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Launching My Small-Business: The Scariest Thing I’ve Ever Done

I have always been a timid person, and I tend to stay in my comfort zone a little more than I’d like. Taking risks has always intimidated me and has consequently prevented me from potentially achieving many of my goals. Starting a small business that sells handmade products has been a dream of mine since grade 9.  I was always too scared to take the first step, despite encouragement from friends in high school. Being an overthinker, I couldn’t help but consume myself with “What if” questions: What if no one likes my products? What if I get bad reviews? What if I make no sales? What if…? 

However, last year, in the week before New Year’s, I took a leap of faith and launched my jewelry business on Depop, since I was already selling clothes on the platform. Two days later, I made my first jewelry sale and sold three bracelets to a customer in Quebec. A week later, I made my first international sale and sold two rings to a buyer in the United States, who was buying them as gifts for his girlfriend. Initially, my skepticism prevented me from believing that there were people out there who actually wanted to buy my products. I realized that there was potential for my business since there seemed to be a demand for my products, and it gave me a huge confidence boost. 

My small business journey definitely wasn’t all sunshine and rainbows; I made a couple of mistakes along the way and had to step out of my comfort zone many times. When I made my first sale to the United States, I thought I could ship it with a stamp, just like in Canada. When I got to the post office, they told me they could only ship it as airmail, which was more than double the shipping I charged my customer. I froze. I still remember the look of pity on the post office worker’s face when my face froze in shock. I remember being devastated that I only made $0.50 from the sale, but I accepted the cut into my profits and adjusted my US shipping accordingly for next time. 

In late January, my sales became more consistent, and I decided to open a business Instagram account for marketing purposes. The hardest part of my startup journey came after opening my Instagram account. In order to get my business out there, I had to increase the public’s awareness of my business, and the best way to do that is to follow other accounts. I find it so scary to follow people and business accounts on Instagram, so, every time I followed an account, I had butterflies in my stomach and was very nervous. Additionally, I had to be active by posting and/or sharing a story every day to engage with my followers. I had never posted nor shared a story on my personal Instagram account before, so this part was very hard for me as well. I felt so out of touch with social media when I had to Google how to add more than 1 photo to my story. I feared that people would judge the things I posted/shared and leave hate comments. Fortunately, I have received no hate up to this day (knock on wood), but instead have come to realize that there are many supportive small business accounts and people out there who support me, and that’s what truly matters. 

Starting a small business was not something I would have imagined myself finding the courage to do. Looking back, I realized that once I got past the idea of a seemingly daunting task, it wasn't as scary as I thought. Although I had to overcome some mental barriers, and had some mishaps along the way, starting my business was one of the best decisions I’d ever made. It is truly rewarding to read feedback from my customers and to get that sale notification. Sometimes, we shouldn’t overthink our decisions, but just go for it. As Wayne Gretzky once said, “You miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.”

 

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