Why My First Business Failed...And My Second Succeeded!
Welcome to another edition of my Weekly Journal! If you're new to grace + hudson, I use this space to share about my journey from lawyer to jewelry business owner. In the last two journal entries, I spoke about my first jewelry business which I had back in 2010. It only lasted a year and I went back to being a lawyer. I practiced law for another 6 years before I quit yet again and started grace + hudson. This year, grace + hudson will turn 5 years old which is quite a milestone for a small business. I think I read a statistic recently that said 95% of new businesses fail within the first 5 years. So making it to this point is worth a little celebration! In today's journal I'm going to share what I think the biggest difference has been between my first failed business and my second successful business. And I bet it'll surprise you.
So let's get right to it. The biggest difference has been my mindset. Yes, my mindset! Which is something you have complete control over. It doesn't depend on a large advertising budget or any other outside circumstance. Let me explain. Back in 2011, I didn't believe I deserved a better life than working 80 hours per week as an attorney, constantly arguing with others for a living (if you've come to know me, you know that doesn't fit my personality, like, at all). To sum it up, the first time I quit, I had these beliefs:
- Work isn't supposed to be fun
- The purpose of work is to earn a paycheck
- I'm supposed to work until age 65 and then I can retire and enjoy my life
- The right thing to do after college is to get a job with good income potential
- I work an office job because I need health insurance
- I stay at my corporate job because I need the benefits
- Having a regular paycheck makes me feel secure
- I work a 9 to 5 job during the week and I countdown to the weekend. Friday at 5 pm is my favorite. They say TGIF for a reason!
- Who am I to think that work should be any different than this? Everyone else feels the same way. That's just life. We all have to work to pay the bills.
I actually felt guilty and naive at times for trying to make a living doing something I enjoy. I'm not sure if it was (a) the doubt that I could go against the grain or (b) the guilt that killed my dream first, but I was back working as a lawyer within a year. I truly was not in alignment with my dream of being a business owner. What was I in alignment with? I was in alignment with working in a career I didn't really like. It can be hard to examine your beliefs and have enough self-awareness to admit that. But looking back, gosh it was so clear. I honestly didn't believe I deserved better.
Now I DO believe I deserve better. I believe I deserve to earn a living doing something I love. I believe that I don't need to "sell my soul" to a law firm to afford my living expenses. I believe that I can create a business that reflects my ideals and my authentic self, and therefore brings me joy on a daily basis. I believe that I can blaze new trails that lead to a super successful business, and that I don't have to be like every other jewelry artist on the planet, struggling to make sales any which way they can. When you truly have these beliefs, you receive out-of-the-box inspiration, you wind up in the right place at the right time, you come up with ideas that seem divinely inspired, you blaze new trails. For example, if you believe you can only make $20k per year as a baker, begging to sell cupcakes at various markets and events around your city, you are completely foreclosing other possibilities. What if Oprah Winfrey stumbled upon your cupcakes, posted about them on Instagram, and you received 1,000 online orders in 3 minutes flat? Your negative mindset is completely foreclosing that option, and other less radical ones that have just as much revenue power.
So, you ask, how did I change my mindset? Part of it was simply the wisdom that comes with growing a little older, and part of it was some real transformational work I had done with a therapist after I lost my dad to cancer. I was in a dark place at that time in my life. Everything was going wrong and it was just one thing after another. I was finally in enough pain to say, "Ok! Enough is enough! Something's gotta change here!" And that desire for change propelled me to work on myself and really challenge myself to grow beyond this pretty negative headspace I found myself in. It didn't happen overnight that's for sure, but slowly and surely I worked on a little tiny aspect of myself, and then another, and another, and another. And soon enough the momentum was great enough to make some really big, lasting changes. Maybe the biggest and most lasting change I made has to do with my perspective. I learned to see the world and my circumstances very differently. I used to buy into all the ideas society feeds you (see the list about career above!) and once I realized I can choose differently, my world changed. You see, the things you believe really shape your life. If you want to believe that "life is hard" and "my life hasn't turned out the way I wanted it to" your brain will look for evidence to support those beliefs. And, might I add, your brain also will ignore evidence to the contrary. It really is true that when you change your thoughts, you change your world. Do you see what I mean?
If you want to start working on your perspective, start with small things first. Here's my suggestion: on Monday morning when everyone else is saying "ughhh I hate Mondays," choose instead to say, "I'm excited about all the possibilities a new week holds." Do this every single Monday. I'm telling you, within a few short weeks you'll notice just how negative you used to be about Mondays. They might never become your favorite day of the week, but you can look at them from the perspective of possibility instead of dread. Once you do this little experiment with a few small things, you can graduate to bigger things. For example, you can start to challenge some of the beliefs on the bullet point list above. One by one, the dominos fall. And then you can expand this little game to other areas of your life like relationships. Oh there are a whole lot of societal beliefs around marriage and relationships that are just no good and setting you up for failure. Someone once said that "a miracle is a change in perspective" - which means miracles are ordinary, they happen every day. Isn't that a beautiful sentiment? (From the book A Course In Miracles)
If you'd like my Weekly Journal sent straight to your inbox every week, click here to subscribe. I hope you're able to learn something valuable from my business journey and my experiences!
P.S. Are you on Pinterest? I created a Weekly Journal board so you can easily navigate all of my journal entries. You can view and follow the board by clicking here. I've written so much about quitting my lawyer job to start g+h and I want to make it easier for you to access and read the entries that resonate most!
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