Turning my hobby into a full time business has been hard work–really hard work! There are days I work 14-16 hours and I could work longer because there’s still plenty of work, but I unfortunately run out of steam. It’s been a lot of trial and error. There have been products that I was sure would be successful and don’t sell and ones I didn’t think would move and fly off the shelf.
The problem with introducing new products is it usually means a new expense. Rarely do I have everything I need in stock to make the product. That’s part of the business. I’ve gotten much better at managing the new expenses and predicting costs I’ll need to invest. I have a list of “products to try” a mile long. There’s so much I want to still learn to make and experiment with. There’s only so much money and time to do that though on top of everything else I make.
On top of new products I’ve (along the way) dealt with creating a webpage, figuring out which markets/craft fairs were good/bad, actually attending and selling at those craft fairs, creating a wholesale line, growing my wholesale client base, creating (and maintaining) a newsletter, teaching and developing new soap classes, finding new/more venues to teaching my classes through, maintaining a blog, maintaining Facebook… Oh! And not on that list is just making all the products (over 75 different products) that sell that is the heart of my business. You see the list goes on and on. There are never enough hours in the day. There is always something that doesn’t get done or gets pushed back a day, a week, a month…
This is enough to overwhelm anyone. I’ve dealt with it though, and fairly well I think. Along the way my parents (Dad especially), brother, even friends have offered their advice. They do it to help me. I know that. Most of the time they’d offer suggestions and they’d already be on my list of “to dos.” I always got frustrated with them. I would be like “there’s only one of me and I’m doing the best I can!” It took me awhile to realize that their advice wasn’t criticism. It was just that advice. They WANTED me to succeed. They wanted to help me. Their advice was their way of caring and trying to show their support for me.
Some of their advice I ignored because it was something that would create more work for me or force me outside my comfort zone. I learned the hard way sometimes that I should have listened to their advice. It might have been more work initially but it would have paid off later, whether through sales, increased visibility, attracting new customers, or making me stand out. Some advice I’m now implementing. It’s never too late.
That said some advice I don’t listen to. Not because it’s not good or have merit, but I (just like you) know my business and I know somethings just aren’t a direction I want to go, or I would hate doing it (and that’s not the reason I started my own business!)
The lesson I’ve learned (sometimes the hard way) though that I wanted to share is be open to advice. It costs you nothing (but maybe some time) to listen to and think about someone else’s suggestions. You don’t have to take the advice. You can use it as inspiration for something else. Or you can take it. Just remember listen with an open mind. It could be well worth it in the end.