A message to those thinking to become their own boss and start their own business: Remember, it's not meant to be easy!
This past week, I have been contemplating the future of my store. Will it be profitable to make a sustainable living? Will I be able to afford not only my rent, my inventory, my credit cards, but also myself and a future employee(s)? Do I need to move? Do I need to revamp it? Do I need to focus on online marketing or something else? After being here for a year and a half, I've begun to wonder how long it will be before I can make it into black--if at all.
These thoughts and questions have been eating at me so much that part of me wants to just shut down.
But here's the thing--there's no room for that kind of negative thinking. Yes, it is expected to feel overwhelmed at times, but that's no excuse to just give up because it's uncomfortable or hard. It's MEANT to be hard. You can't expect opening your own business to an unbroken boulevard of green lights. You'd be lying to yourself if you thought that.
Of course, you still need to be smart. If something isn't working, change it up until it does. That's what I am doing.
Here's what I've learned:
I have a large store, but I am only able to afford to buy certain types of inventory every month. This leaves me with a lot of open space, which makes the place look bare and grim if not filled. Therefore, my first idea was to try and fill 1,200 sq ft with "filler inventory", and hope people will buy them.
This was partially wasteful, and partially beneficial. While buying filler inventory has left me in red, I was able to discover what my customers do and do not want. I know now that people come to my store because they (1) want to buy spiritual supplies, and (2) they want to see something different. I now have a clearer picture of what I need to bring to the table, and therefore will remove any"filler inventory" that doesn't work. This will leave me with about 1,000 sq ft of empty. Holy crap!!
Now, this may seem daunting--I now have to buy a whole new line of inventory to replace what I will be getting rid of. Or...maybe not! As a way of flowing with the tide, I am going to cut my store space in half. One half will be dedicated to more desired inventory that I know is selling (as well as more high end products), while the other half will be converted into a space either people can rent, or use as a meditation sanctuary.
While I have no idea whether this plan will make my business healthier (I am not a fortune teller), I do know this: (1) it will reduce my need to buy so much inventory, (2) it will let me focus on more important inventory rather than filler, and (3) it will open me up to other avenues once I open up the space for meditation.
Every day, I ask myself, what I can do to make my business better?--and so should you. Being a business owner is going to be a constant struggle, and it is a challenge I (and you) need to be up to fighting every day. So, when you feel like it's getting difficult, that you are too tired to carry one, remember: it's not meant to be easy! If it isn't working, try doing it differently. If it still doesn't work, try it again another way. Be smart, don't put yourself in any position you can't get out of, and always be willing to fight.
Keep it up!