Tuesday, June 2, 2020

My Pattern Design Business Experience - Part Six!

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 1Part 2Part 3Part 4, Part 5.

Last week, I started to highlight a few of the unexpected benefits of starting and running a business and focusing on building.  Showing how my self-confidence has grown from facing the challenges of running a business. This week, I want to focus on a few of the challenges and how I have dealt with them.

There are a lot of challenges to running a business, from getting it started, financing, operations, deadlines, and the list can go on and on. Then there is also the challenge of what happens when things just do not go right. That is the challenge I want to talk about this week. How do you handle it when you work days, weeks, or even months on a project only to have it fall flat?

In the quilt pattern design business, this could be a new design that took a lot of time and effort to develop. Then on the release, you receive a lot of positive comments, but very few sales. Sadly, you cannot pay the bills on positive feedback, sales are what keep the bill paid and the business moving forward.
Expending a lot of time and effort on a large project only to generate a few small sales can be very disheartening. It may make you question what you are doing, and is it worth it? How you answer this question can determine on if you stay in business or not.

In my view, there are only two different reactions you can have to this type of challenge. The first and easiest is to feel sorry for yourself, and all that will do is lead to negative emotions making you question yourself even more. The other reaction would be to say to yourself, “Ok, that did not go as planned. What can I learn from this and do better next time?” Of course, the second option is the most obvious choice, but it also can be the most difficult. It is easy to feel sorry for yourself and maybe even take poor sales personally because you put a lot of yourself into every project. It is harder to take an objective view and try to see what went wrong and what can be improved upon next time.

This brings up the point that it is essential to continually be examining what you are doing and how it may fit into the current or future market. Meaning does your design fit with the direction the market is going. It is hard to generate sales when you develop an overly complicated, time-consuming pattern when the market may be trending to quick and straightforward projects. That is where devoting time to studying what others are doing can be crucial. I want to make it clear, and I am not saying to copy others, just be aware of what others are doing and to what success. Then examine what you are doing and look for ways to improve.

From what I have learned over the years, pattern development can be a tough business to make successful by itself. I love designing quilt patterns and seeing them come to life. Even more, I love seeing when another quilter makes one of my patterns and shares it with the world. To me, that is a great reward. However, that does not make money or pay the bills. Generating revenue from sales is what pays the bills.

See you next Tuesday,

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