When I started Piggy Pillows in 2007, I had grand ideas of sharing the product that I created with the world. I’ll admit, I was naive and inexperienced, but I decided to forged ahead because I believed in myself and the product that I genuinely poured my heart and bank account into.
In late 2009 I finally had my product in hand and I found myself chasing every opportunity that came my way. My business was brand new and I needed to get my product “out there”. At first, I said yes to everything and everybody. I needed to grow my business as well as my professional network so I viewed passing up any opportunity as unproductive. In addition, there were people in and out of my circle that would tell me, “you know what you should do...” and “you need to do this...”
I embarked on a journey including everything from ladies trunk shows, where the participation fee equaled more than what I actually sold; to charity events where I gave hundreds of dollars of product away. Being inexperience and hungry to succeed, the concept of “never give away what you can sell” didn’t occur to me. I continued to partake in events and business deals that took up an enormous amount of energy and time with very little result or revenue. My bottom line was staggering and I began to feel incredible guilty. It quickly became exhausting and I became overcommitted, overwhelmed and most of all unfocused.
I decided to take a step back. While I appreciated the input from outsiders, I needed to start saying no and distinguish the opportunities I wanted to pursue and which ones would benefit my brand and help me scale my business. That was a game changer because I found myself saying no to opportunities and events I would otherwise take part in. Saying no and not participating sometimes made me feel lazy or as if I wasn’t a “go getter” but looking back, I’m glad I did it because I was able to reevaluate and refocus my energy in the direction I envisioned for my brand.
Every now and again I have to remind myself of how far I’ve come and focusing on long-term goals is important in the grand scheme of things. Ups and downs are a given, one day I’ll find myself in tears not knowing why I did this and the next day I’m navigating through paperwork to sell Piggy Pillows to a department store. Now I know why I did this!
Even after making numerous mistakes (even embarrassing ones) I’ve learned to trust my gut and stay true to the direction I envisioned for my brand. You just never know what opportunities are just around the corner.