Entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. Coming up with a good product is the easy part, and that's just the price of admission. These days, you need so much more than that, starting with persistence and the ability to personally sustain a high level of energy and stamina for years at a time. It's no wonder so many businesses fail in their first few years. Of course there is NO shame in that. In fact, it's a good thing, because it provides an opportunity to pause and clarify your goals so your next venture is better prepared for long term success.
For example, in March 2010, our Jen Denslow closed Blooming Lotus so she could devote more time to her family and yoga pursuits. Later that same year, our members over at Aromaleigh and Mineral Basics closed as well. (Aromaleigh has since been resurrected as “Aromaleigh Cosmetics” or “Aromaleigh v2.”)
The women behind these businesses demonstrated great courage and fortitude when they closed, not knowing exactly what would happen next. This post spotlights another going out of business success story. Melissa Rivera, our member over at Naturally Good Soaps is closing her bath+body business, and in so doing, is clarifying her goals to make room for a different type of business model. Read on for the story, and meet Melissa, pictured below.
IBN: Why did you decide to close Naturally Good Soaps?
Naturally Good Soaps has been my “baby” since 2003, so deciding to let it go wasn't easy, but it was necessary.
My original focus for the business was to bring reasonably priced natural body care products to the masses. Over time, I began incorporating more herbs and essential oils into my products. As I did this, I became more and more in love with those ingredients, so in 2012, I birthed Essence & Aroma (E&A), an online directory of all things herbal and aromatic in the Northeast Region of the United States.
Although the businesses are complementary, it became difficult to manage them both, especially in my position as a single mom. I was overwhelmed with the work required to make and market products, and to build the relationships needed to get E&A off to a good start. I decided it was time to choose one, and I chose to focus where my passion is strongest now — at Essence & Aroma.
I plan to eventually make products a part of the E&A brand, but for now, I will focus on continuing my herbal and aromatic studies so I can build the E&A community.
IBN: How did you overcome challenges associated with this huge change?
The biggest challenge for me was the fact that it took so long to act on my decision. Looking back, I realize that I actually made this decision a year ago, but I kept finding reasons to delay taking action on it.
I felt like I would seem like a failure to my friends and students. I kept thinking about why I needed Naturally Good Soaps, instead of what Naturally Good Soaps was doing for me.
I needed to stop hiding behind a nice logo and face the reality that closing a business can be a good thing, and sometimes, though difficult, it's the best thing.
IBN: How are your friends, family members and business colleagues supporting you through this transition?
My friends and colleagues are wonderful. The support of the Indie Business Network has been amazing as well. The words of encouragement, support and kindness have been my biggest strength. I learned that I am strong in my decision and that it doesn't make me any less of a woman to close my business. It is so important to follow your heart and to listen to your inner voice. I wish I had done so earlier, but now, I'm ready.
IBN: What exactly is Essence & Aroma? What will it do? How will it help people?
E&A will be an online directory of herbal and aromatic schools, farms, apothecaries, classes, retail stores and information for the herbal and aromatherapy community throughout the Northeastern United States. I will ultimately launch an E&A brand of herbal and aromatic products, but I'm not sure whether they will be sold from the same informational site.
My goal is to share the healing wonders of plant medicine, not just in the beauty and skincare realms, but also for in internal, spiritual and overall well being.
I plan to take several classes and earn degrees and certificates to build my platform as an herbalist and aromatherapist. I am looking forward to learning and sharing as I travel this exciting new path.
IBN: What what words of encouragement and advice do you have for others who may be contemplating closing a business?
My first words of advice to anyone considering closing the doors to something as important as their business is to follow your heart. Listen to your inner voice. Take the time to think it through. Muddle through your thoughts. Record them on paper and walk away for a few days. Really listen to what you are telling yourself. Know that it is OK to walk away, but don't do it until you are ready.
Since making my decision, I feel so much lighter in my head and heart. I feel liberated and empowered to move onto to what lies ahead. I am ready.