When Did I Know

At the Alabama Soap & Candle Convention, there was a question from the back of the room after my talk. A small business owner asked, What was the moment when you knew you had really made it? When you had arrived?"

  Demonstrating how to make soap with alternative liquids during the Alabama Soap & Candle Convention.  Photo via the Alabama Soap& Candle Association Facebook .

Demonstrating how to make soap with alternative liquids during the Alabama Soap & Candle Convention. Photo via the Alabama Soap& Candle Association Facebook.

I didn’t say this from the stage – and I wish I had – but I never fully exhale. I never think I’ve arrived. I never feel like I can relax and sit back on my laurels and start only working part-time. Every day is a challenge and I never quit worrying, no matterhow much it looks like we’ve “arrived” looking from the outside in.

What I did say was that the moment I felt like a ‘real’ company was when Bramble Berry sold kits on the Home Shopping Network eight years ago. It required the Bramble Berry team to pull together like never before – to achieve what seemed impossible – delivering high quality kits to Home Shopping Network in a high volume at an impossibly low margin.

That was the moment that I had to take a leap and actually, really truly, for the first time, learn how to delegate and to truly let go. After all, I had to fly to Florida to be the on-air spokesperson for Bramble Berry. I couldn’t be there to deal with all the details of the pallets and pallets of soapmaking kits let alone the day-to-day operations of shipping out normal Bramble Berry orders. Below, you can watch the video of one of my visits to the Home Shopping Network.

Delegation was an area I was struggling with (and, still struggle with). It seems impossibly difficult to delegate, to let go, to let someone do something that you thought only you could do. After all, no one loves your baby like you do, right? The embarrassing revelation is that it’sego that tells you that you are the ONLY one that can do something and ultimately, that ego and ability to let go is what will hold the business back. Being gone for a week and really being gone (no checking emails while you’re on air!) forced me to confront, process and let go.

Being on Home Shopping Network let my team really shine. They did all of the details to make the 7 shows I did on live TV work and, with me out of the picture, they performed better than I could have ever encouraged and prodded them to. They are people that are impossibly talented, so much more than I am, in many areas.

I just had to get out of the way and give them a chance to show me that.

That was the day – the week – that I felt like a “real company”. I’d love to know if you have any breakthrough moments that inspired you or made you feel like you had reached a milestone with your company.