Let's Be Real Here...
You guys, owning a small business is HARD. Like actually pretty difficult. And if I am being real, I went into this thing totally naive! If you do not know, I started an online exclusive clothing boutique, Bolt Boutique in March 2018. I went in thinking that I would buy a bunch of cute clothes that people would love, post about them on social media everyday, and then watch the sales start rolling in. But let’s be real here. It is much much more than that. And I have been learning that the hard way!
I am not writing to complain or quit, but people ask me all the time about how Bolt is doing and want to talk to me about starting a business and ask me questions. I just think it is important for people to have realistic expectations going in; to learn from my mistake. Do not expect to start a business and be able to sustain yourself off of it right away. I work full time on Bolt and then work odd jobs 35 hours a week. It is a grind! Honestly such a fun grind, but still it is a lot!
I would be lying if I said everyday was a good day. There is this weird balance between feeling like “okay, I can do this. Everything is working out”, and then the flip side where it is “okay, this isn’t working. What the heck do I do to fix it?” Just recently I had a breakdown over Bolt over the sheer fact that I truly do not know if it will all work out. Bolt really is a roller coaster, somedays are great and exciting and bustling, and then other times I could go days without a sale. This is a business where it takes a lot of time and a lot of learning on the front end to have success in the long run. It is hard, and at times discouraging, to put time and energy into something and not see results right away. But that’s business! You hear all the time about businesses that seem to just have exploded over night and are doing great. But what you don’t hear about are the thousand others that have to build up their reputation over time and be patient.
I feel like today people look at starting an online business as something easy, or something to do on the side for fun; that social media will sky rocket your business and that is all you have to do. Something I did not expect was how hard it is to actually get your name out there. I thought with Instagram and Facebook people would just somehow hear about my store. But the businesses that are truly successful dedicate a lot of time to studying analytics and utilizing different ad sources and features, which is no easy task to figure out might I add. There is still so much I need to research and learn about on the marketing side, it can be overwhelming at times. Also, it is hard to know if what you are doing is even working! Trial and error is the name of the game here. Be prepared for that.
I pray that Bolt continues to grow and becomes a company I can work on full time without a side hustle. I pray for patience in the waiting and the uneasy stages. And I give thanks during the times that Bolt is kicking butt and has a lot of exciting things happening. God’s timing is perfect and learning to let go and trust in His plan is a task we all take on at some point. There are busy seasons and dry seasons, and learning how to grow during the dry seasons is where I am currently at. A year and 4 months down, a lot learned, and a lot more to go. It is exciting, and fun, and I am hopeful; I just also want to be real and transparent along the way. :)