As a small business owner, I get asked all sorts of questions. Most of the questions are in regards to my work and products, but second to those types of questions, I get a surprising amount of questions about the behind the scenes of running a business.
I think these questions are worthwhile to discuss and answer because I like to share my experiences with others in hopes that they find them helpful in what they are pursuing.
While I can’t answer every single question I get at the same time, I have found that many of the questions I get can be grouped into larger categories that I can answer. Here’s the third in the series of blog posts answering these category questions. I hope you find my experiences helpful! Whether or not you run a business, I’ve found that lots of the things I’ve learned in business also apply to life.
This is a funny one to talk about for me because I am NOT a patient person. I think it has to do with the fact that I am quite hyper active so I feel like if I can just move faster or work more hours then what I want will come to fruition. There is a definite effect that moving faster and working more hours can have on the outcome of something, but nothing has a greater effect on your sanity and happiness than patience.
I remember when I first started painting with watercolors back in 2017 - I painted a hibiscus with a size 6 brush and a set of watercolor paints that cost $14.00. I remember thinking that it was the most amazing thing I had ever painted! In fact, here it is:
The very next week came by and I was trying to paint some other things and they were NOT good. As a result, I was completely crushed and discouraged!
“I’m never going to be a good artist!” I said to myself, closing my sketchbook and sulking for the next couple of days.
It was Malu who told me then and still has to tell me now... “Have patience woman!”
Being patient hasn’t gotten any easier for me, but at least now I can trust that it is really a thing! As the years have gone by I have seen that the things I wanted way back then are starting to come to fruition now and so I have hope that the things I want now will come to fruition in the future.
When you’re struggling with something just remember that we all struggle! We all have different strengths and weaknesses. You might be comparing your weaknesses to someone else’s strengths which is why you may be having a hard time being patient. That’s not fair. We never know all that goes on behind the scenes of someone else’s work so it’s only detrimental to compare. Compare “you” today to “you” yesterday and judge your progress that way. As you do this, remember that all you have to do is improve a little every day in order to get closer to whatever it is you want to accomplish. Be proud of every step forward! Every step is an accomplishment.
Here are some questions I’ve been asked where I think the answer of “patience” applies: (Anything bolded is further commentary from me)
- How did you set up your business to be profitable? Time - took 3 years to really be profitable
- Time demands It will just take longer because you have less time and that’s okay.
- Feeling like I’m not doing enough to add/improve business
- Mostly mentally planning everything! From web design, to instagram aesthetics, and content creating. I can come up with ideas, etc for other people
- My greatest struggle I feel doing my small business is probably reaching an audience and what kind of products I want to put out there, especially whether or not it is something useful or at least catches someone’s eye. Be consistent - people will come.
- How do we decide what to sell and how much to sell it for ? My sister is the artist and she has so many ideas but we have a hard time narrowing it down. Also, pricing art pieces. Pricing your items takes time. You have to build up to pricing higher or be patient for the right people to come along who will buy at whatever price you set.
- How do you manage the insecurity of taking a risk financially to start up without knowing when the returns will come in. I started really small with a hundred dollars and then grew from there.
- Understanding what goes back into the business and how to pay yourself. How to price accordingly so you can pay for materials and time. I didn’t pay myself the first 3 years.
- I either get overwhelmed or mentally road blocked. A few times I've come up with a system but when things go unexpectedly it all gets thrown out the window and I've got to start from scratch. I get this too - it’s usually when I’m trying to do too many things.
- Not standing out amongst other wahine businesses. It takes time to develop your unique voice. Just try everything and you’ll start to see what fits you best. What fits you best will always be unique because you are!
- Trusting that it will work out. It will in time!
- When it feels like you’re not getting noticed/ haven’t had orders in a while. It gets emotionally draining when you’re trying to keep positive but see a lack of interest in your work. Think about your audience. If they aren’t interested then lean into that and ask them “why” or try to find out what does interest them. Just because we work hard doesn’t mean we deserve sales. We need to serve our customers and their needs/wants. Finding what they need takes time.