You know the end of the story based on the title, but let me start at the beginning: Back in October 2017, Jad and I excitedly and proudly opened our e-commerce store, PB and Apple Jelly.
We had spent tons of time and effort on it, and really loved what we came up with. We knew something good would come of it. Once we launched, I did the best I could to run the store with the knowledge I had, but I knew I needed some more help to really help my store thrive.
Then in February of 2018, I was thrilled to have the opportunity to go to an elite training in Maryland with the very successful creator of ZeroUp, Fred Lam, and his associates. It was such an empowering experience and my store began to quickly excel from the knowledge I gained.
Because my store had done so well, and because I had been such a “ninja” at my elite training, I was asked to be an elite trainer for the October 2018 ZeroUp Elite conference. That was such an honor. I got to sit and eat with Fred Lam many times, and I was his equal there. Can you imagine me, an equal to a multi-millionaire??
I loved training new e-commerce store owners who were eager to learn and succeed. At that point, my store wasn’t doing as well as it had before, but I was still working hard on it and learned some new things at the conference. In contrast to the conference in February where I was a student, I actually didn’t feel as happy at this conference. I missed my family more, and I felt like I didn’t fit in. Fred and his people had a different lifestyle that included lots of eating and drinking at fancy restaurants and focusing on making lots of money. Fred’s assistant and I had a good conversation one day at lunch, though, about her wanting a baby, and that was the one time I felt like I made an authentic connection with any of these successful people. Other than that, I really felt like a poseur. But, I did enjoy my time training, and I was sad to say goodbye to the students I helped.
I continued to work as hard as I could on my store, but then in 2019, when I was super busy learning lines, music, and dance moves for my church’s musical Seussical, I realized that I just didn’t have the time to put my all into my business at that time. So, I stopped doing ads, and either did less or no marketing emails. I kept the store open, but knew I couldn’t invest the time I had previously done.
There were many times during the beginning of 2019 and beyond that I felt maybe it was time to close the store down. But, every time I thought about it, like magic, I would get a really good order or two. To me, it was a sign from God that I needed to continue. So, I did.
Later in the year, though, I decided to turn off most of my store apps and only pay for the website monthly fee. I did try another ad once or twice, but no matter how good I thought they were or how awesome the products were, they surprisingly weren’t successful.
And finally, at the end of last month (January 2020), I made the difficult decision to completely shut down my beloved PB and Apple Jelly, a store that was built from my heart, a store that I had spent thousands of hours building and operating. I had a month from shutting it down to make the final decision whether or not to reopen it. I decided not to.
So, it’s gone now.
People often ask me how my store is doing, and the couple people I have told that I shut it down have been quite surprised. They knew how passionate I was about it, how successful it had been at one time, and how many people loved shopping on the site, especially for clothes.
So, let me explain a little more why I came to the decision I did:
- Remember the miracles I talked about – how every time I talked about closing the store, I would get an awesome order? Well, that stopped happening.
- We initially started the store to make extra income. Well, we got it for quite a while, but because of promotions at work, we no longer needed the extra income.
- The store, though a very exciting endeavor for me, took up an incredible amount of time. I would wake up every morning early and work on it for a couple of hours. Then I would work on it here and there during the morning while I was with Eve. I would work super hard on it all during naptime too, and then when my boys got home from school, I would still be working. I would also work in the evenings sometimes too, which kept me from spending quality time with Jad. It was way more work than I ever anticipated – way more work than the gurus at ZeroUp said it would be. (PS – that’s the way it always is with home businesses. They always tell you that you make your own hours and work around your schedule, spending as little or as much time as you want, but that’s just not true!)
- Because I spent so much time on the store, and thus energy, I would eat to curb exhaustion and to help me keep going. I’d often make myself bowls of edible cookie dough or eat a large cup or more of sugary cereal. It was bad, and definitely keeping me from losing weight.
- I figured out too late that if you want to make a ton of money with an e-commerce store, you have to invest a ton of money in ads, in apps, in videos and pictures, and so much more. I didn’t have money to burn, so I couldn’t put a lot into it.
- I realized from my training class and from the class I trained at, that almost nobody who takes the classes ends up being successful with e-commerce, and that frustrated me. We always had to be on top of the market, paying for more training and programs. Too many of us just couldn’t do it. We tried so hard and did what we had learned, but the money was scarce and so was time.
- When I would get returns, it was hard to make that money back. I would lose all the profit, and sometimes I wouldn’t even get back the product cost because it was too hard to resell the item.
- The store stopped bringing me joy. It brought me more frustration than anything towards the end. Even when I did no work on the store at all, and just let orders organically come in through google searches, it was still a lot of work to make sure all went through.
- It just was no longer necessary. It had served its purpose. I learned a lot and met some cool people. But, it was keeping me from doing many things that were way more important to my life.
So what am I doing instead?
Well, I have spent quite a lot of time pondering and praying about what is best for me to do with my time. It has been a glorious exercise, and organically changes over time.
- I have been trying very hard to focus on my children when they are around me and not doing other projects unless absolutely necessary.
- I have been reading my scriptures and working out every morning.
- I have been writing a book, blogging more, communicating with my extended family and friends more, doing more service, reading more spiritual messages, and working hard on my genealogy, which has been my favorite hobby. It brings me so much happiness!
So, looking above at what I have been doing, doesn’t that seem so much more rewarding than stressing about an online store all day and all evening? It is – so much more so!
I don’t feel like a failure. I know that I put my all into my store, and it was fun and rewarding for the time it was supposed to be there. I also truly experienced what it might be like to live life with completely different priorities, and it solidified in me just how precious my family is, as well as my physical and spiritual health.
If anyone reading is drowning in an endeavor that just isn’t bearing fruit the way you hoped, please ponder and pray to see if it’s right to continue. And don’t feel bad if it’s time to move on. I really think that we should often ponder our lives and reprioritize what’s most important. It is such a rewarding process.
Goodbye, PB and Apple Jelly. Thank you for the learning experiences you provided me!