What I Learned in My First Year of Business

It’s hard to believe that I have been in business for a year. It flew by so fast. This year was a learning curve full of trial and error.

When I launched my shop I was so excited. I thought it would be a hit. I thought lots of people would buy my greeting cards since my family and friends really liked them. The truth was my shop had hardly any sales for weeks and weeks on end. I didn’t understand why. I thought I was doing everything right from what I read and what I learned from networking.

I got discouraged but I also hardly made many new products after I launched. I was promoted at my full-time job and got busy working longer hours and put my shop on hold. Looking back, I should have kept going and working on new products since working on my shop makes me happy.

After my mom sat me down and gave me a long talk about how I need to continue to add new products to my shop, I thought it was time to take her advice and start working. I added more new cards and there was still crickets. More and more discouragement hit me. Then an opportunity came to join a product shop mastermind.

I was hesitant at first to join but now I am so happy I did. I learned so many tips from one of my favorite products shop owners and grew my network and met genuine, lovely boss ladies. I felt more confident and realized that I needed to put in more work and effort than I was before. I needed to keep showing up every day event if I wasn’t seeing results right away.

Since the mastermind ended I continue to work on applying what I learned in my business. I expanded my product offerings from just greeting cards to art prints and notepads and gift tags. I keep reading articles and figuring out what more I can do to make my shop more visible. I am already seeing my shop slowly grow and couldn’t be more excited.

Ten big things I have learned this year are:

  1. Filing taxes was HUGE. I missed filing some of my taxes in the beginning and ended up paying big for it. On the bright side, now I have a routine with my finances so I can avoid missing a filing tax date.

  2. Showing up every day on social media. Sharing behind the scenes, being vulnerable, replying to comments, and networking. I also learned that my main social media channels I should focus on the most are Instagram and Pinterest.

  3. Email Marketing was a struggle. I did have signups on my website but for several months I had no one on my list. After working with the mastermind and listening to a webinar, I learned some tips and tricks to start growing my email list. If you are not on it, you are missing out on all of the news, discounts, and freebies.

  4. Finding out how to be found on Etsy was also something I learned this year. I learned that sometimes you have to pay to have your listings seen on Etsy and Google. At first I wasn’t sure if it was worth it but I am starting to see the pay off now.

  5. Networking with other creatives. I grew my network this year which also helped spread the word when I launched new products.

  6. I learned more about SEO than I did before. This has helped me with my Etsy listings being found.

  7. Giveaways are great but I probably did and participated in too many. I lost a lot of money doing so and didn’t gain much of a conversion.

  8. Pop-ups and craft fairs are a way to break out of shell and to meet people face to face as I sell my products. I was able to see their initial reactions and received feedback as to what they were really looking for. I also learned during a webinar how I should be preparing for craft fairs. I feel so much better and not as anxious as how craft fairs will work out.

  9. Balancing my business, my full-time job, relationships was difficult and still is. At work I am grinding away while my mind wanders. I think about my business and dream of the day when I can just work on what I am most passionate about. I often put my business first before spending time with family and friends. I have been trying to be better by scheduling out days when I meet with friends and carve out time to talk to family.

  10. Last but not least was learning not to compare my business to others. It’s easy nowadays to compare what other businesses are doing and how successful you are compared to others. The major problem with doing that is that most businesses I admire have been in business for 3+ years. They have been building an audience and working hard at having a variety of products. They also learned from failure and are still continuing to do so.

As year one is coming to a close, I am excited to see how year two will go. I have big plans for year two and want to take it more seriously than after I first launched my shop a year ago. I’ve started to plan out new products coming to the shop next year, blog posts, emails, and working on systems to better streamline my business.

My journey is far from over. It is just the beginning.