How the hell did I get here?
How the hell did I get here? How have I managed to build my business up to the same level as my paid, salaried, full-time job? I mean, it was always the plan to do so but how did I actually manage it? If I look back over the last few years and see all of my errors, mistakes, misspent money, sleepless nights, working through the nights and all the negatives, I could say I have been a failure. But, do you know what?! I am successful, I have been successful, and I will continue to make these mistakes so I can learn from them, as this is what has helped my business grow and also my own personal development.
When I started my business, I did not have a clue what I was doing. I never used Instagram, only Facebook. I had never built a website, let alone thought about even doing that so where the hell do I start? So, I cheated, I looked at a ready built site where I can just add the content, good old Google! But now what is “content”? I am pretty sure at the time I called it blurb!
I didn’t really know anything. I knew how to run businesses as that’s what my day job was, running multi-million pound businesses, for other people to profit off, so this is what I was confident doing. The rest, well, that’s where all the mistakes happened but all the learning too.
I guess firstly, I was incredibly passionate about what I wanted to do and that was to encapsulate people’s precious memories into stunning pieces of jewellery from their breastfeeding journey. That was all I wanted to do when I started. I didn’t want to be rich; I didn’t want to run a business as such, I just wanted to share my new found hobby and perhaps people might like it!
Everything I have learnt is because I taught myself and sought the knowledge through the medium of the World Wide Web. There is so many useful videos and groups but very few actually doing what I wanted to do and what I was trying to do. The business side of the brain said, “lightbulb moment”, the personal side of the brain said, “I really want to make people happy”.
Now, most people would be “well if there’s not many people out there doing it then there probably isn’t a demand so fruitless pursuit”. Not me, I was hormonal after having had my child 4 months before, still in that blissful head sniffing daze where you are in glorious happiness just from watching them sleep! So I carried on, really happy at my new found weird little hobby!
I started adding a few items to my website, little by little not really sure where I was going. I started with just 6 items. My lovely friend Lizzy came and took some nice pictures for me so I could upload them, and I did a quick online tutorial on how to add the content to the website. I now have over 100 different items available!
I don’t often take time to sit, reflect and take stock of what I have accomplished as I am always on to the next order, the next idea, and the next concept. I always look forward but taking the time now to think about things, and how far I have come, I feel very proud.
I can laugh at myself about my silly mistakes, spelling errors on the website and poor photography skills. My 1st Christmas I had what I thought was a lot of orders to ship by a certain date to make sure they got there before Christmas. I remember counting all 12 of them thinking wow this is awesome – then I stuck the wrong item in the wrong box as I was rushing so 2 people got each other’s orders. I was devastated! I managed to resolve the issue quickly and one of the customers was really understanding but one was not, and I knew the whole reason I wanted to do this was to make people smile and it hurt, it hurt really badly.
Now I do make mistakes, I am human, I do all of this alone by hand, from the website, to the creative ideas, with a little one and a full-time job – I know I know I am crazy! But, I am building my dream, working on replacing my full-time income with my business, it’s a fully grown fully working business!
I have taught myself some bits around social media, I have discovered what SEO is and the importance of it, I have developed my photography skills, I have consistently pushed myself outside of my comfort zone time and time again to achieve 1 goal – to run my business full time, to be able to work for myself, doing my hours, having more special time with my little one, seeing her a lot more because I can, because I will answer only to me (and my customers of course!)
Now, I say I have done this all on my own, that in fact is not true! Although I do a lot I have had the amazing support of my partner! He has been so supportive, I said I want to make breastmilk jewellery, he didn’t bat an eye, I said I wanted to start a business, he said go for it, I said I want to quit my full time job, he said when you’re ready! As shared in a previous blog, I am the bread winner but his unwavering confidence in me keeps me going each and every day! He is my biggest cheerleader! Oh and he does a lot of the postage of the kits as well as processing the kits that come back – most men wouldn’t even touch breastmilk let alone processing multiple different peoples breastmilk, ashes etc
I never set out to do items such as hair, or ashes but people asked for them so I tried, I tested I perfected it (well mostly). I love getting the reviews and feedback, it always gives me such a boost, as I sometimes feel my inner saboteur creeping in every now and then!
If I was to give anyone some advice on starting up a new business, it would be this:
Be bold, brave, trust your gut but most of all love what you do, the passion from this love will propel you to places you never thought possible!
This year I am lucky enough to be nominated for 3 different awards ceremonies and over 5 individual awards, this is on top of the awards I won last year. Not to mention that I was featured in Vogue, Tattler and so on!
What does success look like to me? Having the confidence to know that my objective is to bring joy and make people smile, and that’s exactly what I do! I focus on this goal in everything I do.