As entrepreneurs, we test our ideas on a fly. We take many risks. Sometimes they are great risks that give us high profit, sometimes they are bad risks that take us into the red. An amazing thing about being your own boss is that you make the decisions and if you fail, you fail on your own terms. It’s in our failures that we learn from our best lessons and in our first year, we; I mean I made so many mistakes. Looking back I wouldn’t change it because they were very big surprises. Moving forward I learned from my mistakes and I know that this year will be better than the last. It’s not easy being alone but I never regretted any decision I have made. I know what I am doing makes a difference in many lives so on that alone, I will never stop and I hope that all our followers will love us regardless of our mistakes.
Mistake #1. Poor organization skills on our events.
I had two major events that I had many moms show up to. I mean close to 40-60 moms and babies crammed into a small bakery. The first event I did was the Halloween one. It was a free event at a small Whitby bakery and SO many moms came out! I was dumbfounded in the fantastic turnout. I was not expecting to have more than 10 moms come out but I had close to 50 moms come out with their children!! CRAZY!
The owner of the bakery was visibly overwhelmed by the numbers, and so was I. Neither one of us was prepared for a number of participants that came. I was upset with myself because I had no way of tracking who came. It was hot from so many bodies pushed into one place. I still put on a happy face and greeted everyone that came. Our photographer also cancelled last minute so I wasn’t able to deliver the photoshoot that was promised that day. I didn’t really hear any complaints but I felt it was bad over bad.
Here’s a photo of me trying to read books to our group. There was so many that I had to shout over everyone. Also I had to sit on a stepping stool so everyone can see me. Another poor decision here was that my baby didn’t have care here while at the event. I still was chasing after him and nursing while mingling, managing, and all the other responsibilities I had as the organizer.
Here’s a photo of me trying to read while my baby wanted my attention:
At the end of this Halloween event I did get some great reviews. Moms sent over some photos of their babies in costumes. Others let me know that their kids had a wonderful time. In my mind I was thinking that everyone thought the event was a flop and that the organizer did a horrible job.
Here was what some of the moms shared:
The next event was the Christmas event. This one was a paid one with gifts for the children. Our Santa cancelled last minute so the children were not able to receive it from him. I was very disappointed with this. The photographer did make it out this time but there was even less room at the location with her set-up. I had two vendors here that paid for a spot but unfortunately, I again had even less space. To my horror, the only space I can put them was in the back by the bathroom. They were too close in industry as well so they were direct competition. They both made the best of it but again, I’m sure they hated me for it.
The turn out was great again. Our tickets sold out online. We had some moms leave early because it was just not enough space. I had not enough seating, and no room to direct people to go. When I do this event again, I will have more volunteers doing specific crafts with the moms and an assistant to help me along the way.
#2 Poor Introduction to our books and toys
I had this vision that I would sell these amazing books and products to our moms at these programs. I was still new to the companies and I had no idea what I was doing. I tried introducing them to the moms but I don’t think any of them seemed remotely interested. Alot of that made me feel very insecure about selling anything to our moms. I read these books at the events but no one said; “HEY! These are great! I’d like them for my child”. Also, I didn’t really push them as well. It may have been in my head but I thought that no one was interested. Looking back now, I could of pre-introduced the products and I could have followed up on a more personal basis later on. I could of tried harder to make some bookings.
It’s funny because I worked in a commission based sales position for over 3 years and I struggle with selling my products. Not sure why really. I think because I’m still establishing myself and others are still learning about me and my business that I came on a little too strong. Don’t worry though, I have learned from this and trying again.
#3 My Welcome Baby Home Baskets
I had this ambitious goal of sending out 10 baskets of goodies to moms with brand new babies each month. These were free baskets and small businesses can place their samples or gift cards at no extra cost. BIG MISTAKE! I ended up paying for each basket, around $2 each so $40 plus tax. I also bought the clear wrapping paper and contents that I wanted to donate with my marketing material. Not to mention having to drive to deliver the baskets. Some of the moms were further than I can drive to and that was another dilemma on it’s own. I believe I spent maybe $60 in the first month to realize that I couldn’t run them without receiving funding.
Then I found out another company that is giving out welcome baby home baskets for anyone inside of Ontario. They give away a FREE bassinet! I was like “Oh my goodness, I can’t compete with that!!” so back to the drawing board. My conclusion to this was I need funding for the baskets and I can put better products inside that are not samples but useful products for moms. We’ll get to know more about the baskets soon.
#4 Flopping on my sensory bin idea
My toddler loves playing with different types of textures. He loves water, sand and anything else he can scoop up and pour. I thought to myself, “Hey, there must be other toddlers that would love this, how can I sell them?” I tested out this idea with a few moms and at my son’s daycare to learn that some toddlers rather make a mess of them so it wasn’t practical for some moms.
My idea was to have a four week program where I can rotate the themes so the moms can have a great experience teaching their toddlers at home. Found out that most moms wasn’t even sure if they would use sensory bins on a regular. It was also a challenge trying to find a good price point that was fair. So this idea got thrown to the wasteland for now.
I did however, find out there may be a market for daycares. Daycares can save a lot of time if there was a business out there that put together educational materials for lessons and getting them their supplies. This I have put on my future ideas.
These are my top mistakes in my first year. I don’t think anyone really looked too hard into the small little details I go through with my business. I’m always one to be open and honest about everything so this is just another thing you can know about me. Everything is a journey and I hope that these lessons will bring me much wisdom for my future endeavours.