November 2019, I started over. For 2 years I had ‘run’ a small business or actually, I let it run me. I wasn’t motivated by it, I was constantly disappointed in sales, market rejections, and my lack of commitment to myself.
I considered quitting altogether, but that didn’t feel true to me either. I had one choice that seemed clear - do it right and align it with my passion.
Now first, let me tell you why I failed…
I assumed that making gorgeous jewelry would just magically sell itself. Typing it now it seems so laughable but it was real for me. I set up an Etsy shop but didn’t keep up with it, didn’t learn the ins and outs of the site, and didn’t expand my resources. I wasn’t focused on building a brand, I just wanted to make jewelry. I didn’t plan for any business growth, didn’t share about myself in my brand, and didn’t connect with an audience. I was just happy to sell my jewelry to anyone. My initial feelings when I realized this wasn’t working was to feel disappointed and shame myself for not doing my best. I took a step back and thought about what I would tell a friend - “the passion is there, refocus it” “you are fabulous, find the right resources for you” “just try again and learn from your mistakes.” And so I told myself those things.
I scrapped every piece of my first business EXCEPT the goal of creating high quality wearable jewelry.
I renamed my business with a personal touch. Identified an e-commerce site and built my own website. Changed my photography strategy. Began planning out jewelry collections (not just making all one of a kind pieces). Made a social media and content plan. Built an email list. And most importantly, believed in myself.
It worked - let me prove it. In 2 years of just selling on Etsy, I had 30 sales. I launched Leo and Lynn Jewelry on November 1 and on December 1 I had 30 sales. 730 days versus 30 days and the same amount of sales. It was not a miracle but it was the magic of doing it differently.
From this restart, I have 3 top pieces of advice that I keep coming back to -
1. Brand Focus - if you don’t feel your brand in your soul, you will not want to fight for it. I utilized The Brand Planner from Function Creative Co. to help me work through my brand identity. I refer to it often as I make decisions. Don’t be afraid to pivot from your current brand if it’s not working anymore, give yourself permission to evolve!
2. Support Women - I identified a variety of women owned businesses and brands that inspired me, had similar target audiences, were geographically in my region (hey Pittsburgh!), and I felt connected to their message. I signed up for their email lists, followed their social media, and engaged with them. This greatly helps me to stay creative, to build an online network (and in person in some cases), and reminds me of the strength of women.
3. Plan, plan, plan - I am an organized person in my daily life but I wasn’t organized in my first business venture. To be true to myself I had to organize my business in a way that helped me feel in control. I have a spreadsheet for everything - social media content, newsletter topics, budgets, future collections, collaboration ideas, and so much more. I set deadlines that are realistic but keep me moving.
At almost two months into this business journey, I am far from an expert but the pride I feel in having the courage to start over will keep me motivated.
So as you enter 2020, don’t give up, don’t beat yourself up - rest, recharge, and RESTART!
(it also helps to have the cutest 7 year old photographer)