I follow The Rising Tide Society on Instagram and their feed always has the most encouraging images for business owners. This past weekend, I came across this post that they shared from Rachel Allene’s feed:
Guys, I almost started crying the minute I read her post.
CONFESSION: Today I let the negative self-talk take over. “You’re not good at your job. You’re going to fail. Being tired is an excuse—the biz will fall apart if you don’t hustle your booty off”. Gross. And while I don’t have magical unicorn advice, what I do have is honesty. So if you’re feeling like me and feeling a little beaten down, you aren’t alone. And sometimes the best things take time. So yes, it IS okay to grow slow, friend.
Eight Hundred Furniture is a little over a year old now, and I have been evaluating all aspects of my business.
How do I feel after a year in about being an entrepreneur?
How are my Milk Paint sales?
Am I making the most of my space in my antique booth?
Are we making enough money?
How do I make more money without piling onto my workload?
Are all my retail locations profitable?
Should I take on more upholstery work?
Before I was a business owner, I was in education for nine years. I’m a tenured teacher in the state of Pennsylvania and I have my Masters Degree in education. The process of post-teaching evaluation is quite familiar with me. After teaching a lesson or an entire unit, teachers are required to look back and reflect upon what did and didn’t work. It’s a healthy and helpful exercise, and it’s the most effective when it happens naturally (as opposed to being forced by the state, but that’s another topic of conversation).
In my evaluation process however, I too confess that I have allowed negative self-talk and self-induced pressure to creep in. I have allowed myself to compare my progress and my growth to other businesses in my field. I’ve been thinking things like, “They’ve been open for over a year, and they seem to be making more money than me. Maybe that means I should do what they do.” Or, “I’ll never be able to get to where they are because I’ll never make that kind of money to sustain such a pretty shop.”
As I’ve been verbalizing my thoughts with people, they have been suggesting all sorts of things to me to improve and grow my business. While kindly meant, sometimes too many opinions can have an adverse effect. One thinks I should open an online shop. Another thinks I should expand. Yet another thinks I should do the opposite and grow deeper roots where I’m the most profitable.
What’s a furniture girl to do?
In all of the flurry of New Year’s resolutions, brand new starts, 2018 goal setting, and the yearly January spike in productivity, I have found myself on the sidelines. I want to join in and be able to say that this is the year that I will _______, but my soul does not sit well with any of it. It feels forced and contrived.
What brings me the most peace is to sit back and trust in God’s timing for my business. I want to feel like it’s okay to grow slow. I don’t want to set lofty goals and get caught up in the flurry of “doing” because at this point, all of the “doing” falls squarely on my shoulders.
There are so many different directions I can take Eight Hundred and it’s intimidating to know where to go next. Is online shopping where I should invest? Will upholstery pay off given the amount of time I put in? Should I open my own shop? If so, where? Can I take the Milk Paint with me? Should I join someone else’s shop?
I’m in 100% agreement with Rachel Allene when she says that, “sometimes the best things take time”. I’m okay with allowing myself time to grow as a business owner. I need to give myself those quiet moments with the Lord and let Him reveal the next thing to me. He doesn’t lay out your path all in one shot. Instead, it’s a daily walk. Psalm 119 says, “Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” The original language suggests a small lantern that illuminates just enough to take the next step.
I think for now, I’m going to do what the sign says – PRAY BIG – and relax a bit in 2018. I’m going to take my lead from the Lord and let Him guide my next steps. So if you’re in the same boat as me, take heart that you’re not alone. We can grow slow together.