EP369: Do I fight for it? Or close my jewelry business?
6:27AM Sep 30, 2022
Do I reignite my passion for the business? And find a better way? And get it to a place where it's supporting me in the way that it needs do? Or do I let it go? Welcome to thrive by design, the podcast for ambitious independent jewelry brands, looking to profit from their products, get ready to make more and sell more doing what you love, without spending every single waking minute doing it. Hey, and if you're a creative fashion or product based business, I want to welcome you to the show. I'll be dropping big tips on launching, growing and scaling your business. So you could spend more of your precious time using your creativity to make money. You ready? All right, let's do this. Welcome to the thrive by design Podcast, episode 369. Hey there, it's Tracy Matthews, I'm the host of the show today. I'm also the chief visionary officer of Flourish & Thrive Academy, and we help jewelry brands launch grow and scale multiple six and multiple, seven figure businesses. So if you have a jewelry business or a product company, you are in the right place. And thank you so much for listening to the show. Now this question, do I fight for my business? Or do I close it? When is the right time was actually asked me an Instagram direct message. So if you have questions that you want me to answer on the podcast, I would love to do this, for obvious reasons. I'm gonna keep this Instagram user private, because that's her own personal business or whatever. But I wanted to talk about this because I think it is a topic that a lot of people struggle with. And in fact, I know that in 2008 2007 2009, I really battled with this question myself. And so I'm going to walk you through some of the things I did in making the decision to close my business. And some great questions to ask yourself, if you're feeling burnout, or if you're someone who's not sure if you're on the right path, or if it's worth continuing to fight for. And there's a lot of different variables involved in this because some people want to close their business maybe because it's never really built traction. Other people maybe had a seven figure business like I did, and lost their passion for it or something has gone awry. And they are in this decision. Do I fight for this or not. And then there's other people who, you know, might just have lost, whatever it is, you know, they're kind of mad about their business, and they're not sure how to keep it going. Or they maybe have something that's going on in their life that makes them unsure if they should continue.
My dog is getting wrapped up in the core to hang tight a second. Real life over here. We got her untangled. I don't know what happened. But my dog Roxy she's an amazing little golden doodle. A little naughty cat. But I guess she's the Mini or I don't know. Anyway, she's a cute dog. She's 15 pounds. I love her to death. And I got to bring her to work today. And she got all tangled up on my power chord which is probably dangerous. Anyway, sidebar, real life. So let's dive deep in to this episode about deciding to fight for your business or close it and when is the right time. So what I want to preface this all about and like one of the reasons that I even started Flourish & Thrive Academy in the first place was to help people build businesses that were aligned not only with their vision of success, but to be able to pivot or change their mind and recalibrate when things in life and passion, wane and fade and rise like all the things because you know who you were five years ago, who you were a year ago, who you were 10 years ago, is not the person you are now and your priorities change what you're excited about changes and all those things. And so that kind of information or that understanding of yourself is going to be really powerful in this process of deciding is it still aligned with what you want. So for those of you who haven't heard the story before, my first business, actually was taken out in the great economic crash or the great financial crisis of 2008. I'd been in business about 10 years at the time, I kept my business open for another year after the crash. And it was devastating to me, I was already overly leveraged, I was pushing my business to the limit, trying to grow it and then unbeknownst to me, a big market crash happened. And many many many of my vendors just didn't pay me or they filed for bankruptcy, or their bank lines actually closed their credit lines which put them into a bankruptcy spiral like people like red envelope who I had a great relationship with for many years. And I ended up speaking to one of the buyers later and she's like, our business was actually very cashflow positive, but the problem was that the bank closed our credit line down and so we couldn't cashflow and paying vendors like they just shut it down. So the way that they would do it was pay all their bills. was with this credit line. And then when the cash would come in from the people buying the products, they would pay it off. And that was how they kept cashflow going in their business. Anyway, that being said, it was really devastating for a lot of people. And I was already in a phase of burnout in the fact that my business was like floundering now was rough. So, September 2008, market crashes, I started getting bankruptcy notices, weeks later, like it started happening before that, but the big event was really this market crash, I just shipped like a 35 to $50,000 Order can't remember exactly, to find jewelry store and like literally like a week before. And they never paid me for it. And they kept the merchandise, which totally sucked. And for a small business like mine at the time, like the previous year, we come really close to hitting the seven figure mark. And like to have that kind of order just pulled like an rip from you. It's like, I don't know, like, it's like a double whammy. It's like being out of pocket 100,000. And then because of that the commodities market started, like rising. And so we had taken orders several months before, we started getting big orders from people like Sundance catalog and other people like that, like these big catalogs and big brands that were cashflow positive, and they were placing orders based on the pricing before the gold market rushed or before the diamond market rushed. And so we were almost underwater on these orders. And it was so challenging these vendors that I'd had relationships with for years and years and years and years. Like I had to basically tell them that I couldn't pay them for the orders. It was awful. And so I ended up hiring a consultant that consultants walked me through a long series of questions over a period of six to nine months, where I finally came to the decision to wind down my company and start with a fresh new business idea in the jewelry market, which was kind of a newer thing at that time. So I was devastated because it's embarrassing. Like I felt so embarrassed, I thought I was the only person while Little did I know that there were a lot of jewelry brands struggling at that time. And a lot of people who almost went out of business, and a lot of people who did go out of business that, you know, you don't really hear about. So it was very humbling to me because I felt like I was number one a fraud that I sucked at what I was doing. And that I was an embarrassment to myself and my team because I couldn't keep this business going. What I realized later is that this is something that happened to a lot of people and I wasn't the only one. So hindsight 2020 write the whole thing. But I had to make the tough choice at the time, do I keep this business open? And do I keep fighting for it? Or do I let it go and do something different? And this is the question I think that this person was asking. So I want to go through the series of questions that I was prompted in this and a series of questions that I would encourage you to ask yourself, if you're facing burnout, or thinking about deciding whether or not to close your business after you've been in business for a while. And as I mentioned a little bit earlier, there's a lot of people at different phases in business. And if you're just in the startup phase, the only reason why I would close a business, meaning you haven't been doing this for very long and you still haven't gotten sales traction, I would encourage you to come work with us and take our Laying The Foundation program, if that's you, is that probably you just don't know how to get the word out there about what you're doing for your jewelry business. And you haven't invested in yourself. And you're not following a step by step plan. And you're treating your business like a hobby. And in that case, like if it's still something you're passionate about, you should go for it. This is really for people who've been doing this for a while, are in that critical phase like do I reignite my passion for the business and find a better way? And get it to a place where it's supporting me in the way that it needs to? Or do I let it go? Before I dive into these questions, I just want to mention that if you need some business inspiration, and you want to learn how to stand out in a saturated market, with a timeless jewelry brand, my favorite of all time free masterclass that we do. And one of the ones that gets the best response is on demand right now for a limited time. So if you need some business inspiration and you want to stand out in a saturated market, I'm going to be sharing the five trade secrets that your competitors don't want you to know and might not even know themselves. And I'm really going to help you position yourself in a way where you do not have competition anymore and you're building a business with a cycle of repeat customers. So if you'd like to watch that you can head on over to flourish thrive academy.com forward slash timeless brand and select a time slot that works for you. Make sure that you watch it the class is about 90 minutes and enjoy. I even end it with a q&a of questions that are commonly asked by people who take this masterclass. So, go check it out for you. And let me know what you think. All right. So this series of questions are things that you should be thinking about. And if you have a chance, either save this episode, bookmark it for later or grab a note pen and paper, if you aren't driving or playing with your torch or something like that, and take notes, because you'll want to really journal about these things and think about it. So the questions that I would ask myself, if I was in this situation again, other times when I felt burnout, I mean, I just did an episode about business burnout, where I've had to really reevaluate like what I'm doing and is this worth it? So these are some questions that I asked myself, that I would encourage you to ask yourself. The first is, this is not a question I personally would ask myself, because the answer is always going to be yes. But for someone who is not necessarily entrepreneurial inclined, this might be a good question to start with, do I still enjoy being an entrepreneur or small business owner? Meaning Am I willing to take the risks that are involved with entrepreneurship, to put myself out there in the face of uncertainty and keep going? Because entrepreneurial mindset is a very specific thing, it is not for the weak at heart, or the faint of heart, however you want to say it. It's also not for people who are risk averse, like it is risky to be an entrepreneur, but the upside is so high. That's why it's worth it. So
is it still worth it to you to put the risk out there to be an entrepreneur and a small business owner? Or would you rather just go work for someone else, and going to work for someone else, you know, might be a good idea. I know a lot of people really need help right now. So it could be a good opportunity, especially if you have a skill set of being a jewelry maker, you could probably get a job working for someone making jewelry, or coaching for a company like me if you had a really successful jewelry business before and you're just not into it anymore. So that's the first question. Do I still enjoy being an entrepreneur or a small business owner? Question number two, does this align with what success looks like to me? So this was a question that I got really clear on. And this is the foundation of all of the programs that we do over here. And this is when I realized that it was okay to change my mind. Because here's the thing, you started your business at a certain point in time, for specific reasons that were probably aligned with what success look like to you at that time, meaning you started building a business. And it was exciting, because that's what you wanted at that time. But things change, people change, success changes. And I want to remind you that your business, if it's not aligned with what success looks like to you now, and you're running something that was like an older version of you, then you need to do one of two things, you need to either reassess is this business still worth it to me, or get back on the same page with you and your business and find that alignment, so that your business is supporting what success looks like. So here's an example from my own life. When I was deciding whether or not to keep Tracy Matthews designs open, I had to take a look at how my business was like, you know, originally, I wanted to do this, but I didn't want to work on weekends. I wanted to be able to spend time with my friends and have fun, but also do this thing that I loved and you know, have freedom over my time and all that stuff. But what ended up happening is that my siblings, because I was young, when I started my business, and I'm one of the older of my eight siblings, my siblings started to have children. And I realized that I was now having to leave family events. Early. For instance, in the new year, there's a show called The accessory circuit. And I'd always have to leave before New Year's Eve. And that was a huge thing that me and my family would spend together. And I'd always have to leave like earlier right after that, and then get on a plane to New York. And it was exhausting. I did not like doing trade shows anymore. Those weren't aligned with my vision of success. Plus, I was having a really hard time traveling to be with my family because I had to be in the office all the time to basically run the business and manage my team. Now in hindsight, I probably could have set things up a little bit better. But I didn't have that foresight back then, to see how this could be possible. It really felt like I needed to be in a physical space. And it was preventing me from traveling. It was preventing me from leaving during busy times of the year. And it also was preventing me from actually spending time with my nieces and nephews when they were growing up in places like Arizona or California. So that was a problem. And I didn't like that anymore. And it was exhausting. So the first thing that I did is I stopped doing trade shows. And one of the big reasons why my company started getting into financially precarious situation, especially when the markets crashed was that I invested in a lot of trade shows that didn't pan out or didn't have their ROI because the trade show market and industry was starting to change. People weren't writing as many orders at the shows, there was a lot more follow up involved and pre work that needed to happen. And I started doing trade shows when you had the luxury of just showing up and making like 3040 $50,000 easily. And that just wasn't the case for me. So the case anymore, I should should say. Now, question number three that I would ask is, am I willing to fight for my business? So this is a good question. Because if you're in a turnaround situation, like I was, at the time, meaning we had accrued a ton of debt that we thought we were going to get paid for, because you know what it's like. And when you have an inventory business, you have to pay for the materials before you get paid a lot of times. So I was getting like $100,000 orders and to produce those was really expensive. So it was like exhausting thinking about how that was going to work out. And to put some context to this. October have was usually our busiest month, October and November was the second busiest because we shipped wholesale, so people were getting ready for holiday. So in October, we, the previous year in 2007, we shipped $150,000 In orders, in October of 2008, we shipped $10,000 worth of orders. So I had a monthly nut that I needed to cover that I could no longer cover. And it became super stressful because I had to lay people off, I started having to do things in my business that I hadn't done in a long time. And it was crazy. And it was so exhausting. And at that point, I just was really tired because it felt like the jewelry trends and market was changing so much. There was this move towards fashion fashion. And I'm like, what people are buying the kind of jewelry that I make as much as they used to. If it weren't on, you know, the finer jewelry bent because of my fine jewelry line was starting to take off. But because of the rise in commodity prices, I was losing money on it. So it was like this weird thing, like part of my business was actually strong, the sales were strong there. Another part weren't as strong as they used to be. And because gold had risen so much, I was like losing money on the orders that I was shipping. It was awful. I was in such a bad place. Guys, you have no idea. And it was like something that it's hard, you can't really correct it when orders have been placed six months before, like, how do you go back and say like, Hey, I need to charge you double what I originally wrote this order for. I mean, it could have canceled the order that would have been good. But it would have ruined my relationship with people like the Sundance catalog. So we did work it out. I did have much lower margins on those orders, but I did they were slightly profitable, not as profitable as I would have liked. But, you know, all in a day's work, right? So am I willing to fight for this business still. So because it's going to take a lot of energy, especially if you're in that turnaround type of situation. If you're not in a turnaround situation, and you're just bored with your business, then maybe you're not willing to fight for it. Question number 4am, I spending time doing what I actually love to do in my business. Now this is a big one. I think a lot of people spend time doing the stuff that they don't love. And my consultant Phil sat me down in a conference room in Penn Station. In one Penn Station. I remember this very clearly they had rented some office space there. And he asked me
what do you love to do? I looked at him like What do you mean? What do I love to do? What do you kept pushing me? What do you love to do? What do you love to do? Tears started rolling down my face. And I'm like, I don't know what you're asking me like, What do you mean, I have this business? He's like, What do you love to do in your business? Oh, tears streaming the whole thing. And I was like, Well, I love designing. I don't necessarily love the making. And I hadn't in a long time because my hands were hurting and stuff like that. I love the art of like creating something new. Like I love getting there in there with a torch and hammering and stuff. But I didn't want to be in the making process. And it hadn't been for years. But because of my my hands hurting and me finding leverage in my business. But I realized I really did love designing, coming being creative. I loved working with customers like actually didn't mind the sales process, especially when it was face to face. or talking to people on the phone and stuff like that. Not a big fan of emailing like that kind of outreach because it seems more tedious and administrative. But I did love interacting with customers and like being facing. And it makes sense now because in I did this assessment called wealth dynamics. And I'm actually a star in that and that's not meaning. The way star is typically identified as someone who likes to shine the light on other people, which means that it makes perfect sense in this business. I'm always shining the light on our students and highlighting students. But it's about like being out there in the world. And instead of like behind the scenes, which I would say most people who are jewelry designers makers are probably Creatives or creators in the All dynamic scale. And I'm a star, which is like right next to the creator on the wheel. That's a sidebar. But I found this out about myself later. And I'm like, Oh, that makes sense, why I like certain parts about it. And I'm not really like into the making part anymore, because that's more cratered mechanic, kind of personality type. So I had to get really clear on what I love doing. And I would really recommend that you do the same. And certain parts of your business, you probably can't let go of until they're out a certain way. But if you could reallocate your time, and energy doing the things that you actually love, and it makes sense from a leverage standpoint, meaning that you can get to a place where you can create leverage in your business, then maybe it is something that's worth fighting for. Maybe it is something that you can get aligned with and all those things. So my fifth question that I would recommend that you ask yourself is, can I afford to sustain my business as it's currently running? So the answer may be no, which is probably part of the reason why you're thinking about closing it? Or maybe it's yes, and you're just bored. There's a lot of reasons there. But if the answer is no and you are passionate about and you want to keep it going, probably what you need to do is to figure out what you can cut and how you can become more profitable and generate sales. Because that is the cash flow is the thing that is going to light a fire under you, and getting those things going. So that is going to be really important for you. And to get things financially in order. So I'd really take a hard look at your financials, take a look at your p&l statement, your profit and loss statement, understand your balance sheet. where's the money going? What can I liquidate? What can I get off the shelves to get cash flow moving into my business?
Question number six, can I invest in working with a coach or a consultant who can help me with a turnaround. Now one of the things that I really didn't understand until I was in a really bad place was how important coaching and consulting is. And another reason why I started Flourish. & Thrive Academy 10 years ago now is for this specific reason. You see, as entrepreneurs, we can't see our blind spots, we are the biggest bottlenecks in our business, we are the ones who cause all the problems in our business, for the most part, we are our own worst enemy half the time. And if you can't get someone else being who's objective who does not have an emotional attachment, or tie to what you're doing, come in and take a look and help you see clearly about what's going on, then you'll consistently be stuck. Now, hiring Phil, during that time in his consulting agency was like, literally was the hardest thing I ever did, because I really felt like I couldn't afford it. But I couldn't not afford to do it. So he helped us figure out how we could afford it. And part of that was like in a wind down slash restructure slash like figuring out what you're going to do. Process he like recommend it. And I'm not saying I would recommend this for you. So do not take this as me giving this at your advice. But he recommended to stop paying all of our bills except for the payroll and consulting fees for him for a minute until we could recalibrate and catch up. Because the thing that was really sinking us was the credit card debt that I had accrued, and the lines of credit. So I'd like a bunch of credit cards that were like 50,000 here or 20,000 Here, you know, line of credit for 70,000. And they were all maxed out, and I couldn't afford to pay them. And I was using paying Peter to like Rob Paul, whatever that thing is that do because when the market crash, I didn't have the money that I was supposed to get to pay the cards off, and it messed up everything. So what he helped us do was to get clear on like, here are the priorities in the business, here's what you need to do. And I am still investing in people like this, like I was in a huge state of burnout, still kind of coming out of it. And I've had to invest a lot in consultants and team to help me see what I can't see because I am too in it. And at any given time, people need that. And so you should not feel ashamed that you need help. You should not feel like this is a bad thing for you to do. But what I would recommend is that you get some help in some way, shape or form. Lots of ways to help we're here to help, you can reach out to us and book a strategy audit, if you want to head on over to flourish thrive academy.com forward slash strategy. That is not a free coaching call. It's actually a call to talk about your business to see how we can support you in your growth and to see if consulting or coaching with us actually makes sense. Because I do think that if you're thinking about continuing forward, you probably need some outside eyes on your business. So ask yourself the question, Can I invest in consultants to help me with the turnaround? This one is for all the woo people out there. Number seven, what is my Body and Spirit telling me. So if you were to close your eyes, and sit with it, and bring your energy in and put your hand one hand on your heart, one on your belly, and just sit with it, what is your body telling you get quiet and find out because that in and of itself, is going to probably give you the answer that you need. Because if you feel like you're gonna throw up all the time, or you're anxious all the time, anxiety can just be information. So that's not necessarily the best indicator. But if you're dreading, if you have that energy of dread, that is a clear indicator that whatever it is that you're doing, is that you're not on the right path. And there's something else there for you.
And then, number eight, which is all about reinventing yourself, is there a different way to reimagine my business? Now, on the other side of all this work that I did with Phil, and these questions that I'm asking you, perhaps your current business model is not the thing that's going to support you, perhaps moving in a different direction with the same business genre is a good idea. For instance, I knew that I wanted to be a jewelry designer, I did not want to be competing on the wholesale market anymore. So I reinvented myself and started a custom jewelry business, selling fine jewelry to individual clients through the internet. That was my business model. It was something that wasn't being done at the time. Now it's very common, but it was something that wasn't being done at the time. 12 years ago, and my business grew super fast. Because I got a mentor, I learned how to get attraction and get traffic to my website online. I learned how to become a better salesperson. And I was a ninja at referral marketing. And it really encompassed everything that I love to do. When I could finally afford it, I hired a VA to help me with the parts of the business I didn't like I hired a bookkeeper so they could do the financial part pieces of it. And for a while I hustled a couple jobs to reinvent myself, meaning that I was teaching yoga and working for a foreigner million dollar jewelry company as a consultant for them, designing products for them. So I found different ways that I could support my life and make enough money so that I could get this new business off the ground quickly. And within 18 months, I'd made more money than I ever had in my career to take home, which was $30,000 a month. And I've never taken home money like that in my past. So there is a new way you can reimagine it if it's something you want to do. So I want to just really encourage you if you are burnout, or thinking about closing your business or wondering if it's still worth it and all the things. Ask yourself these eight questions. Do I still enjoy being an entrepreneur or small business owner? And am I willing to continue taking the risks required? Number two, does this align with what success looks like to me? Number 3am I willing to fight for my business? Number 4am I spending time doing what I actually love? Number five financially? Can I afford to sustain my business as it's currently running? Number six, can I invest in consultants to help me with the turnaround? Number seven? What is my body and spirit telling me? And number eight? Is there a different way to reimagine my business? Well, that's all for today party peeps. I hope you enjoyed this episode. So thank you for listening. And if you haven't done so yet, and you want a little inspiration and you want to learn how to stand out in a saturated market with a timeless jewelry brand. My signature masterclass is on demand for limited time. You can head on over to flourish, thrive academy.com forward slash timeless brand. And watch that at a convenient time for you. Thanks again for watching the show today. Please take a screenshot of this episode. Sheridan stories tagged me or come say hi over on Instagram. I'd love to say hello to you. Over at Tracy Matthews NY or at flourish underscore thrive. I love chatting with my listeners and it's just a pleasure coming into your ears every single week. Finally, one more thing I forgot to say this earlier. If you know someone who is struggling with their business, please share this with them. Even if it's not in this genre or industry if they're not jewelry designers if you know someone who's really struggling to keep their business going, share this episode and hopefully they'll find some inspiration and hope for a better future. Ciao for now and I'll see you next week.