Friday, January 21, 2011

Get free (Part II)....

Yesterday I wrote a blog post about my journey as a business owner, and some of the trials I've experienced while trying to find my way.  If you didn't read Part I, you can read it here to catch up.

So today's post will be about what I did to finally get to a place where I was confident in my abilities as a business owner, a designer, and as a person who had a product that could sell in this economy.

I noticed that when my business wasn't doing anything (selling, being recognized, very few web hits) I began to feel desperate and uninspired. I would sit around and think about the businesses that were thriving and think...maybe I'll just start doing that instead of this. But the bottom line was that doing something because someone else was doing it just wasn't my path or my true passion. I began noticing that I was impatient and wanted quick results in my business,  and therefore I had not properly prepared myself to run a business.  Out of frustration, I started asking myself questions.  Why am I in such a rush to make a lot of money, to be "successful", to be in a magazine, or my jewelry in a boutique, etc.?  And it finally clicked for me.  I was so busy comparing myself to other people's success, that I never really took the time to plan my own success! The key word here is plan.  I had never planned.  Sure I'd skimmed a few business books, but I'd never sat down with a pen and paper and really mapped out my career as a business owner. I didn't even know where to begin to do that, but I figured it was worth a shot to give planning a try. Although I was uninspired at the time, I still felt excited at the thought of making jewelry. Realizing my lack of preparation and unpreparedness led me to my "lightbulb" moment!  I decided to find a business seminar to attend and boy, oh boy did it help! I learned so much, and the tools and encouragement I walked away with gave me the energy to seek inspiration for my business.  The first thing I learned was that BSJ needed to be evaluated with a fine tooth comb and I started asking myself questions about my business. Would I purchase my own jewelry? Was my brand (business cards, website, logo, blog, packaging, tone, slogan, etc.) conveying a uniform message? Who exactly was I trying to sell my jewelry to (target market)? What type of woman or man did I want to wear my jewelry? When I thought of Bohemian Spirit Jewelry what colors did I associate with that name? Was my pricing competitive and priced for quality and not just to get people to purchase? (*sometimes pricing your items too low can be bad for your business because it makes people think your items must be poorly made if they are so cheap). Once I realistically answered those questions, I realized that my brand was all over the place and was in desperate need of some fixing.  For me, this was the beginning of LOTS of hard work, but it was the jump start to some of the greatest changes I've ever made for my business.  I promise you that once I was able to answer the above questions, and slowly make improvements to my brand, my sales increased and my business became more recognizable.

I also want to say that I didn't have a lot of money to make changes to my business!  It was never easy, and I didn't just call someone and say revamp my business and slap some cash down on their table.  I did it slow and steady.  A little bit at a time.  I wanted Bohemian Spirit to be a true representative of what I was selling.  Unique, inspirational, liberating, and free-spirited type jewelry. I knew that women who wore my jewelry would be reminded of their uniqueness, their freedom, and so I sought people to help me brand my business so that it would have that exact effect!  I'm still improving my business daily, and I always give it 110%! This is not a play business, a fake business, an on and off business, a closed on Monday open on Tuesday business but a real business that I take seriously and that has my name behind it.  I'm really proud of where Bohemian Spirit is today and I'm excited (and continuously inspired) by where it's going!

So if you are in a rut that you can't seem to get out of, I suggest you truly evaluate whether your business is one that you are dedicated to tweaking and re-tweaking until you get it right.

Below are just some step by step tools and resources that have helped me get free from being in a rut and uninspired as a small business owner.  Good luck with your journey and remember slow and steady wins the race ;)

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1.  Pray ~ Seek guidance about your decision to maintain your business, and be ready to receive the answers when they are presented to you.

2.  Seek Knowledge/Learn ~ Be willing to do your own business research. It's okay to find a fellow business owner in your creative field and ask a few questions, but don't abuse their kindness or be willing to pay them a consultant fee to assist you further.  It's important for you to do research because every business is different and if you want to excel then you should find what works best for you.  Read, take classes, seek product feedback, find a mentor, intern, etc.

3.  Work Hard ~ Don't look for fame and fortune to come knocking at your door. If you are not willing to pour your heart into your business then your results (sales) will be lackluster. Don't be afraid of losing a little sleep in order to build your business.

4. Like Minds/Encouragers ~ Surround yourself with like minded individuals who encourage and understand your struggles, joys, etc.  I have friends who don't own businesses, but they are always there to lend an ear when things are going great or horrible.

5.  Get Out! ~ Don't complain about being uninspired when you aren't looking for inspiration.  Go to the museum, the park, the book store or somewhere where you can be stimulated to create! I always go to women's boutiques when I feel uninspired.  I like to look at other jewelry designs, color coordination, and seasonal trends to get inspired.

6.  Invest ~ Invest some money into your business.  I know this is easier said than done, but a little investment can go a long way! Just do one thing at a time.  Maybe order some nice business cards first.  Then get a professional logo created, and then start looking at your packaging, and so on.  There's nothing more rewarding than having a client tell you that they not only love your products but that your packaging or website are really nice too.

Helpful Resources: (I've actually used all of these resources)
Craft Inc.

The Boss of You

The Girls Guide to Starting Your Own Business

Zen for Dummies

Miss Sideburns: Financial Tools 

Modish Blog: Biztips

Etsy: Branding, Web Design listings




You can do it!
Be free,
Myisha

5 comments:

  1. Awesome post, My. Very heartfelt and I definitely can relate. Keep blogging, girl. I love reading them.

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  2. Wow Myisha, this spoke directly to my heart:) I've kinda gotten a little ancy about launching my business prematurely after seeing what everyone else is doing! But you're right, take it "Slow & Steady" and get your plan together FIRST! Blessings to you for posting this inspiring blog and I would even add another resource to the mix: The Mocha Manual to Turning Your Passion Into Profit by Kimberly Allers is a great resource as well! I pray nothing but the best for you, your family, and your amazing business, you ROCK!!!

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  3. So glad you all are enjoying the Get Free posts. I've been wanting to share for a while, but it's so much to write. Lol! But I was "moved" this week to do it! :)

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  4. Thanks for the inspiration and tips, Myisha! As business owners, seems we all experience our highs and lows. I'm working slowly but surely out of my rut.

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I really appreciate you taking the time to comment. Thank you!