I've been asked alot recently, how did I get the idea for Mighty Petunia and how did I figure it out. Here's the story Part 1...
I had ordered some motivational tanks from a couple different companies online. When I got them I was a little disappointed. They ran small. The printing on the front looked cheap and felt "plasticky". There was no branding and the experience of seeing the tanks initially just wasn't exciting. I started thinking about what was missing. What I wanted. What I thought would be better. The big things for me are style, fit, fabric, soft screening (not thick and gloppy), and motivating phrases. I also wanted a place where I felt I could go back to to get more than just apparel. I wanted to connect with others and find resources that would help keep my motivation peaked (that's where the idea for Mighty Petunia Motivators came from).
I have had some experience (just enough to be dangerous) in retailing, wholesaling, manufacturing, sales, and e-commerce. So, I figured that although I didn't know how to do everything, I could always GOOGLE it!! So that's how I started...Googling my brains out. I learned about apparel brands, screening and printing tees and tanks, motivational and inspirational bloggers and sites, setting up an e-commerce site, photography, and writing copy. I just took the plunge and figured no matter what I screwed up, I could fix it. The real mistake would be in not trying. Each time I figured out something, another piece fell in to place. It wasn't easy, but it wasn't as overwhelming as people seem to think it is.
There were some things that were REALLY frustrating. For example, the first couple of months I used Ipage to set up my site. I spent many hours trying to make mightypetunia.com look the way I wanted it to, only to find out that Ipage couldn't do alot of the things they showed as possible ( grrrrrrr). So, as soon as I figured out that I had wasted about a month, I cussed up a storm, banged around the house a little and then decided to switch to Weebly. I knew I needed something that was very basic and easy and since Ipage used some of Weebly's drag and drop function that made it easier for a novice like me (Ipage didn't have all of the functionality offered by Weebly, that was the real problem), I decided to use Weebly. I got Ipage to refund some of the money I had spent (they were great and refunded about half of the $ and it was minimal to begin with) and I started again with Weebly. This time I had a little more experience and it went pretty well. So, while that time with Ipage was gone, it wasn't wasted. I had learned.
At the same time I had started a Mighty Petunia Facebook page, Twitter account and Pinterest board. I had heard about Hootsuite as a way to manage multiple social media accounts so I signed up for their free account. It's really nice to be able to take an hour or two each week to get all your posts set up in advance for the week and so during the week you don't have to be looking for content to post. I don't know that it's easy to see how much pay back you get from the time and effort that you put in to social media, but, I do know it's a lot harder to get the word out about your product if you don't have it. Again, Google was my friend here. I researched everything from how to write engaging posts, found successful sites and bloggers to learn from, and how to track the activity you have on your social media.
What I've posted about today was really the biggest challenge to date. All the setup of the more "tech" stuff. It was alot of trying, screwing it up, trying agin, live chatting with help desks, Googling, talking with friends who had valuable experience I didn't and putting that advice in to action. What I learned through all this was a) Don't be afraid to ask for help. It doesn't make you weak AND your friends want to help you succeed b) Don't give up BEFORE you are successful. You never know when you are going to have that breakthrough that allows you to conquer a problem. And, it is a sure thing that if you quit, you will not be successful c) and I will kind of quote Nike here....JUST FREAKIN' DO IT. If you think of all the reasons about why you won't be able to succeed, it is too daunting and you won't even begin. You need to be thoughtful about the actions you take but that first action...the jump, the leap, the plunge...has to be without thought. It has to be from your gut.
My next blog will be about how I got the product up on the site (let's just say I owe my daughter BIG!) and what I have done and am doing to get traction for the site. This is where having smart friends and a "I will figure this out" attitude comes in handy.
I am more than happy to share what I've learned so far with anyone who asks so if you have any questions, contact me with the CONTACT US form on the mightypetunia.com Homepage and I will answer you right back.