I effed up. I jumped in feet first without looking where I was going and it cost me. A lot. I’m an Aries and impatient. I thought ‘I’ve produced huge events and campaigns for the biggest brands in Australia. Surely I can do this’.
I had built a small wedding ceremony business a few years back and was able to book 50 weddings in my first 12 months relatively easy. My whole life in events was built around finding solutions to all the problems.
This time I wanted a new challenge and something that I could build around my life as a mum. For years I had been following a ‘business in a box’ website that offered a package to build your e-commerce business. I loved the idea and knew that was the direction I wanted to take. It was a great way for me to fast-track a lot of the build element of the website and some marketing basics.
At the time I was a mum of a 2 year old girl and was navigating my new lifestyle and body changes. I realised there was a bit of a gap in the market for clothes that were good quality, practical for mums and made us feel good. No one was really talking to those problems at the time. There was maternity wear – then what? So I decided to source clothes that made more sense for mums and package it up as providing solutions for our needs. In theory it made so much sense. But here is a small list of the mistakes I made:
- Entered a flooded market that was difficult to compete against already established brands
- Didn’t do much of the foundational work with my branding, audience building, product photography, funnel building and lining up my traffic sources
- Outsourcing elements that I should have learnt about and spent way too much on shoddy work that had no benefit
I just couldn’t make it work and I didn’t know why. You don’t know what you don’t know.
But mama didn’t raise no quitter.
I invested in e-commerce training with a mastermind program and spent six months learning and up-skilling. During the process of looking at my brand and the values I wanted to embody I realised my business didn’t sit right with me. I had no control over the products I was sourcing and the quality was deteriorating. And, I wasn’t really solving any problems for women.
I spent time working out who I actually wanted to sell to and deciding what business I really wanted to build. I listened to women about their pain-points – the one that stood out the most was around their confidence and not being proud of their own bodies. This became a pain-point for me personally and I knew I needed to come up with a solution for it. I’m all about solutions!
Inspiration struck after watching an IGTV from Mia Freedman. I came up with a crazy idea for my own product. A product that could really make a difference. It was also important for me to build business that wasn’t based off trends – something that I could systemise and scale without worrying about what the next seasons looks would be.
I frantically tried to find people to develop my idea for a dress with integrated lining that would smooth your shape without being uncomfortable like shapewear.
I hit some brick walls but I found someone who liked my vision. I did some research to validate the idea and I liked what I was hearing. I have hit a few more brick walls but was able to finally get the product development underway. Then I buckled down.
I don’t Netflix and chill. I ‘trawl business groups and read all the posts and chill’. I put my head down and read. I consume blogs, podcasts, freebies and invested in content from leading Digital Marketers to find out the one secret to success. I didn’t find it. Despite all the gurus promises, there is no ‘just three things to make your business boom overnight’.
What I did find was all the secrets. Here’s what I did differently this time:
- Worked on my branding first – and not just the design of my logo. I defined my audience and avatars, what their pain points were and how I could help them
- Re-built my website with conversion strategies in place
- Invested in a Social Media Manager to help my re-brand journey
- Invested in high quality product photography
- Invested in email marketing set up
- Have a created a simple and clear strategy that encompasses multiple tactics to bring people into my business
- Have systemised and planned my product range for the next 5 years
- Have invested in myself to learn how to run proper traffic to my store to make sales (currently doing paid course with Molly Pittman!)
- I have planned my Lifetime Customer Value already so I can nurture them while bringing new people in
- I continue learning. Everyday. After FB ads will be SEO (argh SEO!)
I desperately wanted my own business that I could build with purpose. I just didn’t take the right steps. There is no secret trick. It’s hard work and it’s constant.
I’m not an overnight success but I feel like at least I am on a way better path now with still a lot to do! The feedback I am already receiving from women is not only rewarding but validating too – I just want women to step out in confidence and be proud of their shapes.
I’m looking forward to the slow burn to a long-term sustainable business. For myself and for my daughters. One step at a time.