Grit doesn’t come easy. In fact, you get to earn it before you can ever hope to befriend it. We’re living it. Twenty years ago we did what few mothers and daughters would ever consider – we started a business together. We set ourselves on a path to collaborate and utilize our skills, knowledge and ideas in a unique way, certain that our creativity and insatiable curiously would carry us forward easily. It appeared pretty straight-forward to us. Create something awesome and then sell it! Success was all we could see – it looked like a shiny penny just waiting for us to claim it.
We weren’t afraid of the risks we were about to take. We believed our business would lead us to fulfilling our big dreams and our best lives. Well it’s a good thing that optimism is a great initiator. We were about to learn some tough lessons and be tested in ways we hadn’t anticipated.
January 2000 we officially launched our business with a line of art-based greeting cards, printing an initial run of 10,000 cards. They were beautiful, but they didn’t sell themselves. Within six months we were in deep trouble because we actually didn’t have the connections, knowledge or resources to market them properly. Shocked, embarrassed, and feeling like failures we had to pivot quickly. The learning curve was about to get serious and we needed to generate some cash flow. We had to somehow recover and put our skills to work in other ways.
Over the ten years that followed the greeting card launch, we reinvented our offerings and developed ourselves to provide our clients with custom design projects, custom creative workshops, business coaching… heck, we even took on house painting to stay afloat. We were learning and developing our skills in a deeper way, becoming great at them – even though we couldn’t see it clearly ourselves.
In our second decade of business we began to really understand the unique way our skills, talents, vision and values were shaping and leading us to a definite purpose. In fact, in 2010 we had some major insights into a unique way of showcasing our creativity… but it would take several years before we circled back around to some of these findings. During this time we had periods of riding high – and times of feeling lost and stuck. The problem was we just hadn’t found a way of packaging all the parts of who we are. We still carried our original dream to create a business that could grow and sustain us, while impacting women’s lives in a big way, yet we were still wandering, searching for the right ‘fit’. So why did we keep going so long?
Even though our confidence had taken a beating many times, our inner ‘pioneering spirit’ always stayed strong and resilient. Through the last twenty years we have developed GRIT or GRIT has found its way to us. Either way, the journey to where we are currently has kicked our butts more times than we can count. We’ve reinvented ourselves and our business offerings over and over, and we’ve taken tons of risks to continue testing our ideas – regardless of the results. The true blessing in all of this is we now have a deep core awareness of what we’re capable of, coupled with a powerful vision and purpose for our business. That’s a big holy shit after twenty years! Prairie Girl Outpost and what it offers to women is our dream come true. (And we are about to launch something pretty BIG – so watch for our upcoming announcement!!)
So here’s our message to you. Given the challenging times we’re living in, we know many of you are facing your own humbling and difficult situations. Could be you’re dealing with a lack of clarity about the direction you’re heading in, or maybe you’re feeling a little worn down bringing your dreams to life. Let us say this to you – these times you’re living through are meant to build you into the person who has the strength and perseverance to create and build your biggest life vision. This is how GRIT develops. This is how it builds within you. Befriend it. And draw upon it because it can lead you to your dreams as it has done for us! Dreams and grit are an entrepreneur’s road map – stay the course!
– xo Jan and Erin