Welcome back to my blog series on starting and running a quilt pattern business. If you have missed any of this series, be sure to check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, Part 4. Last week I continued to talk about the commitment to starting a business, focusing more on the time commitment. This week, I want to highlight a few of the unexpected benefits of starting and running a business. These benefits are not centered around just a quilt pattern design business. Still, I believe it would come with running almost any small business.
When I was introducing this blog series, I talked briefly about that when I started my business at the time, I was a government employee. I was working in Washington DC and felt like I was not going where I wanted to be in life. I guess I felt like I was not in control of what I was doing and was not satisfied. It is kind of hard to explain, but mainly a feeling that I wanted to do something that I would be excited to get out of bed in the morning and get to work. Instead of having to drag myself out of bed, dread a long commute only to be stuck in an office. Then have another long commute to get back home, only to have a few hours to relax before going to bed and then repeating it the following day. I am sure I just described half of the working people in America, but that is how I felt.
With a focus on wanting to do something I enjoyed, I quit my government job and went to work for myself. In doing so, I achieved the goal of finding a job I genuinely want and look forward to doing every day. Now, don’t get me wrong; there are a lot of challenges and frustrations that come from running a business. That is where I have found several unintended benefits that I was not expecting.
To better understand this, let me describe my personality a little bit. First, I am an introvert and generally on the quiet side. I always had some difficulties talking to strangers and was never comfortable speaking in front of a group of people. Also, as a result of growing up with some learning disabilities, I have struggled with self-confidence. In running a business, I have been forced to overcome all of these issues. That is not to say that they are gone, I have more learn to recognize them for what they are and do what needs to be done.
To run my business, I have become a certified instructor in both the Studio 180 Design Tools and the Sue Pelland Design Tools. To do this, I had not only to learn the tool but demonstrate that I could teach others to use them as well. It is forcing me to deal with being in front of groups of people. Additionally, I have hosted booths at a couple of Quilt Markets, actually running the first one all by myself. It is incredible what it does for your self-confidence to be able to drive several days across country, set-up, and operate a booth in a major trade show. Then pack it back up and go home and to receive positive feedback from your peers in the process. Now, I know for some that may sound easy. For me, this was a huge undertaking, and I will admit that I was very nervous about the whole thing.
The point of all of this is that I found, no matter what challenges are thrown at me. I have learned that I can overcome them. I know I have strength in myself, and I am accomplishing things that I would have never dreamed of ten years ago. There will always be challenges, and I have also learned that it just takes the mindset to be willing to step up and face the challenge head-on and overcome it. Then move onto the next challenge.
To summarize, the unexpected benefit from starting and running a business is learning to have confidence in myself and that I can accomplish a lot when I put my mind to it. Please join me next week as I continue my blog series.
See you next Tuesday,