My Business Failures - Part 3
The main thing I have learnt in this chapter is to be flexible. If things aren’t working you have to adapt, go back, and let go over and over again what you think your path forward should look like.
Here are some other things I learnt:
- Growing a following: Love it or not, followers are important. They give legitimacy to your brand and increase your exposure. I’ve taken full advantage of the fact you can follow/unfollow 200 per day. On average about 15% of people follow me back so that’s about 400 followers a month. You have to be shameless about it if you want to grow. I have heard buying followers is actually detrimental to engagement and also you can’t oversee who is your community.
- Reshare: I tried to come up with creative ways to have customers reshare content. I do giveaways to get people to share. I also draw on parcel packs so people will share them on insta - things like Disney characters. I also give out free stickers with purchases because it’s cheap advertising.
- FB ads: I have had little success with Instagram/fb adds. This may be because I’m not sure who my ‘unicorn’ customer is yet, but I have done several $20 ads and only one has converted to a sale thst I know of. I’ve decided to take that money and invest it into ‘gorilla’ marketing - or stickers. I get good quality stickers made by @radstickers and I put them everywhere. I know I have made at least $200 of sales from stickers, and found some of my most loyal customers. Always include your @ tag and your website, or even a QR code.
- Try random things: you have to try random shit to see what works and what doesn’t. For example, I ran a sticker comp to try and get people to help spread my brand, but it didn’t really work. In offered a $200 voucher for a photo of a sticker in the craziest spot. Not a single person entered. I also did a giveaway and for a plot twist everyone who entered (shared my post) won.
- POSTAGE - Aus post really pissed me off this chapter. They are expensive and charge you if you go over weight. I moved to Sendle who are usually cheaper and they come to you and pick up the parcels daily for free. I was also charging $2 shipping in hope it would drive sales. I don’t think it affected a person's choice to buy, and it was costing me too much. I’ve now changed it to $9.
Another important aspect of this chapter is I hired a business mentor. I learnt a lot from this experience. My advice for hiring a mentor is to trust your intuition. The first mentor I did a 30 minute discovery call with literally told me to give up and “get a job.” I told him “I’m sorry you don’t see what I have.” A saying I live by is, “What’s for you won’t lower your vibration.” If you leave a discovery call feeling stressed, confused and like you just realised how behind your are, they are probably not for you. Warning - some mentors want you to feel like this so you feel you have to hire them (it is a business after all). I interviewed three people and the one I hired lifted me up and left me feeling inspired, so that’s how I knew she was the right choice. But by the end of our ten sessions I no longer had that feeling, which is how I knew it was time to part ways. That doesn’t necessarily mean the mentor is bad, just that they aren’t the right person to guide you for the next chapter. I also believe now that it is important to find someone who is five steps ahead of you not just on a business level but a personal level.
Having a mentor was a great experience because she connected me with many people and events. Some of the things I learnt are:
- I don’t know how to be a sales person. I basically apologise for asking people for money. I know that is a self worth thing I have to work on, and another example of how the personal journey parallels with the business one.
- If my prices are too cheap, I devalue my whole brand.
- More followers/exposure doesn’t necessarily equate to more sales. You have to figure out the conversion process, which is what I’m still working on.
- I had a lack of clarity about what my brand message is, like people didn't realise MEW stood for my initials. I decided to do a rebrand and make my message clear - set yourself free. I made a video explaining my story, and it got shared far and wide and even converted to a sale. The way NIKE is associated with being able to achieve, Just Do It, I’ve had to become clear about what feeling is associated with my brand so when they buy an item of my clothing is stands for something. I’ve chosen Set Yourself Free.
- Understanding what my message is has been difficult. For a while I was catering my content to the followers I already had, people interested in upcycling. While I’m into this, this isn’t the centre of my brand. I was veering off centre from what is really important to me.
- My Instagram was also all over the place. Last chapter I wrote that wanted to make it all about my art, and that was great, but it became really unclear what I’m actually selling. I learnt not to post items I’m not selling. Make sure when people land on your page, people can see you are a brand and see what you are selling. Your bio should sum this up in one sentence.
It’s also okay for mentors to be stepping stones - they may be able to help in one area or for one part of the Journey and it’s okay to leave if you feel they don’t fully align. Don’t be scared to walk on your own. See a mentor as someone who supports your path, not someone who lays the path out for you.
Overall, I think this chapter has been learning to see the positives when things go wrong - you have to make something from nothing sometimes. For example, let’s say no males show up to a photoshoot. I would do the male styling on females and it might even be the best part of the whole shoot and send a good message. As the hippies say, ‘Go with the flow’.