One year ago, I released my first 6 patterns. I can’t believe that it’s only been a year. It feels in some ways like it’s been so. much. longer. I mean, when I stop to think about everything that has happened in the last 12 months it seems crazy. On the other hand, there are so many things that I still feel so inexperienced in–especially on the business side of things.
It’s been a crazy journey from the get-go, and I’ve learned A LOT. In hindsight, there are some things that I would have done differently, and things I’m glad I stuck to my guns on. Here are five things I’ve learned:
If you want something, ask.
I have been amazed at the overall generous response from companies when I ask for things. This isn’t because I’m a big deal, at all, because I’m pretty darn new to this whole thing, and most of them have probably never heard of me or seen my work. But here’s the thing: they want their products used and talked about and out there as much as I want to use their product. It’s really a win-win. It doesn’t hurt at all to ask. The worst they can do is say no.
Whether it’s making sure you have enough fabric before you start quilting all night, or triple checking that you are sending the right file to the printer, it will save you a lot of time, frustration, and heartache to double and triple check things. Of course, this applies to things like having each pattern tested thoroughly, but also applies to spell checking, hiring people, and receiving information over the phone.
Kindness works better. In every situation.
Whether you’re asking for something, complaining about something, or declining an opportunity, there is absolutely no reason for meanness. Just remember, someone has contributed their time, talents, creative energy to whatever it is you’re complaining about/declining/asking for. If you jump in with guns blazing and words spewing you may get what you want, but you won’t be a better person for it. And certainly, you will have hurt/offended/disheartened another human being. If nothing else, it’s karma, baby.
Learn from your mistakes.
You will make them. They will embarrass you, haunt you, and follow you around for a while. They will inspire mean emails (see #3), make you want to quit, make you question the sagacity of starting your own creative business in the first place. They are also an incredible opportunity to grow, if you can work through them. Acknowledge your mistakes, publicly if necessary, do what you can to fix the situation, and then do everything in your power so you don’t make the same mistake ever again.
You have worthwhile things to share with the world. Starting a business, especially as an artist or creative can be emotional, and scary, and can make you feel more vulnerable than you ever imagined possible. However, there is also nothing like seeing your work make someone else deliriously happy. Be courageous and put your best foot forward. Don’t be afraid. You can do this.
PS A week full of Happy Anniversary fun starts on Monday–including some giveaways you won’t want to miss!