Here I am bringing you my first of series of blog / journal posts that will be delivered approximately bi-weekly. While some of the posts will be directly related to agriculture and western fashion, others such as this one will not be (directly) related. I wanted to start us off by sharing my lessons learned in taking a leap of faith to start Cold Cactus, in hopes that this will be of value to some of you.
And so, here we go:
Have you ever wanted to do something, something you subconsciously and consciously keep re-visiting and thinking about, but avoided doing it because you felt you had a lack of know how, skills, money, time, or other? That was the case for me – I had dreamt up the idea to open a unique western boutique in Ontario years ago and it wasn’t until more recently that I listened to this unrelenting voice and turned this whim into a reality by taking a scary leap of faith and plunging into the world of planning and launching a full-scale boutique business.
I certainly don’t have the magic answer.
I am still learning new things each and every day. (But isn’t that the beauty of it? That we have the ability to grow and learn something new on a daily basis?)
And I have yet to know if I will be successful in this endevour.
That being said, I know that getting to the point of even launching The Cold Cactus Boutique has been quite the personal accomplishment, and that along the way I’ve learned some valuable lessons and tips (through formal and informal training, independent reading, and largely trial and error). I would love to share with you what I have learned in hopes that by reading this it will inspire and give you that little push in the right direction that you needed to get started in the pursuit of following your dreams, and be useful information to support you along the way.
14 Tips that will make you more ready to make that jump and take that leap of faith needed to pursue your dreams and plan for a successful outcome (listed in somewhat chronological order, though many of these steps would be best done in parallel).
- GET STARTED! Take whatever idea it is that you have in your head and WRITE IT DOWN – big and bold and in your face in a place you’ll regularly see it (perhaps your fridge or bathroom mirror) and thus be forced to think about it and more inclined to act on it.
- Clearly understand the WHAT and WHY. Recognize that this new venture will very likely take up more of your time, so ensure that you are clear about what you want, and why you are doing it and that it is something that will bring about the changes you desire in your life and/or the lives of others.
- MAINTAIN POSITIVE MENTAL STATE of HIGH ENERGY, GRATITUDE, and ABUNDANCE. For me, useful tools for doing this include taking the time daily to reflect on what I am grateful for. I daily record a single sentence reflecting on a high point in my day in a journal- I HIGHLY recommend the Line a Day 5 year memory book that can be purchased at Chapters, Amazon.ca, etc. Doing this exersize (not cumbersome at all – it’s just a line!) has made reflection and gratitude a habit for me, and overall changed my outlook on life for the better. I have also found it helpful to frequently evaluate my emotional state, and if I think it can be improved to one of more gratitude, appreciation, happiness, etc, then I take a moment to think about what I love or enjoy doing to try and raise it. It is in these states of higher emotional energy that our best ideas come to us. I strongly believe in the value of embracing abundance – the concept of community over competition.
- VISUALIZE the outcome – see it, feel it, and most importantly believe in it and maintain this positive vibe and the outlook that you have the power and ability to bring about this change in reality.
- GET COMFORTABLE, WITH BEING UNCOMFORTABLE. Embrace this idea and feeling. Challenge yourself. Stretch your limits. I can’t overstate this enough. It isn’t until we step out of our comfort zone that we are able to grow.
- Not confident about #4? Obtain PROOF OF CONCEPT. PUT IT OUT THERE by talking to others about it, which will help you become more confident. But recognize, that if others aren’t initially on board, that doesn’t necessarily mean that your idea isn’t a good one and you won’t be successful in pursuing it – it may just mean that others don’t know they need it yet or aren’t ready for it yet and you can build in your plan a strategy to change that. This step was very integral for building my own confidence – conversations with others verified my thoughts that we needed something like Cold Cactus in Ontario and Canada more broadly and that there would be interest in the types of products I loved and planned to carry.
- PLAN, PLAN, PLAN. I can overstate this. Ideally, depending on the context of what you are trying to achieve, in the format of a business plan that will help you organize your thoughts. Many of the business plan templates available online or through business coaches will also be designed to make you think about things you have not yet considered that are crucial to the success and sustainability of your dream.
- Surround yourself with likeminded, driven, and dedicated entrepreneurs. The internet is such a useful and powerful tool for this – there are so many networks to connect entrepreneurs, and it is a great opportunity to bounce ideas, be inspired by what others are doing, find mentors, etc. I’ve found a global network of boutique owners through The Boutique Hub, which Cold Cactus is proud to be a member of, that constantly provide inspiration, training, ideas for improvement and innovation, and support when needed. There is likely something like this in your field too, and if not, why don’t you start it!?
- If applicable, enlist the assistance of an ADVISOR, or someone who can has the experience to steer you in the right direction and offer advice to help you plan for success and overcome hurdles that you meet.
- Develop a SUPPORT NETWORK (family, friends, etc) and share your vision and plans with them. They will be there when you waver in confidence, meet a hurdle, etc to pull you back up and help you forge on. I can’t express in words how helpful my husband, mother, other family members, and some of my close friends have been to me in starting Cold Cactus.
- Break down your big goal into smaller, more MANAGEABLE CHUNKS – I am talking smaller goals, and your smaller goals into specific action items and tasks. SET TIMELINES and DEADLINES for yourself for each of these.
- Hold yourself ACCOUNTABLE– develop an accountability mechanism (this may involve #7 and/or #9).
- PERSISTENCE, PERSISTENCE, PERSISTENCE. It will pay off. As they say, Rome wasn’t built in a day! If you don’t succeed the first time, try, try, and try again!
- Recognize that it won’t all be rainbows and butterflies- but most importantly, learn from mistakes and move on.
It certainly isn’t easy – but it will be worthwhile – an experience that will allow you to grow as a person, meet many incredible people, and leave you with no stone unturned, questioning what might have been if you had of tried.
“In the end, we only regret the chances we didn’t take.”
I hope you found these insights useful. I am sure there is lots of additional great information, blog posts, books, podcasts, and other resources on this topic also! I’d love to hear from you what has worked for you to get started and continue pursuing your dreams, and what resources you’ve read and would recommend to others that have been helpful! Any particular books, Ted talks, podcasts, bloggers, etc?