In late 2016, I started a small jewelry business. I spent countless hours googling how to sell on Etsy, joined the respective help groups on Facebook and Pinned all the things to my secret Etsy Business board. Though I enjoyed making my jewelry and made a few sales (mostly from friends and family), I closed my shop within a few months and felt like a failure.
Starting a business can be scary, especially when you don’t know what you’re doing.
I felt like I couldn’t be found in the saturated handmade jewelry market and I didn’t have the cojones to push forward the way I really wanted to. Then, a big life event happened- I became pregnant with twins at the beginning of 2017. And then subsequently lost them at 12 weeks. So not only was my give-a-damn broken, but so was my want to create and run a small business.
Since I figured I had already failed and I was embarrassed to admit defeat, I closed shop.
It took a few seasons to want to get back in the game, because boy, did I. Crafting gives me a spark in life and helps me cope with shit. So, I gained a little more confidence and opened another Etsy shop before Thanksgiving. Run Amok Designs became a catch-all for customizing gifts and barware. I was pleasantly surprised at how well the shop did for the holiday season. And then (said in the Asian lady’s voice from Dude Where’s My Car, but whatever) … I found out I was pregnant again the day after Christmas.
RAD was already on vacation while I enjoyed family time, so I decided to extend the vacation online so that I could get through the first trimester without stressing about new orders. Since this was my sixth pregnancy, and I had miscarried every time before, my focus was on staying as stress-free as possible and taking care of myself first.
In the back of my mind, I was afraid I wouldn’t get back to my shop and would fail again as an entrepreneur.
Ultimately, it’s a dream of mine, to work for myself creating things with my hands. I wanted to get back into it with everything I had.
So, being vulnerable here – after a very healthy start to the pregnancy, my water broke with no warning at 16 weeks pregnant. I delivered my son and mourned his passing in the same day.
I allowed myself to grieve and concentrated on self-care, but one night, a small flame was lit inside me. Enough of a flicker that made me feel like I could get back on my feet and be alright. Multiple pregnancy loss is a heavy, heavy thing and I’ve had a life of dark times, but I didn’t want to bury myself in a hole again.
Here’s the thing – not only did I let depression from loss keep me down (a blog post for another time), but so did my fear of failure. I was afraid to fail any business I started, because I didn’t know if I had what it took or if I was even doing something that could be successful. But then I came across a quote by good ole Louis C.K. – “I think you have to try and fail, because failure gets you closer to what you’re good at.“
And the only way to get through the fear of failure is recognizing how you’ve failed before. Self-sabotage is a thing, which includes procrastination, not following things through, giving up before seeing the fruition of your labor and even low self-esteem.
My friend, I gave up before I even truly started.
I had some large hills in my personal life’s path, but it could have given me motivation to get back on my feet and keep pushing forward. It didn’t because I let procrastination to get started again take over. We can learn through trial and error and figuring things out along the way, but until we put in the good, hard work, we won’t get passed failing. I needed to believe in myself, as cliché as that shit is and I needed to start doing.
I understand now that I don’t have to be afraid to fail, I just need to accept the failure and do things differently until I do succeed. Failure keeps us in our comfort zones, keeps us from taking the leap of faith… but how do you really know how things will work out if you don’t at least try? What’s that uber motivational saying? With great risk comes the possibility of great reward. Yeah, something like that.
In the end, I might still fuck up. Probably will fuck up. But I’ll have goals set, have Plan A-Z, I’ll analyze why I failed, and I won’t let it be the end of the damn world.
What has fear of failure held you back from doing and have you overcome it?