Welcome Back – If you missed the first day, please start there. We started with the history of ABC Scripture Cards and how it’s critical to PREPARE if you are going to create a meaningful product that sells.
Much of the work is done before you every get it up on your site or on that shelf. So, go back and make notes on PREPARING your product.
You only launch one time! So be sure you have done your homework to launch well.
Step 2. Persevere
One of the hardest parts of working from home and creating a product by yourself is doing it alone. You aren’t actually alone – because hopefully this is a God-inspired project and He is your source of strength and encouragement. You hopefully have a spouse or dear friend routing you on.
BUT – I know those hard days very well. When it seems like it’s not worth it.
The details are simply overwhelming. There aren’t enough hours in the day. Your kids are highly annoyed and the family is starting to suffer. You wonder if you heard God right and maybe this was a really bad idea. You’re not a quitter, but quitting is starting to sound really dreamy.
Here are a few tips and lessons on the road to PERSEVERE.
Once that baby is launched, there’s another long hard stretch that takes passion and hard work to just keep telling the story and the value of your product over and over and over again. Just as the verse below mentions – this process will build your character FOR SURE. Guaranteed. Not sure if your product will make it – but you will be a better person for trying. Promise.
Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us. Romans 5:3-5
Hold it loosely.
My original plan/dream was to have a full line of products, so I started with My Lil Money Jars and ABC Scripture Cards. If you hear nothing else today – please please hear that God’s plan is bigger and better than yours. The turns and twists of the last three years are unreal. I had ideas, plans, proposals, meeting. There were big no’s and even bigger yes’s. Sometimes on the same day. So, hold your dreams loosely. Don’t grip them or control. I had no idea that I would eventually stop selling the jars, make them a chapter in a book (that was not anywhere in my plan) and that my cards would end up on shelves everywhere. Or even on The View. The other products are coming – just not as quickly as I had hoped. He’s got it. His plan is better than yours. Thank you Magnolia Lane for saying yes. Thank you Susan Peterson and Cabell Sweeney for believing in products that teach, decorate and change the hearts of families. Grateful.
Faithful With A Little.
I wrote about this precious man, Truett Cathy, earlier this week. One of his lifelong verses and principles was to be “faithful with a little.” (Luke 16:10) This inspired me so much. WHY in the world would I ask for expect God to give me MORE if I haven’t been obedient or faithful with the first bit he gave me?! This has challenged me so much in this business. We want the next big thing. When we might need to handle what we have with great integrity and serve those customers and our family really well for a few years. Then, when we are ready – it might get bigger. I don’t know that I was ready – but I did vow to be faithful with whatever he sent my way. To give generously, to share as much as I could with others and to hold it all loosely and to glorify God along the way.
Listen to your customers.
You are going to get a lot of opinions. Be sure you KNOW your customer and listen to them, but don’t let them dictate your every move. Hold on to your mission and don’t move with the wind every time a passionate comment comes through. On the other hand, if the majority is going against you – listen to it. The moms on my mom panel (asked 100 moms to give me opinions from time to time) – they actually picked the cover on my book. My very best friends help me determine what you’ll love from content to colors to verses. Listen but don’t be too quick to sway. You’ve got time. Capture input. I used Survey Monkey for free surveys. I watch what you pin on Pinterest to see which posts are resonating with your hearts. I watch Facebook traffic and likes to see which posts register as relevant as helpful- NOT as a METER of my success or worth.
Set your own rules.
There’s no rules anymore. Social media and ecommerce has changed the game of business. You don’t have to have a product in stores to be successful! Online is awesome! You can set your own rules. Farmgirl Paints is one smart business momma. She opens her shop only once a month. How about that for boundaries for her family? She doesn’t have staff with her all of the time – just once a month. Brilliant for many reasons. You get to decide. You can use a fulfillment place in town (tried that), you can hire teenagers to help, you can have your kids stuff boxes (tried that – don’t). and you can eventually move into big manufacturing like I did when the demand gets too big. I went with Magnolia Lane. It wasn’t the money-making decision – it was the family-focused decision. I needed margin back and my time back. So, I wanted those cards out in the marketplace but wasn’t in a place where I wanted it to be my full-time life.
Sell the value.
Spend time and hours working on the value to the customer. If you believe in that product – then sell the value. Get success stories, great photos and keep telling the story. How will that product benefit those kids? That mom? This takes work and perseverance. It is worth it. You know what? When you do tell that story or value – one mom gets my cards and her little one comes home and has a new way to talk about friendship. “Mom, A – a friend loves at all times. I was a good friend at school today.” Find unique ways to share the heartbeat of your product. You will feel like you are talking about your product over and over and over again – but guess what? You have to. No one else is going to. You can’t just toss it out and pretend it’s going to fly with no effort. Persevere. Doesn’t have to be everyday, all day long. But consistent action. Get a plan going.
Know when to give up.
Sweet My Lil Money Jars. Oh my money jars. This could be an entire post. They were so costly, so costly to have those trays handmade and produced and costly to ship. AND – we sold a few hundred quickly. But, the Pinterest world went crazy pinning them and I could see what you were saying.. “great idea – can’t wait to make my own.” And because I hold these things loosely (well not at first) – I finally just let it go. Stopped selling and put up a DYI blog for you to go for it. I care more about your kids learning finances then I do making a buck. And, then in God’s great timing – it was part of the book forming – it’s one of the chapters. How to help teach responsibility to your kids in a fun way. So, give these things a shot – a fair shot – but sometimes you gotta let go.
Use packaging for fun.
Every item costs money so be smart with it. I wanted the cards to come in a box, because I get it. You’re a mom – you want it to be gift-friendly AND have a box that stores it in your home. Like a puzzle! The first box was the most affordable I could find. Once we moved into stores – I knew the box had to “sell” the product. So, be sure your packaging is smart. Use every possible space on there to communicate the value, your brand. If you’re using your site to sell the product, the packaging is less important for messaging and more to delight them with a sweet bow or message that makes them feel great about their purchase.
Pick some cheerleaders.
If you are an entrepreneur or creative being, you’re a special little gem like me. I won’t say weird, but just different. 🙂 Not everyone is wired like us. When you are down or frustrated – find another one like us. Call them. Get a pep talk from a mentor or creative being – that will say “keep going.” It’s going to work out. Just because you had a down month, doesn’t mean it’s over. Not all of your friends are wired to think about business – it’s OK. That doesn’t make them bad friends. We are little bit looney – so find a looney cheerleader. Like me! You got this! Try to find business hours or a way to shut it off. One dear friend just told me this amazing advice.
“It’s just a book. Your life’s work is your family.” AMEN! Don’t let something so great take over your life. It’s not your life’s work.
- Clearly communicate and ask for action!
- Invite fans and readers to the journey
- Show customers there is a real face behind the brand – blogging, stories
- Believe in your product more than anyone else
- Consider your customer list as lifelong fans – quality is better than quantity
- Capture customers stories and share creatively
- Send for free, often (be sooo generous with your product)
Hope this helps your dream in some way. The ability to PERSEVERE is a key piece to the puzzle – if you want to create a meaningful product that sells.
I’ll share the final tip sometime this weekend or early next week. We’ve got a guest scheduled for tomorrow! Have a great week!
Tell me about your business! Link to it below!