The Business: Pivoting The Dream
A few days ago on my Insta Stories I mentioned the fact that I made the bold ass move to pivot my business to focus around a skill that I did not have. Sounds stupid right? Well, let me explain to you why it was actually the smartest business decision I've made yet.
When I first opened up shop in August 2015 I had NO IDEA what the heck I wanted my business to be or what I was doing. I started out making stationery, pom pom garlands, wood slice paintings, cover button earrings and flower crowns. You might be thinking that seems really strange because none of that stuff sounds like me, and you'd be right, it wasn't really "me". I was selling what I was encouraged to sell, what I felt like I should be selling to get orders, and what was popular and doing well on Etsy at the time. I felt lost the entire time I was selling those things because they were random, lacked vision and cohesion. I felt lost until I decided to try my hand at designing pins for the shop.
It was the first thing I made since opening that I enjoyed the whole process of making from beginning to end. After I received my first wholesale order for 550 handmade pins, I finally started to get the vision of having a shop filled with pins, one day adding enamels and t-shirts. All things that centered around a new found passion for graphic design. It's important at this point that I mention I have learned everything I now know about graphic design/illustration by trial and error. This is the skill that I didn't have, but had a passion for.
Now, I don't want you to think that I wasn't scared as hell doing all this, because I absolutely was. To be honest, I still am. But you can't let a fear of change or failure hold you back when you run a one woman business. Being able to adapt is what will make you thrive. Sometimes product ideas don't do as well as you hoped or sometimes you find that you just don't like making a certain product anymore. Business wasn't terrible for me when I started to pivot, but I grew to dread getting pom pom garland orders because it meant wrapping yarn around my hand for an hour plus. That's when I knew I had to readjust my vision to center around what I was truly passionate about.
Maybe one of the most important things to keep in mind if you decide to pivot is that you will lose customers. There are going to be some customers that shopped with you only for those specific items that you no longer carry. But you will also be opening up to a whole new customer base that are just as passionate about your new products as you are. Will there be some lulls in business while you build up your new inventory? Probably, but just look at it as more time to bulk up your product line and bust out all those things (paperwork) that you've been putting off! Another thing to keep in mind while pivoting is to be realistic about goals you set. I set a sales goal for the year before I started changing my product line, that was even a little ambitious at the time. Now that I shrank my inventory, I probably won't be making that goal by year end, BUT I'd rather not reach an ambitious goal than sell products I don't enjoy making.
I hope you guys enjoyed the first of many business related posts to come. Thank you to all that voted for me to start doing these more, and if you have any topic suggestions you'd like me to cover, just let me know!