Oh Tiny Heart customers aren't just dog lovers; they're also aspiring entrepreneurs with dreams of their own who respect our story and where we began. Oh Tiny Heart customers belong to hard-working, loving families with beautiful fur babies, and they often tell us they aspire to achieve the same level of success with the same speed that we have.
I (Sherilynn "Cheri" Macale, Founder of Oh Tiny Heart) quit my full-time job as a startup CMO to focus on and invest completely in Oh Tiny Heart. I gave up my high-paying salary to live on pennies while I poured every ounce of my effort (and savings) into growing this business.
Was it a risk?
Was it worth it?
"The only strategy that is guaranteed to fail is not taking risks."
- Some nobody named Mark Zuckerberg
Oh Tiny Heart is far from where I envision it being someday, but just because it's not where I'd like it to be, that doesn't mean I'm going to stop moving forward to get there. And if you're reading this article, you're probably in one of several similar predicaments I was in four months ago when I started this business.
Or maybe you're sitting around telling yourself excuses like:
Whatever your excuse, and whatever your reason, it all boils down to one thing: the only thing stopping you from starting your own company is you.
Our tiny little office space didn't exist one month ago. We used to work out of our living room, and there was fabric + packaging material all over the place!
I've struggled with "fear" for most of my adult life because of a debilitating little thing called anxiety (read more about my struggles with anxiety and how it fuels Oh Tiny Heart's company values in 5 Things You Didn't Know About Oh Tiny Heart).
Anxiety has kept me from quitting jobs I hated because I filled my head with false fears like, "If I don't work for someone else, that means no one wants to hire me, and that means no one sees me as valuable." Or, "If I don't work for a big company, I'll have zero credibility because I'll only have my own name to stand on for proof of my worth." Or, "If I don't work for someone else, I'll never make this much money ever again."
Four months into my own business, and I can say that, without a doubt, all of my fears were wrong.
Here's the thing about fear: It's not real. Danger is real. Fear is a product of our imagination that hinders us from moving forward.
When it came to Oh Tiny Heart, I was never in any real danger by quitting my job for a while to pour full focus into my own company. I had enough financial cushion to take care of myself for a short time, and I had also worked hard enough and achieved enough throughout my career to make finding another job "easy" (or at least, easier than most). I've been poor before (homeless, even), and I've made it out alive. I've even lived in San Francisco, the most expensive city in the nation, while working three jobs as a bartender, barista, and waitress in order to pay my rent, and I definitely turned out okay. I've been fired, dumped, beat up, had my reputation ruined, and even been shunned by my own family at one point or another, and yet here I am, still kicking, still fighting, and still hustling for what I want.
So really, what was the worst that could happen by starting my own company? I'd fail? Boo freaking hoo.
After realizing I wasn't in any real danger, I stopped making excuses because of my fears, and I founded Oh Tiny Heart.
We're still working on mounting peg board on the walls and getting more storage for our stock. This table is where most of the magic happens when it comes to making our luxury dog scarves.
Everyone wants to build their own successful business and cruise through life with riches in hand. If you're like me, at one point in your life, you've probably thought, "I wish I could start my own company!" Or, "I'd like to work for myself one day instead of for people I hate!"
The difference between someone who sits around wishing they could start their business and self-starting entrepreneurs who are already running their own is: business owners are actually doing something to accomplish their dreams. The rest of us are just sitting around thinking about it.
You need to take action.
An action can be anything from writing out a shoddy list of your blue sky business goals, or contacting a friend who can send you in the right direction toward acquiring the resources and education you need to get things moving. An action can be researching competitive products and trying to find a way to differentiate yourself in an already-saturated market. An action can be putting together a portfolio of your work in order to prepare yourself for your eventual interview with Oprah when your dream business hits it big.
Whatever your move is, it doesn't matter, as long as you make one.
You may not be particularly good at it at first, but the point of taking action is to take a small step forward every day in order to get yourself closer to your goal: building your incredibly successful empire. Sure, you might only inch toward your goal in an hour, but imagine a full day of inching. Now imagine a week. Now months. Years. A decade of continuing to move toward your goal.
While you spend the better part of a year working on your business, someone else will be sitting on the couch eating ice cream and watching Real Housewives while just dreaming of starting something for themselves. Don't let that be you.
Grant Cardone, best selling author of The 10X Rule, postulates that the simple act of doing nothing costs energy. You are spending your energy by choosing to watch TV instead of taking action toward starting your business. In fact, you spend energy just by sleeping. Every day you consciously decide to waste your energy on unproductive tasks is a day, an hour, and a minute wasted that you could be using to actually achieve your dreams.
If you're sitting there reading this right now and wondering what you should be doing to start your business, remember: take action. That's all it takes.
A sneak peek at our inspiration wall. We have a map of the world with a pin in every state + country we've shipped to, a cork board to keep track of our daily schedule + thank you cards from our customers, and a massive calendar to keep track of upcoming events.
Charles Duhigg, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author of The Power of Habit, cites that it takes 28 days on average to form a habit that sticks ~80% of the time, and only 34 days to form habits that stick ~90% of the time. If numbers confuse you, what this means is: if you stick to your guns for a month and take one small step each day with your business goals in mind, taking productive steps and making successful actions will become habitual.
What is a habit? A habit is a settled or regular tendency or practice that is hard to give up.
Wouldn't it be great if success was as simple as a habit?! It's possible!
Did you know: Our brains create habits in order to work less to achieve more without overloading. If we had to think every time we wanted to breathe in or out, it would overload our brain. Likewise, when you work every day toward a specific goal by taking action, your brain commits your drive and execution of ideas to memory and turns this process into a habit, reducing the amount of brainpower it takes for you to do something productive on a regular basis.
Step 1) Start taking action to make your company a reality.
Step 2) Take even more actions the next day.
And Step 3) Take action repeatedly and for enough days in a row that it becomes habit for you to work on making your dreams a reality.
Our famous hand-stamped tissue paper. Often imitated. Well-loved by our customers.
It's month four into your business, and you're finally starting to see some return on your investment. All those days you've spent inching forward, worrying over whether your business would succeed, have finally paid off, and people are actually starting to recognize you. Your competitors are realizing that you're not going away, and little by little, their customers are becoming your customers. That little bar that tracked your income is slowly climbing out of the red and into the green, and you can feel your excitement building.
In the beginning, your closest friends were supportive, but you also experienced negativity. There were people who said you couldn't do it. Some of the feedback you received played down your ability to achieve success, and there were even some who laughed at your ideas or belittled your brand, or believed they could do it better than you.
But it's month four into your very own business, and while they're sitting there criticizing you, you're continuing to take action.
You're no longer planning what to do. You're just doing it. You're no longer letting your fear control you because you've already spent ~120 days consecutively working toward your goals. At this point, you know fear is just a figment of your imagination. When you make a mistake, you don't stop to dwell on what you did wrong. You take action to move past it, and continue moving forward.
In 1954, a small burger joint opened that sold delicious beef patties sandwiched between two pieces of bread for only 15 cents. 63 years later, and that "burger joint" holds the number 12 spot as one of the world's best global brands, sandwiched (heheh, food puns) right between BMW and Disney. That burger joint is McDonald's.
I guarantee you that the founders of McDonald's spent their first few years struggling to run their business and worrying every day about where their little restaurant would take them. But after taking action after action to improve their business and achieve their dreams, it's no wonder they're still in business 63 years later. And McDonald's isn't just in business -- it's a successful cultural icon.
Everyone starts somewhere, and you will too.
One of our stylish customers in our DUKE scarf: Enzo the French Bulldog
If you've made it this far through the article, you fall into one of the following categories:
If you fall into category 1, I wish you all the best and invite you to exit our company blog. See you never.
If you fall into category 2, excellent. See you at the top, baby!
And if you fall into category 3, that's great. You're already halfway there. Motivation, drive, and the passion to succeed is 50% of the journey. The rest is in execution. That said, let me start you off with easy, actionable options that will help make your dreams a reality.
A list of possibilities to move your company ideas forward:
I'll leave you with one final quote from Grant Cardone's The 10X Rule.
"As long as you are alive, you will either live to accomplish your own goals and dreams, or be used as a resource to accomplish someone else's."
See you at the top.
Sherilynn "Cheri" Macale, Founder of Oh Tiny Heart