The hustle no one sees

Since the beginning of this year I’ve been working on something that I’ve been wanting to do for a long time. Just a little background: In 2020, during the pandemic, I started a company called The Mommy Poster. You might know that I’m a webdesigner, which means I usually design and build websites for other companies. During the pandemic, when my life consisted of just basically going for walks and working, I was looking for a new challenge. I decided to start a webdesign project just for me, to use my website building skills for myself (I had never done that before). Just because I love everything baby and pregnancy related I decided I would build a website that sells pregnancy related posters. Because I had no capital to start the business, this seemed like a good idea, because the only thing I had to buy was a nice printer and good quality paper. It took me longer than expected to fully finish this project since I had to do everything myself; the webdesign, the branding, the technical stuff and the texts. Thank goodness I had my Mom to help me with writing my website texts!

After about, ironically, 9 months, it was finally done. For some reason I thought orders would be rolling in once I published the website, but that obviously didn’t happen. The next challenge appeared: marketing. This was an area I had no experience in. I mainly focused on Instagram and it was SO hard to even get a couple hundred followers. I worked with influencers, held contests and promoted posts for a lot of money. I was slowly growing, but not in the pace I wanted to. Also, my webdesign work was suffering from all the attention that had to go to The Mommy Poster (which wasn’t making enough money to pay the bills). It wasn’t until after I added another product to my store that I started to really feel like the company was getting somewhere. This product was a little book/album in which you can collect your ultrasound images and take notes in. I started selling in on, which is like the Dutch Amazon, and I benefited from its large audience. This was great, but the posters were still not selling much. I wasn’t prepared to give up on my posters, they were like my own baby, and I believed (and still do) 100% in them.

Strangely, I would often get messages from people all over the world that would ask if they could buy a poster. My website was only in Dutch so no, they couldn’t buy anything. This got me thinking; maybe I should make my posters available globally, in the form of PDF files, so anyone in the world can order. They can then print the poster out at home, or just use it in its digital form. Great idea, but difficult to execute. It would mean rebuilding the website, changing the concept and making it so that I could receive payments from anywhere in the world. Maybe even changing the brand name to appeal to a larger audience.

Spending another few months on something that wasn’t making a lot of money in the first place seemed just a bit bonkers to me, so I didn’t for all of last year. Sometimes at parties, I would tell people about this idea, and they would only confirm that the idea I was having was a good one. In February of this year I finally did it. I started the major task of rebuilding my website. Doing something twice has its advantages. I improved a lot of things and the website became twice as good in my opinion. I worked on it day and night (really, my bf thought I went mad) and finally finished last week. I changed the name from The Mommy Poster to Bump-to-Birth and even added a new poster design. Translated the whole thing and wrote new, promotional texts (I let AI help me a bit, sssh).

After about two months I finally went online this Monday, and, you guessed it, *insert cricket sound here*. No orders, nothing. It’s just so demotivating. But, in the back of my head, I knew and expected this would happen. Guys, this is the reality of starting your own business. I doubt a lot of times if I even have it in me, to become a successful entrepreneur. I know I shouldn’t, but sometimes I just feel like success is out of reach for me. I know these are old beliefs I have about myself, and I should get rid of them. I can and I will. Tony Robbins has a beautiful quote: “You’re rewarded in public for what you practice in private.” This is so true, no one sees the hustle until it becomes evident to the rest of the world in the form of success to. To others if might then seem like someone had success overnight, but I can tell you, that is never the case. You never see the countless amounts of hours people are working on their businesses, sitting in their pajamas in front of their computers, talking themselves down and then up again. These unglamorous hours are the foundation of their future success. Please, if you believe in your idea 100%, continue, put in the hours, even (no, especially) if no one seems to care. They will care one day, because it sure will happen for you one day. Just KEEP GOING.

So, I’m starting the marketing machine back up and will go for it once again.

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