Do you remember being in school when you had to take a test and you’re always told to “keep your eyes on your own paper”? Over and over again for how many years? What a great life lesson! In my head I’d just hear “blah, blah, blah” because I knew it was the right thing to do, but in the back of your mind, didn’t you just want to peek or maybe you did and chose “C” because the smart kid sitting next to you had? How many times was it the wrong answer? Maybe they’d gotten it from who was sitting next to them, and that person from the next person, and on down the line? And do you do something now because you’re now looking at someone else’s Facebook page and that’s what they do, so it must be right?
Here’s the deal – you will never find the answer to your test on someone else’s paper. They don’t have the same test. They don’t have the same life lessons. They don’t have the same teacher. I’ll admit I am guilty of copying the answers (or being peer-pressured) into something that didn’t feel quite right for me. I think it happens to everyone. That perfect picture being shown by another owner always made me question what I was doing, so I would try it for awhile – just jump on in and do it because they made it look so easy. Just like a quick glance to get someone’s answer to fix all of my problems. The reality of it was sure, it looked easy now, but we didn’t see all the mistakes and frustrations they went through. WE DIDN”T GET THE LESSON TO KNOW THE ANSWER!
In this time where it’s easy to believe we should get anything super quick, like Amazon fast shipping, I had this notion that I should be able to watch a quick YouTube video and be an expert the second I tried something new. I wasn’t. I failed, miserably and, at times, humorously. It took me awhile, but I finally had to step back and figure it out, because sometimes, I really disliked doing what I was trying to learn, but I thought I HAD to do it. I finally let it go. I finally paid attention to the wise teachers who told me to concentrate on what I do best, and hire out the rest. I wasted so much energy on trying to be like everyone else, that I couldn’t focus on what I was good at in my store. Instead I started studying for my test.
I took what I really knew would be a positive influence for Absolutely Her and made that my focus, because dabbling at something wasn’t good for me or my customers. I dabbled at the online part. I dabbled at Facebook Lives. I dabbled at Accounting (huge mistake…HUGE). I dabbled at the expense of everything I knew to work for me. There were consequences of me not being all there for my current customers because I was so focused on finding new ones. Employee issues manifested because I was so stressed out trying to solve these new problems I created instead of paying attention to how it all fell back onto them.
I’m not saying don’t try new things, but I am saying learn first. Slow down and pay attention to see if what you think you want is going to come at the expense of something else even more important. This is the time of the year in which we have these new goals and expectations and resolutions hitting us from every angle of our lives.
Think wisely on your goal of “I will have my online store up and running by February 15th with projected sales of $100,000 by the end of 2020” (change the year to 2017, and that was mine). I should have set the goal of: “I will research the potential of an online selling platform to be created this year. Areas to include: staffing, set up costs, equipment costs, software costs, photography studio area, payment processing, shipping station. If these costs are within my budget and staffing AND the project feels like a good fit for Absolutely Her, I will begin implementing by March 15th to have the site ready to go live within 60 days with minimum of 800 pieces of inventory. Projected sales goal for the first year will be 15% of each month’s sales.” Two different goals. First was a fly-by-the-seat-of-my-pants goal, second was a process goal because I was going to learn the lessons before I took the test.
We aren’t here to be cookie cutter stores. We are here to stand out for our customers. Listen to them and to what really feels right to you – that’s where you find the answers to your test.