“Gardeners instinctively know that flowers and plants are a continuum and that the wheel of garden history will always be coming full circle”- Francis Cabot Lowell
A year ago from today, I picked up a crate with various gardening items. I took all the seeds I've collected throughout the years, got the tools I owned including my BSc. in Biological Sciences & community health and hoped for the best as I dug into this deep soil, this new adventure, called entrepreneurship.
Three months prior to today a year ago, I stepped out of my comfort zone and took a three month intense “Women in Business” program where I learned a myriad of tips and tricks and everything in between that I still use until this day. Not to dive too deep into it, but the program was structured in a way where a lot of us ( a group of 12 women) were pushed beyond what we were used to. There was a lot of self discovery, a lot of tears and a lot of coming into your own person.____ You don’t like public speaking or pitching your idea? Who cares , you were going to learn how to get through it no matter what. The latter sounds a bit harsh, but the bond that was created between us is something no one can understand. There was support , feedback and constructive criticism that allowed you to see different perspectives, go back home and come back with an even better plan. I am grateful and thankful to see the transformation of each one of the women from the beginning until the end of the program. The confidence that bloomed was uncanny!
Three weeks after it was completed, I officially registered as planned, for my business on my birthday to keep everything aligned_ I’m also down with the chakras JS. Alas, here we are a year later celebrating NEFË first full year in business. Following that registration, I ended up in another business program (unisex) that was suggested to me by the first one. I worked on many different yet similar concepts as well through those two months. I had to “Shark Tank” my business in front of three judges in order to get into the program initially, and then once in my business plan needed to be submitted for an additional review in order for me to continue and have my business agent assist me throughout the next three years to come. I’m not a public speaking person at all, I like to keep to myself and buckle down on my creativity from dusk to dawn.____Therefore all these steps, I needed to do and achieve in order to get where I wanted to go.
Fast forward to me being this type of shy person and impulsively applying for random business grants and hoping for the best, I found myself being in the top 50 for a chance to win 1 of 25 grants of 25K given by the government for businesses. There were 630 applicants; I didn’t even know the number until the day of the ceremony...
Although I was short of getting the grant on a little infraction and it bummed me out a little bit, I'm still very grateful I made it that far with a high score on my business plan; there’s always next year. This little event or mishap (some may call it the valleys of entrepreneurship) taught me three things.
- 1. There’s people around you, friends or close acquaintances that do not genuinely cheer for you or understand your vision_ just learn to detach from them. You eventually attract your tribe.
- 2. Imposter’s syndrome is real, but keep going because you’re actually better than you give yourself credit for.
- 3. Take the time to look over your accomplishments and goals- In January 2019 I wrote on that dreaded 50 page business plan that one of my goals was to have some of my products in a store, a year later it happened. It may not have been the store I wanted and how everything panned out , but I learned what to do and what not to do for next time.
Failures are the best successes… you’re picking up what I’m dropping?
May 6th 2020, I’m celebrating my personal birthday and my official business registration. Of course with planning, not everything goes by the check box on that twenty-five dollars 2020 planner you probably bought for nothing at this point , especially in business. You’re working with multiple personalities that you have to adapt to and situations. The latter of course is the current situation with the COVID-19 Pandemic. Although NEFË is solely an online store, we rely on some local businesses with our samples and production of certain items. It’s unfortunate like everyone else that even an individual from one of our production companies was let go as well. __In business, you start to build a relationship with certain individuals where you can trust them with your ideas and their input. Fortunately, NEFË currently does not have any extra employees at the moment, but navigating a business through a pandemic and being a startup has allowed me to see how other businesses have managed.
It is certain that the priority in shopping has changed currently, but building a strong online and trustworthy presence is crucial to grasp right now. People will always shop in physical stores, that's a fact, but the positive side in all of this is that those who we’re maybe a little iffy about online shopping, will get more acquainted to new emerging ones and small companies like ours and forego to be inclined to purchase online. __ Certain tasks, production may be at a halt, but if anyone knows me personally, there’s not a day where I’m not going back in my books of ideas I've created, revamping and constantly creating. It’s not necessary, but it’s an even better time to be creative in the Q (quarantine). You take this pandemic situation up front as a flight or fight; you’ll test your own resiliency and be surprised by the outcome. It’s ok to step away, check on yourself, check on your progress and clap for yourself! You deserve it!
I’ll take my own words right now and definitely thank all the individuals that have helped me set up my business and being supportive, to the ones that aren’t and we’re rude towards me, to those that don’t see my vision but keep watching in silence , I see you I'm better because of you. I’m not mad at my startup, because I know where I want to go and where I want to be. I'm grateful for my desire to seize the opportunities -As Vivian Kaye would say “ Be a Chad, go for that opportunity no matter what”.
I look forward to seeing NEFË grow to where it’s meant to be and to seldomly see how I will handle the peaks and valleys of being an entrepreneur. I have a bunch of creative goodies I'm waiting to release...Let's Go!
If I can leave you with a small resource that have been and continue to be with us during to check out, not only as it is part of our journey, but it can certainly be part of yours as well; I would suggest you to take a look at 1.The Founders Fund if you’re looking for a supportive business community through the group and the various mentors they have. Also being a member has its perks too- Up to 50K+ of funding available with no equity , no strings attached!
The second ( Montreal based) is Microcredit Montreal, which offer loans and personalized support for local entrepreneurs and internationally trained professionals. They are also big on Women's Entrepreneurship, as they have a really good diversified team there from various background and walks of life guiding you.
Follow your enthusiasm- Everything will, and always falls into place.
"Everything Is Good"