CHASING PERFECTION

What I had hoped to be a successful online sales trial, turned bad in just under 4 hours. I finally admitted defeat and shut the sales page down at midnight on Wednesday due to a large amount of lost carts and the loss of charging sales tax on invoices. Not properly charging sales tax is kind of a big deal people, but so are frustrated customers who just want to support your business and can’t because their cart is missing.

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CHASING PERFECTION

I have been putting so much effort into everything that I do at the store, be it my first day open, my events, and now an online sales trial, in order to make them perfect. But when I aim for perfection, I am setting standards that I know I can’t achieve. I get so caught up in the hype, that I forget these things take time - not a spur of the moment decision without proper thought or planning. Why did I think that I could launch an online sales page in less than 10 hours? Or, why do I always stay up the entire night before an event changing the layout of the store instead of tagging and entering in new inventory for said event? Easy - I want perfection. I want growth, and I naively thought that it could be obtained overnight. When I do those things, though, I don’t get perfect. The outcome is never what I wanted it to be, and I’m left feeling overwhelmed and defeated. And I usually take about three steps backward instead of forward - not good for the growth I so badly desire.

PERFECTION

Perfection is a myth. It’s an unrealistic goal that we set for ourselves and others. We are all flawed. We all fail. We all make mistakes. And that’s okay as long as we understand that:

 1. Those flaws are a part of us - tools to help us learn and grow, not excuses to why we can’t do something.

2. Failure doesn’t mean defeat and it’s not an excuse to give up or quit; it’s a reason to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and go at it a different way.

3. And that the second time, it’s no longer a mistake, but a choice. And sometimes, we make the choice, because it takes us a little longer to find our way, but eventually, you need to stop making the choice.

So here I am, admitting that I am flawed, that I have failed, and I have made a handful of mistakes, and even choices, during this journey of business ownership.

THE FIRST TIME IS A MISTAKE. THE SECOND TIME IS A CHOICE.

GROWING SLOW

It’s okay to grow slow. Say that again, slowly. It’s. Okay. To. Grow. Slow. It has taken me the last 11 months and a failed online sales trial to finally believe this statement in its entirety. Growth isn’t achieved in a few hours, or days. Sometimes it takes months, even years and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that. The time it takes for your growth does not define your business - it’s the steps and choices that you make that define it. This doesn’t just pertain to business either - it’s just as true for self and relationship growth.

In the past, I have always been a planner, but I have yet to fully plan anything that I have done in the store other than the initial business set-up. I got so caught up in the hustle to big growth and perfection, that I stopped seeking a plan or putting any real thought into things - I just did them sporadically, but still expected perfection. See the problem? So, I’m taking a step back and once again, creating a business plan of sorts - planning for the year, and years to come along with finding the tools and resources that I will need to do the things that I want to do, then mapping out what makes sense to do now, and what needs to wait. Of course there will be pitfalls and set-backs, but at least I will have a plan to guide me.

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FEEDBACK

Although the online sales trial was a flop in the are of sales and malfunction, some good came from it, too. The participation was much greater than I expected, so I know that the need to pursue on-line sales is there. My current website platform cannot support on-line sales the way that I need it to, so I will be switching to a platform designed specifically for boutiques and on-line sales. And, the best part, I learned that I can handle it. In under 10 hours, I did all of the product photography and editing, researched and recorded all of the product information, material and care instructions along with inventory and pricing. Imagine what I can do with more time and an actual on-line sales plan!

You’ve been my customers for seven months now - long enough to know the style of the store as it is now, but is there something that you would do differently or change entirely? I would appreciate if you could fill out the survey linked below, so that I can use your feedback in my planning. Be honest, but be nice. I will not tolerate rudeness or cruelty. Constructive criticism can be done without tearing someone apart.

LOOKING AHEAD

Although it doesn’t look like it here in Minnesota, Spring is coming and it’s on its way to the store in the form of fun new home decor, kitchen accessories, clothing, shoes, jewelry, purses and bags, and so much more! There are also some fun events and projects that I am working on, along with launching a new website platform with online sales capability. And much to my husbands dismay, we are working on some layout changes at the store so that we can accommodate more inventory and a better flow.

Thank you so much for your continued support, words of encouragement, patience, and not giving up on me. Running a business is hard, but when you have people who truly care about you, and support you - getting through the hard times are so much easier. Thank you, thank you!

SURVEY LINK

https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JDZ6DLF

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Samantha Zeitz
A J O U R N E Y O F H O P E

I QUIT MY JOB

It's official. I quit my full-time job to open a retail store. Rumors have been scattering for months now and I've enjoyed sitting back and listening to everyone share the details. Only a handful of people have taken the time to ask me, but even then, I have kept the details to a minimum. These last few months have been a whirlwind with remodeling the store, ordering inventory, applying for licenses, and trying to get my life in order. Some days I find myself sitting on the floor, my head in my hands, tears running down my cheeks while asking myself, "Why? Why did you think that you could do this? What have you gotten yourself into?". And then a quiet voice says, "You know why you did this."

 

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THE BEGINNING

Why did I do this? Honestly? For myself. I know that's selfish, but it's the truth. I did it mostly for other women and families like mine. To help them and me, but mostly them. In the last six years, I have had five jobs - the longest held being three years. Of those jobs, only one was what I went to school for and I was only truly happy at one. They were not the same job. The job that I was most happy at was not full time, nor did it have the possibility of full time. There were no benefits and I was working every weekend plus working other part-time jobs to make ends meet. I left that job for a full-time job with benefits and no weekends. This next job was doing what I went to school for. It wasn't a bad job, but there was no opportunity for growth, no pay raises, and the technology was so out dated that it wasn't benefiting my design portfolio. After that, my mind-set had shifted in my job hunting. I was getting married that year. My biggest goal for my life was to be a mom, even more, a stay at home mom. So, I was no longer looking for a job in my degree - I was looking for something with good pay and benefits to hold me over until we had a baby. Well, three jobs and close to three years of marriage later - no baby.

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THE JOURNEY

I already knew that conceiving would be difficult for us due to my own health situation. We had to wait a year to see an infertility specialist in order to confirm that there was indeed a problem, not impatience. For seven months, I went through treatments. Each  month consisted of progesterone shots, ultrasounds, prescriptions, and blood draws. All of that came with hormone spikes, sadness, anger, hatred, frustration, and a diminishing faith. What did I do to deserve this? Why did I have to struggle while people who didn't even want kids could get pregnant? After those seven months, I quit. I didn't want to do this anymore. I wanted to try something different. Something that didn't require pumping my body with drugs that seemed to do more harm than good. My sweet cousin referred me to a naturopath who had helped her in her own fertility journey. I loved my new doctor. I changed  my diet, started exercising, stopped taking all prescription and over the counter medications, cleared my home of all toxins, and went completely natural. I lost 40 pounds, my cycle started coming on its own on a semi-regular basis, and I was no longer an emotional roller coaster. Then things looked like this: cycle, no cycle, excitement, negative text, disappointment; cycle, no cycle, excitement, negative test, disappointment; no cycle, no cycle, cycle, no cycle, excitement, negative test, DONE. I had to take a break. So for the past few months, we have still been actively trying, but without the help of doctors. Without the monthly appointments and supplements and tests that remind me that I'm not pregnant.

We have been searching for an adoption consultant. Most days I am ready to start the adoption process, but some days I'm not. Some days I am sad and angry and frustrated. But, most days, I am happy. There are triggers everywhere and I never know what or when they will set me off into an emotional catastrophe. And I am finally okay with that. It's okay to hurt and be sad or angry as long as I don't let those emotions control me or take over my life. I also know that I am not alone.

Did you know that 1 in 8 women will struggle with infertility? I am 1 in 8. I know that other women have a struggle much worse than mine. I know that other families have a financial burden due to infertility that is much greater than mine. So, why did I quit my job to open a boutique? To help the 1 in 8. To help the women sitting on their bathroom floor right now, crying because of the negative pregnancy test sitting on the ledge of the bathtub.

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THE CREATIVE COLLECTIVE

The Creative Collective is so much more than a boutique. It's my dream job. It's all of my passions rolled into one. More importantly, it's a boutique with a purpose. With the start of business, 1% of profits from sales will be donated to establish a non-profit to help women and families here in Renville County struggling with the challenges of infertility and adoption. As the business grows, so will the percentage of profit sales donated, as will the area it serves.

What is The Creative Collective? The Creative Collective (TCC) is a boutique carrying gifts, decor, refurbished goods, and clothing. Even better, it's a collection of creatives, a large portion of them from right here in Minnesota. So, not only will you be helping families struggling with infertility and adoption, but you will also be supporting creative men and women doing what they love. TCC will also be hosting monthly workshops and events throughout the year. Follow along with us on Facebook and Instagram as the journey unfolds. This is only the beginning!

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Samantha Zeitz