The Conception, Birth and Rearing of an Idea May 30, 2016 11:22
One year ago today, on May 30, an idea was conceived. Girlfriends on a hike, talking about their plans and goals, when suddenly those two plans collided into one magical fertilized idea. We giggled, high-fived and padded ourselves on the back for being so brilliant.
Within an hour of coming home from that hike, I announced to my husband of my new business venture and immediately started to work on it that afternoon. I knew if I didn't act on it while I was high in the moment, the idea would leave. I had experienced what Elizabeth Gilbert, speaks of in BIG MAGIC: "Ideas are alive and seek the most available human collaborator to bring it forth" Many great ideas had come to me throughout my life and I would always say... 'I'll do it when I have time' . The idea would flutter away then two years later, I would inevitably see "my" idea staring at me from a store shelf. I wasn't going to let that happen this time.
But even for an optimistic dreamer who loves birthing ideas, the every day task of raising it, is a whole different story. It all began it feel too hard at the 4 month mark. I already had a demanding graphic design company that I owned and family demands were increasing around that time as well. In September, I wanted to quit. Was I really capable of this? I was feeding this idea all this time and money and it wasn't growing. I began doubting myself but never the idea. True light-bulb moments don't happen every day, not even every year. So I kept the faith that this idea had chosen me to bring it forth and I forged ahead. I could feel some of my family and friends think I was crazy for working so hard on what?... t-shirts?...for people who like essential oils? Huh?
Then in January, a breakthrough came: a Facebook post went viral. People were liking, sharing, tagging without any push. Essential Oil Style's audience skyrocketed. I was re-energized and optimistic once more. I now even began saying "no" to my graphic design clients just to have more time for this new venture. This baby needed me and it finally began to grow-up into a business.
I never saw my customer as just an 'Essential Oiler' nor did I see this business as just a 't-shirt company'. I saw my potiential customers as small business owners, the same type of people I had been helping the last ten years in my graphic design company. They were the same type of person that I was, trying to carve out some freedom and independence by choosing to work for themselves. I knew this new company of mine could help them position and market their business a little better. But just like in real life, conception is easy, birthing is hard and rearing an idea into adulthood is grueling.
Being an entrepreneur is a tough and lonely place. The sacrifices are steep. In a nascent business you're going to feel either guilty, crazy or ineffective on any given day. So whether you are starting to sell oils or opening up a restaurant, how do you keep going? To quote Danielle LaPorte, "In between faith and doubt you have to have obsession. You have to have obsession to stay faithful and you have to have obsession to ride out the doubt" My obsession is freedom. I'm so obsessed with the idea of being a 'suitcase entrepreneur', working from anywhere I want in the world, that I'm willing to work like a slave right now for the chance of it.
It's Memorial Day and I'm scheduled to clock 14 hours today because this business needs me to. This business is still so very young, lanky and awkward but I'm committed--okay obsessed--in raising it into a mature, capable business. A business that can possibly take care of me one day.
What's your obsession? What drives you to the point of exhaustion and sacrifice for the chance of it? Whatever it is, stay obsessed my friends!
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