We’ve all heard similar stories from the bigwigs of the world. Bill Gates dropping out of uni before becoming a billionaire, Katy Perry bombing with a gospel album before coming out with her insanely successful single – the list goes on.
And while they’re all inspiring stories, I personally would relate more to someone who has indeed struggled, but who bounced back to have a certain level of success that actually seems feasible to us average Aussies.
If you haven’t come across Feel Better Box yet, do it right now. They send out customised hampers to you (or on your behalf) that cover everything from sickness to new mums and they’re all just delightful.
We spoke to Sarah Willmot, the founder of Feel Better Box, to suss out just how she turned her initial failure into a thriving business.
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Is there someone special you want to say “I’m thinking of you” to? ???? • Send this beautiful Feel Better Box as a surprise in the mail ???????? • Our ‘I’m Thinking of You’ care package contains handmade chocolate, artisan bath salts and candle, natural skincare and lip balm, Robert Gordon mug, sleepy mist, hand blended tea and a gift card ✨
My first business failed because… I spent way too much time researching the business angle including domain name, registering the business, platform to sell a product on, setting up the social handles, logo and daydreaming about being my own boss. And not enough time on the product element that I wanted to develop, make and sell.
I finally let go of it when… I took my handmade ‘prototype’ beach windbreaker out for a test run with my two young children. To say it was a disaster was an understatement. I couldn’t hit the poles into the sand hard enough to stay upright, whilst the wind blew the fabric to sag and the poles kept toppling. I felt embarrassed to be making such loud banging noises and draw attention to myself. And my children ran and crawled off in different directions whilst I tried to get the beach windbreak up. It was an experience I never ever wanted to repeat. I got one photo to remind me that I had tried and failed. I knew I could never believe in or sell this product and that was that. End of first business endeavour.
I came up with the idea for my next venture when… I was really unwell with a bad cold along with my children when my husband was away on business and my family lived interstate. It was a really terrible week where I felt isolated, miserable and worn out. When I recovered, I reflected on what would have made me feel a little better and a care package came to mind. If someone had sent me a little surprise in the post, maybe with some remedies to soothe it, it would have boosted my spirits and eased my cold.
I knew it was worth the risk because… I 100% believed in the idea from the minute I thought of it. I thought of half the people I knew who were living away from family and friends. I just knew I am not the only one who needed a boost during a particularly bad sickness.
The biggest lesson I learned from the first failure was… Get the product right first! I sounded the idea out with everyone, my friends, family, the local butcher – I spoke to everyone I knew. I asked for their recommendation of remedies and what they’d love to receive if they were unwell or not feeling themselves.
When creating a business you should know that… It can take over your world. You’ve got to love it because you can spend working and evening hours pouring yourself into its growth and success. I don’t feel like I work, I feel like my business is my passion project and my hobby all rolled into one. I love to learn and absorb the learnings from other businesses and their successes. The more I grow as a business owner, the more my business grows as a success.
What motivates me to keep going is… My love for it. It’s also a little addictive. Reaching new goals fuels the fire to strive to reach the next one. I constantly want to do more, have new ideas, new lightbulb moments of inspiration. I surround myself with inspiring people online (Facebook business groups) and that inspires me even more.
I wouldn’t have gotten this far without… Believing in myself and the idea. I have never wavered. My vision looks the same from when I started and now is just a really lovely reality. But I can’t go past mentioning my husband and family who have supported me from day one. Yes, I did get the, ‘if Feel Better Box doesn’t work out what job are you going to get next year.’ But that period has been replaced with celebrating the highs.
The best piece of advice I received was… If you’re thinking about starting your own business – just start. Don’t wait until it’s perfect, I never feel like mine is perfect and I’m three years in. Once you get going, you start learning and that’s when you learn if your first idea is not the right idea. Experience is everything and as one door closes, another one always opens. Maybe not tomorrow, it could be two years like me, but that door opens I promise!
Even if it doesn’t seem like it, you’re bound to learn from your mistakes. I mean, I personally don’t but I hear that normal, well-adjusted people do, which is promising.
You can also put certain measures in place to ensure your business is getting all the chances in the world. Sarah herself said she spent too much time on the researching, which is where a service like Mailchimp would come in handy – they do all the necessary work for you.
Whether it’s reaching a specific audience, growing your online presence, getting your brand off the ground or…you know what, Mailchimp actually does a lot and I’m exhausted, best just visit the site here.
Phew, alright, back to condemning rich people for being rich. Damn rich, spending all my money on boozy weekends and forcing me to get my crappy car serviced.
This is everyone’s fault but mine.Image: iStock / Gwengoat