So I was graciously given 2 copies of “Start Something That Matters” written by Blake Mycoskie of TOMS shoes. One to review and one to GIVE AWAY! For all of you that don’t know who Blake Mycoskie is, he is the founder of TOMS shoes. For every shoe you purchase TOMS gives one away to a child in need. They now have branched out to glasses and books. I’ve truly come to look at Blake as a forerunner in social entrepreneurship. (I’ve even emailed him for advice about Ellie Fun Day and he’s responded!) Thanks BLAKE!
Let me tell you a little about how Ellie Fun Day has started using some of Blake’s pearls of wisdom to “Start Something that Matters”.
ONE > FIND YOUR STORY
Everyone loves a good story. I’m so visual I often only remember something told in the format of a story. I’m so not a numbers or facts kind of gal, but if you tell it in the form of a story, I will remember it! The story of how Ellie Fun Day started was simple. I loved my baby blanket as a child, and I’ve always dreamed of creating something that mattered. Something that would empower a group of people. We’ve come a long way since then!
TWO > FACE YOUR FEARS
I’ve learned that fear was initially there to protect us. It was our “fight-or-flight” mechanism. You run from a saber-toothed tiger because he will come and make you his dinner. We no longer face those types of fears, but often times that type of fear follows us into starting a business. But I’ve come to learn that what you fear will not kill you. I often fear failure. I’m a perfectionist. I fear that Ellie Fun Day will not succeed, I fear that I will disappoint the women that we’re working with, and I fear I’ll lose everything and live in a shoebox for the rest of my life. These things are not entirely in my control. I can only do my best with the resources that I’ve been given. And in the end I can say, I’ve learned and grown so much from this journey.
THREE > BE RESOURCEFUL WITHOUT RESOURCES
As a startup we can wait around till some big VC decides pour in money so we can hire a ton of experts to get us going. That is entirely not the reality. I’ve learned that as an entrepreneur I’ve got to learn to do everything myself and I need to go and find the answers. Do you want to know what my secret resource has been? This resource has given me legal advice, told me how to fix my website, where to buy organic textiles, how to set up a sewing center, what are the best ways to structure a social enterprise…ALL FOR FREE! And do YOU know you have access to this as well? It’s called GOOGLE. (large props to Sergey and Larry!) If you don’t know…Google it…someone out there likely has the answer. We’ve also developed an awesome network of friends that believe in our cause and we couldn’t have gotten to this place without them.
FOUR > KEEP IT SIMPLE
I’ve learned from my past life as a graphic designer that simplicity is the key to success. Some of the best designs are simple. Nike logo anyone? So many people have asked us, are you going to make adult sized blankets? bibs? clothes. I would love to say “Yes” to all the above, but we need to keep it simple at the start. Baby blankets are my passion and I’d like to put forth a good product built on reliability and good design. I can’t spread myself too thin trying to do all the other things. Eventually we would love to go beyond baby blankets, but at this point we are about baby blankets and saving lives.
FIVE> BUILT TRUST
Part of building trust is being transparent and admitting mistakes. Who likes being wrong? I sure don’t. But I’ve learned from many mistakes already and it’s made me more aware of the areas that I need improvement on. We’re taking ALL the feedback from our blankies and improving on it. We’re not perfect, we’re learning as we go, but we value you as our friends to help us along the way by telling us ways we can be better.
SIX > GIVING IS GOOD BUSINESS
People love our blankets partially for the design, but when they hear our cause, they’re JAZZED! I have had high schoolers come up to me and say “I want to be you.” I’m utterly grateful, but what I’m encouraged that THEY realize they can also do something that matters and that I’m just an example of an everyday person with a dream that decided to go for it. Being in the “giving” business has been advantageous for us as well. EmersonFry‘s awesome partnership for our mommie and me giveaway is an example of how they saw that we were more than just a baby blanket company and decided to sponsor our giveaway.
OVERALL RATING: 4/5 stars. This is a great feel good book to get you going on starting your own business. If you’re needing a motivational speech, Blake does it well and simple. This is not necessarily a mechanics book for entrepreneurs. There are plenty of those out there. This is just a one man’s journey and how he made it possible through lots of hard work and help.
HOW TO ENTER OUR GIVEAWAY:
WINNER GETS “Start Something that Matters” Book and $50 to Start / DO something that matters AND be a guest blogger on what you’ve done.
$50 cannot just be given to a charity, it must be used to START/DO something no matter how big or small. Even baking cookies for your lonely neighbor is doing something!! We will feature your story on our blog after you’ve used your $50!
How to Enter: