The Free Motion Quilting Project: Quilt Biz #9 - Be Brave

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Quilt Biz #9 - Be Brave

When it comes to starting a business, you definitely need a certain amount of blind faith, enthusiasm, and plain old gumption to get past the starting hurdles that will jump into your path.  But you also need one other thing: courage.

Really this goes for learning anything new.  You have to be brave.

When it comes to learning how to free motion quilt, you have to have the courage to try this different way of using your machine, and the strength to stick with it, even if things look terrible in the beginning.  With your business, you have to be brave enough to tell people about your plans, to share your idea, but not get discouraged when they tell you you're insane.

Some of the most unhelpful, discouraging advise will unfortunately come from the people who love you most in the world.  They don't want you to get hurt.  They don't want you to get your hopes up, only to see them smashed all over the floor.

So rather than get psyched for your awesome business idea, most of your closest family and friends are going to be some of the most negative noddies you've ever met.  They will start listing terrible things that could happen like:

What if you lose all your money?
What if this grand plan never works?
That doesn't sound very logical, why not just do it this easy way?
Do you really think anyone will want that or like that?

Yes, it's good to know all the possibilities and ramifications to starting a business, but the fact is, you really can't know everything that will happen until you're actually in the meat of it.

So when it comes to discussing your business, it might be a good idea to keep a large portion of your excitement either to yourself, or shared only with the few people that understand your idea and believe in your ability to turn it into a reality.

One of my most hated phrases in the English language is "devils advocate."  Many people turn into a devils advocate when it comes to a conversation about change and they list every awful thing that could happen and gauge your ability to cope with each question, each barb shot like a bullet to the gut.

Just to clarify: anyone that does this to you and excuses their behavior with "I'm just trying to help you. I'm working in your best interest by being a devil's advocate." - anyone that does this is a jerk.

Sometimes it's malice, sometimes it's just plain Jane jealousy.  Many people give up their dreams of a different life every day and unfortunately it's these people that can react the most negatively to someone actively pursuing their dreams.  It's as though they're intentionally trying to make you like them, and by doing so, make themselves feel better, more secure in the idea that giving up the dream was the better choice.

The simplest solution is not to talk to anyone with this mindset about your dream, your plans, or how things are panning out once you get started. 

Even still, bad things can happen.  You have to look in the face of the things you're most scared of and try to wrap your brain around what will happen if something goes wrong.

So what will you do if you invest money into your business and it all goes wrong?

The best choice is to not invest so much that it can substantially hurt you if things don't work out.  Start small, grow slowly, and adjust your life and lifestyle as things change.

What will you do if you don't have any customers?

Go find some!  Create some content and bring in the traffic!  Sitting around worrying about it isn't going to do any good, and it's certainly not going to attract anyone to your store.

Whatever you do, don't sit still and allow negative people to capsize your dream boat before it's even set sail.  Be brave, and have the courage to follow your gut, even if it leads you do to scary things like blogging, applying for tax id numbers, or quitting your job.  Yes, all three of these things can be scary, each in its own way, so you will need to dig deep for the courage to face anything your business throws at you.

Personally I've found it terrifying to take a break from the Quilt Along during this long month of May.  The list of worries and issues I saw stemming from this decision could have filled up pages.  It was a super hard decision to make.

But ultimately I had to be brave and face the truth that if I didn't take a break, I'd burn out.  You have to know your limits, know how far you can push yourself, and know when it's time to slow down or rev things up, and respect that desire when it comes.

So take a deep breath.  Fill your lungs with courage, and take a step today into something you're scared of.

Here's the complete list of all 10 Quilting Business Posts:

Let's go quilt,



  1. I do agree 100% with all you said. When I started my bridal/formal wear sewing business many years ago it was those closest to me who, having my 'best interests' in mind, hit me with all the negative considerations I MUST take into account. I thoroughly enjoyed all the years invested, learned so much, met many fab people and gained much sewing confidence. When that chapter in my life closed (it was time) it was ok cuz I HAD DONE IT and never would have to live with the "what if's"!!! Be realistic in the amount of money that must be invested and will potentially be generated....take a hard look at what your expectations are vs. reality (as much as one can without being able to see the future!). Finally....GO FOR IT! Another life adventure!!!

  2. You're right, it certainly is scary even to entertain the idea of self employment. I've been pondering the start of a business again and have found myself doing alot of the "what ifs" instead of constructuive thoughts and actions.
    Thank you :0)

  3. You are such an encouraging voice in the face of criticism. I am new to free motion quilting, and a friend just told me. "That's too hard!" Only because you have given so freely of yourself do I have the courage to ignore my friend and attempt to FMQ. I am gaining skill everyday. Thank you so much for all that you do. I am determined to show my friend that it is not too hard for me. I will master this set of skills.

  4. Leah, You are an awesome young Lady. And yes family and close friends do get somewhat awful. I am glad you are not discouraged. I know you can achieve your dreams, weather they are good or not, only you can tell. Keep your chin up and keep going forward. We are all pulling for you, in which ever way it turns. Prayers your way

  5. You are inspiring me to be brave. My hubby and I are kicking around the idea of how to implement our own weekly sew-a-long. Not only will it bring in more traffic for us, it will actually force me to sew on a weekly basis which is really what I want to do!

    And I love how bold you are with your opinions. I have my own (controversial) opinions on finishing your own darn quilts yourself rather than "quilting by check" so I may just get on my own soap box about that soon, LOL!!

    Thanks for the inspiration and keep it coming!!

  6. I love that you, young lady, have an 'old, wise soul'. It is amazing and delightful. DH and I are in the midst of licking our wounds from the no-year-in the UK, and getting pretty wound up about starting an online/regional/storefront in the near future. Worst case? Loose all money? Blessed in the nation with food stamps, and I have worked in fast food joints more than once in my life! Blessings pour upon you.


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