“Don’t limit your challenges; challenge your limits. Each day we must strive for constant and neverending improvement.” – Tony Robbins
A challenge is defined as the situation of being faced with a task that needs great mental or physical effort in order to be done successfully and therefore tests a person’s ability. The process of overcoming challenges is a crucial component to self-growth, as it pushes us to our limits, encouraging us to develop core competencies such as personal awareness, critical thinking, and creative thinking. Throughout these past few weeks, my in-depth project, along with the rest of the world, has been greatly affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. As citizens begin to prioritize social distancing and the health of their families, consumers become less likely to purchase from small businesses such as my Etsy shop. Many people are unable to continue attending school or working, leading to financial hardships. This means that these individuals will focus on maintaining basic needs such as food and housing rather than purchasing products like the ones I make. Moreover, I am unable to purchase supplies to create more items to sell, since many stores are closed and most shipping and delivery services are significantly delayed.
On a recent voice call with my mentor, Sharon, we discussed current events and the effects they may have on my business. “Think about what you can do rather than what you can’t,” she advised, “Consider what you have access to.” With her support, I created a list of supplies I have and services I have access to. Sharon also reminded me that “businesses need to evolve with what is happening.” Being successful in this field means being flexible and tailoring your work for the current situation. Because of this, she suggested creating digital prints that I can sell on Etsy as PDFs, as this would allow me to make progress without buying more supplies, eliminate shipping costs, and allow me to sell the same product repeatedly, vastly reducing the amount of time I spend creating each item. She first heard of this idea from one of her friends, who has been very successful in selling these digital prints, and believes that it will be rewarding for me to take inspiration from this.
I am very grateful that I am able to communicate openly with Sharon like this, as I believe that this is one of the most rewarding elements of my in-depth project. This genuine relationship between mentor and mentee has been crucial in helping me maintain the support I need to be successful with my online shop. Sharon has given me critical feedback and advice, especially throughout these past few weeks, and she is someone I can rely on when I am unsure or require a second opinion. Her understanding nature makes me feel comfortable in asking any questions I may have and I always appreciate her insightful responses. Our open communication and Sharon’s willingness to help me strive for success has allowed me to come farther than I could ever have dreamed of.
Although Sharon is extremely generous in her giving her support, kindness, and sharing her experiences which have helped me grow as both an entrepreneur and as an individual, we have certainly faced setbacks. The most difficult mentoring challenge so far has stemmed from a lack of consumers, which neither Sharon nor I am unable to fully control. Because I have not actually had the opportunity to sell one of my products, it can be challenging to continue to cover new ground quickly during our mentoring sessions. Despite this, Sharon has given me a plethora of exercises and ideas to engage consumer activity. Even though there is an element of uncertainty and chance regarding when a business will begin to gain momentum, the most essential way to focus traffic to my online store is to continue to be active on social media by posting every day and expanding to more platforms. Once again, she reminds me to consider what my ideal customer, who I developed through Sharon’s exercises, will want to see. For instance, sharing words of encouragement and opening up about my experiences during this difficult time will demonstrate a sense of caring, forging stronger connections between me and my followers.
Although we are all currently facing a challenging time, I am certain that we will all emerge from this together, not only as stronger and more mindful individuals, but also as a more connected, supported community.