Brighter Day. It stretched us to have to put together a sample package of our most common fabrics, our packaging, and some sample purses to present for this opportunity.
Our business mentor is an entrepreneurial genius and has experienced the blood, sweat, and tears that small business owners have to endure before a business really takes off. What was so encouraging to me is that that's ok. The 14-hour work days, the difficult customers, the paying-way-too-much-for-shipping mistakes, the deadlines... all of these things can feel pretty overwhelming (and have often made me want to throw in the towel). But they all provide such opportunities for growth.
I've often found myself looking at other small businesses and thinking they must have it all together. Glowing reviews, flawless product photos, new product lines coming out all the time. But what I don't see is how much they've struggled along the way... which is exactly how they've learned what they know.
I get emails almost daily asking me questions about certain aspects of what I make to sell - mainly where I get my jewelry/purse supplies or if I'll share my patterns for my purses. While I understand why people ask, I sometimes want to reply, "It will be so much better for you if you do the work... if you struggle a little. It'll be so worth it! You'll learn so much more that way!" If I handed out lists of my suppliers and tutorials for all my bags, I'd literally be giving away my business - but I also would not be providing anyone an opportunity for originality. There's just no shortcut for reading your sewing machine manual, checking out small business books from the library, doing tons of google searches for the best prices for packaging, and a whole lot of trial and error. (I can't emphasize that last part enough.)
So my tip of the day: Try, try, and try again. Be original and creative. Don't give up. If you're passionate about what you make and sell, stick with it! I would even go so far as to say to stop looking around at Etsy and blogs to give you inspiration... create something that's uniquely you and that you're proud of.
Don't be discouraged, friend. None of us have it all figured out... I feel like I learn so much every day and it's almost exclusively by making mistakes. And I'm learning that, simply put, that's ok.