Sometimes Taking a Risk... Is Worth the Risk July 28, 2016 05:00

Here's the thing... taking a risk is scary. No matter what the risk is, you're putting yourself out there, maybe making a big decision, but you're not sure that the outcome will be what you want.

For Mary Beth and me, forming UPstudio was a big risk. We both had full time jobs and families - in other words, we had plenty of responsibility, but not a lot of free time. However, we also had numerous of conversations through our years of friendship about each wanting to do something on our own. Neither one of us felt quite satisfied with our careers, feeling an urge to do something more personal, more tangible, more on our own terms. So, one day when we were comparing our planners for the new year, talking about what we did and didn't like about each one, it made perfect sense that we could create our own. And then it was a brilliant idea that we create an entire business around this one shared interest. That was it - we were going to do it!

Taking a step back, we knew that this was a risky move, and we needed to think about it individually before committing. For one, neither of us had any experience with business minus the occasional lemonade stand of our respective childhoods. We had no experience with marketing, limited knowledge of product fabrication, limited knowledge of website design, no contacts in the field to help us, and knew we would have to spend our own money to invest in a start up. On the other hand, we are both designers, and knew that we worked well together. We knew each other's strengths and our own weaknesses, and knew that we would be able to fill in the gaps for each other. In our discussions we discovered that what we each wanted to do for our business perfectly balanced out. More than anything, we both had drive, and knew we could trust each other. So many things were working in our favor, but there were so many other things that made this way too scary. MB was newly pregnant and about to start on a whole new adventure by becoming a mom. This project would take up most of our free time.  Was this something that we were really willing to take a risk on?

With the support of our husbands, we decided that it was. And now, a year and a day after initially launching our website, we know that all our hard work has been worth it. Let's not get carried away, it hasn't been a cakewalk, and we aren't exactly rolling in the dough, but we have learned a lot. We've taken countless risks along the way, some leading to better results than others. Through our Lessons Learned posts, we're sharing this information with you all.  Goodness knows we've scoured resources as we embarked on each new step of this journey (and we're still going!), so we're now excited to be able to give back and be a resource for others.

In the coming weeks you'll see some of the results of the efforts we've made: the 2017 UPstudio Planner is in production (and we are SO excited about some changes we're making), we're a part of The Makers Mercantile, and we're featured in some really fantastic stores:  Ramble Supply Co., Stitch by Holly Aiken, and West Elm (coming very very soon in the Local section at Southpoint in Durham!). None of these things would be happening without the risks that we've taken over the past few months. 

The best part though? Knowing that we've done this on our own, survived, and feeling that the risk is worth the ongoing reward. So if you're on the fence about a risk, think about what it might be like on the other side, and don't be afraid to go for it.