An Accidental Entrepreneur.
I was talking with my sister the other day about the frustrations of finding a decent job in a smaller town. I shared with her my relief, that I was aiming to never have to create another resume in my life ever again.
Call it the square peg in a round hole syndrome. My previous resumes likely had more omissions than not, due to the many attempts at finding “the right job”.
Back in the early 90’s, I saw an ad in the paper. It indicated I could be a business owner without being alone in business. And there was my first introduction to direct sales. To this day, I am involved in direct sales, and I am appreciating it more and more these days.
Why do I appreciate direct sales? Direct sales offers you a template and a formula for potential success. You have a built-in marketing team, the power of numbers, built in accounting department that takes care of taxes, a legal department and more.
Fast forward to just under two years ago. I was dealing with an adult bullying situation. I had a friend at the time that helped me see the situation in a different light. From this event, an idea came to light. As I mulled over the idea, researched to see if it even existed yet, I became excited about bringing the concept to market.
Excuse me? “bring it to market?”. What the heck does that even entail? In my case, it was presenting the idea to my hubby along with the comment “I only need 10,000 other people to think it’s a good idea too”. He agreed the idea had merit and arranged a line of credit for me.
So here I was, starting with a concept that was only in my head. With the magic of the internet, I was able to contact a few suppliers, get samples and go from there.
There were so many things that were new to me. I needed a customs broker, an importing license, a website, a plan, a plan and another plan. But this idea was going to catch on! It was going to be hard to keep up the demand. How was I going to handle it all?
So, here’s the thing. Sometimes (most of the time as you start finding out) all these amazing ‘overnight’ success stories are years in the making. I had visions of putting in my next order within a year of getting my first shipment. I’ve adjusted that vision.
I sunk a whole whack of money into marketing. The downside to that is if you don’t know what questions to ask, you can learn an expensive lesson. Questions like, have you ever worked with a new brand (or a non-existing brand)? How involved can I be in the marketing process? (if you’re not involved, your message just may fall completely flat) When it came to a website, I didn’t understand what I actually needed. So I’m on my third revamp. I could have asked that my product be more emphasized than it was. I should have asked things like, how much control will I have over it once it’s done? Is it easy to update? Are there stats?
And then there is the feedback that I was just not prepared for. The person who said I was doing things all backwards. The person who claimed that it was their idea. The person who says charge what you’re worth, and then doesn’t want to pay full price. The person who thinks you’re taking advantage people. Suffice it to say, the gal’s developing feedback callouses.
And so, as an accidental entrepreneur, I learn to pivot (I didn’t realize this was what I was doing). Still believing that I have a product that is worthy of my future customers. I just have to go out and find them, and they, me. There are no regrets as far as I’m concerned. Just lots and lots of lessons, that I accidentally learn. I move forward every day now with purpose. I joke to myself that these will all make great blog posts some day and maybe even a book, you never know!
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