Failing Like A Pro
It’s ok to fail. There I said it, we don’t say it enough, especially women. As women we are breed to be perfect. Perfect hair, nails, decor, and in the modern era...a career. We are not encouraged to take risks. When we try to take on risky ambitions, we are often told not to because are family and friends don’t want us to fail. Sure we might fail, but we might gain something as well. It’s in my humble opinion that every failure leads to success.
Before I started blogging, I owned a vintage clothing store and it did ok, but ultimately I decided to shut it down. I had family issues at the time, my mother’s dementia was starting to advance and we were trying to figure out long term care for her. I was also spending too much time away from my son who was only three. Any parent knows that those younger years go by so fast and I didn’t want to miss any of them. That’s when I decided that my clothing store wasn’t making enough profit for me to miss these precious moments with my family...in other words the juice wasn’t worth the squeeze.
Did it hurt when I had to admit to myself that this business venture was not as successful as I had hoped? Of course, but do I regret doing it? Absolutely not! The experience of running my own store taught me so much and I apply a lot of those lessons to my current projects.
My current goal is to encourage people to cook more and I’m doing that through my food blog. I feel as though a lot of people don’t cook because they’re scared of making something horrible, but I want people to understand that cooking something horrible is part of the journey. That’s where we learn what not to do, which is a lesson that sticks with you.
When I was younger I was one of those people who were scared to cook. I didn’t want to mess it up. I didn’t want people to tell me how horrible I was at being a cook. Now I know that people don’t usually tell you that your dish is disgusting, well...at least to your face. To see if they really like my cooking I read people’s nonverbal cues. When people go back for seconds, or thirds that’s how I know I have a hit. It’s funny that when you gain some confidence you actually appreciate the honest feedback that you receive. However, you only gain that confidence through trial and error and not taking it personally when your goals don’t come out as good as you hoped.
When I decided to start my food blog I realized that I could take the things that I learned about online marketing (my vintage store also had an online store) and apply it to my blog. I learned about how being consistent and having a strong social media presence was very important.
Because of my previous experience I had an arsenal of marketing tools that I didn’t know how to apply to clothes, but I found it easy to apply to food. Food styling for Instagram was so much easier than styling an outfit for Instagram. I always saw these great #OOTD posts and I could never recreate, but for some reason photo composition was much easier for me when it came to food.
Also owning my store put me in touch with a great community of creatives. I was able to attend free workshops that helped me learn about visual marketing, photography, and photo/prop styling. This alone was worth the humiliation of a failed business. From this and the connections that I have made, it has given me the confidence to try again.
My failures taught me a lot about myself, it made me realize that I wasn’t in love with fashion as much as I used to be and that I had outgrown things that I thought were once important to me. When I first opened up my vintage clothing store I was trying to hold on to this hip and trendy girl that I used to be before being married with children. One day I woke up and I didn’t recognize myself and instead of embracing the new me, I was trying to run back to the old me because once again I was scared of failing. Failing at being a wife and a mother, but as time went on and I started to gain confidence in these roles I realized that I no longer had to hold on to the old me.
My food blog is my way of embracing who I am right now and how confident I am with my place in life. I’m showing you all my failures, because my failures have to taught me how to cook, be a wife, and mother all without losing myself. Those are some pretty damn good lessons I’ve taught myself. Do I still have self doubt? Absolutely, but I don’t let it stop me. I now know that with every risk there is always something to be gained. I never let the risk of failure dictate how I’m going to move in this world, because most people are scared of being looked at as a failure, but I don’t look at it that way-I’m hoping that I am looked upon as a risk taker, a go-getter, and as a woman not scared to take chances - no matter the outcome.
About the author
Sondria Harp is the creator of the food blog Lunenburg Mama. She's a home cook, food photographer, and a stay-at-home mom. When she's not busy with all of these things you can find her in her garden pulling weeds.