Living the American Dream: A reflection on my one year business anniversary

It's hard to believe it has already been a year since I decided to step out of my comfort zone and create a little handmade business from home. My already fragile Spanish teaching business collapsed with the onset of the Wuhan virus and my English as a Second Language teaching contract with EF was quickly approaching its expiration date. Although after two years of online teaching I found myself ready for a change. After many weeks of research and numbers crunching I decided to take the leap.

Now I won't get into my initial journey as I already wrote about that in my first blog post but it's been a wild ride since then!

One thing that has always fascinated me is the American Dream. It's incredible that people can be free to discover solutions to problems, create a business, and reach incredible success through hard work and perseverance. There are fewer and fewer places where such opportunities exist, and in countries where people are able to do this, they might face crippling regulations and obstacles at every turn.

It has been so rewarding to look back on what has been 12 months of loss in so many ways and see how despite no craft fairs, economic disaster, anxiety of the unknown, and supply chain breakdowns that I've been able to succeed in small ways.

There have been so many moments of frustration and one month in particular when I read five marketing books back to back, desperate to learn more ways to boost sales. The most frustrating aspect has been dealing with the social media algorithms and SEO. For example, a post shared on 10 different pages about an important update or product launch might reach 16 people but a picture of our dog or a flower in our garden will have 1,000 views with only one share! I decided early on my short term goal was just to make one sale per month to at least give me the validation to continue pushing ahead. Some months I barely reached the goal and others I surpassed it by many sales.

In the fall I learned a painful fact that while pumpkin spice might be all the rage for coffee, it isn't in demand for bath and body products. It seems that it's something people would rather consume or use for a candle scent than soak in a bathtub filled with cinnamon and nutmeg. After an excruciatingly slow sale season during autumn, the support at Christmas was amazing and it's important to remember that when you buy from a small business during the holiday season you help families pay for Christmas gifts for their children as well as help ease the burden of property taxes (literally at the worse time of the year, thanks Virginia!). It was truly a blessing.

I did welcome a slower winter after the Christmas craziness. It gave me a break to regroup, refresh, and build up inventory. I have renewed hope for this year as craft fairs are starting back up, I've had my first order for a bridal shower, I'm participating in a third bridal expo at Long Branch in April, and I've begun to research more locations to sell.

Thank you to everyone who has supported this little endeavor and I'm looking forward to an even more successful second year!

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