Learnings of a Rookie Entrepreneur

I was feeling inspired and wanted to write about a topic I haven't really brought up before: what my experience has been like starting Azulina. Some days are awesome and some days are miserable--I've learned more about business, discipline, negotiation and communication than I could've ever learned elsewhere. I'm nothing special, but I thought you'd like to read about some of the learnings I've picked up these last couple of years.

When people ask how I started Azulina, I say that I saw an opportunity and felt compelled to make it happen.

It was such a strong feeling that I couldn't think of anything else except ceramics. Every day I wrote down my ideas, lists and questions about how to import these blue and white plates into the US.

The pitcher that started it all. 

It's been two and a half years since I first had the idea to start Azulina and it's crazy to think of everything that has happened since then. It's been a wild ride and I thought I'd share some of my biggest learnings thus far, as a rookie entrepreneur.

Since we all have short attention spans I'm sharing my first two today and I'll share the other two on Tuesday. If I have a stroke of genius and have more to share in the future, maybe we can turn this into a thing.

 

1. Each Day Brings a New Challenge

The first few months into launching Azulina everything seemed so easy. I'm not sure why...maybe because everything was still fresh and new. I was working on the cool stuff like making a logo and creating our product portfolio.

Then shit got real.

Shipments get stuck in customs. Stuff breaks. The roof of the oven caves in (true story). People don't pay you on time. Nothing gets delivered when you want it to get delivered. Your website and email go down.

Just lots of stuff.

One thing I've learned in this short amount of time is that I just have to keep moving forward. It's like running a race...even when it burns and you just want to give up, all you have to do is keep putting one foot in front of the other and you'll eventually cross the finish line. 

Every day seems to be more difficult than the last, but I always try to remind myself that someday I will look back at this and be grateful that it happened. 

What I do about it: Plant a seed every day. I know it has been a good day if I've done something that will benefit Azulina in the future, be it telling new friends about the ceramics or sending samples to food magazines. No matter how many problems I have going on, if I can put one foot in front of the other and plant some seeds, I know this will be a success.

Final logo design I drew out on a post-it

Final logo design I drew out on a post-it

 

2. Faith is Paramount

There is a whole lot of self-talk in this world of mine. I work alone in my office most the time, which means I'm not bouncing ideas off of a team member or talking through possible solutions. In the absence of having a team, I have learned how to coach myself through issues and stay positive. I think it is so important to trust myself and have faith that I am indeed on the right path.

In my most difficult moments, I feel like everything is going wrong and all I want to do is run away. Some days can be tough, but those are the most crucial moments to have faith.

My uncle Bob had some great advice the other day: "Why freak out? You are in business. Every day brings a new problem. Either look at it as an opportunity...or throw up your hands in the air. You learn far more from failure than success."

What I do about it: I do a lot of mind training (no, seriously). I read efficiency, marketing and negotiation books all the time. I am a big fan of Inc and Fast Company--they feature cool stories about entrepreneurs that inspire me, and give me ideas to apply to Azulina. I have also learned to set time aside to meditate. It's like what they teach us on airplanes, put your oxygen mask on first before you help others.

 

It's not the easiest path I've ever taken, but so far it has been fulfilling beyond words. I love Azulina and our products and I can't wait to see what the future holds.

If you think this is fun and interesting I have another post coming out on Tuesday, about two more learnings.

Have a great weekend y'all!

 

Con Mucho Amor,

Melissa

Founder, Azulina Ceramics