Against All Odds: How to Overcome Business Setbacks
An Interview with Three Bees Designs
Karly Gomez is a rockstar Storenvy store owner who has battled against the varied challenges of running an independent business, and ultimately emerged a champion. Her print company, Three Bees Designs, is now a successful small business, but her struggles along the way are representative of the hard work and constant motivation necessary for success. Karly shares her inspiration and wisdom in her story.
Storenvy: What was the hardest moment you faced when starting your business?
Karly Gomez: I spent a good two months creating and stockpiling designs to start my business, and all those files slowed my computer down to a crawl. I became increasingly frustrated with the performance of my computer and when my anger boiled over, I pounded my fist against it, shut it down and restarted it. Except, it didn’t restart. It didn’t do anything. I broke my hard drive and lost everything: All the spreadsheets I had painstakingly researched and produced to monitor the ins-and-outs of my business. All of my personal family photos from the previous two years. Tax documents. And every single design I had created for my shop. Everything was gone, and I was devastated.
How did you stay motivated to overcome this?
My husband was actually the one who kept me motivated, because I was so distraught over the whole thing that I was ready to throw in the towel. He reminded me that I had a huge sale starting in just a couple of days and I couldn’t cancel, so I needed to get back to work. That meant buying the cheapest computer I could find, reinstalling all my pertinent software, and recreating all those lost designs. It was hard work, but it wasn’t impossible work. If I did it once, I could do it again. This time, however, I armed myself with a super-powered external hard drive. Lesson learned!
We can all understand feeling lost. What inspired you to keep trying with Storenvy after experiencing so many setbacks?
In all honesty, I just needed to remind myself that I was doing this for me, because it’s what I wanted to do, and because I loved what I was doing. Success comes to those who truly enjoy their work, and it becomes truer every day as I make sales, talk to people who are looking for custom work, or hear from my past customers who are loving their purchases. I take time each day to look through my shop and see what is drawing customers in, and what they are buying, and I start tracking the trends and making adjustments as I can, be it through keyword tagging, or changing up my product photos to colors or styles that seem more popular. Little changes can make a big impact when you’re paying attention to what people are looking at in your store. Trial and error leads to knowledge and success.
What words of encouragement would you give to a store owner struggling to get started with their business?
Starting a business is hard work. It’s hard for everyone, so know that you are not alone in your struggles. Tackle one problem at a time, and take it one day at a time, because trying to solve everything all at once is a recipe for disaster. You had an idea, and instead of just letting it pass through your mind, you took it and made it work. That’s a big deal! So don’t let any obstacle stand in the way of what you’ve created. Share what you love, and be proud of your work.
What did you wish you had known before you started Three Bees Designs?
I feel like I researched enough beforehand to know what I was getting myself into in terms of the shop and online work, but I definitely wasn’t expecting to have so many problems when it came to computers, printers, ink and supplies. Wow. I went through six printers, two computers, hundreds of ink cartridges and five different types and brands of paper before I found the things that worked best for me. It cost me a lot of time and money dealing with these concerns, and I definitely wish I knew more about my options beforehand. Those kinds of costs are not easy to recuperate, so I should have spent more time testing out products before I went live.
What is the best piece of advice you would give to other store owners who are just starting out?
The best advice I have is this: Don’t focus on the money. Yes, we all want to make it big right off the bat. We want to be swimming in a river of cash and call it success. But, focusing on the money takes away from the joy of creating something amazing. It takes the life right out of your work. Don’t feel defeated if you don’t make a sale the first day, or the first week, or even the first month. Use it as fuel, stoke the fire of your imagination and get to working on more products, better products. Shine through your work. So long as you do that, the sales will come, and you will be successful, no matter what your definition of success may be.