Thursday, April 30, 2015

Confessions of a Girl Boss

[Note added after post was written: This is a long one, buckle up!]

I was late to jump on the #GIRLBOSS train. I feel like everyone in my Instagram and Twitter feed was reading this book long before me. I finally bit the bullet and started reading it a week-and-a-half ago.

I'll be honest - I judged the book by its cover. By sheer appearance, Sophia reminded me of a Devil Wears Prada type, and I'm not into uppity-ness just to be uppity. I imagined the book would be full of "we are woman, hear us roar." And while I'm incredibly thankful for the women's suffrage movement, I honestly don't give much thought to the idea that I have obstacles to overcome simply because I'm a woman. I think of obstacles that I have to overcome because I'm a human, operating in a world of other insanely talented humans.

I cringe as I type that, for fear that I might offend, yet I couldn't help but giggle when Sophia addressed this exact point in her book.

"#GIRLBOSS is a feminist book, and Nasty Gal is a feminist company in the sense that I encourage you, as a girl, to be who you want and do what you want. But I'm not here calling us 'womyn' and blaming men for any of my struggles along the way. I have never once in my life thought that being a girl was something that I had to overcome... I know generations of women fought for the rights that I take for granted... I believe the best way to honor the past and future of women's rights is by getting [stuff] done."

So needless to say, by page 14, I was hardcore girl crushing and hanging on Sophia's every word. So this is why they say, "Don't judge a book by it's cover."

I couldn't stop turning the page, and the thing that usually puts me to sleep [I've never been a big reader] was now the thing that was keeping me up late at night. The woman was laying down some seriously awesome, applicable, real-world, #GIRLBOSSing advice. And I was eating it up with a spoon!

Can I confess something to you all?

I've never really had to work that hard for the things I want.

  • I was fortunate enough that school came easy to me. I would tell my mom I was going to study for a test and come back downstairs 15 minutes later saying that I was done. I am an auditory learner, so the teaching in the classroom had prepared me for the test.
  • While I wasn't the most technically-skilled jazz or tap dancer at my studio, my stage presence and confidence got me cast in roles and placed in the front line of the routine.
  • I did well on the SAT and got into the schools I applied to.

The first time that I ever had to work really hard for something was when I trained for my first half marathon last year. That's one of the reasons that the threat of a stress fracture in my foot 3 days before the race was so heartbreaking, why the answer-to-prayer good news that it wasn't a fracture and I could still run was so exhilarating, and why the victory of crossing the finish line was tear-inducing. 

I had worked my booty off to accomplish that goal, and I'd done it! I had proven to myself that I could do something I never thought I'd be able to do. It was a pretty crazy moment for me.

The thing is, once you learn how much you can do - way more than you ever thought possible - you start looking for other things to try that have scared you.

So, I started Loops & Belles

I think I've talked about this before, but I didn't know what I was doing. All I knew was I loved greeting cards and I had some ideas that I thought were pretty good. So, it was time to start working hard and pushing myself. 

I learned how to use Illustrator. I learned about printing processes and the various costs associated with ordering small (safe) vs. large (risky) quantities. 

But more than that, I found my voice. 
  • I discovered that if the presentation of my packaging is important to me then it's something to spend time and energy on. 
  • I learned how to respectfully stand up for the quality of my product and ask for things to be reprinted if it didn't match my standard. 
  • I started watching episodes of Shark Tank and reading books to learn from the successes and failures of other entrepreneurs. 
  • I started looking at my parents as resources rather than just as my support system. My dad has taught me how to use QuickBooks and my mom has been a salesperson, delivery driver, pep-talker, and "Yes, you can make the phone call to [insert retail store name here] and tell them exactly why they should carry Loops & Belles." cheerleader! (Cold calls are torture for me.

I have put myself - and my product - out there to be judged by others, and it's been the most rewarding and terrifying experience ever. 

Can I make another confession?

Being an entrepreneur is hard. 

  • It means working my full-time "day job," then coming home to work on my passion project for a few more hours in the evening. 
  • It's using my lunch break to run to retail stores and make sales calls. 
  • It means investing my extra money into building my business. 
  • It means listening to a podcast while grocery shopping.
  • It's giving up sleep to design one more card or write one more blog post... now that I'm blogging again. (I was picking sleep for a few weeks!)

And some nights... all I want to do is sit on my couch with a bowl of cereal and watch way too many episodes of Parenthood. (I'm finally on the last season.)

So, naturally, the very first page of #GIRLBOSS hit me like a ton of bricks.

I would never, ever consider myself lazy. But I had to decide what I wanted to prioritize. I still have the occasional "no work" night, but now it involves one or two episodes of TV and then early to bed. And on my work nights, I sometimes allow myself endless episodes of "Friends" on Netflix while I work at my dining room table. 

It's a balance, but I want to know that I've done every single thing I can to make this business a success... to use the gifts and talents that God has given me. 

So, this post ended up being so much longer than I'd intended. But as it turns out, I'm pretty passionate about this business I'm building, and I have a lot to say about it! 

Thank you to all of the wonderful #GIRLBOSSes who have written books, recorded podcasts, given me advice, and just been generally awesome examples of what creative entrepreneurs can accomplish.

And thank you to all of you for sticking with me through this lengthy post!

xoxo, E

No comments:

Post a Comment