Are you feeling down about your business because you just saw another shop post about their gazillion orders they have to ship today?
I know that can be a defeating feeling especially if you sell something similar and you started out at the same time as them.
But when we scroll through social media, we only see the highlights and the wins of someone’s life and business.
People naturally want to share their successes and oftentimes this don’t include the failures or hardships they go through along the way.
Because of this, we can develop a false idea that success came easy for them, that they were one of the lucky ones, and that they didn’t have to go through the struggles that we’re currently going through in our own business.
But that couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Hi! My name is Mei Pak, and I help artists, designers, and makers create a full-time living selling their handmade products online.
In today's blog, I want to talk about something that successful businesses don’t tell you.
It’s true when they say that you never know what goes on behind closed doors.
On social media, you might see a successful business owner celebrate that they finally reached one million subscribers on YouTube, or a million dollars in sales, but behind closed doors, we don’t see the hardships they went through over the years to get to where they are today.
I completely understand feeling this way though.
Do you know how many other coaches out there make so much more money than I do?
They make six figure launches look so easy and it makes me wonder why I can never do that.
Or my coaching peers reach million dollar levels so much faster than me.
It really makes you wonder what you’re doing wrong, or what they have that you don’t, right?
And then you start to feel bad about yourself because you don’t feel good enough.
I get it.
But frankly, after all these years, I’ve just accepted that everyone has their own journey.
Other coaches are better at selling than I am, but I believe I’m a better coach.
Everyone’s different, it’s not a race, and the only one you’re competing with is yourself.
The Iceberg Example
We’ve all heard of the famous iceberg example.
Only 10% of an iceberg sits above water for everyone to see, while 90% is submerged below the water, hidden from view.
So when we see posts about sold out launches, a large social media following, amazing vacations, tons of orders coming in, a six-figure income, and a perfect family, we’re really only just seeing that 10% of the iceberg.
But what don’t we see that lies beneath?
Rejection, tears and heartbreak, failures, mistakes, forcing themselves out of their comfort zones, therapy, investing in a coach or mentor, loss on their investments, imposter syndrome, people not believing in them, the time it took to achieve their goals, and so much more.
In case you haven’t noticed yet, ALL of those things have happened to me.
That’s the 90% of what really happens that even makes the 10% we all see possible in the first place.
Think of Your Business Like a Flowering Tree
You have to think of a successful business as a flowering tree, like a cherry blossom tree.
Deep within the soil you find the roots that allow the tree to grow and thrive.
When it comes to your business, these roots represent dedication, consistency, perseverance, tenacity, trial and error, sacrifice, long hours, passion, and pushing through despite burnout and doubt.
Just as the roots of a tree send nourishment throughout it so it can grow strong, we also have to nourish our business.
Trees also need years to grow before reaching their full height, and the same goes for growing your business.
It’ll take time before your business reaches the goals you set for it, but it will get there as long as you keep going.
And the end result (like financial freedom, vacations, and a large following) are represented as the beautiful flowers on the tree.
My Business Story
So I want to be totally transparent and share more about my own business story, and hopefully help others out there who are feeling like they’re going through a hard time in their business right now.
Sometimes knowing that you’re not alone makes all the difference and can help us develop a healthier, more realistic mindset about growing a business.
In 2020, my husband and I had finally hit multiple million dollars in sales across all our businesses.
It was the first time we had ever made that much money, and saying that it was surreal would be a major understatement.
We planned to buy the house of our dreams, a mid-century modern home in the Hollywood Hills with celebrity neighbors.
But once 2021 hit, things took a turn for the worse.
My husband developed health problems, had an expensive surgery and chiropractic treatment, he’s even going through a federal lawsuit right now.
I’m not even kidding.
We invested in the wrong people.
We hired a marketing agency because we just didn’t want to deal with marketing anymore, and ten thousand dollars later, and we lost money.
And this is a highly rated agency too.
My husband hired both his brothers, which I told him from the beginning that hiring friends and family is usually a bad idea and it was something my husband struggled with for a long time because ultimately, his brothers weren’t a right fit for the jobs he gave them.
We had some major setbacks in our life and business.
It was a huge contrast from the previous year, and I wondered why after finally feeling like I was in a good place in my business, that suddenly things started going wrong.
No one really prepares you for the turbulence in small business ownership.
Sixteen years of being in business for myself has made it clear that business is never stagnant.
The good and the bad come and go in cycles.
You can’t go fast and can’t grow without hitting some rocks along the way.
My story has taught me (and I hope it teaches you) that despite “making it,” or being in a good place in your business, that bad seasons will come where nothing goes right.
But that’s just exactly what they are—seasons.
The bad seasons, as well as the good ones, will pass in due time, but it doesn’t make it any easier while it’s happening.
This is important to remember when you’re going through it, and remind yourself that even if successful businesses aren’t talking about it, doesn’t mean that they aren’t going through it too.
I hope this was helpful to someone! I think it’s so important to be open and honest about these topics so that we can have the right expectations about what it’s like to run a business.
Are you going through a hardship in your business right now?
If you feel comfortable doing so, you’re welcome to share your story below—I’d love to hear it and normalize talking about the difficult situations we go through on the way to a successful business.