I’ve had a lot of businesses over the years… and they’ve all failed.
By lots I probably mean ten or more. Crazy hey? And maybe I don’t mean “failed”… but just that I lost interest or it just didn’t feel right after a while. And mind you, they were all with direct sales companies so they weren’t really my business – someone else was holding the bag at the end of the day.
But in 2011 I had an idea for my own company – creating custom personalized photo canvases with a twist. It was a brilliant product to be sure!
As I was beginning my little company I heard about Marie Forleo. One of her “Q&A Tuesdays” ended up on my radar and I was hooked! I loved her message to “Stay on your game, and keep going for your dreams because the world needs that special gift that only YOU have.”
This was the mentor I needed at exactly the right time!
She was soon to hold her “Rich, Happy & Hot LIVE” event in NYC. This sounded exactly what an aspiring business woman needed! Speakers like Kris Carr, Simon Sinek and Danielle LaPorte were scheduled to speak.
I needed to go to this event.
It was an absolutely phenomenal experience and I learned a TON of stuff, about business, about people and more importantly about myself.
Then I heard about Marie’s online business school: B-School. O. M. G. Again – the exact program that any aspiring business woman should do. I made the investment and started her B-School, continued to watch “Q&A Tuesday’s” and listening to Marie’s words, “only YOU have that special gift…” and her telling me “don’t be overwhelmed! Just start! It’s the only way to figure out if you really want to do something”.
So – I pushed forward!
I made prototypes! I bought graphics and fonts! I hired a graphic designer and bought graphic design software! I found a production company in Vancouver to create the product! I made business cards! My canvases were even highlighted as a great Christmas gift in a magazine!
Over time I received a few orders, but like any business in the beginning it was hard going. I kept pushing forward, spending $10,000 on building a gorgeous website while striving to get the functionality of the ordering process just right.
As I went through the program I began to feel that perhaps my product wasn’t going to be the huge hit I thought it could be. It was a really lovely product but other companies had begun making similar items, and at a scale and cost that I just couldn’t compete with. I soon realized I just couldn’t compete.
The fear and frustration began building.
I realized that my great idea and business model wasn’t so great after all. The pressure of having paid all this money for a website and B-School, and my partner and family looking on with raised eyebrows at what I was up to, I was feeling very pressured. Around this time I was also travelling like a maniac for my full-time job (I boarded 58 airplanes in that one year!) and although I didn’t know this until a few years later I had developed extreme adrenal fatigue, had a huge Vitamin D deficiency and mild depression from being in a long-distance relationship with the love of my life for the 6 years prior.
I started to crack under the pressure… and I fell apart.
I just couldn’t keep up the farce any longer. As time went on I realized that this product-based business just was not the “gift” that I had for the world – and that was a hard pill to swallow. I cried to my parents that I knew I was meant for more in this world! I had “that special gift” – I just didn’t know what it was. But, WHEN was I going to find it!?!
So after some deep soul-searching I made the decision to let my business go. It slowly dissolved over time as I just kept letting it slip away. I paid off my debt to my partner who loaned me the money for website development. He finally just let the domain name lapse this year – just in case.
But the point is this – professional and self-development is always a fantastic idea. What you learn may not be something you use right now, but can, and will, always come in handy in the future, whether in your day job, or your own business, or volunteer ventures.
Keep learning. Don’t ever be afraid to begin something new. And don’t be afraid to let something go if it no longer feels right. Trust your feelings. Know when it’s time to quit.
I still log into Marie Forleo’s B-School site from time to time. (I have lifetime access and there’s amazing information there) – and, I’m totally using the knowledge I’ve gained for my new life coaching business and to develop my e-course for those in long distance relationships now that the time is right.
And even though she made me cry, she’s taught me some great stuff – we’re still friends.
So, let me know in the comments below – have you ever attended Marie’s RHH Live event when it was still on? What did you love about it? How about B-School? Have you completed it and what were the best takeaways that came from your experience? Looking forward to hearing about it!