When you’re “not good enough.”


(image by Michael Johnson, used under CC BY 2.0, modified from original.)

Ever get that yucky “not good enough” feeling?

You’re going along, minding your business – making your products, taking their pictures, writing your listings. You’re feeling pretty accomplished, getting things done, and crossing items off your to-do list. You take a minute to click over to the home page of Etsy and see what the rest of the handmade world is up to.

And there on that page are 3 little rows of handmade beauties… perfectly photographed, wonderfully matching, gorgeously trendy, and most of all, happily featured for all the world to admire. And even though just 37 seconds ago, you had been patting yourself on the shoulder for all of the work you’d accomplished, your very next thoughts are…

I’ll never sell anything. My pictures look so unprofessional. I’m not talented enough. I’m not cool enough. My about page sucks. EVERYTHING SUCKS.

I’m not good enough.

Sometimes, it’s not a great big conscious thought. Sometimes it’s just this tiny little feeling that creeps in to subtly deflate you. But you do feel it. And it’s so yucky.

It’s not just you. 

I felt it yesterday, and it inspired this blog post. And I’ve felt it often over the last 9 years that I’ve been selling my ornaments online. My wares are seasonal… and to tell the truth, they aren’t exactly trendy. A good bit of my target market is nearly twice my own age. And so, yes… I have often felt that little bite of “not good enough.”

But, now, rather than sink down into that icky feeling and actually start believing that what I’m doing isn’t good enough, I’m able to get over myself very quickly, move on, and improve myself and my business in the process. Here are 3 things you can do if you find yourself getting bitten by that no-good “not good enough” monster:

1. Ask yourself, what is it specifically, that’s making you feel like this right now?

Don’t allow yourself to get blah in general, and let that confining moment take over and blind you. Don’t make generalizations like, “My products aren’t pretty enough,” or “My shop isn’t cool enough.”

Instead, ask yourself: what is it exactly that makes me feel like what I’m doing isn’t good enough?

Is it my pictures? Could they be a little bit better? How could they be better?

Are my product descriptions falling a little flat? What do I need to say, that I’m not saying?

Is it my logo that could use a little re-vamp? What is it that I want my logo to convey, that it isn’t right now?

Pinpoint exactly what the problem is. Doing this will take things from an emotional feeling, to a logical problem.

And guess what you can do with a logical problem?

You can fix it!

2. Make a plan.

Sometimes that first step actually puts things back into perspective. Sometimes you realize that feeling of “not good enough” actually had no grounds to even be there at all. Sometimes getting logical is all you need to realize you were just being silly, or you were feeling PMS-y, and now you can move on with a clear head.

And sometimes, you realize there is something you can improve.

And you know what? That’s a good thing.

No one is doing it perfect all the time. We all want to get better and better.

But it’s the ones who go beyond wanting, and actually strive for it…who make a plan to improve…who do.

And you’re reading this right now, so I know that’s who you are, too.

If it’s your pictures that aren’t quite where you want them to be, then what do you need to do or learn in order to get them there?

If you aren’t thrilled with your shop banner, what exactly do you want it to look like?

3. Know that even if things aren’t perfect right now, even if your business isn’t perfect right now… that it CAN get better and better.

You can change, fix, or grow, anything that you want to.

It’s true. You can learn the things you want to learn. You can become better and better every day. Step by step, your business can get better and better. You just need to decide to let it.

Comparison games are never a good thing to get caught up in. But if you find yourself heading down that road, ground yourself and find your lesson instead. Figure out what the “not good enough” really means, and what you can improve on.

And most of all, be excited! Because, you want more. The sooner you can own that, the sooner you will get it.


4 Responses
  • Eden
    May 29, 2014

    Thank you for this post. I do moderately well with my felted creations but am trying to take my business further, and just like you said in the article I can go from feeling really good about my business to feeling like “What’s the point?” in the drop of a hat, particularly lately as I hit a sales slump. I’ll try to keep your advice in mind moving forward.

    • Staci Ann Lowry
      May 29, 2014

      Thanks so much, Eden… you aren’t alone…this month has seen a definite sales slump for me, too… sending lots of “sales pick-up” vibes your way!

  • Paula Stacy Adams
    October 1, 2015

    Thanks for your help! I need my own website and you answered alot of my questions. Paula

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