Would you be terrified too?
Updated: May 6, 2020
I am. I’ve just done my plan for 2020. And my goodness the things that need to be done if I am to achieve my annual goal! Website, blog, Instagram, products, soldering, filing, packaging, blah blah blah. The list is endless.
But here’s the thing. That’s not what terrifies me. I’m not worried about the hard work that’s needed to get the jewellery out for sale. What scares me most is what happens after. What if nobody likes my designs? What if everyone thinks I’m useless? What if nobody visits my website? What if? What if? What if? My heart and soul have gone into all the tiniest things that make up each piece; what angle, what size, what thickness, which type of connectors. Again, the list is endless. And with every piece of jewellery, I’m putting a little piece of myself out there for others to judge. Would you be scared too? Or would you take it all in your stride?
I’ve been addicted to a bunch of podcasts related to setting up a handmade business, led by Jess Van Den of Create and Thrive, and she says “feel the fear and do it anyway”. I decided to take her advice.
So I dared to share. First with my sister-in-law. She was visiting from India, and not only is she an outstanding businesswoman, she is also one of the most frighteningly efficient people I’ve ever met. So I knew that any advice she would give me would stand me in good stead. She made some excellent suggestions, not just about the products, but also about attitude and commitment, and was way more supportive than I thought she’d be.
I became a tiny bit braver. Recently I went out for dinner to my favourite Chinese restaurant with two friends, Millie and Jun Li, telling them that I would bring some jewellery pieces along to show them and get their feedback.
They work in the same big corporate environment as I did, and are surrounded by shops selling expensive, machine-made perfection, so I must admit I was a little nervous about what they would say. Would they criticise the little uniquenesses that are part and parcel of a handmade item? Would they like the designs? What I love about them is that neither will give me false praise. They didn’t like my logo, they said so. They didn’t go overboard praising my designs either. They picked out the ones they liked, and suggested improvements in the ones they didn’t. I’ve since taken their feedback on board and made changes accordingly. There’s nothing more misleading than false praise, don’t you think? If someone’s asking for feedback, I think it’s possible to be honest without being brutal. Millie and Jun Li were exactly that.
And now I’m not so scared any more. Yes, there’s a risk that it could fail miserably, but it’s a risk worth taking. After all, this isn’t about me. It’s about making a difference. And I don’t want to spend my life wondering if I could have been that person who would have made a difference, if only I’d had the courage to try. In the words of Theodore Roosevelt, I don’t want to be one of those “cold and timid souls, who knows neither victory nor defeat.”
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