I’m deathly afraid of heights. However, that’s not the type of fear I conquered in January, 2020. More important than a phobia of being too far from the ground, I worked on conquering something a bit more complex- my fear of being vulnerable in front of both my loved ones and strangers at the same time.
Anyone who knows me would definitely not use the word, "shy" to describe me. This is true. I’m not a shy person, but I am self conscious enough to not put myself in a position of vulnerability. All of that changed when I felt inspired to turn a hobby of mine into something bigger.
Scary thing #1:
I stated my intent (out loud!)
This seems so light and insignificant, but it’s actually the foundation of pursuing any type of goal you want to achieve. When you say your goal out loud, especially in front of others, you are more likely to be held accountable for it and actually pursue it.
When I originally started making accessories, I was most excited to share them with a few family members as gifts for the holidays. When I presented them with these earrings and bracelets that I had put a lot of effort into learning how to make, a few of them asked me if I had ever thought of selling them. At this point in time I had already worked out the financials of that hypothetical, and sought out professional advice for what this type of business venture would entail. My my cheeks felt warm as I could feel the weight of attention shift to the podium of where my answer was supposed to sit. I didn’t look down at my feet and hesitate with a maybe and shrug. My eyes actually widened as a smile lit up my face. I revealed, “actually, I am going to and I’m so excited!”
That transparent answer drove me to following through with my decision. From there forward, people would ask me how my journey to my new business was going and I was always ready with a status update. They held me accountable in the best way. Each time I was asked, it helped propel me forward.
Katie Ruddell has a great talk on goal setting and discusses why it’s so important to share those goals in order to have others hold you accountable. I’ll post a link at the bottom of this post.
Scary thing #2:
I invested in my vision.
In my case, my vision was Good Earth, but yours might be your education, a career, or something else.
I’d be lying if I said that turning a hobby into a business is a simple homogenization of passion, dedication, and will. All of those things are necessary, but without time or funding all you have is an idea. Whether you are investing time into securing loans or investing funding out of your own pocket, by investing in your vision you are telling yourself that what you want is something you are literally willing to bet on. This isn’t easy. I’d like to think that 99% percent of us are not sitting on an abundance of time and wealth. That makes these things a commodity and by giving them up you are instilling the weight of your goal into your mind.
Scary thing #3:
I sought out advice.
This one is scary because I am the most stubborn person I know. I like to do things my way and will only be receptive to instruction on my own terms. I also felt intimidated when it came to discussing business, a topic I felt relatively unfamiliar with. I hated the idea of sounding lost and scared.
The thing that made this time different is that I wasn’t expected to know how to start a business. For once, I was challenging myself to something that I actually had very little preparation for. Although I considered myself to be well versed in marketing, the extent of my business knowledge came from a short, one semester business class that I took in college and some random articles I read online.
I opened my college text book and skimmed to remind myself of a skeletal idea of what things could apply to me. I made a list of questions I had. I asked accountants and other business owners (former and current) about their thoughts and experiences. I presented them with my list of very specific questions. I did this informally when it came to conversations in person, but asked in a formal list when it came to e-mail. I think asking really specific, researched questions here was key because it sparked really specific answers.
I had to convince myself that although no one will have all of the answers, more information is always better than less.
Scary thing #4:
I let everyone in.
My first instinct was to think that anyone I shared my goal with was going to laugh at me, be unsupportive, and tell me that I wasn’t capable of what I wanted. At some point I had to tell myself that it’s ok if people don’t support me and laugh at me. This was my path to walk, not theirs. It became a lesson with large impact. I constantly remind myself that I can only control my own actions. Negativity from others is inevitable and that’s ok. What is important is to be able to weed out the constructive criticism and use it to nurture you to the best that you can be.
I had casually mentioned to friends that I was jewelry making and looking to start selling. I told my family, coworkers, and even a few strangers in passing. I was very conscious to only drive this conversation further as long as the person on the other end was actually interested in my enthusiasm. I was making a latent effort to spread the word and I began noticing that that just wasn’t going to be enough. I needed to be ready to shout my news from the rooftops of Midtown Manhattan even if the phrasing was a little long-winded.
“I’M MAKING ACCESSORIES WITH MY HANDS AND IF YOU FEEL LIKE BUYING OR CASUALLY RECOMMENDING TO A FRIEND OR TWO THAT WOULD BE COOL!” - Me if I had access to a Midtown Rooftop
Without hesitation, I invited 250 people I knew to like my Facebook page even though it wasn’t quite where I wanted it to be. I was in awe as I watched so many people whose lives have intertwined with mine in some way or the other show so much support. In one month, the Facebook page already has 105 likes and that’s all because of 105 wonderful individuals showing their love and support!
My dad once said to me, “You can’t be concerned with who didn’t show up to the party. Give your energy to the people in the room.” I live by this.
Scary thing #5:
I said it out loud, confidently and repeatedly.
“I create, market, and sell jewelry for my own business, Good Earth Hudson Valley. I hope to one day be successful enough to have my own space and host free lessons for local kids looking to express themselves through art and do things that otherwise seemed impossible and scary.”
Click here to watch Katie Ruddell talk about goal setting.