I'm Moving Forward in Spite of the Fear

July 10, 2014

I woke up this morning beneath a sheath of anxiety. The anxiety was due in part to last night’s fight with my housemate about his cat’s fear of Donald and his subsequent screeching at the cat. But most of the anxiety was triggered by the monumental decision I made yesterday. Regardless of what caused the anxiety, there it was—weighing heavy on my eyelids as I fought to open them. It’s still there, in fact, as I sit and write this. Maybe that’s why I’m writing—to alleviate. Yesterday I hired a designer to create Dollop Gourmet Frosting labels. This might not sound like a big deal to you, but I assure you it is. I’m closing in on two years of hard working attempts to launch this frosting line. Two years. Someone told me yesterday that two years is not a long time to try to launch a product but I promise you it feels like a lifetime. Just yesterday I was reading the story of Quinn Popcorn and within ONE YEAR of conception they already had sales. I’m not beating myself up. I’m just saying. It’s a journey. And everyone’s journey is different. I’ve had successes, and I’ve had setbacks. And many times I even quit. But not really quit. Because every time I “quit” I would walk down a baking aisle in a grocery store and envision my many future years of walking down baking aisles, never seeing Dollop Gourmet Frosting on shelves, and immediately I’d feel ill. Gut punched. Rife with regret. And then I’d unquit. And I’d keep working. And forging ahead. And pursuing my dream. And staying the course. That’s what Fran the Medium told me last week for the second time. Stay the course. Stay the course. Stay the course. Stay the course. Which brings me to yesterday. Yesterday, when I finally pulled the trigger and spent a sum of money on label designs. Label designs. They signal the beginning. No looking back now. But my god, you guys, I. Am. Scared. I just need to tell you that. I know I’m not supposed to tell you that but I believe in pushing myself to being open, authentic, and vulnerable and so I’m telling you anyway. Things I’m scared of:
    • -I’m scared the labels won’t be representative of the brand I have in my head.
    • -I’m scared consumers won’t buy the frosting at the price point it’s at.
    • -I’m scared my costs will go up, and I’ll have to raise the price point, and then people really won’t buy it.
    • -I’m scared Wegmans won’t buy it.
    • -I’m scared distributors won’t pick it up.
    • -I’m scared my manufacturer won’t be able to make the product.
    • -I’m scared something will go wrong with the test batch, and I won’t have any samples.
    • -I’m scared I won’t get enough orders to purchase ingredients to do a first run.
    • -I’m scared I’ll run out of money and won’t find an investor.
    • -I’m scared I’ll go broke and have to live on the street, collecting change in an old Starbucks cup.
I’m scared that if I keep listing more things, I’m scared that I will scare you away from buying this amazing frosting. Because that’s one thing I’m not scared of—that you won’t think it’s amazing. It really is that amazing. Let me break down to you what’s been going on. I’ve wanted to communicate these steps with you, but out of fear that I really was going to quit. I’ve kept mum on my progress. Now that I’m not going to quit, because I’ve already pulled the trigger, I’d like for you to join me in this process. Transparency. Authenticity. Vulnerability. Let’s do this. Here’s the timeline of my life since January of this year. January-February:
    • -Met a great guy with food industry experience whom I was hoping to partner with. Talked, met, talked, met, discussed, talked, met, sought out manufacturers, talked, met.
    • -I made samples for several manufacturers, but none of them could make the product.
    • -I continued seeking out manufacturers, but to no avail.
    • -I went to Florida with my mom to clear my head. Sun, sand, wine, and mom—it was exactly what I needed.
    • -I decided to cut ties with the great guy I was hoping to partner with. He was busy with his business, and I was coming to terms with the fact that I needed to stop seeking out someone to save me.
    • -I got word from one of the manufacturers I had sent samples to that they were able to make the product. Yay! Yay yay yay! ←That’s how I felt.
    • -Weeks went by of me sending the manufacturer samples and ingredients, and of them making the frostings and sending them back to me for tasting. Eventually we reached the correct formulations.
    • -During these weeks I began sourcing ingredients. This is not an easy task. A lot of research, many calls, numerous emails, plenty of sample collecting, and crazy amounts of stress over the costs of ingredients.
    • -I awaited pricing from the manufacturer. It took them about three weeks to finally get me pricing, and when I received it I realized that it was way too high.
    • -I wanted to quit. Badly. I felt despair.
    • -Fran told me: Stay. The. Course.
    • -I ran the numbers again and again. Dan made me multiple spreadsheets. I called ingredient suppliers trying to source cheaper ingredients to bring the costs down.
    • -Through the power of Twitter, I was connected to a manufacturer in Chicago. Hope prevailed.
    • -Jason and I flew to Chicago and flew home in less than 24 hours to meet with the manufacturer.
    • -Upon returning home I re-sourced ingredients closer to Chicago, reworked costs, and re-stressed over numbers. The numbers are still tight, still not perfect, but workable. Or so I think/hope/pray.
All of this brought me to yesterday. I hemmed and hawed, tossed and turned, and weighed the options. I like the Chicago manufacturer. I believe in the product. I believe in the market. It was now or never. Pull the trigger or pull the plug. I understand that having second thoughts and doubts are inevitable. Fears will run rampant. But I’m going forth in spite of them because deep in my heart and in my gut, I believe that this is my future. I believe this will be a success. I believe that you want Dollop Gourmet Frosting in your cupboards and on your shelves. And I hope you’re ready to be a part of the journey.  

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