What I learned from packing 501 JoJos in my garage
Back in August, 500 JoJos arrived on a semi truck and we unpacked 2,000 pounds of pillows into a teeny tiny storage unit down the street from our house.
I had pre-sold a few, and had a launch plan ready to go for when they did finally arrive.
My business was turning 8 years old that month, too, and after all this time, I still had yet to have a product. As a service based business, launching a product was new territory for me.
I was so scared.
The story of the JoJo is for another time, but now, 6 months later, we have sold our initial 500 JoJos (minus the 16 left ready to go in the garage, but those will for sure be gone by the end of this week), I have quite a few hours of JoJo packing, alone time in the garage under my belt. And it’s taught me a few things.
Perfection is not great.
When we started, nothing was perfected. How could it be? We had one JoJo, as a sample, which I gave to a girlfriend to use for her newborn who wasn’t sleeping. So technically, I had nothing to practice with. I didn’t even have an extra to photograph. So everything, and I mean everything, was “winging it.”
I guessed on sizes for the packaging – the sticker, the tag, the box, the tape. I estimated the dimensions for my Amazon listing.
And when they got here, I had lots wrong, but that was totally ok. Because there were things in place, though not perfect, that allowed me to get these JoJos out the door right off the bat. We “perfected” things over time, and some things we just left because they worked just fine. And you know what? No one noticed. Or if they did, they didn’t mind. Perfection can cause unnecessary stress, and I’m so thankful that I was able to let that go and enjoy the process.
Haters gonna hate.
The JoJo is not for everyone. And it can’t be the bee’s knees for everyone’s baby. Heck, some of my best friends don’t use a JoJo because it doesn’t work for their babes. And that’s ok! My feelings are not hurt if your baby doesn’t embrace the JoJo. Better yet, my feelings aren’t hurt if you think the JoJo isn’t safe, or it’s overpriced, or you don’t like that they only come in white.
We made a product that we believe in, and it’s inherent that it won’t be perfect for everyone. So let the haters hate, because if they don’t like it, it means I have one more to give to a family who will.
There’s always a human on the other side of the screen.
Packing these JoJos has changed, drastically, the way I interact with other sellers, and yes, even on Amazon. Every product has to go through someone’s hands at some point. And when you write an email, or send a message, or make a comment on Instagram, there is always another human on the other side of the screen. It’s easy to be blunt and mildly aggressive when you don’t get something to go your way, but after this experience, I will forever take the time to put myself in someone else’s shoes, and be kind. Sometimes, things are simply out of our control, whether we as the customer like it or not.
Don’t follow the leader.
I’ve learned a lot about myself during the beginning of this long journey, one of which being that I have a tendency to jump on the bandwagon. I watch others do things, and immediately think, “Well, if they can, I can too.” So usually, I do. And this has served me fairly well in the past, until this experience. Just because someone else can do and has done something you’d like to do, doesn’t always mean you should do it to. Even if you want to. We jumped into this journey with no greater goal than to build a passive income business. So we treated it that way, until I realized I had no desire to be a millionaire with no heart. Yes, I want to earn a million dollars. But I also want to change lives, and make the world better. And those goals are not exclusive. I had to quit some major things during this process – leaving my mastermind I thought I loved with great humans, going the seller fulfilled route instead of Amazon fulfilled, running successful Facebook ad campaigns. These are all things I was told, by industry leaders, that I absolutely needed to do to find success. And I found myself just spending more money than I had, and feeling frustrated that whatever success had been promised wasn’t necessarily worth it. So I stopped following the leader and went down the routes that felt right in my heart. Not only did that feel better for me, but those ways actually worked better for my family, and made us more money, and a happier unit.
More isn’t better.
There’s a lot going around about “more.” More money, more units out the door, more posts, more authenticity, more real, more life. If I tried to do more right now, I would simply burn out. Yes, more money would be awesome. More units out the door would be epic. More of everything, in theory, sounds freaking fantastic. But more of anything right now would also inherently mean more failure. There are pressures all around, whispering things like “You could sell even more if we optimized your ‘blank’.” “How can we widdle down cots for more profit?” “Let’s refine your packing station so it takes you less time per item to pack.” Of course, these would allow me more time, more money in profit, more sales. But frankly, I’m not sure I want more. I feel pretty great about getting my packing time down to 2 minutes, 34 seconds a JoJo. I feel great about our profit margin, even though it is a little less than originally anticipated. And if I tried to get more JoJos on my porch in a day, we’d need to move to keep them out of the rain. I don’t want these things – I want peace, contentment and slowness. And I don’t want to sacrifice those things for more of anything else.
Who knew that God gave me 501 JoJos as a tool to learn these lessons? I’m certain I would have learned them a different way, in another time and another place in life. But I’m so blessed to have had this time with simple pillows and boxes and tape to teach me to become a better human. To love Him differently. To love myself a little more, a little better, and little stronger. To understand simplicity, strength and fear more intimately.