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It has been two months since the launch of the Make Lovely Things shop! I know that isn’t a huge amount of time, but I’ve decided to document the journey of this company from the very start. It’s a lot easier to wait and see if things work out and then talk about “How We Made It”, but I hope that this might be of use to all of you dreamers and doers out there. Maybe seeing how a small, one-person outfit like MLT does things can help you avoid some mistakes and maybe even pick up some good ideas too.

In the first two months there’s been a lot to celebrate:

  • 85 Courageous Coloring Workbooks have been given to girls in foster care.
  • The Courageous Coloring Book got printed!
  • Courageous Coloring Books are now available at Pipsqueak Boutique in Fenton, MI.
  • I’ve gotten to meet some pretty amazing people so far on this adventure 🙂

What have I learned so far during the first two months of Make Lovely Things? The answer is: quite a lot! Here are a few that I think have been the most important for me:

1. Celebrate the tiny victories.

It is so easy to get bogged down by all the stuff you feel you need to do or forgot to do that you don’t recognize the good things that you actually ARE doing. I have cards in a Trello board where I track all of the good things that happen each month. This can be an encouraging email from a friend, a 5-star review, or a great day of sales. It could even be something as simple as, “I paid the phone bill today!” The important thing is to document your wins when they happen so when you have a bad day, you can look back and see that good stuff really is happening.

2. Do the things you’re scared of – that’s where success is waiting!

I am not the world’s best saleswoman. Well, scratch that – I may not be at the moment, but I have decided to stop using that as my excuse. Getting out into the community and sharing the vision for the Courageous Coloring workbooks is something that often fills me with terror. All I can think is, “What if they say no? What if they think it’s a dumb idea? What if they think I don’t know enough and they laugh at me?” and then I stay at home and get angry with myself for being so scared. I get angry because I know the truth: Conquering that fear and going out anyway will often lead to success. And even if it doesn’t, it’s not that big of a deal.

So if you’re like me at all, pick one small thing that you’re afraid of and go do it as soon as possible. I did that earlier this month, and ended up having a local business decide to carry the Courageous Coloring books! I hope that the more I step out and do the things I’m afraid of, the easier it will get. (But I’m drawing the line on networking events. I am NOT ready for that just yet.)

3. Make time for creativity.

I started Make Lovely Things with two goals in mind: I wanted to create things that shared truth, beauty, and love with the world, and I wanted to create things that helped other people do the same. Notice what word pops up in both of those goals? CREATE. Care to guess how much creating gets done when you don’t make space for it? Not much. With all the logistical pieces and daily tasks that come with running a creative business, the actual creating part often gets pushed further and further down the list. So, make sure you set aside time for it. Scheduling creativity might sound weird, but it works – I promise!

4. Be flexible!

When I decided to print the coloring book version of Creative Coloring in addition to the workbook, I thought it would be super easy. Just switch out a couple pages, make a new cover and it would be done in a week. What I didn’t plan for was delays from the printer and having to do a reprint due to a printing problem.  This bumped the launch back and also had me scrambling to come up with new content for my social media strategy since I had planned to post about the new coloring book. I now know that in the future I need to allow more space in product launch timelines, and have a backup plan in place in case a delay happens. I also need to get better at rolling with whatever comes my way. Delays and detours aren’t the end of the world.

5. Ask for help.

This one has been especially hard for me. For some reason I tend to think that I have to do everything by myself and that asking for help will damage my “credibility”, but that couldn’t be further from the truth. There are people out there who have been in my shoes in the past and have knowledge they’d love to share. The few times I’ve spoken up and asked for help, I have been surprised by how happy people are to share their knowledge and experience. So, (I hope!) you’ll notice me asking for advice and feedback more in the future.

Looking forward

I don’t know what Make Lovely Things will look like a year from now, and that’s okay. What I do know is that I am looking forward to everything I am going to learn along the way. I hope you’ll join me on this journey as we make lovely things together!

How about you? Are you starting your own business? Are you writing a book or embarking on a new creative adventure? I’d love to hear from you. Leave a comment and let me know what world-changing project you’re working on!