EntrepreneurshipJewelry

You don’t need to be an expert to start a business – What I learned from starting Baja Girl

The idea of making the jump and starting your own business might seem quite intimidating. After all, when I started Baja Girl, I didn’t know much about the market for handmade bracelets or shell bangles (at all!!)

However, the most important thing I learned from the whole process is that you don’t need to be an expert to start a business. I thought I’d write a short post detailing how I got started with my bangle and bracelet business. Hopefully it’ll give you the extra push you’ve been looking for!

We all have to start somewhere

When I first thought about starting Baja Girl, I didn’t know much about the handmade bracelets industry. Other than knowing the jewelry I liked to wear, I didn’t know where else to go with the idea.

I had the two most important things any new business owner needs: an idea and passion. One of the best things about living in the 21st century is that we have so much information at our fingertips; everything I needed to know from the business side I was able to teach myself using the internet, listening to podcasts, watching YouTube videos and reading blogs.

I took a soldering class at a local bead store that cost me only $150 for the class and my first soldering torch was included. That taught me the basics. After that, I used my own ideas and passion to start producing hammed shell bangles inspired by Hawaii. I was confident about the products I was creating, but the idea of starting a new business with such little experience definitely caused me to suffer from imposter syndrome.

What is imposter syndrome and how do we overcome it?

If this isn’t a term you’re familiar with, imposter syndrome is fairly easy to define. It’s the feeling you develop when you think you’re unqualified or a job or situation, and so you begin to feel like an imposter in your own skin. Admittedly it was something I struggled with a lot when I started Baja Girl.

Even though my husband and I managed a successful surf camp for three years, and having a degree in business, moving into a business of my own was quite a shock to the system. I wasn’t even close to being an expert in making jewelry, and my lack of specific business knowledge in the industry made me feel like I shouldn’t be there.

What I came to realize through the process of producing my handmade bracelets is that you pick up the necessary business knowledge as you go along. In short, fake it till you make it. I was the only person who thought I wasn’t qualified to run a business. My product was above and beyond, customers didn’t know I was new to the handmade bracelets industry, and neither did any suppliers and distributors I worked with.

The bottom line

The main lesson that I can pass onto anyone who’s looking to start their own business is this: you don’t need to be an expert. As long as you have an idea and the passion to deliver it, everything else can be picked up along the way. A few years ago I would never have thought I’d be running a handmade bracelet business, but here we are!

From one Baja Girl to another,

Elise Sanchez

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