We have come a long way since Nikki and I had the idea of starting a baby clothing brand that solved for our biggest pain points as mothers. When we first sat down to outline our idea we had no idea how to source fabric, how to create a pattern, how to have samples made, how to find someone to make those samples, how to work with a manufacturer and setup a supply chain, or even how to get what we were picturing in our heads out in a way that someone could understand and bring to life. Not to mention, setting up the online shop and getting our products into customers’ hands, we had a lot to figure out!
It took Nikki and I two years to get our entire production process down. Everything I just mentioned took us two years! I want to paint a realistic view of our entrepreneurial journey. Once we were finally producing the clothing that met our goals and standards, we had to turn our attention to building a website, photographing product, creating a social media presence, and raising money. My point is, from the top of each mountain you climb and conquer as an entrepreneur you must set your eyes on the next mountain, which requires the same level of enthusiasm, persistence and fortitude to scale.
They say the entrepreneur’s journey is full of ups and downs, highs and lows, and peaks and valleys, which is completely accurate. One of the biggest challenges when starting and scaling a business is keeping your mind in check. One victory can feel like you’re on top of the world and one setback can feel like your whole business is crumbling around you. I believe that one of the greatest assets I have gained from this journey is my mental stamina and perspective. When I first started on this voyage I had a lot of negative self-talk; you don’t know how to start a business, you don’t have the background to pull this off, who are you to start your own brand…. As you know, my podcasts helped. I also read about other people’s journeys, I spoke to entrepreneurs, I sought out mentors and I told myself that if I did at least one thing a day to move my business forward I was succeeding. I have not had that negative self-talk in a long time, but this venture is far from over.
On a recent discussion with one of my mentors I mentioned that I was starting to feel defeated by a problem I was not overcoming. I then proceeded to tell her about a story I recently read about a girl who started her own business and before she knew it her business had grown exponentially and she was opening store fronts all around the country, and all I could think to myself was why haven’t I gotten there yet. My mentor immediately gave a knowing laugh when I told her that story and said, oh yeah, that’s startup porn, don’t read that. Almost all business that are “overnight successes” took 10 years to get off the ground, my mentor shared. She then sent me this article.
Ultimately, no one is going to care about or believe in your business as much as you do. It’s a long winding journey to build a profitable company but you can’t lose sight of your goals and you have to surround yourself with people who can give you the reminders you need. If you would have told me five years ago that I would build what Happy Lil’ One is today, I would have never believed you. Just imagine where we are going to be 5 years from now, I probably can’t even begin to picture it. Whitney Wolfe Herd said it best when she said, you have to have conviction and you have to work your ass off!