As many of you know, I am a huge fan of the wonderful company "Five Seed" and their fabulously eco-conscious and well made herbal/beauty products. My current favourite: The infusion massage oil. I have been using it as perfume and it is the BEST natural scented product I have ever encountered. It lasts the longest and the dropper is perfect. Plus they smell divine!
I asked Yancy to write about what her experience in following her dream has been like over the past year... and what a beautiful answer. If you're considering a new Life Journey; this post is for you!
inspiration to strike – to figure out what exactly I wanted to talk about. And then I realized that my
journey into following my dream has been so filled with different challenges and emotions that I would
never work out what I wanted to say until I sat down and just started writing. So here we go…
I have always been interested in herbal remedies and perfumes, and friends encouraged me to sell them for a long time. But ironically, I don’t think I was ready until after I buckled down at 30 and decided to get a “real degree” and a “real job.” I earned my MAT the same year our local schools started bi-annual rounds of layoffs. I subbed for about two years – a job I loathed. I kept it up because I needed to pay the bills, but my health and emotional state were suffering every month that went by. I started contemplating a way out: Could I make money on my own terms?
My first thought, of course, was to open an herbal remedy business. Yet I held on to subbing. One day,
after expressing my frustrations about it on my blog, one of my fellow bloggers, Mon at Holistic Mama,
said simply, “How long are you going to force yourself to do something you hate so much?” It was a real eye-opener to hear that and I realized it was time to do something and stop dreaming about it.
I admit, I did not exactly do things in the right order, or in a “correct” manner. Many people take
business classes through their community education programs – which I highly recommend. I did not do this and wish that I had. But I grew up with my parents owning several businesses, so I had their advice, and frankly, I just wanted to dive right in.
Although I had enormous support from the blogging community (special thanks to EcoYogini!- my pleasure!), the first six months were the hardest. I scrambled to learn things I probably should have learned before opening the shop. I only had a few orders a month, and things were looking bleak. I spent hundreds of dollars on supplies and packaging for items that never came together and wholesale requests from people who never followed through.
I started out with just four items in my shop in January 2010, and then built up the inventory bit by bit.
But if you had followed my store every month through July, you would have seen the inventory go up,
and then come right back down to about six items last summer. I have a tendency to try things intending to give it my all, but really only giving it 50% because I don’t want to end up wasting time or money when in the end, something might not work out. (This is an old pattern of mine.)
For an entire month, I struggled with thoughts of closing the store down. I made less money in July than in any other month I have been open. I did not make or add inventory – I gave my business very little energy. For a long time, I had very passive, destructive feelings about it. I felt that this was a sign that I was supposed to close the shop down and go back to subbing. Obviously, the universe was not going to support me.
But as the month went on, I realized that I was drowning in fears – fears of not knowing what I was
doing, of being in “over my head” (which is an easy thing to feel when you’re in business by yourself),
of losing money, of failing. And ultimately, after exploring those fears, I came to realize that I was not a
passive victim of the universe. Of course I wasn’t doing well – my store only offered six items, and I was largely ignoring it on every level.
That’s when I started focusing on what I wanted to sell. I started out with lip balms and moisturizers, but I realized I wanted to delve more deeply into perfumes and herbal remedies. When my inventory started reflecting my passion for herbs, I started receiving more energy from the universe. My store started doing better and better.
And now, a year and a month later, the journey is far from over. In fact, I feel as if I have just begun.
The mistakes I made last year were extremely costly – I ended up quite deep in the hole. But then, most businesses do not turn a real profit for 3-5 years. Plus, those mistakes taught me more than a book could have taught me. I find myself far more careful about what I spend and why I spend it. There are still many mistakes I fall into, but each one helps me improve myself and the business.
I have realized that the biggest obstacle I have faced and will continue to face with my business is fear. I am already a highly strung, overly-anxious person. I was already afraid to start a business and maintain it. Afraid of people not liking the products. Afraid of not doing the paperwork right and having the mayor charge in and shut me down (LOL). Afraid of losing more money. Afraid of having to go back to a job I hated. And when people find out you have started your own business – well, no one is stupid. We all know the odds for a small business in today’s economy. And people feel the need to remind you of the statistics. They feel the need to make sure you know (as if I don’t) and to make sure you have a “back-up plan” in the very likely scenario that you end up part of that 95% of entrepreneurs who don’t make it.
The lesson I have learned this year is that the world is full of well-intentioned naysayers. And the biggest naysayer of all is the one in our own mind. So maybe it’s not about making a profit, or having your business “succeed.” (What does that really mean, anyway?) Maybe it is just about trying for something that makes you happy. Maybe it is just about learning how to fuel yourself with courage and positivity instead of listening to the worries and anxieties (yours and others’).
It makes me think of that old adage about deciding to jump off the cliff and to expect that God(dess) will either catch you or give you wings. If you jumped, most people would think you a fool, but really – what other option do you have? Stand there on the edge of the cliff for the rest of your life?
Thank you so much Yancy for sharing your experiences with us!
You can find her beautiful products at her etsy website: Five Seed
Her fun website: fiveseed.wordpress.com
Her personal website: agreenspell.wordpress.com
and of course Twitter @5seed