My working pace has slowed down as the end of the year fast approaches, and the pace of my personal life has increased as I madly get prepared for Christmas (I left it to the last minute as usual). So there will be no new tutorials until the new year. I wanted to take this opportunity to post about something a little different today, giving you a little peak at what is going on behind the scenes at In the Folds (and chat about the potential of hearing a little bit more in the future).
I am spending a lot of time at the moment thinking about transparency, and it's place in business. Specifically, its place in my business. When I had the crazy (but great) idea to go into business, transparency was something I really wanted ingrained in my practice. Transparency about my thoughts, values and processes (and maybe even more).
Though, that is much easier said than done. Six months into my business venture, and I have revealed very little about what really goes on on a daily basis (okay, there was the time I told you I was eating rice cakes for dinner on instagram). There has been no sign of the struggles (and there have been many), the thought processes or even the small wins (and thankfully there have been a few of those too) that have come along the way.
So that is what I'd like to talk about today - transparency, why I think it's important, why I haven't been very transparent (yet) and who inspires me in this particularly conversation.
What do I mean by 'transparency'?
When I use the term 'transparency,' I am referring to a business model in which I would be open about what is going on at In the Folds HQ, in terms of processes, practices, thoughts (and maybe even finances), in the hope that my journey could help or inspire others who are on a similar journey (or those that would like to be on a similar journey, or are just interested in other peoples stories).
Why I haven't been transparent (yet)?
I guess there is a few reasons why I haven't been as open or transparent as I initially planned:
1. Number one has to be fear. When my business was an imaginary thing, the idea of opening it up to the world for judgement and scrutiny seemed totally fine. Now that it is a thing (albeit a very small thing), exposing myself on that level terrifies me a little (okay, okay, it terrifies me a lot).
2. Time is another huge reason why I have avoided a more transparent business model. I have not had the time to think about how I would like to do it, let alone actually do it.
3. And the last thing that has been on my mind, when debating this concept internally, is concern that it will have a negative impact on my business. Will people judge me negatively if they know what my business looks like on the inside (as surprise surprise, my world doesn't really resemble the lovely shininess of my Instagram feed)? This is not to say that my business has any dirty little secrets! Just the reality that social media feeds are curated, and life is not! Which is something we all obviously know, but it is really easy to fall in love with the fantasy.
Why I would like to be more transparent
So now that I have highlighted the cons of introducing more transparency to my business, let's talk about the pros, and why it is on my mind at the moment.
I just love businesses that are transparent about their processes. And I have learned so much from other entrepreneurs and small business owners opening their doors. I feel it is important to share some of that love and add something to the collective learning pool and conversation.
I am constantly energised and inspired by other peoples stories, and it is often what keeps me going, particularly at the times when I am feeling low, or totally alone on this crazy journey. It is on my mind at the moment, as fantastic examples just keep on popping up around me.
Who inspires me?
Bjork + Lindsay Ostrom - Pinch of Yum / Food Blogger Pro
Although many businesses are now embracing transparency - which is absolutely fantastic, the first business that really stood out for me in this area is Pinch of Yum. If you know of this blog, you will know that it has absolutely nothing to do with sewing. It is a cooking blog. But the way they share (Lindsay and her husband, Bjork) the ins and outs of their business is truly inspiring. They publish a monthly income report, which details the ins and outgoings of the business, but it is not a way to show how successful they are (although they are very successful) but a tangible way to see where their income and traffic comes from, and how they have managed to grow these numbers, since the very early days. I was first introduced to the blog when I heard Bjork interviewed on the 'While She Naps' podcast by Abby Glassenberg, and was instantly mesmerised by his openness and frankness about growing a business. I was also very interested in his idea of '1% to infinity,' which has definitely become my business motto since hearing it mentioned. It was such a relief to hear someone say that the steps you take don't have to be massive, for you to see progress over time. Just keep moving forward each day, even if you are only improving by 1% each day, over time the improvement grows exponentially. That to me, makes perfect sense, and is something very tangible I can use to keep my business growing. Bjork also has his own podcast now, which although mainly focuses on guests from the realm of food, I find very interesting and relevant to my life as a small business owner in the online world.
Heather Lou - Closet Case Files - 'Make Boss' series