It’s easy to look at other businesses and think “that looks fun, I want to do that” without really putting much thought into whether that’s the best option for us to take. I’ve done this myself. All of the sudden we’re all in - buying whatever equipment or tools we need to get started. Which is good to have that motivation, right? And if this is the right path for you then definitely!
But then several months go by and suddenly we find that we really don’t enjoy this new venture or business; it seemed fun and glamorous from the outside but has lost that initial glamour. Maybe it's more complicated than we thought it’d be, maybe some of the things involved don’t come as natural to us as we thought they would. We then sometimes go through this downward spiral of negative thoughts about ourselves. I am not good enough. I’m not smart enough. I’m not creative enough. I don’t have what it takes. I give up. I gave it my all and it didn’t work. I’m just not cut out for this. Will I ever find something I am good at? Will I ever succeed? Will I ever be good enough? We either give up on searching for that one thing or we move on to something else participating in the “shiny object syndrome” that will more than likely also lead to nowhere.
Why do businesses fail?
Why is this? Why do many businesses fail? Or why do we become interested in something else so easily? Why why why? I’m not joking guys, this was me. Not just with one thing, but several. I would get bored working my current job, go looking for something better, something I was better at. I worked just about every job within my area of marketing possible. Event planning, Internet Marketing, Marketing, Sales and SEO. I worked at Agencies, Retail Stores and Dealerships. You name it, and I had done it when it came to working a job in marketing.
How about startup businesses? I’ve tried my fair share of those as well. From garage sale finds and selling them on eBay, to refinishing furniture, I tried it all! I even bought a scroll saw because I thought I had this amazing idea to create furniture overlays by cutting intricate patterns to apply to furniture….this could definitely be done by somebody else, but for me? Totally not my style and, if you know me personally, you are probably laughing reading this. I am NOT good at working with my hands - as many of you DIYers and crafters are. I enjoy some little crafts here and there, but ask my parents how I was growing up. *raises hand* NOT the most coordinated kid on the block.
I EVEN tried my hand out at *shudder* homemade fruit bouquets. Why would I ever try homemade fruit bouquets? Once again, not saying this is a good idea and right area for someone else (and I actually still think this would be a great idea for someone to start in our little hometown in Idaho), but for me personally this is so far from me and the type of person I am, it's funny. I barely even make breakfast for my kids, let alone enjoy preparing and making food ‘pretty’ for other people! I even avoid buying veggies that aren’t immediately ready to eat because I dislike the slicing and the dicing and the peeling and the time and the effort. Ugh. So why in the world would I ever ever ever think I would enjoy something like making fruit bouquets? So of course this one did not work either. And the design area was even worse, I tried invitations, fliers, web design and the list goes on. I loved design I just wasn’t in the right AREA of design.
So what changed? What big monumental thing changed in my life that pointed me in the right direction? That actually “stuck” with me, led me to success and why I am where I am today - which is designing and selling cut files?
The Essential Step
Many of you have already heard my story about quitting my day job and finding my cut file design dream job. What many of you don’t know is the ‘how’ behind it all. After I quit my day job, I was on the search, trying everything possible to keep my busy body busy as a new SAHM. I knew I needed something. I yearned to accomplish something. I loved and still love being a SAHM but I all of a sudden didn’t have the sense of accomplishment I was used to in marketing. Plan an event, have 5,000 people show. Run a promotion have 20% increase in sales. A + B = C. You get the picture. In my career in marketing I was used to this. I had been doing this for 10 years. So it was a hard transition to not have a ‘check’ you accomplished this and can see the return immediately. Plus I’m a natural busy body so having something on the side apart from mom life has always appealed to me. It was around this time that I started researching passive income businesses. I also started listening to podcasts and on one of these podcasts I listened to in the early days was “Smart Passive Income by Pat Flynn.” I don’t remember who he was interviewing or even who said this, but THIS is what I contribute all of my online success and happiness to. They were speaking about starting an online business, and said something along the lines of...
If you were to ask those closest to you what you are good at, what would they say…...what would they say your hobbies are?
Their point was to hone in on the area or areas that you enjoy the most or the areas you’re good at and then go from there. THIS is the essential step you guys. Do you want to have something you stick with for years to come? Then figure out which areas you keep gravitating to. What do people know you for? What would your friends and family say defines you? When I asked myself this after hearing the podcast, one word came to mind. “Design.” My family would say I’m good at designing things. It wasn’t cut files, I didn’t even know those existed at the time but I had always gravitated towards designing fliers, or websites, or posters over the years. I initially did NOT think I was good at design, but this is what my family and friends would say that I was good at or had an interest in. This very thing put me on the right track, and it was true. I had been coming up with excuses to why I couldn’t create a business in design for years - mainly due to the fact I felt I wasn’t a good enough designer. Its hard when we see amazing graphic designers online every single day to even think we have what it takes. But the fact is that you have to FIND YOUR NICHE inside this area. You have to find YOUR thing, not their's.
Look at alll the possibilities in this area, think of all the ways you could start a business. EVEN if you cannot see yourself doing it, still look into it. And most importantly, look for a need! Find a problem people are having and solve it.
Back from my days at the dealership they’d say “Find out what the customer wants and give it to them.” This has always stuck with me. How simple of a concept and yet how difficult this is sometimes. Find out what the people want and give it to them.
In the early days...
This is how I found cut files on Etsy. I found this was something people were searching frequently. I had not used SVGs personally, but my sister had told me I should try to make her some for her Silhouette. I kind of brushed her off (as sisters do sometimes) but later I found that people on Etsy were searching for SVGs. So I made my first cut file for her, did some troubleshooting, eventually figured out exactly how to do it…. and it actually worked in her program!
I made a few designs and posted them on Etsy. Super scary nerve-wracking…….. I just waited after posting. I waited for my first sale. And then when that first person bought from me, I waited again, but not for another sale. I waited for the customer to contact me and tell me something was wrong with their file! For them to tell me how crummy my cut file was and let me know I had no clue what I was doing. But no messages ever came. Now, eventually people did contact me after I had more sales and I worked through each problem and kept improving the quality of my cut files. But the point is that it wasn’t as big of a deal to launch my shop and post those first products as I had made it out to be!
What happened in the beginning was one small minor success, that first sale. The little $0.99 sale on my Etsy shop that first week of launch lit a FIRE under me. Then another, then another. I began to see that this could be something. The small successes were exactly what I needed to keep me going. I didn’t see them as $0.99 each, I saw them as potential to create more, potential to do something I loved and the potential to succeed with this business. Something I had never experienced! Because I enjoyed doing it, it didn’t even feel like work. With any other venture I would’ve seen it as a measly $0.99 but instead with this one that I ENJOYED doing, I did the math. If I currently had 5 listings, and made $10 that first week, what would happen if I made 10 more, or 30 more and or 40 more? So I began pumping new designs out like crazy. I had opened this door into a whole new passive income world and nothing was going to hold me back.
Let's backtrack a little….
What I didn’t realize all those years I had spent searching, jumping from one job, one business idea to the next: If I would have simply put all that time, energy and effort into ONE business idea, one goal, one objective and if I would have known what I was capable of, I could’ve started down this road years ago and be a lot farther than I am now. But I held myself back because I was looking in all the wrong areas.
YOU are something grand. YOU have something you can be better at than anybody else. YOU have something you can help others with. There is NO other YOU in the world. YOU may be able to get through to people in a way that nobody else can. I truly believe this.
Find the area or areas you love - whether its cut file design, selling on Etsy, or not. I don’t even care if you ever buy from me or purchase any of my courses, as long as you read this article and start looking for your WHY in life and FIND it. Look inside these areas of interest for a need that people have. AND MAKE SURE there is a need for it, then dive in! Immerse yourself in it. Love what you do. Love what makes you thrive. If sales aren’t amazing at first, so what? Don’t give up. Just love what you do, and keep at it. Keep improving. For your small wins, see them for what they TRULY are and that is WHAT THEY CAN BECOME. For your failures, see them as they truly are: an opportunity to grow. LEARN from them, and move on. Don’t make the failures in your business mean that YOU’RE a failure. Because they WILL happen. Envision yourself 5 or 10 years from now living your goal, living your DREAM LIFE. Do this enough and you will automatically start believing that life you envision. Live the life you want to live. I know you CAN do this. I believe each one of us has something in us that we are better at than anyone else. A talent we were called to have in this life. Find out what this talent is in you, and share it, spread it to the world. USE it to help others, use it to be happy. Use it to live the life you dream of living. It is yours for the taking my friend.
I hope you an amazing week. Cheers!