Blooms, taken with iPhone
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So, I wanna talk business. Not quite sure how the rest of this post will turn out as I did not brainstorm this topic prior to writing it. I just had a jolt of thought around the idea of doing business as I was finishing up some work, so I want to document it before it quickly flutters. Sorry if this post will sound choppy.
I don't really consider myself an entrepreneur. Okay, I'm not. I think that word applies to those people who are always hungry to start new companies, open up new businesses, and take big and risky investments, one right after the next. It's their thing. They're entrepreneurs. It's what they do. I'm not like that. At all. I've actually never wanted to own my own business of any kind. The thought of having to deal with difficult clients, employees, finance, and business politics do not sound fun to me at all. A friend of mine who recently opened up her own company can certainly attest to that.
However, I've always been a person who loves making things. Inventing things. Creating new things from old stuff. Giving things new life. A new purpose. And the happiest feeling of all comes when my creations are used by other people. When they're weaved into the daily lives of others. In a way, that's how I know my work is admired and has meaning. This is probably true for creative businesses of any kind, so I might be saying something that goes without saying, but I think it's nice to express it in writing.
Another reason why I don't consider myself an entrepreneur is the fact that I've never had an interest in anything relating to business. I've never taken a business class or gone to a business seminar, and in some ways I don't care too much for all the text-book stuff on how to run a business properly...especially ones that have expectations for their bottom line to be a certain number by a certain year. I get that. I get that typical businesses have to have all that, otherwise they seize to exist. But I feel kind of like a rebel at times for not thinking that way. Is that wrong? Perhaps. But I'm doing what I feel is right for my kind of business. And not what a business in general should do.
Everything I've learned up to this point and done for my little paper shop have been through gut feeling, trial and error, personal values, social media, conversations with other small-business owners, and success stories from businesses that I look up to. It hasn't been efficient or smart, at times, but I love the learning curve. It's valuable to me to know something doesn't work or feel right because I've personally tried it, not because I read somewhere or someone told me that it doesn't work.
The past few months, I've put in a lot of time and energy into my shop. Brainstorming new ideas, releasing new designs that have been idle for however long, and taking care of boring administrative stuff that I wish would do itself. And recently, I finished putting together my wholesale line sheet. Not just something written out in the body of an email (yes, guilty). A proper line sheet! I didn't expect putting something like that together would take so much time and effort, but it did. And I did it. And you know what? It feels so good. It's definitely one of my first big steps to putting more structure into growing my shop, and taking this whole business thing a little more seriously.
The thought of owning my own business still scares me at times. Maybe because I don't have a formal education on it, or the desire to get one. Or because the term business to me sounds stuffy and sterile. Not sure, really. But my small shop grew out of the idea of wanting to make the perfect planner to use (ha, I'm serious!). Which eventually morphed into wanting to make pretty paper things, sharing it with the world, and making money in the process. And I am so happy and proud to have it be a business. I've treated it more like a hobby rather than a business at times, but that's okay. It's all part of the learning curve I mentioned. It's been a slow journey, one with hiccups and mistakes no doubt. But the steady, organic growth that is taking shape is something that feels right, and that's what I'm sticking to.
I've mentioned my shop and shared my creations before, but never talked about the business aspect of running a shop and owning a business until now. I want to make this an ongoing series and share with you my successes and failures as a business owner, and hope to hear your experiences and stories in the process.