Today marks two months since I launched Door 44 Jewelry, and the biggest lesson I’ve learned in those two months is that I never had anything to fear. I hemmed and hawed for years about selling my jewelry. Seriously, years!
What if people don’t buy it, my inner critic asked.
What if I price it too high? Or (heaven forbid!) too low?
What if someone buys it based on the photos in the online listing, and the finished product doesn’t measure up to their expectations?
What I’ve realized over these past few weeks, which have been far more successful than I ever dared to hope, is that the short answer to all of those questions is a resounding, “So what!”
Some people won’t buy my jewelry, but a lot of people will. Some people will think it’s priced too high. Others will almost feel guilty at checkout because they feel my prices are too low. And since photography isn’t really one of my strengths, my jewelry tends to be far more impressive in hand than it is in photographs. The chances of someone being truly dissatisfied with a purchase are slim, but even in that worst case scenario, I’ll simply ask them to return the jewelry and issue a full refund or exchange. No harm. No foul.
And then there were the other fears–the ones about running my own business… My inner critic had a field day with them. What about bookkeeping and taxes? What about inventory and the ins and outs of eCommerce regulations? What about licensing and copyrights and trademarks? OMG, the sky is falling!
These fears are completely absurd, of course. I minored in accounting, for goodness sake. At various points in my former life as a corporate drone, I was a walking, talking encyclopedia of telecommunications industry regulations, manufacturing industry regulations, and healthcare finance regulations. I managed six and seven-figure budgets. I closed out the accounts receivable for several large healthcare facilities, and I managed to balance hundreds of thousands of dollars in cash receipts to the penny month after month after month. Pfft! Surely, I can handle the much smaller numbers I’ll be dealing with in my own business.
These past two months have been all about talking my inner Chicken Little off the ledge. The truth of the matter is that I brought tremendous value to every organization I ever served in my corporate days. There’s not one company that I ever worked for that didn’t benefit from my contributions. All of them could have benefited even more had they trusted me enough to loosen my leash because I am nothing if not an organized, productive, self-starting, highly competent manager.
The time has come for me to be the primary beneficiary of my management skills, for a change. No more working for “The Man”. These past two months have shown me the tantalizing possibilities of working for myself, and I am absolutely ready to do precisely that.
It’s occurred to me many times over the past several years that what truly frightens my inner Chicken Little–what’s at the very root of all of those absurd questions that have haunted me for years–is the possibility of success. After all, as good as I am at managing other people’s businesses, I never truly succeeded in the corporate world. Several friends and colleagues my age are high-level executives today. I have quite a few CEOs, CFOs and VPs in my personal network. So, who am I to think I will succeed at running my own business when I never made it past middle management during the corporate phase of my life?
Actually, who am I not to succeed? So much of my ability to advance in a corporate environment was completely out of my hands. There were political and social forces in each of those organizations that were way outside of my little sphere of control. There were people in positions above me whose personal agendas directly conflicted with my career goals. I was constantly trying to swim upstream against a very strong current.
As just one of several members of a “team” in the corporate environment, the question I faced each and every day of my former management career was, “Who is going to let me?” Today the only question I’m facing is, “Who is going to stop me?”
It’s going to be my business, my way from this point forward, and I’m excited to see what I can actually accomplish when, for the first time in my life, I’m not straining at the end of a corporate leash.
Gosh, it feels good to be free!