Brace Yourself - Failure is Coming
No woman wants to admit she's a failure. Especially an optimistic constantly thinking outside the box about the future entrepreneur like me. Failure wasn’t a part of my vocabulary. I had eliminated the words like “can’t” or “impossible”. As long as I had God and hard work nothing could stop me. Boy was I wrong.
Two months ago I began a new chapter in my life. I had taken both my separate non successful businesses and thought “If I combine them then I will succeed!” I created one cohesive brand between my photography and crafting. Yeah, on the other side of the equation I now see how silly that was. But I pressed on.
I’m not sure why I thought this would work. I mean, if I can’t get two businesses going how on earth am I going to make them work together? I launched a new website, blog, face book page, Instagram account, and more. I worked upwards of 15 hours a day, 60 hours a week on top of cleaning houses, taking care of my family, and helping out at church. Nothing was going to slow me down.
I Had a Plan
For the month of August I had carefully laid out a marketing plan which I was told if I did a, b, and c I would be successful. I started off with my “can’t refuse” photo service offer which I posted like clockwork. I used face book boosts to promote it and personally contacted 80 people from a list I had created of past clients. How could I not fill my calendar?
Next I posted all my workshops early in the month, invited everyone I thought would be interested, and sent it out in my bi-weekly newsletter. I just knew I was going to fill up my workshops! I mean, these were projects my customers had requested. Why would they not sign up?
I scheduled my posts strategically, I was persistent and professional. Then came the middle of the month; the time for me to evaluate how the last two weeks had gone and new goals for the next two weeks. I hadn’t booked a single session and while one of my workshops was almost filled, the other only had 3 people attending. After contacting the 3 attendees the night before, all 3 had canceled and my workshop was a bust.
I took advantage of the free night and participated in a Facebook Live with another local artist promoting my business and had some fun! We spent the night painting and chatting. We offered up the choice of painted project to one lucky viewer who had become a fan of both of our pages in result of the live video. With her having 9000 followers I was so excited because I couldn’t wait to see how many new fans I would have by the morning.
One week later reality hit me. My second workshop which was almost filled the week before had so many cancellations I wasn’t sure if I would break even. The studio was gracious and let me keep my room rent that day. I still hadn’t booked one photo special and hadn’t sold one piece of artwork. On top of that my two large jobs I was counting on to pay the bills in August fell through when the clients called and said they couldn’t afford me. At this point my income for the month was $45. Not even enough to fill the gas tank. And the hundreds of fans I was looking forward to? That number turned out to be 4 people! I HAD FAILED.
I took two days off and felt no motivation to keep going. I’ll be honest, I was even checking ads for job offers. Me, the girl who would pull her hair out if she worked in a cubical was actually browsing her local utility company call center jobs. I spent more hours on face book in those two days than I had the whole three weeks before. In that time on face book, in one of the groups I follow, there was a girl asking if anyone else thought about throwing in the towel. I raised my hand and typed “me, me, me!” I could totally relate.
But then I started reading all the comments. A few were like me and had admitted defeat. I also found a ton of encouragement. People who had been where I was were telling their story of failure and said that’s when we’re tested the most. So I thought, how bad do I want this to work? The answer was the reason I got back into my office the next day.
The last 7 days I pushed hard. I recontacted all 80 people on my list for the photo special. I offered to work with their paydays. 5 people booked a session! I wrote out a daily to do list and was determined to complete it every night. I finished 2 custom shirt jobs, a custom bee hive paint job, edited and delivered a wedding from July, and wrote 20 pages for my upcoming prayer book. My grand total income from August ended up at $1100!!
If I had given up I would have missed out! I can’t tell you how shocking that is. On top of that I’m coming into September with a clean slate. No pending projects, nothing on my to do list that was procrastinated. Know what I learned from this? Failure isn’t a death sentence.