BTS with Danielle - Owner of ivy & pine
In early March I received an email from a writer with Voyage LA magazine asking if I would like to be interviewed as a part of their Inspiring Stories Series. It turns out a friend (and amazing makeup artist) of mine, Mallorie, had nominated me for the series. It's hard to describe exactly how I felt when I opened that initial email; confusion, excitement, joy and the terrifying thought that I was not interesting enough to be interviewed about anything; were just a few of the thoughts that crossed my mind in the .0005 seconds after reading. Just as soon as the negative thoughts entered they very quickly left. Why? Because I am (and YOU are) a BADASS and sometimes it takes a minute to remember that.
Owning a business is tough, it's hard, round-the-clock kind of work; and I'm 'only' online! Even though I had been open a mere eight months when I was approached, I knew that I had a LOT to say about starting a business, running a business, and how I manage to do it while also working a separate full-time job. Don't get me wrong, I am not assuming I "can do it all", nor am I attempting to sound like a marter but I knew that what I had to say at least someone out there needed to hear.
A few things I wanted to share here that I didn't get the chance to in that article (I could only take up so many pages!) in regards to opening a store or starting a business. Whether you've heard these suggestions or not, I hope you get some takeaways from my successes and trials. Enjoy! xoxo
1. EDUCATE YOURSELF
This was a rough one for me to figure out. I mean I read dozens of articles on how to start an online business, I listened to podcasts, I signed up for free classes, everything I could think to do that didn't cost me a dime. That's where I made my first mistake. Think of it this way, if you don't know how to fix a car, would you try and find someone who can and pay them for it? Or would you attempt to watch free YouTube tutorials and hope for the best?
What amount you're willing (or can) spend in the beginning will be different for every person, every venture. However, my suggestion is you take part of your budget and pay someone to help you with the task you feel least equipped to handle. Maybe you're super creative with marketing but you want some help with photography - PAY A PHOTOGRAPHER! Sometimes you can get them to barter, they provide a service you need and you can return the favor.
You don't have to know everything or pay for an expert to do everything for you, but if you need help, get it! Ask around, tell your friends or family what you are looking for and I bet someone can help guide you in the right direction.
2. DON'T COMPARE YOURSELF
Full disclosure - I haven't mastered this one yet. I might never really stop comparing myself to others, but I'm farther now than I was when I started. Progress, friends! Here is the thing, it's highly likely that whatever business you want to launch, someone has already done it. Maybe you're like me and want to launch an online shop selling cute Women's clothing (groundbreaking, right?), or maybe you're super talented and want to create custom bags, ceramics, jewelry, etc for your venture. Whatever it is, it will be great because it has YOU! Now, social media will jump in when you're feeling particularly down on yourself and remind you that there are a lot of similar companies to yours, some that seem to have hit the "overnight success" checkmark without even trying.
BLOCK EM. Seriously, block them. If there is someone out there that has success that you want and it actually causes you physical pain to see their photos, block them, mute them, get them out of your scrolling habits. Why? Because there is a HUGE difference between being inspired by someone who has blazed a path ahead of you and being so green with jealously that you sabotage your own success.
I'll admit it, I have muted one or two AMAZING online boutiques on my Instagram. I am so supportive of these women, so excited for their growth, their success, but I started to feel more jealousy rather than inspiration. I needed a break - I needed to remember why I started my company, and I needed to remind myself that I am comparing my Chapter One to their Chapter 20.
This has nothing to do with pettiness or anger - but you do need to look inside when you're in the middle of building a company, a brand, a legacy and remember WHY you are doing what you're doing, and remind yourself what makes you different.
You can always un-mute, you can always reach out and tell that person who used to make you so jealous how insanely happy you are that they get to share their talent with the word and that you hope one day to make as big of an impact as they do.
3. NOTHING IS PERFECT
If you are a Type A personality - listen up!! Nothing is perfect. Do you know how amazing that is?? That means that there is beauty in everything, that you can make mistakes and take chances and GROW. How freaking awesome is that?
I am writing this the week of launching my fourth site update. Four times I've re-designed and updated my site, and I haven't even been open a year. While I would suggest going back to my first note on educating yourself and hiring people to help you instead of following my path, I do know that this update will be my last for a LONG time.
I change my mind a lot, and to me nothing I do is perfect. It took a long time (and honestly I still struggle) to get to a point where I am ok with what I accomplish as long as I know I did my absolute best. In regards to my site, I thought the first one was actually pretty dang awesome. Looking back...yikes! But it's all in line with growth on my part and the part of my business. I also would be remise if I didn't thank the multitude of people who have helped me along the way with suggestions and thoughts and referrals to some amazingly talented people.
I want my store to be PERFECT. I do. But I also know that if it were "perfect" why in the world would anyone want to shop at it? It would lack character and personality - it wouldn't be relatable. There are shops out there that I deem "perfect" and I love them, but I am also not drawn to them in the same way I feel my customers are to me and my site.
If you're thinking of starting something, ANYTHING, do it. Want to learn how to speak another language? Learn to crochet? Launch a business? Get certified to teach fitness? Become a Real Estate Agent? NOW IS THE TIME!! Besides the fact that we are in a quarantine that will seemingly last forever, why live a life that isn't a little messy and a lot fun?
Whether you start whatever it is as a side hustle, or quit your day job and jump in, do it before you're really ready - because there is never the absolute right time to do anything. You have the opportunity to LIVE everyday, take advantage!
That's all for now - I hope you enjoyed and I\f you haven't had a chance to read my article yet, please take a look!
Read my article! - ivy & pine article