I went to college knowing exactly what I was there to study and where that path would lead me. I rarely strayed from that course of study because I was a double major and I just didn’t have the time. Except, when I’m honest with myself in those deep dark of the night can’t sleep anxiety squirrel brain sessions, I also know it’s because I didn’t think I was good at anything else. Even now I will tell myself that I don’t have the head for business. I’m not good at this whole marketing thing. I don’t know anything! Yet…
I have started my own business. It’s not making money… yet. I’m growing and changing and adapting this endeavor to find more avenues of success. Each year I have expanded on the previous. Whether that has come in the form of new scents, new products, or new categories all together. I have expanded my knowledge of marketing, web design, website maintenance, blogging, customer service. I have finally found the confidence to start putting my crochet out into the world rather than shoving it off onto my family and friends. I’m constantly changing my definitions of what I’m good and at who I am. Except…
I’m not, though. Any given time I discuss my business it’s usually like this, “My failing little business…” I hesitate to make decisions because I’m pretty sure I suck at business thinking and moves. I have that all to common fear of failure (told you I wasn’t special) and I worry that I’m wasting too much time on this failure in the making and not spending it on my beautiful kiddo. I’m reluctant to put a newsletter together because who would want to hear from me on a regular basis? I actually laugh out loud when Facebook sends me a reminder that no one has heard from me in a while and they want too. Yeah, right. I can easily work myself into a frenzy of panic and anxiety just by questioning how I can do better.
The simple fact is that I want to be better. I want to be successful. I want to show my daughter that she can rebuild her life even after parts of it have crumbled to ashes around her. I want to leave her with that legacy. I want to do this for myself. I want to build something. I love being a mom. I want to do something in addition to being a mom. Part of it plays to rebuilding my confidence; the other part is quieting my somewhat neurotic need to be constantly doing something.
So to that end, I registered for Camp Thundercraft last night. Well, it actually took me two days to do the very short application. Which is somewhat embarrassing. I had to come up with a short bio about me as the business owner. Did that mean within the context of my business or outside of it? No idea. So I went with the latter and mixed in the former. I’m more than the me in my business and my business is me. Complicated. Then there was the “elevator pitch.” What in the actual hell. Here’s the fun thing about the people who run Camp Thundercraft… they know that talking about a small business is hard because we, generally, don’t have a team of highly trained marketing professionals who can write these canned pitches for us. It’s just us. We are responsible for the creating, marketing, selling, and branding of our businesses. That’s a lot. There’s not a lot of time left over for the crafting of the irritatingly named yet essential elevator pitch. That was another struggle. Then! I had to pick an area where I struggle in my business. This was a one line box, not a block box that implies lots of words. Um, how to pick just that one thing? Obviously, I can write an entire spiel on just my internal struggle alone. So I went unoriginal and picked time management.
The biggest problem I had with the entire application, the reason all 2 of you (aiming high here) have continued to read this far, was the head shot. They actually wanted a head shot. To show people. I take the family photos, I’m not in the family photos. A recent trip to a very cool place resulted in about 6 photos of me and 100 of everyone else. I haven’t always had self confidence issues, but once the pant size hit double digits, that was the end of that shit. After two pregnancies, grief eating, and breastfeeding eating? My weight has shifted and is in those all to common areas. Fun! A year’s worth of changing my diet and working out steadily has reduced by jean size by 3, but things are different at this size than they were pre-baby. I’m learning to embrace it and dress it properly so I don’t hate my appearance as much, but it’s a long game.
Back to this headshot. Ack! I was determined to at least give this a shot so that I could say I tried when it failed and there was nothing worthy of putting out into the world. I started with pre-workout post-awakening selfies that just made me look tired. But my hair looked good. Also, I hate selfies. I rarely take them and, even then it’s usually because the kiddo likes to see herself on the phone screen. After showering and lunch with a photog friend who offered her considerable expertise that I turned down because this was a demon I needed to conquer on my own, I took some more selfies. Then I slapped on some makeup to help define my eyes and minimize those hard-won dark circles. Taking more selfies, I finally figured out how to position my head and hold the camera and look at the lens. This isn’t an intuitive process. At least for me. Finally, finally, finally after texting about it with friends, texting about it with the husband, and muttering dozens of very creative curses about the people who dared to ask for a headshot, I got two that I liked. Two. Miracles happen, people.
So I submitted the registration, immediately regretted it, and tried to take it back. Since this is the digital age and that’s not possible, I’m going to sit and quietly panic about it until April. This is beyond good for me. It’s an opportunity to grow, to connect, to get outside my head and get some actual help. From experts. From others who aren’t competing with me for sales at a market. To define my business as a success. This is a good thing. I seriously could have done without the headshot, though.