When learning something on your own it is easy to let your doubts take over. There are days when it all seems to come together, and there are days when you aren't sure you should continue. At times it becomes easier to listen to the doubts, especially when a new, exciting possibility enters your space.
While learning to code using online courses (more on that can be found HERE) I tended to keep to myself. Mostly this was due to a lack of confidence and not wanting people to judge me. This included the online chat rooms that each of the courses provided. It was just too scary to put myself out there.
As a result, I really did not have a good reference on how far I had come with my learning. All I saw was the vast amount of knowledge I had yet to learn. I have since realized that this was a terrible decision on my part. I sincerely wish I had reached out and connected with others as it is so important.
Around the time that my confidence was at its lowest point I received an email from an online company who's product I adored saying that they were no longer going to sell their product online. Now, I normally don't open their emails unless I'm actively looking to buy something, but for some reason I opened this one. The subject line was not even much different from what I remember.
A little back story is needed to understand my next moves after reading this email. When I first discovered their product I knew it was something amazing, and I began to look into the company to see if there was a way to get involved. My thought was that more people needed to know about this product, and maybe they had sales rep positions in my area/region. Unfortunately, they did not and I was not in a position to relocate to the East Coast where they were located.
So, fast forward 5 years of use later and I'm reading the email stating that I won't be able to purchase this product from their online store anymore. I was so sad and ready to buy a stockpile in order to keep using it as long as possible. Then I got to the postscript at the end of the email where they had a link to check out their other company. What.....?
Turns out they were just reorganizing into a direct sales company and would be distributing their product through that company. Admittedly, I'm not a big fan of direct sales, not for the same reasons as others in that I don't think they are all scams (though some are), so this was not an ideal solution. But it did give me the option to keep getting their product. So the choice was buying from someone who distributes for them or becoming a distributor for them.
As they were still pretty new, I knew the product to be excellent, and I already told anyone who would listen to check it out I decided to give it a go and become a distributor. After all, why let someone else earn all the commission from me and all my referrals when I could make that money myself right?
The fault in my logic was the fact that while I LOVE sharing things that I find useful or helpful to my friends and family I am an introvert at heart. This makes it much harder to be a salesperson even if you love the product.
I decided I would utilize the internet as much as possible as that is my comfort zone. I knew enough to know that within direct sales you need to have an identity that is unique to you or you will struggle to stand out amongst all the other people who sell the product. So, I started to brainstorm on a brand name.
This product was in the beauty space, and while I'm not really much of a girly-girl I do have a few routines that I enjoy and this product was a part of that. With that in mind, I decided I would focus on offering other women like me information about products that would help add some self-care and beauty back into their routines in a way that was fast, effective, and inexpensive. To distill this into a brand name I went with 'Finding My Inner Girl'.
Of course, I checked the available domain names before settling on my brand name, as I knew I would be setting up a blog at some point. I quickly purchased my domain as well as set up a Facebook page and an Instagram account. I then began learning how to do social marketing.
I designed a logo, set my brand colors and fonts, and began to brand all my pages. I would post consistently with more of an 80% interesting and educational and 20% sales ratio. I felt like I was following all the 'rules', but still was not getting the traction I hoped to get.
I then turned to getting my blog up and running so that I could use that as a resource and funnel and maybe even a secondary way to monetize my efforts. I really enjoyed the process of setting up my blog, but found that there were things I wanted to change on my site that would require some coding.
Diving back into code for this purpose as well as not really loving the progress or the process of online marketing made me rethink my decision to stop focusing on learning to code. It had been about a year at this point, and while I learned a TON of information in that time it was not as satisfying as I had hoped.
In that year I had decided to distribute for another product I loved so that I could offer more options to my clients. But, I was up against a quota for the original company and again had a decision to make. I could invest a bit to keep things going as my online efforts were beginning to make forward progress, or I could move on. In the end, there were choices made by the company that I didn't love and ultimately I decided to move on.
My blog still lives and I still distribute for the second company, however, it is no longer my focus. About 10 months ago, I recommitted to learning how to code and dove back in by learning frontend technologies through the online program at Skillcrush.
While I do regret the time I lost in my learning journey, I recognize that I learned a lot about topics that are somewhat adjacent to building websites. In fact, this knowledge has come in handy when working with clients. So not all was lost on this detour.