Ha! Did you really think you could start a business in 3 steps- never mind that the steps would be easy? But now that I have your attention, darlings, I don’t want to disappoint, so here are 3 things you will definitely need to start a business.
#1 – MONEY
You may not even need more than you have, but you’ve got to be willing to spend it, without knowing if you’ll ever get a return on it. How do you up the odds for getting your investment back? That brings us to:
#2 – PERSEVERANCE
If you believe in yourself, and keep going no matter the odds or obstacles, you stand a very good chance of success.
#3 – PROFITABLE IDEAS
If you have a little money and a lot of determination, you better be sure that your idea is something you’ll find a market to sell to. Even really clever ideas can end in failure. The founder of Dyson vacuum cleaners, James Dyson, started his career manufacturing an improved wheelbarrow called the “Ballbarrow”. By replacing the wheel with a ball, it became more stable and easier to maneuver. So what happened to this invention that seems an obvious improvement to the wonky wheelbarrow design?
“There’s no money in wheelbarrows!” - James Dyson, (How I Built This)
It failed because people weren't buying new wheelbarrows in quantities that were profitable. But what James Dyson had in the end was perseverance, because he just moved on to another idea that led to his $3 billion empire.
Now, let me tell you how hard it actually is to start a business. I’m 16 months into I Love My Nighty and what I have is a handful of samples that still need adjustments in either material or design. And I am not making something that hasn’t been done before. These are nightgowns, people. They've been around since the dawn of sleeping! But besides designing my nighties, here's what else I’ve been doing:
You promised three easy steps!
Mind you, I had essentially never done any of the things on this list before last year. So, where to begin?
First of all, I had to figure out what tasks even belong on this to-do list! Once I had the list, I could begin tackling it. But learning about each topic individually is very time consuming. Throughout it all, the fear lingers in the forefront of every decision. How much will this cost? How long will it take? How will I find people to buy it? What if it’s not a good idea after all? And so on…
A challenge I recently faced was my first opportunity to meet with manufacturers, which I was encouraged to do through a B2B event in Lima, Peru. I did everything I could to prepare for something I’ve never done before. The only catch was I had to fly to Peru from a family vacation, which I was simultaneously planning. No problem, I’ll pack a separate suitcase, organize a car service to get me to the airport 2 hours before departure and I'll be good.
But, being distracted because I was actually on vacation, I never thought to check the flight status until it was time to leave for the airport. That’s when the trip fell apart and I didn’t make it more than ten blocks from the hotel before I was forced to make a quick decision: either ignore that all signs were suddenly flashing “don’t go” and find a replacement for my very delayed flight, or just let it go and leave with my family who were ready to drive back home. If only I'd checked the status 1 hour earlier, I would've had it all sorted out by the time the car service arrived. Now I would miss my connection and needed to think quick.
Flight delay = Business delay
I had a very short window to find a new flight that I could get to on time- and would get me to Lima in time for my appointments the next morning- which proved to be a challenge laden with risk, so... I gave up. And that hurt. It hurt bad giving up. And it hurt to know that as prepared as I thought I was, I failed because I was too busy posting on Instagram to think about my flight. Ok, that's a tad dramatic because I had actually spent as much time listening to a Louise Hay meditation to prepare myself for anything that would come my way that day. Boy, did that ever pay off!
In the end, because of the preparation I’d done, I knew all the factories I wanted to meet and after a simple email explaining I wouldn't be there, I heard not only that my number one choice actually wanted to work with me, but that others were more than happy to start the process through email and snail mail. So, nothing was lost, and more importantly I was safe with my family.
So, if you’re thinking of starting a business, get gutsy and be kind to yourself. I’ve definitely been facing challenges along the way and can’t help but feel frustrated that I’m not further ahead. I have so many designs in mind and I want nothing more than to bring them into existence to help all of YOU lounge lovelier.
But I can rest assured that this need is not going away, and neither am I!
Leading Lady, I Love My Nighty