By: Libby Karman
If someone were to have told me a year ago that the upcoming year would consist of me finishing my degree in strategic communication, planning a wedding, AND starting an E-commerce business from the ground up in the course of four months, I honestly wouldn’t know what to tell you. I’m still pretty speechless about the whole thing, but I made it! On October 14th, Carol’s Inspirations was introduced to the world after months of hard work, and the company pays tribute to my late grandmother, Carol Karman. She successfully fought cancer for 20 years and used her motivational magnets to keep her in good spirits. She continues to be the inspiration behind this company, and I couldn’t be prouder to dedicate it to her.
These past few months have opened my eyes to a whole new world of experiences that I never saw coming. Looking back, there are a lot of aspects that helped me grow and tidbits of advice that I hope to one day give to another aspiring small business owner. After reading about the whirlwind that I just emerged from, you might be asking how I managed to keep everything straight and still somehow hold onto my sanity?! Some of that is still a mystery I’ll admit, but I’ve compiled the best lessons that I have learned from this amazing experience of starting my own business at 21.
- Things will go wrong, but life goes on.
Sometimes, no matter how many times you double check your work and think through every single detail, there will be something you will miss. Here’s the thing- that’s okay! I can’t tell you how many tiny details I overlooked leading up to our launch, and even though those miniscule details felt huge in the moment, they did not make or break the company (not even stolen business cards or credit card readers being sent to Nevada on accident!) On the same lines, failing is just a natural part of any new experience! This was definitely a tough pill to swallow at first, but one you can take action to correct and learn from. Let’s face it, failures will soon be long forgotten anyway.
- Work hard, but at your own pace.
I have worked a lot of jobs/internships in customer service, public relations, and so on, and one thing that almost every employer looks for in their staff is “hard working.” I quickly experienced the dark side of being in a company that praised their version of hard working, this being coming into work hours early, leaving hours late, and frantically trying to meet deadlines. Even though I was working extremely hard, I was exhausted and stressed! Coming out of those experiences, I began to reflect on my work habits, and I learned that sometimes working at your own pace is more effective than trying to work against the clock. Believe me, a lot of hard work goes into starting your own business, but you hold the power to make it work in your favor.
- Surround yourself with people that are as passionate as you are.
I cannot emphasize this enough! Surrounding yourself with a team that will help you build your empire is so incredibly crucial to success! Not only did I have an amazing four-person team directly working with me, I had a fabulous creative agency that took my vision and made it into a website as well as amazing friends and family that were supportive right off the bat. Even the most confident person can waver sometime, so it’s important to build yourself up with a strong foundation of support and love.
- Do it your way!
No matter if you are opening a business, starting a new job, or anything else in life, do it in a way that reflects who you are and what you stand for. Too many times do I see people fall victim of sheltering their self-expression because of what others will think or simply because they haven’t worked up the courage to be expressive. Listen closely: you are here in this position for a reason! While the world may work in mysterious ways, it’s no mystery how you got to where you are. Your hard work and determination have already been seen, and now is you time to shine with your ideas. Never be afraid to try things a different way, and if it wasn’t the best fit, try another!
Carol’s Inspirations hasn’t even been open for a month but has already been one of the most amazing and eye-opening experiences in my life. Internal growth for myself has been exponential, and I have learned so many things that I hope to pass onto others in similar shoes.