As you may have already read in Part 1, for this years post summer camp vacation, my husband and I road tripped up the west coast camping and staying with friends. We started our road trip in San Diego and finishing our vacation in Seattle and flying home from there.
I'm writing about our experiences making our way up Highway 101 thinking like a true entrepreneur (even on vacation) pondering what made these (mostly rural) businesses successful.
The second lesson that I learned having these small business vacation experiences is:
2. Do what you do, do it really well and don't worry about the other stuff.
I was reminded in both of these dining experiences the importance of doing something really well and not getting caught up in all the other stuff.
One of our most memorable meals on the trip was a fresh fish place right on the coast of southern Oregon. We stopped there for dinner after a long day of driving and they served really delicious fresh fish and pie. And (practically) nothing else.
The place was jam packed and I'm guess it is, probably every night!
Everything we ordered was homemade and to. die. for.
Because the owner of this restaurant knew where her niche was, our experience dining in this restaurant was just about flawless. I loved watching the owner run her establishment. Her and one other waitress were like a well oiled machine running around the dining room, serving the 8 or 9 table tops.
This restaurant in particular closed at 7pm, which seemed pretty early to me, but the owner promised anyone who came in before 7pm a table. They might have to wait a little while but you knew she'd work hard to make good on her promise. And because of this she wouldn't close anywhere near 7, but having the boundary of closing at 7pm struck me as totally smart and totally badass. Hustle like crazy, serve as many as you can in a certain amount of time that makes sense for you and then get the heck out of there and have a life.
So how can this be applied to a sewing business you ask?
I think the way I relate this to my sewing business is that it reassured me I don't have to do it ALL to be successful.
I know in my soul that my sweet spot in the kids classes lies in teaching younger kids. I mean really young. We offer PK and kindergarten seeing classes and honestly that works really well for us.
When I can't fill a teen class during the school year, it's okay. I know because of the area that I am, there are way more younger kids and that's just the way it is. I can have more success doing the classes that do well for us instead of trying to do ALL the classes.
Also - I am reminded that as much as I'd love to offer more advanced sewing classes for adults they don't always get filled so I can't offer them as frequently. My niche lies in teaching beginners and then having those beginner classes feed into a few more intermediate classes.
I had the opportunity to tour my friends sewing studio on this trip and I found myself getting a little envious of the way she did things.
First - her studio/store space was gigantic!
Second it was filled with many more advanced sewing machines, sergers and even embroidery machines for her students to use. You can be sure I was immediately was thinking to myself, maybe I need all this stuff too!!!! I might have developed a temporary case of really bad business FOMO.
But soon after I came back to my senses because I remembered this principal:
Do what you do, do it really well and don't worry about the other stuff.
My dear friends sweet spot in her sewing business is teaching teens fashion design and sewing. More advanced stuff than we'll probably ever teach. And because of this her studio was filled with mood boards, grommet presses and ipads all around the studio in addition to other more advanced tools. This made total sense for the niche that she catered to. And so did the fancier machines and sergers.
As my sensible self reappeared, I remembered even though she's created a space I was dying for, doing the same in my business just wouldn't make sense for me for SOOOO many reasons.
Just a great reminder that I have my niche, I'm confident I do it very well and I need to continue to focus on that.