THe Simple Startup is a blog written by Aaron Aiken, intended to document the startup of Purely Simple, LLC.

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Thoughts on success, failure, risk, and entrepreneurs

Thoughts on success, failure, risk, and entrepreneurs

Goals and other things

Goals are great because they push you. 

They want nothing but the best for you. 

They are there to make you better. 

But they also suck. 

Because when you don’t reach them you feel like a failure, at least I do. As though there are no second chances. And as if it wasn’t you who created the goal in the first place. 

Goals are arbitrary. 

Nice to set. Good to work towards. And not the end of the world if you don’t reach them. 

The same is true for expectations

I always have crazy, seemingly unrealistic expectations. Because of this, I place a lot of pressure on myself.

I do. 

No one else does. 

Which I am ok with, to be honest. 

I can manage what I create. But I cannot manage that which I do not create. 

And, just as goals are nice to have, good to shoot for, and are there to make you better, so, too, are expectations. 

Set both. 

Have goals, and expectations. 

Be a perfectionist. 

Never settle. 

Never do just enough to get by. 

Always work to do better next time than you did the last time.

But don’t let the fear of failure, or real failure, stop you in your tracks. Goals and expectations are not intended to make you quit.They are intended to make you better. 

Always have them. 

I’m telling you this, but really I’m saying it to myself. 

For the past 10 years I have set personal and business financial goals. I have hit a few of the small ones, but never the big ones that make a difference. 

Does this stop me from continuing to try?

Absolutely not. 

Purely Simple Goals

Right now Lindsay and I have the goal of launching our business, Purely Simple, open to the public for placing orders, on February 14th, 2017. 

Right now, though, I’m getting nervous. 

We have products ready to go. Photos in motion. All of the details worked out, for the most part, but we still don’t have approval on our LLC or the fictitious name.

Those two things, primarily the LLC approval, are needed for our bank account. And the bank account is needed for Stripe. And Stripe is needed so that we can accept credit card payments. And those are needed so that we can sell you things and fulfill orders. 

The LLC is also needed for getting our sales tax license. 

So, all the things are tied up there. Important things. 

But, if they are later than we would like, and if we miss our 2/14 goal, so what?

I’ll still have income coming in. Our house will remain standing. And we’ll just continue waiting. 

It will not be the end of the world. 

We are beyond ready to start selling, so ready. Impatiently waiting. And that’s good. 

We are prepared to launch as soon as everything is set. 

Sure. We could connect another bank account to Stripe and use that to launch while we wait for our Purely Simple bank account to be available. We could use our personal account, my web development account, or Lindsay’s massage account. 

But then we’d have to switch everything once we got our actual account up and running. And that does not align with our philosophy of simplicity

And sure, we could go without charging sales tax, or doing so without a license, but that also does not align with our philosophy of simplicity

Two ideas that I learned growing up come to mind:

  1. Haste makes waste. 
  2. Do it right the first time or don’t do it at all. 

Sure. You’ll, we’ll, make mistakes along the way. But we will always do it right, to the best of our current knowledge and abilities. Or we won’t do it at all. 

And if we make haste now, I know for a fact that it will create waste (in time and money) later. 

No, thank you. We’ll wait, and do it right the first time. 

But, all of this is assuming we are delayed by paperwork. 

Maybe that won’t happen. 

We are ready if it does, though. And we will certainly not waste time while we wait. Not at all. 

Progress and product updates

One item of major progress in the last two weeks has been product recipes and also packaging. 

Both of these fall into Lindsay’s court, and she has done an awesome job of ordering things (the right things, so no waste there), testing, designing, and overall managing the process of everything involved there. 

At this point, I believe we have a first run of all of our products. 

To the best of our current knowledge and abilities we are ready to get these out to market. 

In my court, from a product perspective, is the prints we are going to offer in our shop. We have 20 or so, and the designs are ready to go. Next is printing and photography for listing them on our website. That is happening in the next day or so (hopefully).

In-fact, a lot of product photos will happen over the next few days. 

For this I am using a lightbox, and my iPhone 7 Plus. Initial tests are good. The lighting is awesome. But I’m really ready to get photos up on the website to see how they look within our design. 

I’m also curious to see how they quality holds up without a tripod (which would typically be used for over the top shots). The iPhone 7 Plus has some pretty awesome stabilization features, and the light from the lightbox provides ample light for the camera lens. So I’m hopful that between the features of the camera and the amount of light that they will turn out ok. Time will tell :-)

A tripod is simple enough to get and use, but if it is not needed, I don’t want to add it just yet. 

That said, I do know that a tripod will be required for some of the marketing shots we have planned for our Instagram account (and other marketing initiatives). But, we’ll get to that when we get to it. I also have my eyes on this light to be used for photos not taken with the lightbox. These things will be purchased and used, but we’ll get to them when we get to them. This will be soon, but not immediate. 

Doing my best to remain focused!

Doubts, Success, and Failure

We still have a lot of actual work to do, like photos, finishing the website. Probably additional product variations (like more scents) but, really, a lot of what is going on right now is in our heads. Thoughts and such. 

Maybe this is just me more than Lindsay. I haven’t asked her. 

(Just did. And she says, “I just think it is going to work.”)

But while we are chipping away at all the little things that are necessary to get this up and running, in the back of my mind I am asking the question: is this going to work?

Is this going to be a legit way for me to make an exit from corporate America, and from working for someone else?

And a lot of other random and small, but equally important, questions, but really…is this going to work?

Is this going to be something we look back on and say that it was a success?

Or will this be yet another, “I didn’t fail I paid for a lesson.”

These are all normal questions to ask, in my humble opinion.

While I am easily described as an optimist, I do have portions of my mind that will think upon the realities of this world. This is mainly from personal experiences with things in the past. 

Mostly, I am very aware of the stark reality that this may not work.

But, I hope that it does (obviously) and I am going to do everything possible and within my control to ensure that Purely Simple has as many chances it needs to succeed. 

Plus, while I have had these same doubts for businesses I have started and ran on my own, in the past, this one is different. 

Why? Well, first it was not my idea. Second, I am not doing it alone. 

Not doing it alone is the biggest difference. For sure. 

We both, Lindsay and I, have reasons for wanting this business to be a success. 

We also compliment each other, and we “even” each other out. 

Where I am the dreamer, she is the realist. 

And where she may see limitations, I see possibilities. 

So she keeps me closer to the ground, than I could do on my own, and I lift her up to possibilities she cannot see on her own. 

And that is why I feel that, more than any other business or idea I have attempted to date, this one has the greatest chance of success. 

We are in this together. 

And then we have the actual products themselves. 

Are they going to sell? 

Will our customers like them enough to tell their family and friends about Purely Simple and how awesome our products are? 

Will they become repeat and loyal customers?

I could go on and on in this vein. But I know that the point has been made. 

There is a chance this fails. There is a chance it succeeds. And we are both going to work extremely hard to ensure success has a greater chance than failure.

What makes an entrepreneur an entrepreneur?

One thing this makes me think of is the qualities of entrepreneurs. 

I have a few thoughts here, so let’s see if I can communicate them well enough for you to understand what I’m thinking.

First, I do not think that everyone has what it takes to be an entrepreneur. I believe that the qualities and characteristics needed to be an entrepreneur are placed in us from the moment we are born. And from there, it is up to our parents, mentors, and life (external influences and influencers) to water and cultivate the seeds (characteristics) that make an entrepreneur an entrepreneur.

A few that come to mind:

  • Creativity
  • Individuality
  • Self-confidence
  • Tenacity
  • Unsatisfied
  • Accepting of risk

There are more. But I think these are some of the most important. A lot of these are a part of your makeup, part of what makes you you. And most, if not all, need the correct environment in order to thrive. 

And I believe that a true entrepreneur will spend the first part of their life looking for that “environment.” The second part will be spent in that environment, where they will be in a mode of doing what they were born to do (a.k.a. thriving).

By environment, I don’t mean an actual physical environment. It is more of a mindset. A set of circumstances. It is subjective, really, and is up to the individual entrepreneur. 

It is like a tennis player. Practicing and practicing and practicing. All in pursuit of getting closer and closer to hitting the tennis ball with the magical sweet spot of the tennis racket. They are in pursuit of every hit feeling just right. Maybe their swing is off sometimes, but when the ball connects with the racket…the player has a certain satisfaction that only they can feel. 

In real life terms I would say that I am still in search of this feeling. 

I think a lot of it involves time, money, and the freedom of both. 

In my opinion that is what we, entrepreneurs, are in pursuit of. We also love all of the benefits that come with being a successful entrepreneur, like not having a boss. But out of everything, the freedom to spend our time on things, and with people, we truly want to, not things or people we have to.

And freedom of money. The ability to create more, have less and less (to no) debt, and therefore the abiliity to use our money as we see fit personally (to live a full life and to give the same to those we love) and professionally as we are always looking for what to do next. 

(That’s called spit balling. What I just wrote. Stream of consciousness. Welcome to my mind, my opinion, and my experiences :-))

I have had both of the above in the past. More so the first than the second, and I am so ready to get back to it. Back to hitting with the sweet spot. Back to who I am, and who I was made to be. 

Until next time…


Dreamer Doer 001: I guess I'm starting a vlog

Dreamer Doer 001: I guess I'm starting a vlog

Purely Simple - In The Beginning

Purely Simple - In The Beginning