Today marks year two of my little business!
I still have a lot to learn about running a business, and still have plenty of mistakes to make. The last two years have been about a passion to create that pushed me out of my little security bubble by putting myself, and my art, out there, and somehow managed to make my dream into a reality.
I'm still learning, but I'm sharing a few things I've learned so far, and which lessons I'm still working on!
1. Remember How Many Hours There Are in the Day
Organize. Schedule. Plan. Yes, there are, and always will be, 24 hours in the day--duh. I'm a fairly organized person to begin with, I love planners, making to-do lists, and sorting out the calendar. However, when it comes to running a business, planning is a must. When orders come in, I schedule them on my calendar and I feel good about the day. HOWEVER, in the beginning, I seem to forget just how long something takes to make or how much time I have to make it. That's when I shoot myself in the foot and I have planned 10 hours of work when I only had 8 to do it. This one I'm just barely getting the hang of it all. I wish I realized how important it was to learn how long it takes to make something, as well as factoring in the unknown for the day, like sick days, emergencies, or that custom orders take longer than the usual, which leads me to Lesson #2.
2. Expect the Unexpected The scary thing about starting a business is you never know when the "busy season" will come around. Orders would come out of nowhere, and I would be booked for weeks, then all of the sudden it's gone. I had always heard that the summer is the slower time for small businesses so to take advantage and get ready for the holiday season, which I was prepared to do so. My shop got so slow, I even started to look for a part time job. I went for one interview and never heard back. The very next week, I got my first party package, then my shop started to get more orders, and I had all these other opportunities I couldn't miss out on. Now we are in mid-August and I haven't seen a slow period since May. I'm exhausted, extremely blessed, and can only hope this routine sticks around.
3. Come Out of My Anti-Social Bubble
Hi, my name is Augusta and I'm super shy! It's hard for me to talk about myself and sell my business to someone. It's awkward. Luckily for me, I have plenty of friends who are comfortable talking for me and chasing people in stores to hand out my business card because I'm too embarrassed--talking about you Pam <3 This lesson is what I plan to work really hard on during my second year. Going outside my comfort zone, my anti-social bubble, and talking to people. In person. Face-to-face. Gotta put on my big girl pants and do it. What's the worst that can happen? They say no, and we go our separate ways? Then I can leave happy because I did something scary for me, but only one step in the right direction for Felt Happens--but it's still scary.
4. Know Your Worth
It's so important to know YOU. ARE. WORTH. IT. The one thing I still struggle with is pricing (surprise, surprise! Just like most small business owners). I was always nervous about pricing "too high" and not getting the sale. However, I need to remember that my time and talent is worth it. When I underprice something, I'm saying that I'm not worth it. If someone doesn't like my price, then they weren't the customer for me. Art isn't for everyone, and not everyone can understand the time and heart that goes into handmade. Two years later and I'm just starting to get confident with myself and my art to say my price with confidence, and I I've learned not to get offended by the customers that walk away anymore.
Finally, and most importantly, breath. Somethings will always be overwhelming. Life with always throw crap at you. There will always be something you could have done differently. Just stop and breath. Remember why you're doing what you're doing. Remember that tomorrow will still come no matter what you did or didn't do today, and sometimes you gotta learn things the hard way, but that's just a chance to become better.
The last few months have been insanely busy, and I'm so grateful for it. I'll admit that I may have forgotten about Lesson #5 on several occasions, but that's okay. A little reminder is needed some days.
Felt Happens is more than just about a felt item. Everything from Felt Happens happens with love, from the imagination, to the creation, to the presentation. This is more than just a business. The items in my shop are a representation of my hard work, my passion, and my dream. I may have made the item 100 times, but that doesn't mean any less love was put into it.
I still have moments when I look over everything I've made, how many Buffalo Bills or Selena's that my hands have created, and I'm blown away. I am so fortunate to find so many customers that can appreciate what I make, and love it as much as I do. Thank you.
Here's to many more years to come!
Always written with love,