The other day, while working on some of the upcoming blocks for the Star BOM, I had talk radio on. I’m terrible about catching bits of this and pieces of that and never getting the full story but someone was talking, and he said that 65% of all new businesses fail within the first three years. Now . . I don’t know if that’s a fact but they were focusing on the 65% failure rate. I thought . . that means that 35% succeed! 35% of people who acted on their dreams have succeeded. While I suppose if you only look at the percentages, they don’t look too good but if you’re one of those 35%, you’d be happy, right? And, if you never tried it; never took a chance on your dreams . . you wouldn’t fail but you also wouldn’t succeed. I wonder how many people have had great ideas and fantastic dreams and never acted on them.
If ever I had to support myself (as in health insurance, food, housing, home, etc.), I might have to get a real job so I don’t know if I can be considered a successful business but I’m definitely not a failure either! And I’m probably not the kind of business they’re talking about, but I still feel pretty successful! As a home business, I’m pleased with what I’ve accomplished.
When I think back from how I got to where I was in 1997 to where I am now, I find myself smiling . . a real big smile.
Once I made the decision that I wanted a longarm machine, this was what I got:
Vince added those front handles. Bet you couldn’t figure that out! 🙂 That machine was something else but I quilted on it for two years. Then I got a used APQS Ultimate I; then a new APQS Freedom; then finally I had saved enough money to get what I wanted in the first place — an APQS Millennium.
Quite a difference in those two machines, huh? I do love that Millennium! The safe thing would have been to continue dreaming of getting a longarm and never do it.
When I think back to 1997 or 1998, tossing around the idea of starting a quilting business, then ending up with that ancient used machine for $500, to now having a Millennium, one published book, another in the works, traveling around and teaching — it’s almost more than I can comprehend! I’m so glad I persisted and so glad that Vince has been supportive of my quilting endeavors.
But, if I hadn’t taken a chance on that old machine, I would probably never have gotten started longarming because there was no way I was going to pay $16,000 or more . . not knowing if I would enjoy longarm quilting or even if I could get any business. If I hadn’t bought that machine and then the Ultimate I, I would never have done the quilting job that I did on my quilt that won in Nashville in 2004.
And Glistening Rose Garden would never have caught Bonnie Browning’s eye and been included in her book, Borders & Finishing Touches 2.
And, then AQS wouldn’t have ever heard my name, and may not have done my book deal. And, without the book deal, I wouldn’t be invited to teach and do trunk shows.
As a quilter, and I assume if you’re reading my blog, you are a quilter, what do you want to do? Where do you want to go with quilting? What do you want to accomplish?
Do you want to write a book? Have you submitted a proposal? If not, do it! Before this day is over, think about when you can submit a proposal. It may take you a month; you may be able to zip it off tomorrow. Get online and find out which publishing companies require what and do it. You’ll never know what might happen if you don’t try. And you know what? If you’re afraid they’ll turn you down, then don’t tell anyone you’re doing it. Don’t even tell your own family or your best friend. Then, if they turn you down, pick your chin up and submit it to someone else.
Do you have a design or article you want to submit to a magazine? Have you done it? Why not? Do it . . make a commitment to yourself to do it before the end of October or before the end of 2008 . . whatever fits your schedule but please . . do it!
Do you want to teach at your local quilt shop? Have you told them you want to do it? Talk to the shop owner. Most shops are thrilled at the prospect of new teachers and new classes.
Do you want to enter your quilts in big quilt shows? Do it! The worst that can happen is they say no! Again, if you don’t want to have to tell your friends if you should get turned down, don’t even tell them you’re doing it. I’ve had quilts in Paducah 3 or 4 times. I know my quilts aren’t winners but it makes me so proud to walk around with an “Contestant” tag around my neck! Don’t wait til you make a perfect quilt. Enter your best work and hope for the best.
This is a little plaque I have hanging above my cutting table. It always makes me smile. So many of my dreams have come true but it took effort on my part too.
So . . follow your dreams! You never know where they may lead but the one thing you can be guaranteed . . if you don’t try, it’s never going to happen! Think about some of the greatest accomplishments in our history and think where we’d be if that person hadn’t stepped out of his/her comfort zone? Step out and do something that you really want to do but haven’t done because of fear of failure. You definitely will not succeed if you don’t take that first step.