A Letter To Aspiring eCommerce Entrepreneurs
Dear aspiring eCommerce entrepreneur,
You want to start your own business. You want to be your own boss. You want to be able to support yourself while doing something you love. However, you are also hesitant.
Fear & Failure
The idea of failure is crippling. So crippling, that it may have kept you from even wanting to start. Maybe you have started, but things aren't coming together the way you want them to. Maybe you feel discouraged and may have given up, or stepped away.
Your dream starts to seem like it's nothing more than just that, a dream.
Well guess what? You're wrong.
I mean, sure, you can prove yourself right. You can go through your whole life and never explore the reality of your dreams. You can sit around waiting and wishing that something would happen to help get you where you want to be. You can keep yourself from your dreams by focusing on the negative and being so afraid of failure that you never start.
You can just go for it. The hardest part of getting to where you want to be can often be giving yourself permission to start. You can embrace the idea of failure as a possibility, and a learning tool.
You can look your fears in the face and say, TAKE A HIKE!
What Keeps Us From Starting?
Why is it so difficult to start working towards our dreams?
Dreams, by definition, seem unobtainable. They seem like impossible possibilities because we are afraid to put ourselves out there. We are afraid to fail. We are afraid to screw up. We are afraid of a perceived loss.
We have an ideal we aspire towards, but so few of us take the road to get there. So few of us even take the first step. When we have BIG dreams for ourselves, they seem so out of reach and we rarely strive towards them. The fear keeps us from feeling inspired and squashes our passion and excitement. The fear ensures our hesitations. The fear ensures we will never start.
Breaking it Down
In my mind, dreams have two parts. First, there is the dream, the big idea! Second is the expectation that goes along with that dream.
It is the expectations that accompany our dreams that keeps us from working towards them and fighting for them. Achieving a goal, but having it not reach expectations is often seen as failure. And failure is seen as a terrible thing. The truth is, failure is a tool. It helps us get to where we want to be. Failure can be an integral part in helping us to achieve our dreams. Not achieving your expectations can be a learning experience. It can be valuable. You can step back, research, reevaluate, and try again with a newly informed mind. You aren't allotted only one attempt at success.
If there is one thing I have learned, it is that we too often see our end goal as being success, or nothing. This expectation is debilitating. It will only slow you down, freak you out, and bring a halt to what you are working towards.
Some of the most successful people in world started out as total failures. Sure some people luck out, but that is by far the exception and not the rule. To be able to get started, you have to be okay with the idea that things might not work out, this time.
I think as soon as we let go of this idea, we can free ourselves. We give ourselves permission to fail. We give ourselves permission to learn. We give ourselves permission to START.
Here is what I want you to do. Think about one of your goals and the expectations that go along with it. Let's say your goal is own a successful e-commerce shop where you can sell your designs and your expectation of this store is to support yourself and your family. This goal may seem unobtainable and completely out of reach.
So, let's redirect. Let's create a more obtainable goal. Let's make your new goal to set up a store. Let's not have the expectation of this store be to support yourself. Let's have the expectation be that you will get some eCommerce experience and learn something. Now the goal seems much less scary and much more doable. This is a goal you can work towards. This is a goal you can reach. This goal, is also a goal that will move you towards your bigger dream. Keep setting smaller, obtainable goals, until you get to where you want to be.
Tackling Specific Fears
We can also tackle specific fears. Let's say you are afraid to open a store because you are worried about overhead. After you've bought a bunch of items, the thought of not being able to sell them and recoup your costs is scary. Maybe you don't have room to store your stock. Maybe you are worried about the time commitment that goes a long with keeping track of orders and shipping orders out as they come in. There's a simple solution to all of these fears!
Sign up with a fulfillment service. Do your research, order samples, and find a company that offers what you need and that you can trust to handle your orders. Fulfillment services (like Printaura - shameless plug) often offer print on demand services, which means you only pay for what you sell. They also ship your items out for you. You can relax knowing your overhead is low, and that your orders are being taken care of. This way, you can focus on doing what you are actually passionate about, creating and designing.
If you have other fears, address them. Are they realistic? If so, come up with a plan for how to handle them and make yourself feel comfortable.
So what are you waiting for? Start working towards your dreams, now. There's no better time!