Conquering Chaos

Ep 25: What I Learned from Losing $2 Million Dollars

September 17, 2019 Season 1 Episode 25
Conquering Chaos
Ep 25: What I Learned from Losing $2 Million Dollars
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Conquering Chaos
Ep 25: What I Learned from Losing $2 Million Dollars
Sep 17, 2019 Season 1 Episode 25
Erin E Hooley
The top 6 lessons I learned from my failed attempt at launching a direct sales company.
Show Notes Transcript

"Erin, you didn't lose $2 million dollars, you gained a $2 million dollar education."

I for one didn't particularly want this degree, but the lessons learned from such a dramatic and public "failure" are some I will never forget.

In this episode I break down the top 6 lessons I learned from my failed attempt at launching a direct sales company.

Speaker 1:
0:01
Welcome to the conquering chaos podcast. I'm your host Aaron [inaudible], president and founder of multimillion dollar e-commerce children's clothing line, Bailey's blossoms. So it turns out I'm pretty good at business, but what really lights my soul on fire is providing other entrepreneurs and mom foreigners with the tools they need to truly succeed. So if you have a business or have one on your heart, you're in good company. Pull up a chair or dropping some earbuds and let's conquer some chaos today. If you have been an entrepreneur for longer than a nanosecond, you know that this journey provides more than its fair share of tough life lessons. I could tell you stories that would make your skin crawl and your heartbeat into your throat. Over the years, I've grown a pretty thick skin of resilience, but nothing could have prepared me for the huge losses we experienced. Soon after launching our sister brand, Peyton Brie from poor inventory projections to a failed software system and two cases of international fraud and theft.
Speaker 1:
1:01
We lost $2 million in under nine months. In January of this year, 2019 a member of my executive staff made a comment to me that I will never forget. He said, Aaron, you didn't just lose $2 million. You gained a $2 million education. I'm going to be real with you. At the time, I remember thinking someday that will be very profound, but today is not that day. It's easy to say that hindsight is 2020 now when looking back, having put a little space between the pure chaos of that moment and reflecting on what we have been able to accomplish in the past eight months since the worst of it, I've been able to gain some clarity and perspective that I could not see in the thick of it. And while I would never wish what we went through one, anyone, I can't deny the immense personal growth that has come as a direct result of that intense struggle.
Speaker 1:
1:59
Now, for those of you who are wondering what in the world I'm talking about, I'm talking about my company, Peyton Brie, which was originally launched as a social or direct selling company and in January of 2019 we stepped back and we looked at this beast that we had created and realized that we had made some really big key mistakes along the way. Mistakes that put us in financial hardship like we had never before experienced. We were siphoning money out of Bailey's blossoms to try to keep ourselves afloat and actually starting to hurt that business as well because of it. And we knew that if we didn't make a big change that we weren't just going to fall flat on our faces with Peyton Bree, but we would put in jeopardy. This established company, Bailey's Boston's, which had been our bread and butter and the support of not just our family, but 25 other families on our team as well for so many years, and that was a risk that we knew we couldn't afford to take after countless sleepless nights.
Speaker 1:
3:01
After intense deliberation, we decided that we to shift the business model. Now mind you, this was after we had depleted our personal savings accounts. This was after we hadn't paid ourselves four months. This was after we told one of our suppliers to stop all production because we couldn't afford to center any additional payments and then she replied to let us know that she took out a mortgage on her house to keep her business afloat. So all the compounded stress and burden of the expectations of our team, the responsibilities we had with the people that we work with, both here in the u s and those abroad as well. All that to say that it was a really intense and dark time for me where I gained empathy and understanding for matters of depression and anxiety and even just wanting to fade away into nothing, things that I had never understood or experienced before, I was at a point where I needed to rely on the strength of those around me to help me get out of the weeds and see the opportunities from a 500 foot level.
Speaker 1:
4:10
And with that we shifted the business model to what we know best direct to consumer retail wholesale model, the same as Bailey's blossoms, and within eight months we crossed over the seven figure sales threshold which changed the trajectory of the brand. In this episode I'll be talking about the top six lessons learned from this $2 million education lesson number one, don't undervalue your intuition by overvaluing the experience of others. Now let that soak in just a little bit. Don't undervalue your intuition by overvaluing the experience of others knowing what do I mean by this? Now, I have always been a cautious and somewhat methodical risk taker. I analyze my options, I calculate my expenses, I plan what's in my power to control and then I project the possible reactions to that plan. Now, when we started Peyton, Bree, we hired some incredible consultants who had industry experience that I didn't have.
Speaker 1:
5:16
Now, please don't read into this. I'm not suggesting that hiring people for coaching is ever a bad idea. Getting feedback and advice from people who've paved or walked similar paths is always a great idea. However, using their experience and using their feedback as an excuse for you to ignore your own intuition, your concerns, your thoughts, your questions, and to write them off because you don't have enough experience to warrant them being valuable. That's where you're going to get into trouble. A really great coach and leader will ask the right questions so that you come to the conclusions and you experience growth rather than robbing. You have that knowledge. Business Development is in many ways, excavation and discovery. As you have those intuitive concerns, those intuitive thoughts and questions, be careful to not undervalue them and to bring them to the table and not to be embarrassed by them because you're stacking your lack of experience up against someone else's plethora of experience.
Speaker 1:
6:18
Give yourself some credit because you're the one at the end of the day who's going to be fighting the fight. Lesson number two is grow as you go. It's really easy when we're launching a new business to want to set the perfect foundation. Everything is good to go. There is no possible chance for failure, et Cetera, et Cetera, et cetera. The reality is that's not the reality ever. You can't ever guarantee success. No matter how great your plan is when it comes to launching a business, it is possible to over plan when you're planning and planning and planning, but you never actually get out and do anything. You end up using all your energy on the pre-race exercises and then come race day. You don't have the bandwidth to show up. Fully. Planning is important, but planning is the book smarts while doing becomes the street smarts and you need a healthy mix of both.
Speaker 1:
7:15
I love to go and do because it's the quickest way to learn, so be willing to start messy and start afraid. Start imperfect. Just start. Consider your options. Set your course, know your intentions and get moving. Learn along the way. You can always adapt and grow and shift and change as you receive feedback and experience of your own. It's really easy to look at these big established companies that we idolize and assume that they started right out the gate with all the bells and whistles, but more often than not, people are starting in their basements or their parents' basements. They're starting in their garages. They're starting with bare bones used and beat up, and they're adding to it little by little. So be willing to grow as you go. Start now and start before you think you're ready. Lesson number three is listen to others, but validate yourself.
Speaker 1:
8:18
I always want to be teachable, but there's a difference between being teachable and needing to be told what to do. Listen to the advice and experience of others, but make decisions for yourself. Don't wait for external validations for your dreams. If you don't believe in enough for you, then you need to ask yourself why you're doing it at all. You need to pull on that passion in the tough times, so make sure that you really know what is the purpose behind why I'm doing this. Do I believe in this enough for myself that if everybody else in the world is telling me that I'm crazy, I still have the courage and the drive to press on. If you're trying to please everyone, you'll end up pleasing no one. Your intuition, your values, your vision should drive you further than the critics. Listen to others, but validate yourself and with that, lesson number four is upgrade your top five.
Speaker 1:
9:19
Surround yourself with amplifiers and doers, people who dream big and have the drive to chase those dreams. People who challenge you and hold you accountable. People who listen and ask questions but don't dictate all the answers. If you want to be a leader, you need to surround yourself with leaders, engage with leaders, ask advice from leaders, and even do business with other leaders. You've heard that we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with. So upgrade your five and you'll upgrade yourself. The next lesson is get out of your own mind. Oftentimes our own mind gets in our own way, our own self deprecating thoughts, our own negative projections of what the future holds. Whatever it can be. Our limiting beliefs limit our future potential. So as we get out of our own mind and as we expand the horizon with the possibilities that others have brought to fruition, it helps us to see the potential that lies within ourselves.
Speaker 1:
10:27
So to get out of my own mind, I am constantly listening to podcasts. I am trying to read as much as possible. I want to hear other people's stories and other people's ways, not so that I can recreate them, but that I can use it as a catalyst to inspire myself in my own journey and in my own story. Another way to get out of your own mind is to record things. Just small snippets, gratitude pieces, lessons learned that you can turn back and look towards. So in those moments where you feel like you haven't come very far, you can look back and you can recall on just how far you've come. You can recall on that wisdom, you can recall on that strength, you can recall on that struggle the things that you've already overcome to help propel you to overcome the next challenge.
Speaker 1:
11:20
We are hardwired for struggle, but popular culture tells us that life is supposed to be easy. Life isn't easy, nor should it be. And that whole growing pains concept, it's painful for a reason. We're being stretched. We're becoming more than we were previously. It's not supposed to be comfortable. So we need to change our mindset. We need to get out of our own limiting beliefs. We need to be inspired by other people so that we can then turn around and inspire. And finally, number six, don't underestimate the effects of physical health on emotional wellness. Now I am the last person on the face of this planet who should be speaking to this because this is the one that I struggle with the most. I am an emotional eater to the core. I'm actually an emotional eater, a boredom eater, a stress eater. I'm just, I'm all eater things.
Speaker 1:
12:19
I do all of the eating. I love chocolate. I love sweets. Actually, I love it until I don't. And the reason I say that is this, I have allowed my habits to become so predictable that even the sight or smell of chocolate in the moment where I'm grabbing it, free emotional reasons can bring me to tears and laugh if you must. But it's kind of ridiculous and I recognize that and I have made a major call to action for myself to change that because that is not who I want to be. How many times have we seen an Instagram or a Pinterest quotable that says to some effect that a healthy body equals a healthy mind? It's cute and it's common. We see it all over the place and fancy little fonts with pretty backdrops and colors, but how often do we actually stop and take a moment to reflect on whether or not we've seen evidence of it in our own lives?
Speaker 1:
13:15
How am I serving my body? Am I serving it in a way that it is going to serve me back? And if the answer is no, what small changes, not huge, drastic, overwhelming. I'm going to quit within the first 24 hour changes. But what small changes can I make and commit to that will add up to big results. I recently heard from Jay Shetty that we often set ourselves up for failure when we make big changes a small priority rather than making small changes a big priority. Never underestimate what the best version of you can accomplish. The best version of you isn't tied to a size or a number on the scale. The best version of you is strong and energized. She gets sufficient rest and has the mental clarity to tackle whatever comes her way. I hope that these six tips, these six lessons learned, strike a chord with you in some way to help you understand that you are not alone on this journey of entrepreneurship. There are going to be highs and there are going to be lows. That is the only guarantee I can give you about this journey. That's just what it all entailed. That's part of the beauty of it. But if you can learn to love the journey, if you can learn to love the lessons, if you can learn to love the growth, your degree of fulfillment and happiness throughout it all will be exponentially greater.
Speaker 1:
14:45
Thank you for taking the time to connect with me here on the conquering chaos podcast. If you enjoyed this episode, will you please
Speaker 2:
14:52
take a moment to leave a review? It's the fuel to my fire and lets me know that my efforts to enact change and broaden your perspective of what's possible matter. Thank you so much for your support. If you want more content like this, don't forget to subscribe and connect with me on social media at Erin [inaudible] or at Aaron Ebu, [inaudible] dot com have a fantastic day. Get out there and congress and chaos.
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