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74: The Lows of Entrepreneurship: 10 Most Challenging Moments in My Career

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This transcript has been automatically generated.


Bonnie Christine [00:00:00]:

We are hiring here at Team Bonnie Christine, and I'm so excited to share about it with you. We're looking for a marketing director, someone to step into the shoes of this position that combines creativity, strategy, and leadership to help amplify our mission and maximize our impact. As marketing Director, you spearhead departmental initiatives, create compelling marketing strategies, and lead a dynamic team, all while fostering an environment of growth and success. If you're someone who thrives in a data driven, results oriented setting but also has a passion for creativity and marketing, we'd love to hear from you. Or if you know someone who would be a great fit, please let them know. You can learn more about this position and everything that comes with being a member of Team Bonnie over at Forward Slash Careers. Again. That's bonniechristine.com.

Bonnie Christine [00:01:02]:

Forward slash careers. We can't wait to get to know you. Hello and welcome back. Now, in the very last episode, I covered the highs of being an entrepreneur, and I shared with you the top ten most proudest moments in my career to date. But I promised you to come back to this episode and share with you some of the lows. So today I'm going to share with you the ten most challenging moments in my career. But I don't want this to be a downer episode. So along with every challenge, I'm also going to share with you kind of the lesson that I learned or the lesson that I'm learning as we get through my top ten list.

Bonnie Christine [00:01:49]:

A couple of them are stuff that I'm working through right now. I'm Bonnie Christine, and this is where all things creativity, design, business and marketing unite. I'm a mama living in a tiny town tucked right inside the Smoky Mountains, running a multi seven figure business, doing the most creative and impactful work of my life. But when I first set out to become an entrepreneur, I was struggling to make ends meet and wrestling with how to accomplish my biggest dream of becoming a fabric designer. Fast forward to today. I'm not only licensing my artwork all over the world, but also teaching others how to design their creative life and experience the same success. I'm here to help you spend your life doing something that lights you up. I'll help you build a creative business that also creates an impact, changes people's lives, gives you all of the freedom you want, and is wildly profitable.

Bonnie Christine [00:02:55]:

Welcome to the professional creative podcast. And so we're going to dive in. I am going to start way back in 2012, and so you likely know that this was the year that I was first licensed. I've shared that story and shared a bit of it in the very last episode. And so I was able to meet with an art director, my dream art director, and signed my very first fabric contract. But something that I don't talk about often is that there was another company that I thought I really wanted to be with, and all things work out just the way they are, because I'm so glad that I didn't end up with this company. They actually went out of business, like, right after this, and so it was such a blessing in disguise. But the art director for this other company had really kind of pulled my leg for like, six months.

Bonnie Christine [00:03:59]:

I was in constant contact with them, sending them my portfolio, working back and forth. And what I think actually happened is that the art director's assistant really loved my work. But I don't think the art director actually liked it. But I didn't know that at the time. And the assistant made me feel like there was a really good chance that I was going to be licensed. And so I saw this particular art director at the same show, and I introduced myself and was so happy to finally meet her. And she shook my hand. I asked her if she wanted to sit down and look through my work, and she just looked at me straight in the eyes and said, your work looks like everyone else's.

Bonnie Christine [00:04:44]:

We're not interested. And that crushed me. I think as an artist, that's the last thing that you ever want to hear. And now this particular person, actually, I learned later on, had a reputation for saying really mean things to people. So that made it feel good after a while as well. I felt better about it, but that was the first really big blow that I had gotten, and I felt embarrassed. I felt like an imposter. I questioned myself and my ability.

Bonnie Christine [00:05:24]:

And I learned, though, in that we have to be able to receive feedback and take from it what we want. In fact, one of the biggest lessons that I learned there was that feedback really only tells us about the person who's giving it to us. And so rather than internalizing it and making it into who I am, I was able to say, okay, well, this person doesn't like artwork like mine, and I can handle that. And so it really was a lesson in resilience. And I'm honestly glad that it happened so early on because I was able to kind of I never want to say that I've got tough skin because I want to be soft, right? But it did strengthen me quite a bit and help me learn what kind of things I might hear and how to manage it and how to not internalize it and make it become who I am. So the big takeaway here is that feedback, no matter what type it is, tells you about the person who's giving it to you and nothing more. The next one comes in 2013, and this one spans a couple of years. So 2013 to 2015, and this was when I was having children.

Bonnie Christine [00:06:53]:

Let's take that to like, 2017. So I had my first child, my son. His name is Bear in 2013 and then I had my daughter Ollie in 2015. And this was a challenge really because I was trying to work still and I was experiencing a lot of what you call mom guilt. Feeling like I really want to pull away from my business and just be with my children and then if I am not with my children, I have guilt over that. And it was just those really early years where you're figuring it all out and it was also just the sweetest time in my life. My children are just so incredible and so I have a lot of really sweet memories and feelings of this time. But with it is also this challenging feeling of business versus babies.

Bonnie Christine [00:07:50]:

And the lesson that I learned actually is that I didn't have to choose that I could choose both. And so rather than choose one or the other, I began to integrate them both together. And so my children would just come with me and work beside with me and I would set up a little station for them to do something while I was doing something. And I did still pull away to do some deep work but that was really only during nap time. So they napped, they were champion nappers. And when I had Ollie, my second one, I tried my best to make sure that they napped at the same time. So that was really the only time that I got deep work done was during nap time. And other than that we would kind of integrate it.

Bonnie Christine [00:08:41]:

I wouldn't be staring at my computer or anything like that, but I would be able to get some productive work done with them alongside me. And that includes housework, that includes artwork, creation and things like that as well. And so my husband was still at a regular nine to five job. So it was me, my business and my babies at home for several years and it was a challenge. But the big lesson there was that my children have actually loved to see me do something that I love for my business. And they don't view it as mom working, they view it as mom doing what she loves and it has inspired them to do things that they love as well. Number three comes in 2019. So now my kids are a bit older and I was getting busier.

Bonnie Christine [00:09:36]:

I had grown my business significantly and I realized that I couldn't take any time away. I was a one woman show. This was at the ten year mark of running my business completely by myself. And I had expanded into a lot of different arenas. So I was licensing my work, but I was also teaching a course, I had a membership. And it really dawned on me on a vacation once, that I could not step away. I could not step away for even a vacation because five days away meant that the inbox was overflowing. My members and students felt like they didn't have their questions answered.

Bonnie Christine [00:10:19]:

And it's like if I stepped away, my business kind of it was a disaster. And that was such a huge challenge. Let's use the word hustling, maybe, like, really working too much. And it all dawned on me, really, when we went on a family vacation. And I would have to kind of stay inside for like half days. So I would work four or 5 hours every day on a vacation so less than normal, and then meet up with everyone else. The lesson here was that I really had to start getting help. I had just this moment of like, I can't do it all myself anymore.

Bonnie Christine [00:11:03]:

It's not the best thing for me. It's not the best thing for my family. And I have to figure this out now. We're going to come back to this one in a minute. The next one is something that I've only talked about a little bit, and it could be a trigger. So I'm going to talk a little bit about anxiety. And so if that feels like something you don't need to hear about in your life right now, just fast forward, like three minutes and don't worry about listening to this one. In July of 2020, I ended up in the hospital thinking that I was having a heart attack.

Bonnie Christine [00:11:47]:

And it turned out to be a panic attack. And I can laugh about it now, but it was very, very serious. At the time, I had no idea that this is what anxiety felt like. I didn't know that people were managing anxiety. And I feel like I was walking towards a cliff, just blindfolded. There had been a bunch of little things that happened in 2020. My kids both had accidents. They had fallen and hit their mouth in different ways at different times.

Bonnie Christine [00:12:24]:

But one of them landed us at the Er for stitches, and it was in the middle of COVID so I couldn't go in with my son and all this stuff. And then there was just a random buildup of things that happened and of course, the whole world was shutting down at the same time. And I just remember feeling really on edge, like I was jumpy. I was worried all the time. And turns out that this is what I was headed towards. And so that spun me into, I think, probably like a nervous breakdown. I had the most difficult week of my life and finally got a hold of an incredible counselor and an incredible doctor, and we started to work together to really overcome this. And so it led me into a year of some of the best work of my life.

Bonnie Christine [00:13:18]:

A lot of prayer, a lot of spiritual growth, a lot of personal growth, a lot of counseling. And it was, in hindsight, one of the best things that ever happened to me. But I will say that the lesson that I want you to take away from this is that my business had grown faster than I had grown. And now the anxiety wasn't really business related. It was actually more like other things, like me worrying about my kids to a level that I didn't have any business worrying at. But still, it was difficult to manage the business while I was trying to manage this part of it. I realized that I hadn't grown personally in my own personal development as much as I had needed to. So my business had really outgrown me.

Bonnie Christine [00:14:17]:

And I really had a minute where I took a step back and was like, can I drive this freight train that I have created? And I wasn't sure what the answer was. I sat with it for a while and then decided, Absolutely, I can. And so I stepped into that seat and said, I'm driving this train. And really what I did, though, was pour myself into development, into personal development, mental development, spiritual development, and leadership development, because I was just lacking in all of these areas. And it was really time for me to arrive at growing these different things. And I find that it's not something that many people talk about, but I do find that it's something that a lot of people have struggled with. And so my big takeaway for you here is to make sure that you're developing your own self, your resiliency, your leadership ability, your ability to do difficult things as you grow your business, so that one is not way ahead of the other, that you grow together at the same time. Now, just for the record, I'm doing beautifully now.

Bonnie Christine [00:15:44]:

I have had a couple of the best years, and I'm so very glad that I went through this, even though it was the hardest thing I've ever gone through in my life. But now I have a huge heart and so much empathy for people who are struggling with it. And so we might come back and talk about this more, because there are a lot of things I did that were very helpful, but it was a renewal of my mind. I had to do a renewal of my mind and my thinking patterns. And so the counseling I did was cognitive behavioral therapy, and it was incredible. Okay, so moving on. Remember to grow alongside your business so that you don't find yourself one day with your business outgrowing. You mark your calendars for this October 19 through the 21st, because my friends, Immersion Live 2023 is coming up.

Bonnie Christine [00:16:44]:

Now, this conference is for creative entrepreneurs, and our theme this year is called The Art of Business. We've gathered a spectacular lineup of industry leaders and artists and creative entrepreneurs for an unmatched virtual conference experience. Now, you're likely wondering, can a virtual conference really engage me and be fun like an in person event? Well, yes, it absolutely can. Over three days, you'll unlock strategies to guide your business, effectively Refine Your art, and Establish A Flourishing Creative career. The event kicks off with something that we call Open Studio Night on October 19, where you get to peek behind the curtain of some incredibly successful artists. The next two days, you'll immerse yourself in keynote sessions and workshops with people like amy porterfield, glow Atanmo, nicholas wilton, morgan, harper nichols, and so many more. You'll learn, interact and have all your questions answered. But here's the thing.

Bonnie Christine [00:17:49]:

Early bird pricing is about to go away. You can go get a ticket at the early bird price until August 15. And as an early bird, Registrant, you'll be guaranteed our very beloved ultimate swag box. This swag box comes delivered directly to your door, and it's curated with some incredible items. They're exclusive and valuable, and they add a tactile and memorable element to your entire experience. They also enhance exactly what you'll be learning during the conference. Plus, every session is recorded so you can revisit and absorb the wealth of knowledge at your own pace. Immersion Live has been designed to fuel your passion, bolster your skills and transform your talent into a thriving business.

Bonnie Christine [00:18:35]:

Join us this October and watch as your world expands. Head on over to Bonniechristine.com 2023 Immersionlive to get your ticket. Now again. That's Bonniechristine.com. 2023. Immersionlive. Okay, number Five is in 2021, when we moved our conference to a virtual conference, well, we had actually moved it in 2020 because of COVID but in 2021, we had to make the decision again, and we struggled with this decision. Do we try to do it in person? Do we do it virtually? Again, we struggled with this in 2022 as well, and what we did was keep it virtual, because you have to decide so far in advance.

Bonnie Christine [00:19:28]:

Things were kind of still up in the air, but my takeaway here is that actually, virtual is better now. There are a lot of benefits to being in person, and I love an in person event. Don't get me wrong. I would love to have one one day. But we were feeling like we were doing Virtual because we were afraid of an announcement around COVID or health issues or contracts. Like, it was a fear based decision. And then we realized, you know what? A virtual conference is freaking incredible. And there are a lot of things that we can do to enhance the experience and make it fun, make it like an event.

Bonnie Christine [00:20:13]:

And so it's better because it's more accessible to more people. People don't have the travel and lodging expenses that you have when there's a conference. We get to reach more people, and it's also just an incredible experience to bring people together from all over the World who wouldn't necessarily be able to travel in the first place. But It's also like, you can watch at home in Your pajamas or your Favorite chair. Like, it's more comfortable. And so We Have just really embraced a virtual experience. Now, I did a podcast episode on this just a few episodes ago, so I won't go back into it. But there are a lot of things that we do to make this virtual conference an entire experience.

Bonnie Christine [00:21:00]:

And so this was a challenge because we were just trying to figure it all out, and then we really had that take home message that we're doing this because it's better, not because we're afraid of it. Now, number six is related back to number three, when I couldn't take any time away. So number six comes in 2021 when I had started to get help. So I had hired one person, then two, then three, then four, and I was having help in my business, but I was still struggling a little bit with delegating. Now, I like to say that I don't micromanage. I don't enjoy it. And I know people who work for me wouldn't enjoy it either, so I don't micromanage, but oftentimes I'll just continue to do things because it's kind of what I do, and it really takes me a minute to realize I could give this away. And so this was around when Lisa came on the team, who's my integrator, and she knows the entrepreneurial journey so incredibly well because she had her own business for many years and still does.

Bonnie Christine [00:22:14]:

And she would talk to me about just white knuckling certain things in my business. Like, I just wanted to keep them, I'll do them, no big deal. And she's like, you're white knuckling this. We need to release your grip. And so many things I've learned from her, she would say when someone comes to you to do something, something that's really important is to say, if it's not wrong. Like, it may not be exactly how I do it, but if it's not wrong, can I let them do it in this particular way? And that was huge because of course, I have a very specific way that I do everything because I built the whole thing. But if it's not wrong, letting people do it in their own way was really impactful. Another one that was really impactful was that I had a lot of people on the team coming to me to ask me my advice, how I would do something.

Bonnie Christine [00:23:11]:

And I always have an opinion. I'm like, jump at that. I'm like, oh yeah, let me tell you how I would do it. And one of the best things I learned was to say, how would you do it? How would you do it? And the team, we all laugh about it now because I'll still use it to this day. I'll turn it around, well, how would you do it? Or sometimes I'll say, give me three different examples of how you could solve this problem, and then give me which one you suggest we choose. And so it just really empowers the team to have really use their thinkers for different projects. But the lesson here that I learned was it's not just important to delegate and get help in your business, it's actually selfish not to. Okay, bear with me.

Bonnie Christine [00:24:02]:

It's actually selfish not to because I have a hunch that the vast majority of us here are focused on making a positive impact in the world. Whether it be through something beautiful or something like a transformational type of education, or anything that makes the world a better place. And when we stay doing the things that are not directly related to the impact that we make, we lessen our time and focus for doing that thing that has the biggest impact. And so by not delegating and by keeping things in your own wheelhouse for longer than you need to, it actually means that you likely have a lesser impact in the world. And so this was my takeaway for this particular challenge, was I've got to learn how to delegate better so that I can be kind of at the top visionary status, making decisions about having the biggest impact in the world that we can have. Number seven is in 2021. And this challenge is around my membership. So I've had a membership since 2012, it's called Flourish and it's for surface designers.

Bonnie Christine [00:25:20]:

And so we have over 4000 members in that membership today. And for many years it was open to the public. And so the tricky thing was though, that I had this really big course that I started teaching in 2018 every year. And so the membership kind of served as like a front end membership and a back end membership to the course. And so at any given point, about half of the people had never taken the course and about half of them had. And this was such a challenge for me because I didn't have a clear vision on who I was speaking to. We were kind of always afraid of having a conversation that was too advanced and having a conversation that was not advanced enough. And how do we really cater to both types of people? And so we began doing an exit survey, which is just a little survey that gets some feedback from people as they have requested, to leave the membership.

Bonnie Christine [00:26:28]:

And one of the things that we learned was that many of the times people were either leaving because the material was too advanced or they were leaving because it wasn't advanced enough. Which kind of confirmed my hunch that I wasn't clear about who I was talking to and I wasn't serving either party at the best of my ability. So we made the very difficult decision to close it to the public and make it an alumni only membership. And it's been one of the best decisions I've ever made. So you have to come through the immersion course to get an invitation to join us in Flourish. And all of a sudden I got huge clarity around exactly who I was talking to we could reference the course and send people back over to resources that were in the course. But most of all, we were able to elevate the conversation right away. And so we have just a higher level of learning that's going on there because I know everyone has this same foundation of the course material, so we've been able to just elevate the whole experience.

Bonnie Christine [00:27:44]:

Now, as challenging as that was, we went round and round and round and really talked about the benefits and the negatives. And was this something that we were going to regret? We love the decision. And my takeaway is that, you know what, we have the ability to pivot. I think so many times we hesitate to do big things in our business because we're afraid that it's not the right decision. Or am I really going to want to do this for five years or ten years? You know what? Just don't forget that you can pivot. You can pivot at any time. Something that you have been doing no longer makes sense. Number eight is around some difficult things that I've had to do over the last couple of years.

Bonnie Christine [00:28:33]:

I had to let someone go off of my team. This was a couple of years ago. I also had to remove someone from my Mastermind. Now, we're not going to get into the details of this. What I really want to talk about is embracing difficult conversations. And this is a good example of something that maybe before I had done some leadership development, it would have crushed me. I would have been so worried about it. I would have had racing heart and shallow breathing and just been really tied up in knots over having to do either of these difficult things.

Bonnie Christine [00:29:18]:

And don't get me wrong, it's my least favorite thing to do ever. But I learned along the way over the last two or three years that part of being a leader is being able to embrace having difficult conversations. And that things are so much better when we're just able to clearly and confidently say what we need to say and then take action. And honestly, the people around you will respect you and be grateful for it. So much like the team increased their respect for my ability to take care of what we needed to take care of, the Mastermind respected me and my leadership to come in and take care of something that needed to be taken care of. And so difficult conversations are something that we would most of the time love to just ignore or avoid with everything in our being. And sometimes they're just necessary. And what if we just embraced our ability to confidently and kindly have difficult conversations? Okay, the next two, number nine and number ten, are things that I'm currently struggling with.

Bonnie Christine [00:30:40]:

Currently, things that are a challenge. Do you want to hear them? Number nine. It's really nothing new, but this is probably not going to be a surprise to you, but I find it so challenging to just show up on social media. It is something that is tapping me on the shoulder every single day, all the time, and it does not come natural, it doesn't feel natural. I don't like showing everything that I'm doing. I don't think that it's fascinating. It takes a lot of time. I don't think that I feel very natural on live video and I just don't want to sometimes.

Bonnie Christine [00:31:27]:

And it's something that I have got to get over. I've got to show up better. I've got to just let people see what is happening on a day to day basis. And I don't know, sometimes I feel like I'm just being a toddler about it. Like I need to just arrive already, get comfortable with it, get out of my own way. But I'd be lying if I said it wasn't still a challenge every day. And so that's something that I'm working on. I don't have a great takeaway for you.

Bonnie Christine [00:32:01]:

I'm just being really transparent about what I'm currently finding challenging. And then number ten, I've got to be a little secretive about this, but I've got an idea, and it's an idea that I've been stewing on mulling over for many months, and the time is coming to make it make sense and announce it if I'm going to do it. And it's basically a new offer or a new program that I would offer in my business. And it's just been a challenge. I'm just trying to think about if it's the right next step. Does it really make sense in the overall picture of my goals? Will the juice be worth the squeeze? That's something we talk about all the time. There's no shortage of ideas and we can't do them all. So is the idea we choose the juice has to be worth the squeeze.

Bonnie Christine [00:33:05]:

So these are all questions, and my goal is to roll this out by the end of October if I choose to move forward with it. And so I've called together a couple of my best business friends who really understand business and me and what I'm doing. We're going to have a call this week. Basically, I called for a hot seat. Like, I need to have a hot seat. I need to explain to you what I'm thinking about and get your feedback. I want you to punch holes in this idea all over the place, challenge it, and let's figure out whether it's the next best step or not. But it's a big deal.

Bonnie Christine [00:33:46]:

And so that is a current challenge. Just how long sometimes I take to make a decision about something new. Okay, that's a wrap. Those are my top ten most challenging moments in my career. Some are more light hearted than others, but I hope that you know that there are always challenges and there will always be challenges, and it's how we learn from them. And move on. That makes the difference. I think that saying new level, new devil.

Bonnie Christine [00:34:21]:

There's always going to be a devil, there's always going to be a challenge. No matter what level you get at, they just look differently with that. My friends, I hope you've enjoyed this topic this week, the highs and lows of entrepreneurship and would encourage you to make your own list. What are the best highs that you've had and what are some of the lows and the lessons learned from those as well? My friends, create the beauty that you want to see come alive in the world and remember, there's room for you. I'll see you next time. Bye for now.

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