What my 1st tradeshow taught me

It's a Friday evening and I've just set my booth up and I’m already exhausted.
I had packed my little Toyota Matrix chock-full of nighties, banners, a mannequin and 3 kids, driven for over 2 hours to drop my extremely unhappy children off at a babysitter’s house and then driven another hour to downtown Toronto and lugged box after box full of nighties (eternal optimist, that’s what I am) up to the second floor of the massive Metro Convention Centre in Toronto.
Physically at least, I was now all set up and ready to receive the masses flocking in. I had my hand-made mural up, my banner was displayed, my mannequin was wearing her colorful little nightie and I was standing there with a permanently fixed smile on my face. 
Externally, I looked the part of the small-business owner, the one who knew the worth of her product and how amazing it was.

But inside, it was a different story. Inside, I felt unsure and crushed under the weight of all the ‘what-ifs’ in my mind. ‘What if I was the only one who thought these nightgowns were awesome?’ ‘What if no one liked my rocket ship design?’ ‘What if they thought it was too expensive?’ ‘What if they bought it and then regretted it?’ ‘What if, what if, what if…’

The tradeshow lasted from Friday evening until Sunday evening but I had to leave by Sunday mid-day but by then, my perspective had completely changed. My fears had definitely been unfounded. I had sold several nightgowns, gotten rave reviews about how soft the fabric was and how fresh and cute the print was, given out several cards and had even made a few business contacts.

Having started the seedlings of this business 2 years ago because I felt that there was a need for cotton-blend nightwear in North America, it was extremely satisfying to know that all my hard work had been validated over that weekend. That yes, others agreed with me. And that this really was a good product.

As business owner, I realize that my business exists to solve someone's problem. And I am so grateful that people allow me the chance to solve that problem with my product and I loved all the feedback and reviews that I received. 

Often times, it's so easy to get caught up in the negative self-talk. I have often felt that overcoming that internal negative chatter is like swimming against the tide and that no matter what I do, I end up drowning in it. 
Our mind tells us all sorts of things, much of which is not true and not listening to our mind is actually a habit that has to be cultivated, usually through mindfulness and meditation. 
Remember, you are not your mind so don't let it control you.



2 comments

Mayoni

Awww thank you Violet!! Friends like you help me do this!

Violet Mak

Congratulations on your first show! I think you have already rocketed off! All businesses have their ups and downs, what matters most is that you are trying and that step is often the hardest. Thanks for sharing your journey with us Mayoni!

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