Seek Out A-Ha! Moments

You never know what you don’t know till you find out.


Yesterday I visited a great company that makes letterpress cards like I do.  A rather large business, I’ve seen Hello Lucky cards stocked in stores in many cities and was happily surprised to see that their print studio, retail store and design office is right in the heart of San Francisco, which I visited briefly this week.  Since we have a lot in common, I thought I’d just stop by and say hi.

I didn’t have much of an agenda or expectations, but since they’re obviously doing something right, I thought it would be fun to see what I could see.

My non-existent expectations were blown out of the water.  I got to meet and talk nerdy with one of the master printers, explore the design studio, and meet some of the great folks that work there.

That alone was golden, but at the end I mustered up the courage to talk to the woman who  handles wholesale orders.  Even though a big part of me said it was probably useless–maybe she didn’t have any tips that I hadn’t heard, maybe the company didn’t want to give away any secrets, blah blah blah endless list of excuses and reasons not to–I still did it.

And I’m so glad I did.

One of my main objectives for the last few months has been to get wholesale buyers for my cards.  Teaming up with The Hipstery for wholesale back when I was printing in Germany worked out so well–it was fun and lucrative, so I am eager to expand in that direction.

And even though its one of my main priorities, what have I done about finding wholesale customers in the last 4 months?  NOTHING!  Until yesterday that is.  I was unsure, didn’t have any great leads, and just generally clueless as to how to approach this.  My strategy looked eerily like Southpark’s infamous gnome flowchart.

Phase two was missing, and I didn’t know what it was.  I knew what I wanted, but it was  uncharted territory for me.  Then I spoke with Heather, who has direct experience with what I’m working towards.  I simply asked if she had any tips on getting wholesale customers, and she turned over the very same Hello Lucky catalogue I was already holding in my hands and pointed to a list of Reps who find wholesale customers for you on a commission basis.

WHAT?  I had no idea that even existed!  A concrete plan of action for Phase 2!  Aha!

Could it be that simple?  Who knows.  Maybe this Phase 2 won’t work.  But I have something solid to work on now, and I will do my best to discover and test all possible Phase 2s until I successfully reach Phase 3.

The thing is, I didn’t realize my flowchart of action was missing a step until that very moment.  I didn’t know what I didn’t know.  And that’s a tough spot to be in, it feels a bit hopeless, like you’re searching for an unknown object in a big dark room.  But rather than continuing to search blindly for that unknown object, perhaps it is more appropriate and productive to find out what that object is first.

The only way to find out what you don’t know is to search for information.  Perhaps you have no idea where to start, like me.  Just start somewhere, anywhere, and one clue will lead you to the next.  Put yourself in scenarios that could possibly shed light on your unknowns.  Read Even better talk to people with experience doing what you’d like to do.  Yes, its scary being in the dark, but more often than not, people are willing and happy to help you.  And once you have that A-ha! moment, it gets easier. You’re finally able to turn the light on.  Its easier to work with the light on.

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