Finding Your Vintage [Day 20/365]

Day 20/365. Sheralyn Pratt
All who hang a shingle
bring a vintage to
their hometown

This post is going up a day late because yesterday was more of a Behind the Scenes day where there’s really nothing to share with the class … yet.

But I was thinking about all the towns I’ve driven into across the years and how many of them are just strip malls anymore. I’m always a little bummed when a small town turns out to be a franchise outpost, and more than a little amped when I find some quirky spot with well-loved stores.

So that’s where this thought comes from, along with a shout out to all of you who have ever hung a shingle out in this world.

Anyone who’s built a business can tell you that it is an emotional rollercoaster. Until you master the fine art of turning idealistic visions into budgeted business decisions, even small decisions can feel like a mountain of a molehill.

It takes a while to get your business legs and, truth be told, not everyone is built to turn their passion into a sustainable business. Most of us much prefer to deliver on an amateur’s schedule — choosing when and how we show up and limiting deliveries to audiences we are comfortable with.

This is one of the reasons banks prefer to provide business loans to people who are rather dispassionate about their product. Because they want to invest in businesses that are positioned to capitalize and profit, not passion projects with motivations that can cool based on mood.

Yet if you are truly hanging out a shingle and putting your name out there, it’s because you feel you can fill a niche in a market that currently isn’t hitting its mark. You can do it better, which makes you wonder if you can compete with what big business is churning out.

To compete, you’ll need to do new things at uncomfortable speeds and terrifying heights, while sharing a stage with polished professionals who don’t miss a trick. It’s intimidating. And it’s easy to buy into imposter syndrome — especially when learning how to deliver what you do on a scale when everyone around already seems to have everything nailed down.

You’ve always got to learn, observe, adjust, repeat — improving every day.

Building a brand a process of curation, as much so as making cheese or wine or developing a crop. It takes some time and the novice tries to invest too much up-front.

But to all those who make it through this daunting gauntlet to build your brand and establish your reputation, I salute you.

Keep being you and keep leaving your mark.

New Beginnings: 9-13-2020

9-13-2020 could just be another beautiful, autumn day, but I’m choosing to make it something more in my personal world.

Like the trees all around me, it’s time to shed the foliage of days gone by to pave the way for new growth. That’s why I’m making today a birthday of sorts for a year-long adventure where I explore everything under the sun as I build something new.

If you’ve known me for years and wondered when I would really step on the gas on showing up publicly: This is it.

The time for dabbling is done.

The time has come for the world and I to dance publicly … which is pretty unnerving for me because metaphorical dance-offs are not my specialty. But it’s time to get over that and dance out the metaphors anyway.

It’s game-time and I’m letting myself be drafted to a new team. It’s the same one my grandma played for before me, and this was her creed:

One thing I’ll never say at death’s door is
“I wish I would have …”
for I will have done everything.

Later on in her life, when I was a teen, my grandma pulled me aside and affirmed this same mindset to me. She said, “Sheralyn, when I die, I don’t want you to be sad for me. Dying is the only thing I haven’t done yet, and I’m quite excited to see how it plays out. It will be my biggest adventure yet.”

Of course, I mourned her when she passed. I bawled — wishing I could re-do so many moments with second chances. But I also smiled, knowing she was on the other side of a great adventure where she left everything on the table. She was proud of who she became and what she’d done, and that was what mattered.

Now, after decades of living life in more conservative ways of being, I think it’s time to take a page from my grandma in removing the phrase “I wish I would have…” from my vocabulary until I live life so fully that I get to the one thing I haven’t done yet.

That sounds like a life well-lived to me.

But it also means I need to hit the ground running and pick up my pace from there because I’m late to the game of betting on myself and building a reputation on purpose.

After years of building other companies, I’m finally going to put that same effort into myself to build a vision of my own. It might take a bit or it might happen quickly, but — starting today — you will watch a lifestyle brand of ethically sourced products grow before your very eyes. And you will be excited to buy my products because they will inspire you to show up in life more fully.

It’s going to be amazing. And I hope some of the people reading this right now become the future partners who help me grow the brand.

But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. One step at a time.

First, I need to shed the clinging leaves/habits of days gone by to make room for the new growth. Then, I need to grow — building new skills and attracting talented partners into win-win business relationships.

I need to show up with the same vision and tenacity my grandma did until the word impossible simply means “something someone hasn’t accomplished yet” while building something that didn’t exist before me but is passed like a torch by those who wish to keep it going after me.

After all, my grandma didn’t trailblaze the way she did through the entirety of the 20th century so I could sit on my laurels in the comforts of modern society and say, “Gee, wasn’t she great? They just don’t make ’em like they used to! Too bad because the world is really going to hell and could use someone like her right about now.”

Nope, it’s time to show up. And I’m writing this post to both kick off my venture and hold myself accountable. NO OPTING OUT this time — which is something I have a history of doing.

Old Me would look at any future lack of engagement as a reason not to broadcast what I’m doing and hold off on sharing until I have something final and perfect.

New Me is just going to get louder in the silence. #youvebeenwarned

So welcome to Sheralyn Pratt’s Vision of the World Roller Coaster Ride!

Please, do ANYTHING BUT keep your arms and legs inside the ride at all times. Please, sprawl out like a blissed-out starfish, make involuntary noises, or flail like a random air-puffed mascot trying to sell you a used car. Because you’re about to witness ADHD on full-throttle, which is best experienced in a non-locked position.

Many find it dizzying. That is a normal side-effect of vicarious ADHD, so best practice is to embrace the sensation and go with it!

Some days, it might get a little crazy. This means I’m doing something right and it’s where the fun starts.

My hope is that you’ll join the fun with me on the journey to the gift shop on the other side. Because it may look like I’m doodling randomness or posting things that lead nowhere, but I will DEFINITELY be building a brand, a vision, and a company out of this.

I have the URL ready to go (and have had it for a while). I have the logo. I have the tagline, values, voice, and promise — all of which I’ll reveal to you in phases as I build something with the potential of outliving me and enriching lives to come.

My grandma did it during her time on this earth; now it’s my turn.

And today is the kick-off of getting down to the business: 9-13-2020.

It’s official.

Established September 13, 2020.

Let’s see what we can build in a year, shall we?