The giveaway I ran for Set Up Shop had one kinda unexpected outcome.
You shared your stories with me. You told me why you NEEDED this course to grow your business. And out of what you shared, I realised that there were a core group of things that seemed to be holding you all back from taking that next step in your business.
Today I wanted to tackle some of those things, and then open up the discussion to you – I’d love to hear what you feel your biggest obstacle is (whether it’s on this list or not!).
Why do I want you to share? Because it’s only when we know what our challenges are that we can face them head-on.
Or – more accurately – lack of knowledge. So many of you said you desperately wanted to set up an online shop – or, you wanted to improve the one you have – but that you just didn’t know what you needed to do and know to make it happen, and do it right.
You don’t know what you don’t know.
Of course, I’m part of the Google generation – my kneejerk response when I don’t know something is to ‘google it’ – and honestly, this is how I’ve learnt pretty much everything I’ve needed for my business over the last 6 years.
However, that only takes you so far, for two reasons.
- One – goodness me, does it take a lot of stumbling around in the dark trying to find the right info!?! Research sucks up a LOT of time – time you could be spending working on your products or other aspects of your business.
- Two – as we said above, you don’t know what you don’t know. Maybe there’s some immensely useful technique or tool or program that would make your life and business so much easier to run… but you don’t know about it. This is where being part of a community, learning from a mentor, or taking courses comes in useful.
You cut through the crap and save an immense amount of time by learning from those who’ve gone before.
I always say that everything I teach (and honestly, that ANYONE teaches) in my posts, talks, ebooks and courses is stuff you could find for yourself.
It is! The info is out there – it’s not a secret known to only the elite few and passed down to the select.
With the magic of the internet, the barriers to acquiring knowledge have been obliterated… but the amount of information available has also exploded.
The benefit of buying a course, attending a talk, or reading an ebook is that you skip the research. Someone has done it for you. They’ve searched, tried, tested, and then shared the distilled – immensely useful – information with you.
This, then, segues perfectly into the next limitation that’s holding you back.
We all have the same amount. 24 hours, every day.
However, we have also all chosen a certain lifestyle that affects how much time we can devote to our businesses – and this will vary immensely between us.
For example: I’m in my early 30s. I don’t have kids. I also have a husband who is at home with me full-time. He does the domestic chores and supports me in the business so I have the time to grow it and work on it. To achieve this freedom, we choose to live in 2 rooms in a converted barn on my parents’ property. We have one car. We don’t buy expensive things, but we do spend a great deal of money on things that mean a lot to us – like travel.
That is my lifestyle, and it’s something I’ve chosen deliberately. I’ve had a ‘regular’ job. I’ve lived out on my own, rented, shared houses, Nick’s had and paid off a mortgage. We know that’s not the lifestyle either of us ever want again. We don’t need more space. We love being close to my family. We love the freedom to travel our lifestyle affords us. We’ve never been happier.
Your life is going to look different to mine. This is the point Megan was making with her ‘secret of success‘ post a while back. You are not anyone else – you are you, and your success will look different to mine and anyone else’s.
It’s taken me 5 years to reach the place I am with my business – over 3 of those it has been my full-time job. If you have a day job, kids, other commitments… your time is limited.
The time it will take you to achieve what you deem ‘success’ is the time it will take you. I know that sounds a bit zen, but it’s the truth. You can be clever about how you spend that time, but there is no magic bullet that will make it happen faster.
However, getting a bit of guidance will help. A lot.
Just like time, the money we have to devote to our businesses will vary wildly. Maybe you have a partner with an awesome job who rakes in the dough. Maybe you’re both working part-time and just scraping by. Maybe you’re on your own and studying, or raising your kids.
Wherever you’re at, you have a limited amount of cash to invest in your business. Only you can decide what the best use of that money is. Do you need to invest in tools? Materials? A website?
It’s never been easier to make money from your creativity than it is now. You can open a shop on Etsy and get 20 products up in there for 4 bucks. The only thing you need to spend is time.
I’ve chosen the time route, because I have it. I still spend time rather than money wherever I can – which is why I love social media marketing and blogging. Some of you might prefer to spend money on advertising instead (though please still have a social media presence, it’s unavoidable these days!).
You need to spend one or the other – TIME or MONEY – in order to grow your business.
Honestly, I believe this is THE biggest thing holding most of you back.
If you don’t believe in yourself, nothing else matters.
I don’t care how much knowledge, time, or money you have. If you don’t believe in yourself and your product you will not succeed.
You will never take that leap forward because you’re always scared you’re not ‘doing it right’.
You’re frightened to devote yourself to your dream because you don’t believe that you can make it a reality.
Quite simply – you don’t think you’re good enough. You don’t think you deserve it. You don’t think it’s possible.
I call bullshit on that.
No-one can live your life. No-one can do this for you. No-one can make you believe in yourself.
YOU have the power. YOU are the one with the dream. YOU are the one who WILL make it a reality.
This is YOUR life to live EXACTLY as you please, because you’re not going to get another chance at it.
Feel the fear and do it anyway.
Get out of your own way and go for it.
And if you want me to hold your hand while you do it – I’m here, baby. But really, you don’t need me. You just need YOU.
So, now it’s time to ask yourself – what is it that’s truly holding you back?
If you want to turn your dream of having a successful online handmade business a reality, you can join us for Set Up Shop – a 30-day e-course where I take you step-by-step through everything you need to know to get a fabulous shop up and running smoothly. You’ll also join over 400 alumni in our private facebook group and gain invaluable support, friendship and understanding from those already turning their dream of having a handmade business into a reality!
Want to start or overhaul an Etsy shop?
Download this FREE 2-page checklist now - it's part of my Handmade Business Toolkit for Makers.
Don't make those common Etsy mistakes: make sure your Etsy shop is the best it can be!
(P.S. It’s also packed full of links to additional resources on all aspects of Etsy shop setup.)