I've wanted to write a post like this for some time, but I wasn't really sure how to write it and what to really say in it. By definition, an entrepreneur is "apersonwhoorganizesandmanagesanyenterprise,especiallyabusiness,usuallywithconsiderableinitiativeandrisk." That sounds a little dry, don't you think? How about someone who starts their own business on blind faith, passion, and the desire to work for oneself. Someone who, let's say, takes a leap! And that's exactly what I did when I decided to start my own business as a Stylist with Stella & Dot.
I knew I wanted to "go back to work" after being laid off almost two years ago, but I also knew that I didn't want to go into an office on a daily basis. I did that for almost 15 years. And before that, I worked countless nights and weekends as a manager in retail. Before that, it was college with a very part time job one day a week and on the weekends with two jobs in the summer. I'm very well aware of what work is all about. But at almost 42, and with a four year old at home, I didn't want to spend the next half of my life working for something or someone I didn't believe in. And working for myself, someone and something I believe in, seemed the right fit.
Before I ever decided to truly start my business, I had a lot of naysayers and still do. And I have to say, they are the ones that helped ignite the flame. The ones that helped me decide to take the plunge. They are the ones that I want to prove wrong!My business started out blazing. The next month, good, but not as good as the first. The third month, not so great. It was December after all, a horrible time for anyone who knows retail, and without an established business I worked for every customer I received! With 2016, January started out okay (actually I hustled like no other with decent results), and February gave the appearance to be an upward trend. Then March hit. And I feel like I'm drowning in a sea of nos and little to no response.
Stella & Dot is a direct sales company, so you as a business owner rely solely on sales from your customers. The customers you physically drum up daily, weekly, monthly. And what really drives your sales are trunk shows or home parties. You get repeat hostesses, those that just love the product and want the free jewelry as often as they can get it, or from new customers you meet at said parties. And then there's the occasional outside order. I love those! Actually, I love any and all forms of sales! That's what drives home my paycheck. A paycheck that I can feel good about because I did it all on my own. But for right now, I'm feeling lost in my business.
I'm doing all the things I'm supposed to be doing. Reaching out to past customers, future customers. Emailing, texting, sending messages on Facebook, calling potential customers, and posting on all forms of social media. I'm talking about my likes, my obsessions, what's on trend, and what I think my customers would like most. I'm literally typing my fingers to the bone. And at times, I think they would look so much better with manicure! But the customers aren't biting and I'm starting to get worried.
And I think I'm starting to lose friends! That's the thing about starting a business. You reach out and lean on your friends for support, but after a while, I think they grow weary of your constant Facebook posts, emails about promos, and texts about what I think the would love. There are days where I get ohs and ahs, days where I get an occasional "that's not really my style", and I get a lot of crickets! The crickets are what keep me awake at night. And let me tell you, over the last couple of weeks, there have been a lot of sleepless nights. And those sleepless nights are causing me to question whether or not I keep going. Yes, it's only been roughly four months, so it's a little early in the game to just stop, but the naysayers are in my head and starting to get at me. The ones who thinks it's not a good idea. The ones who told me that they wouldn't host parties before I even started the business. The ones who are crickets.
But, I'm not really a quitter. I'm a go-getter at heart. I love a challenge. I've always been the top seller in any sales job I've held. I mean, I was the top ladies seller in an eight store region when I worked for Harold's! And that's the kind of thing that reminds me that I can make this business happen. Also, I have a four year old son who needs tap and jazz shoes come June. Who loves to go to Fritz's for lunch. Who is playing on a t-ball league this summer. Who is my "Why" when Stella & Dot first asks you why you want to start your business. My why is to stay home with him, for him, but still feel like I'm contributing to my family and to myself. So that I can get that much needed manicure, even if it's six months from now. To go out and buy a new pair of shoes. The way I did when I was working full-time in an office and bringing home a bi-weekly paycheck. And not feel guilty for doing it. There are so many Why's when I stop to think about it, and they all drive me to keep going. To keep texting, and emailing, and posting on Facebook, and possibly putting those naysayers behind me. And getting some much needed sleep! And that manicure....