the travel. I loved meeting new people knowing that they would get to know me, and visit my website and hopefully purchase items. This was great, until the fifth year of my husband not believing in me, and I closed it. There was more money going out than coming in, and he would love to spend the money, but he was never on board with the business. I wouldn’t ask him for help. I was doing it all on my own. He kept complaining that it wasn’t making any money. It was beginning to turn around, but he didn’t believe me.
I was devastated. I cried as I was packing my dream into boxes, contacting my site provider to tell them to shut it down, and emailing clients telling them that I was closed. I literally curled up into a ball under my covers and wished for the world to go away. After a call from a good friend, the bootstraps were tightened, and I went on with my life. I still blogged, and was a member of online forums where people called me “Mother Hen”. I still wanted to help people. I was just afraid of failing and having to listen to my husband’s negativity.
Then 2009 came, and I was determined to start another business. I sat down and thought long and hard about what I had done wrong with the first one.
- It wasn’t the “no loan” thing. I was trying to grow the business way too fast. Trying to do waaaaay too much with too little capitol.
- I had no clue what I was doing. I was just ordering product, selling it at retail, and trying to make my own pay website. Oh good grief. I was doing waaaaay too much. I knew about supply and demand. I knew about profit and overhead. I just had no business plan and no goals. *facepalm*
- I kept listening to negativity, and worse, I let it sink in.
- You see, my mother was helping me with the bills and any equipment I needed. She was wonderful at keeping me focused. When I finally closed the business down, she told me I was fool. She told my husband that he should have kept his mouth shut, and that I was beginning to show profit. If I only had not listened to him.
- I had a presence, but it was in the wrong place. I had a MySpace (GASP) account, but no accounts on any other social media sites.
- I wasn’t advertising. I couldn’t afford it.
- I was handing out business cards and passing out flyers, but without any kind of presence online through social media, I may have well been a ninja. Not seen and not heard.
- I didn’t do enough research when I built my website.
- Had NO clue what SEO was or how to use keywords. I was a lost ball in high weeds.
- The only inkling I had was how to use Microsoft FrontPage and consult webproworld for critique.
What did I learn?
- Make a plan, Stan.
- Start small. Have a concept; write it down. Don’t buy anything new until you have to.
- Make goals, long and short term, to stay on track.
- Research, research, research.
- Books, websites, anything you can about SEO, social media, keywords, the whole bit.
- Get feedback, lots of feedback.
- Constructive criticism is your friend. Learn from it, don’t get offended by it. Take it. Listen to it, and if it seems like it will work, do it.
- You don’t know everything.
- Build relationships.
- Social media is wonderful, but it’s just that, social.
- If you don’t schmooze, people won’t get to know you. If people don’t get to know you, they won’t visit your page, blog or website.
- Get away from the negativity.
- This was the hard part. I couldn’t let anything get in my way this time, not even my husband. I won’t go into detail here, but I have blog entries on it. Rough road.
- If it’s not working, ask why.
- This goes back to a previous one, but I think this is the one people have a big problem processing.
- Ask why. There is a reason for why something doesn’t work. Don’t get angry or discouraged, think about it, and try a different approach.
Hope I didn’t bore you too much with that. Until next time God Bless, Li’l Bit