The Good, The Bad, The Stressful: My Journey to Starting my Small Business
Any new adventure is stressful, be it travelling the world, starting school, or even the start of a new relationship. Making the decision to start my own small business is one of those new adventures. All the days and nights spent planning, calculating and creating have been incredibly rewarding, but also one of the most stressful things I have decided to pursue.
Looking back on the months that it took to launch my small business, there are absolutely things that I think I did well, but also a number of things that I let get the better of me. These became learning opportunities that ultimately, have helped my small business succeed and grow.
First let’s start with the good! I absolutely love being crafty and creating. Being able to start a passion project that allows me to share my creations with others definitely gives a sense of pride and accomplishment when people take an interest in and want to use and own things that I have made by hand and honestly makes me smile. Additionally, I absolutely love the creation process. Watching as I turn something as simple as yarn and turn it into something useable and wonderful is such a fun skill for me and definitely an activity that helps me relax and destress.
Another aspect that I feel was absolutely instrumental in my ability to take the plunge to start my small business is having a solid group of super supportive friends. My friends and family have been a rock and dealt with numerous questions and urging me forward when I let myself doubt get the better of me. An excellent support system is absolutely key in starting and running your small business. Another thing I discovered once I launched my business is that the small business community is so welcoming and supportive. There is such a sense of community and it is all about a supportive community and not just competition. Business that have the same skill set will cheer you on as well and want to see you succeed! There is room for everyone in the small business and maker community.
It is inevitable that not everything will be roses when starting out, and starting a small business, or passion project is no exception. The one thing that I regret most, is putting off the launch of my business. I had a solid start to my inventory, I had my logo designed by a friend, all the pieces from someone looking on the outside it would look like I had enough to get started, especially because it takes time before your business takes traction and starts taking off. To me, I still didn’t have enough. I kept giving myself another ‘one more step’, if I just finished that one more thing, finish one more project, buy one more piece of storage or display material, THEN I can launch. This is probably the main thing I would change if I started again because I kept delaying and kept putting it off until my November launch date, became December, became January. I finally bit the bullet and launched on Easter 2021, because I knew if I had it my way, I would keep putting it off and putting it off because I would never think I had enough prepared, or that I needed to come up with a larger product range. This is not true, starting with a few core products and focusing on slowly building allows for a more sustainable growth. I didn’t need 30 different products to launch, in fact that would probably have made things much more stressful and difficult to manage in its infancy stage.
I think there is a fair amount of stress that is to be expected with most things in life. There is always going to be those little worries in your head wondering if your business is for everyone, if your products are good enough, but it absolutely should not be something that consumes you. Your business won’t be for everyone, but nothing in life is for everyone. Trying to worry about pleasing everyone will just cause you more stress and take and fun and joy out of your small business.
If you ask any small business or maker, pricing is a sore point. There are so many things that make this stressful, fears of undercharging, fears of overcharging, and the dreaded fear that someone is going to tell you that your work is not worth the money. This was probably the most stressful thing for me to face when starting my business. While understanding that you don’t want to charge a price that no one will want to pay for the product is one thing, but not valuing your work to fairly price your items is definitely not something you want to do to yourself. Underpricing from the start is definitely worse than charging more at the start because it is always easier to lower your prices than it is to raise them. As someone who knits and crochets, I always worry that someone will tell me they can get my items for less in Primark, or other big box, fast fashion stores.
You absolutely should price yourself what you actually are worth and not the cheapest price you are willing to go. You will find customers who see the worth in your work and will invest in your pieces at your price. Undervaluing your time that you put into your work and creations is undervaluing your worth and as a maker and creative you are absolutely worth your time that it takes you to create your products.
Starting my small business has absolutely been one of the best adventures that I have ever embarked on, and I absolutely recommend it to everyone who is interested in starting their own business. And remember:
“You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take
– Wayne Gretzky
– Michael Scott
– Maddy Travis