Recently, I had a little time to reflect on my life and business. I realized that next month will be our 3 year anniversary for Little Neetchers! As the owner, running our business not only takes up most of my free time, but is always, everyday, every hour, on my mind. It’s what I think about when I wake up and when I’m laying in bed at night. Apparently, this is how it’s suppose to be as a business owner. However, the last year in particular, with getting pregnant again (by surprise) and now having 3 kids, I seem to have forgotten what the heck I am doing running a business. Really, what mom of three young children (ages 5 and under) would do such a crazy thing?
I don’t know if you knew this, but on average, 90% of small businesses fail in the first 2-5years. Geez! That doesn’t exactly make you want to run out and start a business now does it? So, here I sit at year 3, wondering if I have what it takes to make it beyond year 5. This may be a normal feeling for most business owners when they reach a, “make it or break it”, “do or die”, “give it all you got” or “bury it in the ground” phase, but it’s uncomfortable.
This reflection started, not surprisingly, when I realized that I did actually want to get paid, and not just get paid, but make a living wage for myself and my family. I mean, it’s all fun and games until you are barely making a dime. Then, after a couple years in business, all the hours of work, effort and emotion put into this “fun” business lead to one question…is it worth it? All pity parties aside, let me dig a little deeper in my mind and remind myself (and you) why I am doing this business thing.
Little Neetchers started out as a fun hobby business. Some sort of an outlet for my creative and leadership mind. Maybe even something worth while to invest my thoughts and time into. The simple idea was to have a business by which I could come along side customers, not just to help them buy cloth diapers, but to connect with them so that they would enjoy cloth diapering enough to tell others about how easy using cloth can be. My goal was to take all I learned from making a ton of mistakes when cloth diapering our 1st child (most of which could have been avoided had we known what we know now), and use my knowledge to hopefully help others have a much better experience. Saving the environment one customer at a time. Simple right? I love getting to meet with customers, providing helpful and needed advice, coming up with new ideas, and seeing them succeed at cloth diapering. I love that stuff. It comes easy and naturally for me. It’s comfortable. Too bad it seems like I can’t just make money on good ideas, good intentions and being comfortable.
So, it gets uncomfortable. I’m trying to mesh what I love to do and want to do, with making it profitable. I’ve never been here before. I have no idea what I’m doing. I feel like I’m back in school and getting a rough education. This is more than an educational learning too, it’s a “what am I made out of” learning. Can stuff be pulled out of me that I’m not sure is there? Do I have the confidence, drive and brains to make this happen? Did all the years of being considered a shy, timid, little girl with a tiny voice really affect who I think I am? Man, get me Kleenex.
I want this. I want this business to succeed. I want to show my kids (my son and daughters) not just what I can do, but what women can do. I want them to see that unless they go beyond what they think they can do, they will never find out all they can do and be. I want them to know that they are not limited to who people say they are or even who they think they are. I have a great story. It’s more than learning SEO, analytics, marketing, brand development, intellectual property, social media, cash flow, and business plans. It’s letting this pressure of learning and insecurity teach me, push me, and change me. I never thought running a business would or could have this effect on me, but since it has I’m going to roll with it and see where it takes me. As Donald Miller wrote (“A Millon Miles and a Thousand Years”), “I’d started an epic story of my own, and life no longer felt meaningless. It felt stressful and terrifying, but it definitely didn’t feel meaningless.”
So, here I go. I want this. I’m all in.
On this blog, I (and sometimes Joshua, my husband) will be sharing about cloth diapers, diapering tips, about our family, and about running a business. Please follow us, and see where this story takes us. Oh, and a big thank you to all who continue to support our business, Little Neetchers. Happy 3rd Anniversary!