It’s been almost 6 days now into the new-year and I had some thought provoking questions to ask myself that included what am I doing in life and where am I headed. Not simple questions for sure!
It looks all rosy to be living a start-up life, well, from the outside. But no one told me it’s going to be such a bittersweet struggle.
There have been times in the beginning, when we have struggled with cash flows. You are constantly worried about when will you break even, and the financial viability of your business. Exciting times, aren’t they? Then there are times when the sales are lower as compared to other months, times when a product line takes off slowly and doesn’t perform the way you expected it to. And there are times when you are struggling with production hiccups. At times you are just following your gut, taking the risks, simply because you are passionate about what you are doing and see some meaning in all of this. And at the same time, you feel alienated because not many relate to what you are doing and the purpose of your business.
In the last one-year or more, both of us have done a lot of labor work (quite literally). Managed operations, logistics, quality checking, tagging clothes, packing couriers, being the delivery boy, the accountant, the runner - all of which you may not associate with an entrepreneur life. You name it and we have done it all. And then in the middle of all this, yes I have wondered – What am I doing?
And then ofcourse you are sometimes tempted to go back to that not so cushy but well paying job that will sort most of your material life goals, ensure you go on holidays every three months and much more.
And then since we are human, at times we, actually not at times, but many a times have self-doubt – which I feel is the biggest struggle when you are out on your own. Sub-consciously, there is also this struggle to prove yourself to others and to the society you live in. The struggle is against our conditioning and the amount of importance we give to everyone else around us but ourselves.
And it’s these times that are the testing times. That make you ponder each and every decision you have taken in the past.
And in the middle of this retrospection, I chanced upon the below image, the emotional journey of an entrepreneur –
Coincidently it came by at the right time. I had a hearty laugh when I looked at this and it completely resonated with me.
Other than the downs and struggles associated with any new venture, it made me think of all that we have managed to create in the last one year. What reaffirmed this was the appreciation from most customers and fellow parents who simply loved what we were doing, loved our designs and appreciated our brand for great quality. And then we had parents who went a step ahead and opted for organic cotton clothing for their little one's birthday and shared pictures with us, adding more cheer to our routine days!
May be there is something we are doing right!
Gave a kick to myself and I am back on track. I don’t know if we will land up creating something great, but then I thought to myself the journey itself definitely will be worth it. And yes, we are proud of what we have created.
The task on hand for us is quite challenging, given more than just selling children’s clothes we are hoping to create a mindset change around responsible buying. We are hoping parents will choose sustainable options for their children and move away from the throwaway culture.
Since it’s that time of the year when you want to look back, and identify things that helped you be on track - I would like to reiterate these things to myself so that I keep walking!
Below is my list, not in any particular order. The ones that kept me on track.
- Passion and drive for what I am doing
- My partner in crime
- Milestones that we set for LTWT
- Having mentors to bounce off your ideas and yes at times kick your ass
- Knowing the numbers and financial goals as a business
- Celebrating small wins
- Family who believes in you and what you are doing. Appreciates the trade off’s you are making and sees the worth in it
- Faith, having faith!
And yes not to forget the humor in the middle of all of this chaos!