I am writing this to share my story in its rawest form, as I never did before because I simply wasn’t ready. By sharing this, I want to inspire you to get the strength to move on from the parts of your life that don’t bring you joy anymore. It took me a lot of sleepless nights, tears and over a year to find the right words to write this. Don’t worry – this is a feel-good story, a transformational one. May this blog post be the final closure to one of the most adventurous parts of my life and the beginning of a new chapter that will make me flourish, not just as a business owner but also as a human being.
Without further due, let me give you the answer to one of the most common & controversial questions I get asked:
Why I closed my wildly successful product-based business?
I never expected my product business to grow as much as it did, as I never expected Small Biz Babes Community to become a global community where small business owners and aspiring entrepreneurs come for advice.
But if you followed my journey from my very first TikTok account, you know it was a wild ride from the beginning. I started an online wedding gift shop from our kitchen counter and living room floor in 2019 when I was stuck in my immigration process & could not get a job. Researching, studying, and testing days and nights, I was committed to making it happen. And I did.
I made & mailed out over 10,000 personalized gift boxes from our living room in less than two years. It may not seem like a huge number for some, but for me, as someone who built this business from the ground up, hustling from our living room floor – it was more than I could handle! As I was sharing my crazy daily life on TikTok, small business owners started to come to me for advice. Helping others to get more sales, dealing with copycats, and learning hard lessons every day – I stretched myself too thin. After two years of running my wedding product-based small business full-time & making free videos every day to help other small business owners, I hit the wall. Or, let’s say – complete burnout on all fronts. Hustling every day, chasing more and more orders, I built a business bigger than I could handle. I knew how to get sales, but I didn’t know what I wanted from life anymore. I thought that having tons of sales would make me happy. Except… it didn’t. As a foreva-overachiever, looking to what’s next for me, I found myself stuck in a rut.
There were two choices: hire a team and open a physical store location OR keep doing what I was doing until… the end? Every morning for over a year, I was lying in bed, pushing the snooze button, staring at the ceiling, not wanting to wake up and go to do that “dream job” again that I built for myself. On top of it, two years after our wedding, I wasn’t passionate about making wedding gift boxes anymore, so imagining opening a warehouse was an obvious no-no.
You ask – Why did I keep taking so many orders? Why did I simply not limit the growth if I didn’t want to? I did, but it was probably too late. I learned so many skills along the way – from content creation, product photography, design&branding, to social media marketing, that my head nor my heart wasn’t in making products every day anymore.
Doing the same thing every single day over two years depleted me. It took a toll on my mental and physical health. It contributed to my fertility struggles, and I could not handle it anymore as someone praying for a child. This chapter helped me to learn priceless lessons about life and myself. I learned that I enjoy creativity & crafting as a hobby more than a job. I learned that it’s ok to change your mind. I learned that “success” isn’t more sales but a balanced life that fulfills me. I also learned that “success” is a result of deliberate action, no matter where we are starting from, which gave me confidence that I could achieve it in anything I put my mind to. I realized that the business I built does not give me time/location freedom, which I need more if I want to visit my parents in Slovakia more than once a year. I learned that stretching myself too thin leads to burnout, which is not a life I want to live. Those are all powerful lessons I share with my students so that they can make educated decisions and wiser choices for their business. With the massive growth of the Small Biz Babes Community and everyday requests from other small business owners to teach them what I know, I realized that sharing my lessons helps to change lives and that feeling is priceless to me.
Don’t think I woke up one day and decided to pursue Small Biz Babes community and mentorship full-time. It was month after month of me trying to make it all work. But as a human with only 24 hours a day, something had to give. Trying to find a way how I could still run my product business & the community, I depleted all the options and all the energy I had left. When I went to a conference of creative entrepreneurs in Arizona in November 2022, every entrepreneur who I looked up to told me what I had known deep down for a long time: entrepreneurship comes with sacrifices and difficult decisions; it is one or the other (or possible hospital bed for myself).
When I came home, I removed the remaining products from my shop and still left it open – I guess not to say goodbye completely?
I felt scared to let go of the greatest thing I had ever accomplished. I felt sad about letting go of something I put so much hard work into. I felt crazy for closing the door to my successful business without guarantees that new doors would open for me. I felt stupid that I stretched myself too thin because I didn’t create a long-term plan for my product business when I started. I felt overwhelmed having to explain myself to everyone on social media. I felt judged and misunderstood. I felt like a failure, when there was no reason to feel this way.
The truth is that I never failed. I simply lost my passion and identity along the way through my everyday hustle as I learned priceless lessons about life and business. And that is why in Small Biz Babes Community, I strive to be your older small biz sister who walked the path ahead of you and share my lessons, bad decisions & red flags that made me fall out of love with my product wedding business. I am on a mission to share everything I learned, so you can crush your goals without burnout and build a business that fills your wallet and, more importantly, fills your heart.
As I finish writing this blog, I am ready for a new chapter ahead. The one that changes lives and brings fun back to my creativity. Wondering what is it going to be? I will utilize my journey to continue helping small business owners through the Small Biz Babes Community worldwide. Thank you for being here through this crazy entrepreneurial journey with me & I can’t wait to share with you soon all the exciting plans I have for the future.
PS: If you are new to the community and haven’t followed my journey from the beginning, take a peek at my story in the pictures below (some of them I have never shared before, but I feel like here is the time and place to do it). If you found this blog inspiring, shoot me a DM on IG, I’d love to connect with you!