Keep Showing Up
I have never been a huge fan of motivational memes. Especially since they are typically presented in either a barrage of positive thinking or completely lacking in context. Let's face it, twenty separate quotes from Herodotus, Percy Bysshe Shelley, and Maya Angelou, won't make you get out of bed and face the day, no matter what font they are in. A few days ago I stumbled onto this little nugget. For those of you who don't feel like clicking over it says,
"Many of the great achievements of the world were accomplished by tired and discouraged people who kept on working."
Wise words indeed. This quote happens to be paraphrased from a Douglas MacArthur quote (the above being more gender neutral). It got me thinking about a little story I think about on a daily basis and how it relates to running a business in general.
This one comes from the good folks at Mason's Creamery. Like me, they are also experiencing the trials and tribulations of their first year in business. About midsummer they were handed a string a bad luck. First the lid blew off their freezer en route to an event. Then the trailer for the freezer broke. When they finally made it to the outdoor event it was raining and cold. Tired and discouraged they unpacked their sodden tent and began to set up for a long day. It was during set up that another, more veteran, vendor looked over at them and said something along the lines of,
"Welcome to owning your own business. The ones that make it are the ones that keep showing up."
-Attribution Unknown (help me out here Helen)
There are a lot of different things people claim that you must have in order to be an entrepreneur. Determination, charisma, good financial skills, chutzpa , gumption, or just dumb luck. In reality none of these qualities are worth a damn if you don't show up to use them.
Owning your own business is just like starting your own business. It is a decision that you must make. The day you decide to give up on your business is the day that your business fails.
I have really taken this message to heart. Right now I'm in the deep end of the holiday season. In true indie business style I've just found out that the hardware I use for my best selling item is no longer stocked on this planet. (Those of you hoping for a new watch band this Christmas should rethink your list. You have no idea how sorry I am about this.) One third of the leather I ordered for the season arrived way too thick. I'm really struggling with balancing making money versus making promises of Christmas delivery dates. I've had to tell more people "no" in the last month than I have all year. Finally, looming just around the corner, is the dreaded slow season. Which I'm really hoping to make it through with my credit score intact.
Any one of these makes me want to throw my hands up in the air and just walk away. Instead I'm planning on designing a new watch strap. I'm making products that work with thicker leather (iPad cases anyone???). I'm saying "yes" to those that I can and forgiving myself for those that I can't. I'm making lists of what I need to do now, but can't, so that when January rolls around I'll be able to keep myself busy. Because that is what it takes to have your own business. All the leather in the world could be back ordered and I'd figure out something else to show up with.
So that is what I tell myself when I get up to deal with the day's problems. You just have to keep showing up.