Today is sort of like any other Tuesday, I’m balancing single mom life with running my business and sprinkling in things that bring me joy like having coffee on my patio and writing. I’m especially juggling today because Winston and I just got back in town from a family vacation (cue loads of laundry, restocking the fridge and unpacking). Oh, and did I mention he’s off of school this week. So while this could cause me to get absolutely nothing done for my business… that’s just not an option.
I spent the last few days completely unplugged from my business and enjoying my time with Winston and my family at the beach. I feel refreshed and now I’m hitting the ground running.
As I began to jump back into work today it hit me… Today is not just any other Tuesday…
It’s the 6 month anniversary of the launch of Crystalyn Aucoin Jewelry!
I cannot believe it’s been 6 months already!!
Over the last few months, I have had the honor of being interviewed for several amazing podcasts and other media outlets and one question that I get often is “What is your biggest business accomplishment?” This is such an easy answer for me because my biggest business accomplishment is actually launching my business. Don’t get me wrong, there are a million other things that need to happen after launching to have a successful business, many of which I’m still figuring out. But none of those things can happen if I don't have a website or product line in place and a way to connect with my potential customers.
Launching a business is no small feat. In fact, it took me over a year to officially launch my business. It was one of the hardest things I’ve done and still is. There were so many things that could have prevented me from actually making my dream a reality. The biggest factors are pretty universal so I thought I share them with you in hopes to encourage you to make your dream a reality.
When I say “Your” dream I mean just that. It is YOUR dream and no one else’s. This could be starting a non-profit, starting a business, a career change, becoming a parent, becoming a dog-walker, becoming a runner, committing one hour a day to uninterrupted play with your child, becoming fit, becoming a blogger or podcaster, or leading a team through an amazing MLM. (I’d actually love to know what your dream is in the comment section of this blog!!!) Pursuing something that is important to You, no matter how big or small, will bring you so much joy and purpose.
Here are three lessons from things that almost stopped me in my tracks on my journey to getting my jewelry line off the ground and making my dream come to life:
1. Unapologetically own your dream - Spoiler Alert! Your dream may not be as well received as you may think it will be and that’s ok. This was actually is something that nearly derailed my entire business, my heart, and my life. Just when I got enough courage to voice my dream out loud (and yes I was scared to admit that I wanted to have my own jewelry line) I was hit with unexpected disapproval and discouraging words from a few people whose opinions I valued. Most of my closest friends and family were truly happy, supportive and excited for me but some people surprisingly were not. There were several factors that contributed to the disapproval and discouraging words including wanting me to take an easier route because of how hard my life had been in the years before, some were just looking at how my dream would affect theirs and some were simply trying to protect me from failure. No matter if the discouragement was coming from a good place or a bad place it all felt pretty terrible at the time. I tried my best to explain and almost defend my vision and my intention but honestly, it almost broke me. I chose, instead, to let my vision lead me. I surrounded myself with the people who encouraged my dream and I distanced myself from the others for a while. It was what I had to do focus on my business, to protect my heart and my head space. And honestly, I don't regret it. I 100% believe in doing everything in your power to bring Your dream to life. This is your only life.
I have always loved and lived by the Robert Frost poem The Road Not Taken and the last line says it all…
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.
2. Just Get Started - I thought that I didn't “know enough" to have my own business. Sure I knew jewelry. I had been in the jewelry industry for 10 years or so, I had sold some of the top brands in the world, and had custom designed engagement rings for hundreds of couples yet I doubted myself. I had never owned my own business or launched a brand. I literally looked into going back to college to get an MBA because I thought I needed to know everything before I could have my own business. Sure, I know for a fact that business school could teach me things that would be invaluable when starting my business and I do not discredit an MBA by any means. But the thought of going back to school, taking on more student loans and delaying the start of my business almost made me not start it at all.
You see I’m pretty resourceful and Google and Youtube had become my new best friends. I started to realize that many of the things that stumped me could easily be found on the internet. In fact, when many of my friends were doing really cool and fun things I was sitting at home in sweat pants with my two new besties absorbing as much as I could about business. I literally felt like (and still do) there was a 5000 piece puzzle in front of me and I had to figure it out.
The thing is, I LOVE Puzzles! I love the feeling of starting with nothing and figuring it out. I always use a strategy when putting a puzzle together. First, I gather and sort. I make piles of the edge pieces, like colors and like patterns. And then I begin. I start with building the outside border of the entire puzzle so that it acts as a foundation that I can build from. I basically used this same strategy to start my business. The gathering and sorting was the Google and Youtube research phase that never ends and the planning stage. Building the border was building the jewelry line, business plan, branding and website. And the launch was the completion of the outside border. There is still so much to do but the foundation has been established and seeing that helps remind me that I am capable to keep building this puzzle one piece at a time and growing my business. The key to pursuing your dream is to just simply get started… one piece at a time and never stop learning.
3. You CAN build authentic relationships online - One of my biggest fears about starting my jewelry line was the fact that I didn't think I could make authentic relationships with potential customers like I was used to doing in retail. My favorite part of being in the jewelry industry is celebrating the special moments in my customer's lives. I was worried that I wouldn't get to connect in this way.
To be honest, I knew that I would need to start a business Facebook page and an Instagram account but I’m embarrassed to admit I had never even been on Instagram. Yes, you heard me right! I did not have a clue what Instagram was even about until I downloaded the app in 2018. It all seemed overwhelming and I strongly questioned if I should be pursuing something that seemed like such an uphill battle. Shortly after that, I gave myself a swift kick in the butt and decided that I was up for the challenge.
I leaned on my trusty friends Google and Youtube to learn how to use Social Media for business and relationship building. While they continue to help me immensely my “Ah-Ha!” moment was finding Jasmine Star. She is a brand strategist who shaped my view on building a personal brand online and gave me the confidence and tools to build meaningful relationships with my ideal client. This has been the biggest game changer for my business, my mindset, and my heart. I am connecting with the most incredible women from around the world who continually inspire me and honestly, I’ve met some of my best friends online because of launching my business.
One of my favorite “Instagram” moments was with a fellow business owner who decided that she would reward herself with one of my "Open" Hexagon Pendant if she hit a certain goal in a course she was launching. The night her course offering was closing I was able to cheer her on via Instagram Direct Messenger and was actually online with her at the moment that she exceeded her goal with only minutes left before her cart closed. I was so excited for her that I could barely keep my voice down as I tried not to wake Winston but couldn't help but send her video message to congratulate her on the launch. She immediately went to my site and purchased her favorite necklace and now wears it as a reminder of such a huge accomplishment. I cannot ask for a better way to see my jewelry used in such a meaningful way. This is my dream. This is what lights my heart on fire! This is the power of building relationships online.
When you are pursuing your dream do not underestimate the power of connection and how the internet can be the easiest way to connect with people who have similar dreams or interests as you do. Use it as a tool to fuel your dream no matter if that’s a business or a hobby. It’s an amazing connector!
These three lessons are just a taste of all that I’ve learned when launching Crystalyn Aucoin Jewelry 6 months ago. I’m constantly learning just like you. When you are experiencing fear or a set back when pursuing your dream the best way to overcome it is to ask what am I learning? And remember: This is your one and only life. Today is all you have. It is up to you to live out your wildest dreams. Why wait? Cheers to the dreamers!