I started SIP. SHOP. EAT! at The Collective Market about 3 months ago. Since that time we've sent over 1000 emails to potential vendors, received over 60 applications and hosted over 60 brands (collectively) over the course of our markets. When SIP. SHOP. EAT! was in the stage of inception it seemed like a really easy operation. In my mind, all I needed to do was:
1. Book a Space
2. Reach out to vendors
3. Promote the event
This 3 step process seemed easy as pie. Yet, truthfully once this operation was fully underway we encountered struggles at every hand. When it came to booking space landlords were extremely slow to respond, there were schedule conflicts, budget conflicts, space conflicts. Then there was the vendors. I personally knew about 10 vendors, whom I was sure would jump at the opportunity. I reached out to 10 vendors and only 1 responded. Of that 10, none of them booked. Promoting the event was probably the easiest step yet it was extremely costly. We had set out to promote with a budget of $500.00 which proved to be an extremely low reach.
(Pictured: Taylar & Daughter passing out flyers for the first SSE)
Yet and still we powered through these struggles and still managed to host our first event in June 2017. It was a great hit. Seventy percent of our vendors were pleased and have returned to following markets. We realized that we finally landed on something that could actually work. Not without struggle of course.
The grace that accompanied the first SSE did not follow the second or the third. It would seem as though the more we planned these events the harder and more impossible it became. Budget was an increasing issue, vendor satisfaction, customer satisfaction, etc. We quickly realized we were in an extremely competitive market (no pun intended) and could possibly be in over our heads.
Yet deep down we have this vision and that is honestly what keeps us going. We realize that all the markets we're competing against started just where we started. Sure, they may have had more event planning experience or maybe they have PR connections. Maybe THEY even have an envious event budget that we may never see or experience. Yet we've never allowed that to stop us as we strive to make the goals we have a reality.
In your quest to make your dreams a reality there will be SO many people that will blatantly ask you why you're doing what you're doing. There will be people that tell you, you should give them a discount because they don't see the value in what you're offering. There will be so many people who will tell you to literally quit your daydream. A lot of times it's dreamers who are just like you hoping for an opportunity to grow and scale their business who will knock you down, criticize what you're doing and tell you to stop. They'll tell you, the market you're in is too saturated, or ask what makes you think you can?
You have to drown out the noise and own that if you thought it, it's possible. During our darkest moments when there are no applicants coming through, no vendors inquiring about space, no tickets being sold- I tell myself, "One day this is going to be the greatest market ever." I say, "There'll be a waiting list of vendors." "We will empower entrepreneurs, host classes, and help owners grow and scale and take this event around the World." Sure, I don't know how right now, but, I believe.
The reality is, some of those nay sayers are right (about SOME things). We need the chickens and the eagles in this life. For every negative person speaking in SSE's ears, there's a positive person that comes along and recognizes what we're trying to do. You know what I do, I lean into those voices instead of the negative voices. We allow the negativity to motivate us to prove them ALL wrong. We focus our energy on providing tip top service and working hae until one day people look up and say,"WOW, I remember when SSE started in a little gallery with 16 vendors now they have 2 locations."
The road of the entrepreneur is NOT for the faint of heart. Life itself is full of discouragement and disappointment. It is even moreso for any designer, innovator or leader. Whenever you're trying to do anything worthwhile the powers that be will do everything to stop you. You have to stand your ground, give it your all. Never give up. Never surrender. Never say DIE! You have to work hard every single day until you look up and say, "Wow look what I've accomplished."
My message to you is that there's a huge part of the game designed to discourage you, get you off the wall and stop your shine. But, you can not let that negative force it in. You can't let it win. When you're waging war against discouragement and defeat I encourage you to use these tools to combat discouragement:
1. Remind yourself why you started.
Once we get in the flow of things it's so easy to forget why we started. You get all caught up in your day to day duties which can be tedious. You may often feel like none of it is worthwhile. Until you stop and say, wait- The reason I am doing this is so much bigger than me. Reminding yourself why you started refreshes you, keeps you going, and energizes you for the next phase in your journey.
2. Celebrate all you've accomplished.
As an entrepreneur I am guilty of never being satisfied with what I have done. I am super critical of everything I do and I'm always trying to find ways to make it better. This can be as hurtful as it is healthy. Stop and celebrate just how far you've already come, bask in your accomplishments and enjoy the fruits of your labor!
3. Realign your goals.
Maybe it's time to check in on the goals you've set while you're thinking about how far you've come. Also think about what you need to do right now to get closer to those goals.
4. Ask yourself, am I caving to negative voices?
There's several voices inside. Some that kick in and tell you to keep going while others will tell you to stop. Don't listen to the negative voices (EVER). Recount all the positive voices. The voices that congratulate you, and believe in you! Let that negative ish GO!
5. Keep going.
Realize that you do not have time to cry over spilled milk. All the time that it takes to cry, moan and grown is precious time and energy that could be dedicated to your brand. Stop your pity party and get to work. The biggest killer to our dreams is giving up. So don't. Just keep swimming.
It always seems impossible until it's done. Explore the possibilities and never surrender.