Starting Over is Hard
This past year my wife and I ventured into the apparel world with Last Night Ago, making awesome hand-designed shirts and jackets. It was shortly thereafter that I realized something very quickly: It had been a long time since I started over in business.
You see, all I've ever known was FortySeven Media. The whole “work nights and weekends till you get enough clients to make the jump” sort of thing. Or, “there's virtually no startup cost or ongoing expenses” kind of thing.
Guys, did you know there are completely different types of businesses? Because - well - there are. And Last Night Ago is absolutely nothing like FortySeven Media. Maybe I was naive, or maybe I was stupid. (Probably all of the above) But I jumped in trying to apply a services mentality to a retail reality. Physical product inventory is really difficult. It's expensive and nearly impossible to predict what people will actually buy.
Not only that, but I forgot how hard it is to start over. New logo, website, brand, accounting, billing - really every single process is unfamiliar and different.
Finally, I didn't anticipate starting over in terms building our audience. After eight years of getting to know you all with FortySeven Media I forgot how much work went into reaching out to you. Building an audience is a slow burn, and I was quickly reminded of this.
Does that mean Ashley and I give up on Last Night Ago? Of course not! It just means we work nights and weekends and look for smarter ways to deal with inventory. And we remember that things take time to catch fire. Every overnight success you hear about is years in the making, and we're in this for the long haul.
So why am I writing this today? Partially for me. Needed a little self-motivation. But also to remind you that starting a new project or business is hard. Don't assume it will be what you're familiar with unless it's the exact same thing. Be smart - do some research and get good input to make sure your idea is solid and profitable. Don't underestimate how much time you'll need to make this work (actually, you probably will).
Don't give up. Be patient and try new things. It's easy to see all your successful friends and colleagues rocking their new project and making wads of cash and not see the hard work, sweat, and tears that went into making it a reality. I guarantee you they have had the exact same feelings of doubt, frustration and uncertainty while they toiled behind the scenes. The long tail is good, it just requires a little patience.
Starting over is hard. But it's worth it.