The journey of #Tishspiration has been an adventure, with many twists and turns along the way. Right now, it really feels like an uphill battle. You know what I mean, you are on a narrow path, climbing a mountain one step at a time.
When this happens, you have two choices. You can stop for a rest, or you can choose a different path. I choose to rest when I need to but keep aiming for the top of the mountain.
I have been working towards the dream of launching my own business since January. While I am on this path, I am meeting people, in the areas of personal and business development. I have been in a constant state of learning for three years. Becoming an entrepreneur alongside of being a published author is the direction I must keep moving towards.
Here is the thing. For the last three years, I have been learning as much as I can from free online training programs. I have to confess, that first one with the pitch at the end really threw me for a loop. I had never experienced a sales pitch for an online program before.
In this realm of online training, you have two choices. You can choose a program to invest in to have professionals help you get your business idea up and running, or you can do it yourself.
If you only have time and energy to invest in your business, it makes investing money into your dreams difficult. I started with baby steps to invest in myself financially. Quite frankly, in the online business world, it comes highly recommended.
I have had good experiences, and I have had good results after paying more than I expected. There are lessons to learn as I work towards bettering myself.
What have I tried?
I tried an online coach hot seat. I would be able to talk about my business and the coach would ask questions and offer advice. The really cool thing is that participants like myself also offered help and advice. It may have been my nervousness which caused them to want to offer support, as I was visibly nervous when my turn came around.
The coach was gracious and encouraged me to talk more about my business plan. (It has changed entirely since this session). She knew from my application that there was more to my business plan than what I was saying when the spotlight was on me. Except for my nervousness about being in the hot seat with someone I follow who is confident and has an incredible sense of business, this experience was a positive one, which I would do again if the timing and price were right.
What else have I tried?
I took a paid online challenge. There is no disputing that I did indeed get value from working through this challenge. However, the cost of doing so from a financial point of view was more than double what I expected to pay.
The series of unexpected charges which kept adding up made me feel like I was not treated fairly. I was aware of the exchange rate and having to pay a little more because I live in Canada, not the USA. After the first unexpected charge on my credit card, I asked some questions. They answered, and I was okay with their explanation until the postman delivered a book to go with the challenge, and I had to pay more money.
The work done with this online challenge did lead to a breakthrough for me, and for that I am grateful. I didn’t sign up for their next challenge, as I had a bad taste in my mouth when the sales pitch came at me.
What Lessons Have I Learned?
Sometimes I get really nervous. It can impact my experience both positively and negatively. It positively gathered more support for me than anyone else in the group coaching session. My authentic self has the ability to surprise me in what it can do, even when my palms are sweaty and my words are not conveying my whole message. I will go for it again and be less nervous the next time because I have tried it before.
It is good business sense to set the expectations for your clients in all aspects of the services you are providing. If I had known how much that paid online challenge was going to cost me in the end, I may not have taken it. Or, I would have been expecting each charge, and not becoming upset when I experienced each additional fee.
Now, some of you may be thinking I should have refused the package. It was tempting, but I want to read this book to see if it is worth the extra cost. I went to my husband one more time, as he does our household budget and I explained that there was yet another unanticipated charge on a credit card. We were both ticked off at the financial consequences of my signing up for the paid online challenge. After our discussion, we also agreed that the lessons to be learned would not be easily forgotten.
Surprises are everywhere.
Regardless of the financial impacts, I have crossed a toe over the line into paid online training. The value of what I have learned outweighs the charges on the one hand. On the other hand, I had a breakthrough with personal growth and I was amazed when people started offering to help me from an unpredictable source.
Tishspiration is The Art of Surprising Yourself. When you push your boundaries and limits, even in a small way, you might just be surprised at the results. It will not be a big deal unless you choose to learn the lessons life delivers to you and you are open to the possibilities of success. When you find your own Tishspiration, please do celebrate it with me! It is a feeling like no other when you accomplish something you never thought you could do. I would love to celebrate with you, so please share your wins in the comments so I can.
I am admitting to dragging my feet again about the business plan. It is something which I do need to work on, and therefore have to make time for. I am learning one thing this year, it is that things always take longer than I think they will.
I have made some decisions about the new direction for my business. It will happen. Next, I need to find time to work on the business plan. To make sure I get it accomplished, I have given myself a deadline.
What else have I been doing?
Cleaning. A lot of cleaning has been going on in my home. It was long overdue and very necessary. I am doing well. My parents were here for a visit. They like to stay busy and asked if they could help with anything. As they are on vacation, I hate to think that they are helping me with my mess. After all, it is my responsibility to clean it up. I let them choose what they wanted to tackle; the result is I am farther ahead in my cleaning than I would have been without their help.
In Roy’s shed, to start to organize Roy’s tools, Dad hung up a peg board to have a place to hang things up. When Dad is here, he also helps with the BBQ, except for Father’s Day. Roy cooked on the BBQ as a treat for Dad. I surprised him with a new ball cap. Dad also took down our front step and helped Roy get the area ready for the new step. A friend has been hired to build a new step, and it is coming together nicely.
Mom dusted in the bathroom and helped me to get started with the kitchen reorganization. It is easier to move things from one place to another if two people are working together. She also dusted the kitchen table and chairs. She also cleaned the cupboard doors. I didn’t expect so much help when they were here. It motivates me to keep going.
Deadlines help me to finish projects.
I set a deadline for the cleaning to be finished on Thursday. It needs a final push in the kitchen, master bedroom and living room to get it done. I am very close to finishing, and then I can work on more fun things while upkeeping the new cleaner home.
It is easy to slip into what my friends refer to as ‘Tish Time.’ I try very hard to be punctual, and this year I am managing to do so more than ever. It isn’t that I don’t think things are important, rather that I find it difficult to manage my time. When I am working on a project, I rarely look at the clock and the time surprises when I do. As I am learning this year, things take longer than I think they will take to do. Planning ahead is something I am working on planning ahead when I have to be somewhere. It is working, but I can do better. I will keep at it, and soon it will be a non-issue.
My parents experienced ‘Tish Time’ while they were visiting. My mom was very surprised at how time just flies in my home. It is nice to see that it isn’t just me and that it doesn’t only relate to punctuality. I am an anomaly, I often say, meaning my health, but it also relates to time itself. Time really does fly around me!
We did take a day to do fun things also. We took a short drive outside of the city to the town of Oromocto, for lunch and to go to a store. The Oromocto Galleria is a place where local artists have their work for sale, like a gift shop. It is one of four in our area, and there was something I had wanted to check out. I picked up some paint samples on popsicle sticks of Fusion Mineral Paint. The plan is to paint the front door, and the window shutters with it, after the front step is rebuilt.
Mastering My To-Do Lists
I work well with lists. Of course, I need to take the time to write them. Normally just make them before packing suitcases, to make sure I don’t forget anything. Lately, I am making them for cleaning. I have 2 agendas, a small one and a large one. The small one helps me to keep track of all of my appointments, except for the one I was 24 hours early for. I chose not to wait for that one, I went back the next day.
The large one is to help me to keep track of my health. Medicine doses, water intake, food diary, sugar levels and activity. I did well with it for about a month and stopped. I will clear a space in my living room to have it readily accessible to use. It is on my list of things to do.
The important thing to note here is things take time, and when you find a method which works, use it. I am making time today to revise the current to-do list to add in the rewriting of the business plan. Cleaning and writing my next book will also be a priority. The second book is a part of my current business plan. It will be the foundation of what I am about to build.
#Tishspiration Tuesdays have been missing here lately. I find myself heading back to the beginning. I am creating a business, with what I thought was an incredible idea, to help artists and authors through a subscription box service. The plan was to collect art, write stories, create my own Bling, and find other inspirational items to go into a box. I thought about launching bi-monthly, or quarterly.
Instead of worrying about it being wildly successful, I tell myself that will be a good thing, as I will need to hire help. I was moving forward with as much as I could before making it all official.
The first problem I ran into was the cash flow. When I started to add my own salary into the budget, I started to lose money. This concerned me, and my business advisor. He has been working with me for months to help me apply for the self-employment program, which would allow me to draw on unemployment insurance for 12 more weeks while I grow my business, and most importantly, not have to claim my earnings against the unemployment insurance with this program.
Last week, I asked for a meeting to figure out what was going wrong with my cash flow, and what I should do to make it work.
I learned I had to re-evaluate everything. Budget. Cost of goods. Sale price. How much to ask for a startup loan. All of the elements I had worked so hard on to make a business plan to make my entrepreneurial dreams a reality.
I am in a networking group called 100 Coffees. The Coffee Community is women who want to learn networking techniques. It works on a basic principle of having virtual meetings, which we call coffees, with two members a week. I am more active in the community now and involved in a weekly Master Mind meeting. I have been working with my peers within the group to develop the ideas for my business.
Two weeks ago, our weekly meeting started having more participants. One was not convinced that the subscription box idea would be right for me.
This made me pause and doubt my plans.
We found time to have an online chat together, separate from the weekly meeting. We both shared where our thoughts were coming from, and at the end of our conversation, she was concerned that I was upset. I was quiet and explained that I was processing. Some of my fears were valid, and I was having a brain pretzel moment.
What were my fears? I worried that if the business was too successful, it would cause problems with finding enough artists to contribute to the boxes as I have only had one inquiry since I started my local networking with artists to exchange information. I have enough product for the first box, but no solid leads for the second.
This is when the questions became a little harder to answer. I was asked to choose between being an author or a jewellery designer. It made me pause to think again. I know I am a writer who loves crafts. I have narrowed the scope to jewellery designing for business purposes, with the Tish MacWebber Always Blinging business.
The jewellery business has never been my purpose.
It is really hard for me to admit this. I love being creative. For as long as I can remember, I have always made gifts for people. I had to search my heart to find my answer.
Writing is my purpose. Creativity is my passion. Jewellery Designing is my pleasure.
I wrote this when I relaunched my website in January 2019. My answer was right in front of me this whole time. People have asked me to narrow my scope since I started this journey to become an entrepreneur, and true to my stubborn, Scottish roots, I dug in my heels. I wanted to do it all.
For 17 years I have tried to get the jewellery business to be my thing. I will continue to work on it, but it is time to be realistic about it and see it for the hobby it really is. There are customers who I can rely on me when they need something special. The challenge of custom orders, especially when I can surprise my clients with the bling they didn’t know they needed, is something I enjoy. I will continue to make gifts for family and friends, however, I will not be continuing with it as a business. I’ll still sell pieces as a side hustle, but it will not be along for the ride in the passenger seat any more. It is time to pack it into the backseat, or maybe even in the trunk for a while. Not forever, but for now.
In three days, I will need to submit a new business plan
It is a little daunting to start it all over, after spending so much time on it already. I have to take what I have learned from meeting with professionals, and with my networking group to move forward. Yes, I have a plan.
My one on one meeting with my peer also made me come to this conclusion. She told me I would be lost in the subscription box business because it wasn’t about me. Her concern was that I will not reach the people I am meant to help with this business idea.
I have been reading two books. Don’t Sweat The Small Stuff by Richard Carlson and You Are A Badass by Jen Sincero. Yes, I do read in the washroom and the bedroom for a few minutes when I can. Real books; usually more than one at a time. I have 2 others in progress and am thinking about picking up a fifth as I have a stack of books from the library which I need to speed read to get through them all before the due date.
They are about changing the way you think, and I have been working on affirmation statements for a while. I realized today that I only need one. It is something I have been saying for a while now, and I shared it on my Facebook profile earlier this evening.
The world needs more Tish.
My next challenge is to rethink the whole business plan, based on this affirmation. In no way is it meant to be egotistical. I am not arrogant or conceited when I am saying this. What this affirmation means to me is that I can help people by being myself, and sharing the best parts of me with others.
My new business plan will reflect this. I can’t wait to share more details with you as they develop. Thank you for following my journey. Here comes another left turn. Hang on!
On the verge of a new idea, ready to burst with excitement. It is hard to contain it, to keep the important parts to myself. I cannot wait to reveal what I am working on to the world. Yes, to the world!
It has potential. When my ideas are getting interest within a circle of like-minded people who I trust, I know I am on to something. It could be life changing. If I take the time I need to develop it properly. If I get the support I need from the creative community in the city I live in. The possibilities really are just beyond my grasp, and can expand exponentially, under the right circumstances.
In literal terms, I am sitting at my computer desk, in my home. My home office is a part of my living room, which is centrally located within the floor plan. I have access to my TV and music while I am working, or on a break.
Figuratively, I am not exactly sitting.
I am on a tightrope, way up high, where I can still see the ground and the safety net. From this vantage point, I am on the brink of something new. I can see what is waiting on the other side of the tightrope. There is a place to go from here, with a ribbon to cut upon my arrival.
There are people who support me waiting to hand me the scissors to cut the ribbon when I reach the other side. They are holding balloons, and wearing party hats. Everyone in that space is waiting for me, tentatively holding their breath while they smile through the tough part.
The tough part, well that is on me. I am heading in the right direction, but like the sentence I opened with, I have been here before.
Deja Vu can lead you astray or guide you to where you were meant to be all along.
I have been on the verge of something wonderful before. People can attest to the joy I have when I am working on my dreams. The first time I went down this path, I had everything but a realistic business plan.
A local craft store was closing, and I got the idea to buy it and take over the business. I even had a price tag on what the owner was willing to sell it for. Networking within my community allowed me to meet people and start looking into a new location for my store. I had a vision for the design and layout. The problem, however was that I had no idea how much work and research is needed to create a proper business plan. I didn’t have the necessary support or resources to fund my dream. As a result, my proposal was declined, and that dream died when this happened.
When you pour heart into something, it is a devastating blow when it doesn’t work out. It could have put out the entrepreneurial flame within me. It didn’t, because I wouldn’t let it go out.
My next idea was for Tish’s Treasures.
I decided to forego the business plan this time, and just see what I could do with my love of creating. I wanted to run a jewellery business. The location I started at was very limiting. I went to the local Farmer’s Market and was told I had to sell other items, hand-made, but they would not allow me to sell my jewellery there. There were too many vendors already with jewellery for sale. I got creative, and worked on creating beaded ornaments and suncatchers. I went to craft shows with my full stock, and was thrilled with each and every sale I made.
This business idea was but a hobby, and so it never really turned a profit. When I stopped going to the Farmer’s Market, I would then turn to friends and family to generate income from my hobby. Again, it fizzled out of being an actual business. I began creating jewellery to give to people as gifts, with a custom order from time to time. I do have a few loyal customers, but it was never enough to generate a sustainable income.
Reality is a tough thing to understand as a dreamer.
Don’t get me wrong, I do have a logical side to my brain, along with the creative side. I am always thinking, and sometimes it takes me a while to find my courage to try again. Enter the dream of becoming a published author.
I was inspired to write From Where I am Sitting…A Collection of Cat Tales after working very hard at starting this blog. Again, I did not create a business plan, because cat people would totally get this book, and read it and love it. I am an optimist and a dreamer. It will generate future sales, and I hope it does. I have had success with the book, although not as much as I had hoped for, but the sales are not something which will ever really stop unless it is sold out. What a dream come true that would be, not just for me, but for any author!
After finishing the book, and indie publishing it, I wanted to write a second book. I do have a plan for the books I want to write, and unless this is the first contact you have had with Tish MacWebber, you know I am working on #Tishspiration: The Art of Surprising Yourself. It will be more than a book. It is the foundation on which I am building that tightrope walk on. I am working very hard on a new business plan, based on #Tishspiration. I am still in the development stages, but this time, I am playing on more of a level tightrope.
How are things different this time around?
For starters, I have learned lessons while I have been on this journey. I am finding out what resources are available to me, and I plan to use them to the fullest extent. While I am working on a new concept within #Tishspiration, I am still sticking to my original ideas. My business will not conform to narrow my scope, although I am looking to work with local artists in a very niche setting. There is plenty of room to grow with this idea, and I know where I need to start to get things going.
This time, I will be writing a business plan. I have contacts who will not write it for me but will support me to help me to succeed. This new business does not only help me. It helps other creatives, and the customers I will have who will buy what I am planning to offer. I am learning about my target market, and what I will need to do to get the idea to sprout from a dream into a garden. (Again, speaking figuratively here).
This time, I have a lot more information, and experience to guide my path. I need to focus, look straight ahead, hold out my arms to keep my balance, and dance my way across that tightrope. With the right plan of action, there is only one outcome that I will allow to happen. Fearless Success. Who knows, I just may surprise myself with another source of…