When starting a business, one has to be willing to accept a lot of disappointment in the beginning. I’m certainly not an expert on the topic, but what I have learned, I am willing to share in the hopes that it will encourage others to pursue their dreams of independence.
I started making jewelry when I was about 10 years old. I can remember staying up late at night with a flashlight under my covers diligently working on friendship bracelets out of embroidery. For as long as I can remember, I have loved making things. However, it wasn’t until one year that was full of heartbreak, stress and disappointments that it finally occurred to me that I no longer had to just accept the life I was living, because the job I had made me enough money to live on. I think this is a pretty common occurrence with young people, but the problem is that instead of searching their hearts for what they love to do, they settle for a job so that they can survive.
So, I was at what I considered to be an all-time low, back in my mother’s basement with no assets, a broken heart, and a job that I hated. But sometimes things happen when we are at our worst, and I think it is a survival instinct that kicks in telling us to stop wallowing and make it better. For me it was another Christmas which meant buying presents I couldn’t afford, which lead me to the idea that I should make my own presents. In the process of making presents I got back in touch with a part of me that had been missing for years, the creative part of me that just likes to make things for people. But it was more than that. As I began seeking out new methods and materials for my creations and photographing my works I realized that I really wanted to make this into a business and that I should probably pursue an education to give myself an edge.
So now it’s 3 years later and my business is still in its infancy, but looking back, that was certainly a turning point in my life. Instead of working for the weekend, I am now in design which allows me to do so many other things than just making jewelry. Which is fantastic, because making jewelry has never really become a job.
To get to specifics though, in terms of advice, don’t be afraid to outsource if you are not confident at doing something. I know nothing about website design, so I don’t plan on putting together a website on my own. Same thing with business cards, if you’re not a designer, hire one. Your business cards leave a lasting impression, but not if they’re template 31 from Staples.
Also, be prepared to not make any money at first. I think that’s kind of a given. It takes a long time to build up an inventory and a cliental and to figure out what people are going to buy and where they’re going to buy it from. As I said earlier, my business is in it’s infancy, so I’m still working out the kinks of what people want. But it helps to pay attention to trends and keep things simple.
I cannot reiterate enough how key it is to pursue something you love. Never ever settle. I had an instructor in first year tell our class that “some people have jobs, others have careers, but if you’re really lucky, you can have a vocation,” and I truly believe that any time you get into a business that’s creative based, it is a vocation. It’s like a calling, and I never really stop working. From the minute I get up, to the minute I go to bed, I am searching out inspiration. My perspective went from single-person, to omniscient (not that I am imbuing myself with god-like qualities) and I see the world in a completely different light. I still have to work at that job I hate, but I know that it’s short-term and now my life doesn’t seem so grim, because when I get to my creative corner in my apartment, that’s when I know I’m really at work.