Oct 16, 2012

Business: Hopeless

HA!  As I wrote the title of this initially, I wrote the title as "Business:  Hopless", instead of the title it is now.  Silly, but made me giggle a little, and thank God I'm not a bunny.  

As a twice over business owner, I get it.  I get you. I get this feeling of hopelessness.  Like, this is all you've ever dreamed of doing, yet if it is what you're supposed to be doing - why do your attempts at this entrepreneurial greatness feel so futile?  Why do others seem to have it so easy?  

Going to be straightforward and honest right now in my story.  I'm writing this so you can see that it doesn't always work out the way we plan it to.  That this entrepreneurship road is full of ups and downs and that it's totally OK.  The story is being written and we just need to keep our sights on the fact that at ANY MOMENT things can change.  One phone call, one email and it's bigger than you could have imagined. 

This company has taken many, many turns.  One moment I am riding high because my step mom called to say "Uh, I think I just saw your ladybug shoes on Oprah", the next moment creditors are calling NON-STOP daily because I couldn't pay business bills or even my personal bills.  Facing a foreclosure, wondering where $$ was going to come from to pay for school for my kids or even feed them - such scary times.  And then back to the ups when I licensed my brand to a major manufacturer.  I remember thinking - This IS IT!  THIS is the break that I've been waiting for.  This is going to pay off any debt accumulated with the company, and FINALLY after 8 years of working my ASS off, it is all coming to fruition.  (s'cuse my French)

Roller coaster ride down that big hill to May of this year - I ended the deal.   I ended what I thought was going to be IT.  And I was happy with my decision, and still am.   Turns out our relationship just wasn't the right fit.  Ultimately it came down to - the visions weren't the same.   I'm not bitter, I actually see more clearly now a greater vision for my company. It's just another chapter in my book.

Trying to spin these roller coaster moments into positives, as the walls seem to crash down, hasn't been easy, but I do it because my heart and head will eternally be optimistic.  Why do I share all of this with you?  It's been on my heart to be real and share my full story so that you may know that while you might be approaching the same scary circumstances, you're not alone.  This has been bottled up inside of me for 6 months now and it feels so good to share it out loud.

Here are the positives that I choose to look at:

  • I've had one hell of a lesson in finances and how to spend money
  • The licensee wasn't a total loss, they showed me how amazing my sales could be
  • The licensee brought my product up to levels I could have never imagined - and now I've got real show-stopping pieces to show a new partner, that I could not have done myself without massive loans and/or investors
  • The company is mine and I am OK to end a relationship that isn't working out - I survived the dreaded conversation
  • I got that YES, that yes from a company who saw value in what I built
  • I haven't lost my will to dream big, nothing can take that away from me
  • I've got nothing else but God to rely on right now, the rest is out of my control

Maybe you've been an overnight success?  (I really can't stand that the media spins entrepreneur stories as overnight successes - let's get real).  But for most of us it's a struggle.  And when you're knocked down into a feeling of hopelessness it's, quite frankly, hard to get back up and fight harder.  But you do, because you've birthed a baby (aka your company), and that's what any good mom does - they fight for their baby.

What's next for Monkey Toes?  Truly only God knows.  What can I personally doing?  At this point, I have purchased the last of the inventory from the licensee, I have an agent searching for a new partner who shares the same goals and vision for this wee little shoe company.  And finally, I rest.  I rest assured knowing that this story has already been written, I'm just walking through it, line by line, page by page.  Trying hard not to be a speed reader :)

And that's my story.  


P.S.  Sometimes it's just therapeutic to get information off your chest.  I feel like I've been "hiding" this secret from the masses, but I'm not ashamed.  Feel free to post your struggles below or honestly you can email them to me so it's more private.  Either way - make this your sounding board - jenny (at) monkey-toes (dot) com


Jen said...

Thanks for sharing! Sorry the licensing deal didn't go as planned but congrats on having the courage to end the relationship. I'm sure it wasn't an easy decision to make.

I completely understand your struggle. As I sit here in my leased office hoping to sell enough to pay rent AND all the other bills. We'll make it eventually, right??

Allison said...

Wonderful post. Scary post. Exciting post. Thank you for sharing. It is good to know I am not alone. I am always spinning the highlight reel but there are tons of edits on the cutting room floor. I now understand the 'be careful what you wish for" saying.

Anonymous said...

Don't give up on your dreams, keep making it better and learn from each set backs and you will eventually reach the top.

Anonymous said...

Very brave and honest post. Life has thrown a lot of lemons to a lot of us girl. Keep fighting, it's all any of us can do!

amber e. said...

I admire you. Your strength and conviction, any other red blooded human, in this economy would have dashed their dreams and accepted a check. I'm proud to know you.

Amanda Moreno Duke said...

Oh, you know I understand! But that was a beautiful piece, straight from the heart. Thank you for sharing!