One step forward, four steps back. My first year building my business.

It’s been a year and a half of working on my business and I still haven’t sold a damn thing. As useful and knowledgeable these 18 months have been, I am still the man pushing the boulder up the hill just to watch is roll down again. When one item is accomplished eight more issues rise up.

I know Im bitching but I have learned some things from these huge setbacks.

Patience has to be my biggest challenge I have had to overcome, not everyone is on your schedule. From bag samples to fabric orders it all takes time, and when I am excited about something I am so impatient. In hind sight I could have sped up the process by going directly to a manufacturer to have the bags sampled but I’m glad I took the longer route in sampling. It gave me that time to conduct research and have friends and family test out the bags. Why waste a bunch of money if the whole idea isn’t what consumers want?

Research. Don’t know what the hell you need or what that person is talking about? Google has you covered! I don’t know how many times I typed the starting sentence, “how to” in Google but I think I could have completed business school and marketing in a year from all my “how to” articles. Obviously you take the good from the bad, some sources are better than others but blogs from companies like Makers Row saved my naïve ass. And books like The Lean Startup and the Grommets E-Book, “Makers who Make” gave me some serious insight into how to run and market an ecommerce business. It also taught me there is a million ways to accomplish the same thing.

Confidence. I had none before this journey, and there were many times I would almost panic with doubt, not that I don’t have some of those moments now but they are more manageable. Confidence also comes in the form of gut instincts and knowing what you want. I know many people, my sister included, do not like my logo. But I do, so I have stuck with it. Having that confidence to not change something after every person tells you they don’t like it, is a huge leap when you are just starting out. It also helped me find my niche. They say the more focus your consumer niche is, the better. And knowing what my customers are all about allowed me to selectively listen to options and advice of others, like my family.

Be flexible.

Simple things like hang tags becoming such a huge en-devour that it forced me to completely re-design the tag all together. In fact, it will simply be sewn onto the inside of the bag, who needs a hang tag anyways.

Yah those tags I was talking about; I do want them. But it would mean months of work and way too much money. Does a tag make or break someone buying a bag? Not unless its 24 Karat gold and encrusted with diamonds. Sometimes shit just doesn’t work out and you have to be able to re-adjust or re-position things in a new or upcoming business. If your hard set on a feature then take that time, money, and energy to make it happen. If it’s something you know you and your consumer can live without, don’t waste your time.

I have a long way to go. I have barely started but I’m hopeful that I will eventually push that big rock up the hill.