FYI as you read: Threads by Nomad is our company. My daughter is my partner. Her name is Christen, but she has been Sissi to the family her entire life. So while this is about Business with a Purpose there is a lot of personal thrown in. After all, business is personal.
This blog post has been floating around in my brain since the beginning of Threads by Nomad. I was freaked out scared when we started. Ministers/missionaries are not business people. Or at least I was not! I have changed in so many ways as a minister as a result of Threads by Nomad. I can’t even begin the list the things I have had to learn. I am very grateful to many people who have helped in that process. There is one group in particular that has stirred me to go ahead and put this on paper. I meet with Women Helping Women 2 Network fairly regularly. We talk about goals and we talk about how we can help each other in our businesses. Many of them like me, really did not know much about business or what they were getting themselves into. Like us at Threads by Nomad, they took the leap. Listening and sharing with this group of women has led me to wonder if there are not others who toy with the idea of having a business with a purpose, but have no idea what they are getting themselves into. In this blog series I want to share what I have learned that may or may not be in the books on business. Maybe some of what I have learned can help others. There are no priorities in my list. They are all important….at least they have been to me.
1. From the beginning my daughter and I promised grace and forgiveness to each other and to ourselves.The reality is we are going to screw up. We never know in what shape or form and it may or may not cost money. But when it happens, go ahead and cry a little (or at least I have) and then dust off your britches, give yourself or your partner some grace and move on. I truly believe this is one of things that has strengthened us at Threads by Nomad not only as a team but also in the relationship I have with my daughter who is also my partner.
2. It is a gift if your abilities and the abilities of your partner complement each other. I have talented kids. Just sayin’….. I have told them both for as long as I can remember they are so good at so many things. It has been a joy however in the past few years to watch my daughter live and work in an area she loves – fashion and fashion design. It has been her hobby for as long as I can remember. She does not have a degree in these areas but has been honing her skills for a very long time. Out of it she birthed a few years ago her own company, Social Shop Media. My husband and I have worked with refugees in one way or another for decades. I am also a seamstress. I am not the best, but I did make my daughter and daughter-in-law’s wedding dresses. (Never again!) I know how a garment should be constructed and I know how to be sure it is well made. It made sense that Sissi would be all things design and marketing and I would be all things managing our team in the studio and customer service. This has helped in a couple of ways. I really can’t do what she does and she really can’t do what I do. It is easy to not step on each others toes as we work. I can easily say, “That is a Sissi decision.” She easily says, “I leave that totally up to you. I trust your judgement.” It helps to know exactly what you need to get accomplished and when to send it to your partner. We have a couple of events this weekend. I sent Sis all the info and trusted the marketing would happen. She combs through designs and fabrics and sends me a detailed email about how she wants the garment to look. I make the orders and we go to work in the studio.
3. There is enough business for all of us. Don’t be afraid of the competition. There is PLENTY to go around. Be willing to help other businesses. Be willing to share information. Be willing to help problem solve. It is not about me or you; it is about me and you! Be the bigger person and welcome others. If you have been blessed with a business that serves a purpose, then by all means help someone else be blessed.
4. Bartering is not a bad deal, but it is messy. We have bartered a few things. We have given gifts of our creations to folks who have helped us in one way or another. We bartered for the rent on our studio. We shared the space with another business, and so for the first months of our operation, we ran both offices in exchange for rent. This is all great, but be careful to research and know exactly how to keep records of your bartering for financial purposes. Yeah, I didn’t realize that was a big deal, but it is.
5. Get out of your little world…intentionally. My daughter had a fashion network. She has done fashion blogging, closet consultations, retail, etc. I am a minister. I do not operate in that world. To be honest if you were not a person in the realm of our ministry or connected to our organization or church, then you were outside my world. We needed to build our Houston market. I had no idea how to do that. A friend told me about the networking group, Women Helping Women 2 Network. I speak publicly ALL THE TIME! I am super comfortable in front of a large auditorium. Yet I was trembling in my boots at that first meeting. It was just not my scene. I thought these are not my people. I am not a part of their tribe. Guess what? You become a part but you have to put yourself out there first. Be vulnerable. Be brave.