piper’s dream report: week eight

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I can’t believe that I’ve been reporting for 2 months already.  Where did the time go?  (actually what I’m really saying is, should I be farther along??!)  It’s funny because when I first found out I would be doing the Dream Reports, I was so excited about the chance to be accountable.  Here it was…my opportunity to actually be accountable to someone other than myself for getting my store started.  And I was hopeful that maybe I could help others by just sharing my journey.

What I didn’t expect and what has really AMAZED me is the incredible advice and ideas you share with me, as well as, the support I feel from you…it’s humbling.  I had always dreamed of there being some sort of forum for those of us starting a business in a similar industry…a sharing of ideas, advice and support.  And I can’t believe that’s what has happened!  So for those of you reading, please make sure to read the comments.  The insight and advice shared by readers is amazing…I mean, you guys wrote my elevator pitch for me!!  Something that has been my nemesis for awhile now…you guys were able to actually do it (apparently we have some very talented people in the mix who should be copywriters!)

Thanks to you guys, I have the start to a wonderful elevator pitch:  (special thanks Leigh, Brigitte & Emma Jo!!)

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I’m thinking that’s pretty darn good…what do you think?  Of course, you know who – the perfectionist me – wants to keep tweaking this.  (should I use “home décor”?  should I use “fresh, stylish, playful”? or whimsical?)  I’m going to try fighting back by not making changes to it right now until I work more on the branding.  This, right now, is my pitch.  I need to get used to saying it – but, this is where it becomes troublesome.  Because I wouldn’t necessarily say the above pitch word for word…I need to make it sound more conversational.  I’m thinking that the more I keep saying it the easier it will be to make it conversational.  But I know that the more I keep tweaking it, the more I end up going back to stammering through my pitch!  This is another important “note to self”:  things are not written in stone, they can always be changed.  I seem to have this mindset that once I have my pitch, or logo or products, that these can never be altered.  And that’s just not true…as a store just starting out, I may find that my customers are flocking towards one type of product over another.  So, right there I need to be able to roll with the punches and change inventory as needed.  I guess it’s a good thing that I’m learning this now!!

And you know what else is interesting to me about doing these posts?  I can tell on a weekly basis if it’s a good week (i.e., lots of action and moving forward) or a bad week (i.e., lots of worry, doubt and the occasional pity party!)  I think it’s something that I have to get used to as a fledgling entrepreneur.  (because honestly sometimes the switch from good to bad happens daily!)  But I think the more I get used to taking action NO MATTER WHAT, the more it leads to a good week or day.  Because really, even if it wasn’t perfect, it was still a step forward.  I can’t learn from my mistakes…if I never put myself out there to make any!  (of course, the perfectionist in me is screaming right now “just don’t make any mistakes”  sigh, isn’t there a button I can use to quiet her?)

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It’s hard to admit, but this week started with a bit of a meltdown – I let stress get the best of me until I hit my breaking point.  I was feeling overwhelmed by all the things that need to be done, not to mention, the constant wondering if I can actually do this – can I start an online store that people will enjoy and want to shop?  I started counting the days until my vacation next week (ever feel that need to runaway as if that will solve all your problems?!) when it dawned on me.

One year ago, I took my last vacation – we were in Australia when I decided to once and for all dive head first into opening my boutique.  One year ago, I was researching tea cafes because I wanted to open something I felt would be successful…but it wasn’t something I was passionate about.  One year ago, I hadn’t even started blogging yet.  One year ago, I didn’t have my LLC, my tax ID# or a good start on what the concept would be for my store.  And one year ago, I didn’t have my elevator pitch!!

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Usually vacation for me is a time to dream…I can dream about escaping my work and doing something I’m passionate about.  That every morning I could wake up and actually want to go to work.  And then as the vacation winds down, the dread starts creeping in.  The dread of going back to the “real world” and back to a job that makes me miserable.  This is the first time though that I feel like I won’t dread coming back…because I’m actually working towards my dream!  I think I’ll even be excited to come back and continue working on getting my store up and running…that’s a new feeling for me!  Which to me symbolizes that I must be passionate about this – because I’d take vacation any day : ).

So as I’ve been looking back, I realized that I made some huge strides in the past year and should give myself props for that.  I think it can be so hard to pat ourselves on the back – there’s always a feeling that it’s not good enough.  But it’s amazing how looking back really can show you all that you’ve accomplished.  I think I had forgotten that a year ago I was nowhere near ready to open a store…it was just a far off dream.  I didn’t even know the first thing about being online!

Phew, lots of thoughts in my head this week – especially since I’m on vacation next week (we’re heading to the Florida Keys!!)  I would love to know what you think about the elevator pitch.  Does it sound enticing enough?  Have you ever had to take your pitch and make it conversational?  Any tips?

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  1. lulubrownskin

    Elevator Pitch: KEYWORDS! That is the trick.

    Let your PASSION for this store & dream be the impetus for your keywords – chose 3 to 5- & then give it some serious sassy BODY! Keep it fluid, that is not the same word-for-word paragraph; let it change depending on the elevator [lol] & the people & your day et al.
    You’ll find it is SO much LESS terrifying & SO much MORE enjoyable!

    Happy talk-pitch-practising!
    Liesl 🙂

  2. You are doing great! One of my favorite lines is “if you build it they will come” from the movie Field of Dreams. Looks like you will be up and running soon, so be proud!

    I used to struggle with waiting for everything to be perfect to the point that I didn’t put myself out there soon enough and I probably missed some opportunities. Now I just dive in and then know that I will figure things out along the way (or find the right people to ask when I need a hand). Go for what you love … it is worth taking that leap!

    P.S. I like “fresh, stylish and playful” over “whimsical” but I might eliminate that pesky word “perfect” 😉 and instead say “thrilled about having discovered something new (or “something you have never seen before”) when you leave.” Practice your speech on people you meet — you will get the feedback you need to see if they “get it” and are curious to hear more. Good luck and have a great vacation!

  3. Piper, I love your pitch! Would you be using this pitch online, too? I think it’s great for a splash page to your store or just as an introduction to their entire experience.

    I agree with lulubrownskin about having keywords for yourself. I haven’t worked on an elevator pitch before, but when I was younger I worked as an actress in LA and I’ve had to do similar things. Keywords are a lifesaver! And that way it keeps what you’re saying fresh and organic and you won’t sound like it’s rehearsed. And of course, it’s so much easier to tailor it to who you’re talking to!

    Have a GREAT vacation! Natalie

  4. Jessica

    I hear ya! I love your weekly reports!

    I totally agree with the “just keep moving forward” idea. Even if you are feeling down about something, if you just keep moving forward – even if it is slowly and imperfectly – then those feeling down days become fewer and farther between …

    Love your elevator pitch and love the idea of having some key words to help you!

  5. Erin

    Love the pitch! It would also work as your mission statement in a business plan.

    Re: using your pitch in conversation: When I was working in media relations, one of the things we trained our spokespeople to do is come up with three key messages and stick to them. They don’t have to be complex (in fact, they should be short, simple and easy to remember) and you don’t have to say them verboten each time, but they provide a springboard for talking to other people about your idea while keeping it centred and on topic.

    For your pitch, your three key messages could be what the store is (you’ve already determined that), why your customers will love it, and perhaps an example of the type of merchandise you’ll be carrying. Paint a picture with words; get your audience to really visualize the website and its selection…

  6. lou

    sweetheart i love your pitch. it’s totally to the point. you motivate me to do the same. i have to do the same in order to know what it is what i want to do. thank you for motivating me. you rock. and i’m proud of you. have a fabulous vacation.

  7. Jonna

    Piper! It sounds like this was a good week! I love that you’re celebrating accomplishments – you’ve done so much in a year! A wise woman once asked me how I learned to swim. I said I just held on to the edge and slowly tried letting go and figuring out a doggy paddle good enough to keep me afloat. She asked me why. What do you mean why? Because I wanted to! She looked me square in the eyes and said, “That is the only single reason you need to do ANYTHING – because you want to.” She reminded me that I didn’t give up and not learn to swim because I didn’t think I could be an Olympic swimmer. All I wanted to do was swim, so I did. What a great lesson!

    I hope you have a great and deserved vacation that leaves you feeling inspired and rested.

    I actually work (my day job) in marketing and have done work in branding, forming attributes, and messaging. I’ll send you an email with some info that might help in getting that elevator pitch to feel more natural when you say it. 😉

  8. Emma Jo

    Hi Piper! I like your pitch and I agree with the others that you should find some keywords to remember it by and make it sound flowing (not like you’re reading from a paper)

    I think you deserve a vacation, you’ve been working really hard.

    Have you thought about logistics? are you going to have a room full of stuff and send them out by mail?

    Have a nice vacation 😀

  9. I do hear you, when you say it is hard to say “well done!” for yourself, because you feel that the situation could be even better.
    And I totally agree – yoiu have to have time and energy to look back and pat yourself for the achievements, and I think it is very important to be able to be proud of it.

    So I think you should be very proud of yourself – you have gone on a long road!

  10. Ann

    I think “perfect” might be a word you try to eliminate from your pitch and your vocabulary. It just doesn’t exist! You are doing great! You are no longer trying to realize your dream, you ARE living it. Enjoy yourself!

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