It’s funny how every advice article I’ve ever read on starting a new online business never talks about the one thing I wish more did. Sure you’ll get some great advice such as;
Choose the right niche!
Know your market!
Build a network!
Choose the right eCommerce platform! and so on.
But there’s always one topic they never seem to address and that is the feeling of vulnerability when you first open the doors to your new startup venture.
Sure you’re excited and have feelings of anticipation but you also feel incredibly insecure and vulnerable as you await that very first sale to trickle in. Waiting and waiting. Then once you get that sale you start to wonder if it was just a fluke, an anomaly and consider if all those long hours, day in and day out, that you put into your startup business was worth it all along.
You start thinking about every single time you felt guilty for working on your startup business instead of with your family. You keep reminding yourself that you need to create more stability for them and a brighter future and that this business has the potential to do so.
It WILL work. It HAS to work.
Dear God above PLEASE help me make this work!
Hopes, dreams, and realities
When you are a family-owned startup business, every sale you earn brings you one step closer to providing a better life for your family. One step closer to providing you with hope. Hope for a better tomorrow and not just to feed and clothe your family but give them a real future. One that won’t mean they have to claw their way through to survive the way you did.
Opening and/or running a startup business during a pandemic is hard enough. Add onto that the civil unrest we are going through as a nation is more than most of us can endure. Not just financially but emotionally as well. It’s hard to know when to stay quiet and when to shout from the rooftops when it comes to how to thrive and stay alive in your business during these uncertain times. (More on that below)
My personal startup journey
Last week marks the first week of the grand opening of my very FIRST online store. I honestly thought I’d be more excited than this. I have been trying so hard to feel something, anything other than what I’ve been feeling these past few weeks. Trying to find some feeling of joy and excitement in anticipation of what would normally be a joyous event for anyone else.
I’m mad as all get out that the world is in such a place that we can’t even be civil to each other. That we can’t just let people exist. There is so much more work to be done and the only hope I have is that for the first time in history the majority of us seem to be agreeing on one thing; Life has value. Now if we could just agree on which lives have value we might be getting somewhere. For the sake of my mental health, I am NOT going there right now.
Where do we go from here?
So how do we manage these emotions and feelings that come with starting up a new business? Specifically during a pandemic and the Black Lives Matter Movement. There are definitely ways we can learn to do better and be better; for ourselves and those around us.
Find your community
It’s important to find a group(s) that you feel connected to and that you know will have your back when you need it. But it’s also good to be in a place where you are open to feedback and constructive criticism and be willing to listen to it. Sometimes the truth hurts, but it can also help us grow and learn.
I’ve been put in my place a few times and although my feelings were hurt a bit I realized I needed to step back and see the whole picture, admit where I messed up, and try harder to do better. Some of the biggest moments of growth I’ve ever experienced was learning from my mistakes and vowing to do better by others and myself.
Part of that growth is also acknowledging that many of us benefit from white privilege and we can use that privilege for good by helping others in black communities as well as the underserved communities by;
1. Standing up for what we know is right and
2. Doing the work to fix it.
(see below for more info on this)
Communities and Networks I recommend
All of these are groups that either I belong to or have been highly recommended by people I know and trust. There are TONS of amazing groups on Facebook.
These are just a few that I have gleaned the most knowledge from personally.
Courage to Earn
Brand, Build + Launch with Arsha Jones
Permission to Hustle
Shopify for Beginners
Why Not Mom: Tips, Memes and other parenting fails/wins
(This is a group I run myself. I will be starting a more business focused one soon so please join us for updates!)
Founding Moms (Membership Group affiliate link)
Practice Self Care
Yeah, yeah we are all growing tired of hearing this overused phrase all over social media. That being said there is good reason this is so important. Much like the phrase used when flying on an airplane; “Please place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting others” This is a life lesson as we cannot help those around us that rely on us if we don’t first take care of ourselves. Our children rely on us to stay healthy and strong so that we are around for the long haul. Not just our physical health but our mental health as well. This has been a mantra that has quite literally saved my life and I hope it helps you as well. God intended me to be the mother of my children for a reason. I want to make sure I’m around for them for a long time.
Some Examples of Self Care include
Often times when we think of self-care we think of having a spa day such as getting a massage, pedi/mani or bikini wax. That isn’t always a possibility for many of us due to time and budget constraints. Here are some free and/or cheap non-spa day examples of self-care. But please by all means go to the spa if and when you can too!
- Exercise (walk, swim, run, bike, go on a hike, dance with your kids, just MOVE YOUR BODY DAILY)
- Make healthy food choices (less pre-packaged foods more farm-grown foods)
- Stay well-rested (keep a regular bedtime schedule when possible)
- Hydrate with WATER
- Pray (Like a good parent, God is there waiting for you to turn to him)
- Practice intentional breathing through mediation and/or yoga (several mobile apps and videos can help you with this. Need suggestions? Just comment below)
- Shower regularly (don’t laugh, so many exhausted parents haven’t showered regularly in a LONG time.)
- Schedule breaks into your workday and don’t work through your lunch.
- Put your phone on ‘do not disturb’ while working and resting. Only allow emergency numbers such as care providers to come through.
- Buy a plant or start a garden. Taking care of a living organism can be incredibly therapeutic and relaxing and unlike a pet, if it dies it’s not as traumatic.
- Read a good book you’ve been putting off.
- Treat yourself to something nice that’s within your budget. (*this could mean different things to different people.)
- Start a hobby. (you don’t have to be artistic; hobbies come in many varieties ie; cooking, collecting, gardening, geocaching, bird-watching, star-gazing just to name a few)
- Make a list of positive affirmations and self-confidence boosters and keep them somewhere visible to keep you motivated.
*TIP*Avoid using food and alcohol as a coping mechanism. It can lead to more problems down the road.
Feeling overwhelmed or overly anxious?
More than anything, what I hope you take away from all of this is that your mental health is oftentimes overlooked when your nose is to the grindstone while running a startup business. We tend to not realize this when we are hyperfocused on our business goals.
It’s crucial to recognize the signs of depression and/or addiction. Lean on trusted loved ones for support and PLEASE seek help from a professional if it’s becoming overwhelming.
We believe that Black Lives Matter too and if you’re reading this I would hope you agree and are doing your part to make the world a better place for Black and underserved communities in your area.
Resources to help assist in becoming anti-racist:
Understanding what really is ‘White Privilege’ (hint it’s probably not what you think it is)
Diverse list of books for children
Talking to your child about racism
Comprehensive list of Anti-Racist Resources
*also refer to list in Twitter link below.
**Anti-Racist Starter Kit List of Books to read
**Contains Amazon Affiliate link**