Winners and Losers

Winners and Losers

One of the most difficult lessons to learn when it comes to small business is that there will be some great days, and some really, really bad days. Most of the time, it's going to be somewhere in between the two.

My granddaughter recently got a taste of this. She did her first craft show a couple of months ago, and did really well. She was so excited to put over a hundred dollars in the bank. It boosted her spirits and made her super pumped for the next show.

Last Saturday she did her second show. She made about $9. Needless to say, she felt let down and defeated. 

We can all relate, right? Whether you're running a brick and mortar, and online store or doing events, we all have times where things are going amazingly well, and then comes that slow period when nothing goes right and we seriously consider throwing in the towel completely.

It's challenging, but it's all part of being in the maker world. What do you do when it feels like nothing is going right and you are a complete failure? Here are a few things I say to myself. Sometimes they help and sometimes I tell myself to shut up. Take from them what you will.

First of all, you are NOT a failure. Some days things just don't line up right. In the case of my granddaughter, her first show was on a nice, cool spring day. Lots of people were out. Many of our family members stopped by. For the second show, it reached 100 degrees by the time we packed up, very few people showed up to shop, and none of our relatives could come by that day.

Remember, sometimes it's all just circumstance, and you can't change that.

But what about when it's not just circumstance? What about when it seems everyone around you is surrounded by customers and selling like crazy, but you're sitting there twiddling your thumbs? That's when it's time for you do a little detective work. Go to those booths, check out what they're selling and how it's displayed. Maybe they have something that customers of that particular event connect with, or maybe their display is just over the top showstopping. Maybe their check out process is quick and easy, or their packaging is adorable.

Take notes, then look at your own space and see how you can tweak a display or maybe rearrange things a bit to make traffic flow better. What item can you display in such a way that it catches a customer's eye, making them want to stop and see more of what you have? Sometimes it's one thing: A sentimental sign or a humorous can cooler, that can make a huge difference.

One of my favorite tips for multi-day shows is to completely rearrange your booth each day of the event. You wouldn't believe how many people come back to shop a second or even a third day. It's amazing how many times I have done this, and heard people say, "I didn't see this yesterday! Were you here?"

My advice after a bad show or a slow week or month of sales:  Don't give up. Look around and see what others are doing. Ask friends to visit your web site and give feedback, then see what you can do to improve the experience. Take a break and work on that new product idea that's been simmering in your brain. Eat some chocolate.

Whatever it takes to reset your brain and move away from a failure mindset to a "you got this" affirmation, do that. Sometimes it really is just circumstance, and sometimes it's not. Don't let the why be a stumbling block. Figure it out and move on.

Happy making!
Valerie