It’s February 10,2013 and my Shark Tank episode aired one year ago today. What a year it has been! I will never forget waking my kids up for school that day and telling them “our lives are going to change today”. I really believed that. I thought that all the worries I had before my TV appearance would disappear and my life would be completely different. I sit here today, one year later, living the exact same life. One thing has changed. Not the world outside of me, the world inside of me. I have learned more in this one year than in any of my life. It has been a year of joy and a year of disappointment. A year of falling in fear, and getting back up in faith. A year of holding on to how I thought it should look and thankfully a year of letting go and allowing it to happen. What a journey! I am grateful for every second!
The night we aired was magical to me. I organized a viewing party with about 80 of my friends and family. We went to a local sports bar to watch on their big screen. I live on the west coast and couldn’t bare the thought if it airing 3 hours ahead of me and not being able to see it!!! I tried everything I could to get an ABC east coast feed with no luck. I finally came up with the idea of Skyping with a friend who lived in New Jersey and it worked! Watching it beforehand eased a lot of my nerves and I went into my viewing party full of excitement, ready to share my good news. Watching my episode surrounded by people I love was so special for me. The whole bar watched and cheered at the good parts, booed when the Sharks were critical and went NUTS when I got my deal! There was cheering and laughter and lots of tears. I will never forget it. After the excitement died down, I spoke. I told everyone that I had been quiet for 197 days and I had a lot to say so get comfortable. It felt so good to talk and get it out and share my journey with those that I love. I got the opportunity to introduce people who were instrumental in helping me start ShowNo and thank them publicly. All along, I ignored my phone and computer. I had no idea if my website was crashing, if I was getting orders, etc. I knew that in that bar, there was nothing I could do, and made a conscious decision to be present at my party and celebrate my accomplishment. After we left, I couldn’t resist and started checking email. I had quite a few emails come in, but very few orders. Then the panic set in. It was amazing to think how fast I went from bliss to devastation, but I did. I spent the rest of the night in absolute fear, panic and worry about what went wrong. I went from feeling like a tremendous success to a total failure. It was awful.
The next day my email inbox was jam packed. Orders continued to trickle in but not like I thought they would and I was so incredibly overwhelmed. My partner Lori called to see how it went and when I told her that sales weren’t what I thought, I felt like I let her down. The newspaper called, friends called, everyone wanted to know my “numbers”. I knew I had a TON of people on my site and due to an awesome hosting company we didn’t crash, but my sales were slow. Why? I’d had so many disappointments leading me into the Shark Tank that I was sure this was my “happy ever after”? I was comparing myself to other Shark Tank success stories and I didn’t measure up. I was so scared. I cried. I prayed. Why God? Why? I heard my voice within tell me to get up and go read my emails. I didn’t want to, but the voice came again and again. “Go read your emails.” I did and one after the next told me how proud they were of me. They told me they cried tears of joy for me! They told me that they thanked God that they watched me that night. They told me that they found a new confidence in pursuing their dreams after watching me pursue mine. It went on and on. I couldn’t believe it. Then it dawned on me… I was feeling unsuccessful because I didn’t sell a towel, but maybe I wasn’t on Shark Tank to sell a towel? Maybe I had a bigger purpose! I cried as I read. My inbox was full of love. I didn’t know how to receive it? I have never received that much love in my life! My heart was so full. I didn’t know where to put it? I decided I needed to send it back and share it and I spent the next two weeks responding to every single message. Some were so beautiful that where there was a phone number, I called. I spent the next few weeks making incredible friendships and connections. Spreading inspiration, and joy and love – it was amazing!
All the while orders continued to come in. I had 400 towels ready to ship when we aired. When it was said and done, I sold about 200 towels. I had to send 200 towels to The View as an audience giveaway. What was I given… exactly what I could handle. I was still primarily sewing these towels on my own from my home. I initially looked at my orders and said, “Is that all?” My voice within told me, “Shelly, you shined on a national TV show watched by millions. You spread hope and inspiration to a lot of people. You sold every single towel you had prepared. Are you really going to say “Is that all?” It was my AHA moment! I wasn’t going to say “Is that all?” I was going to say “THANK YOU”. I did and I haven’t stopped!!
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yXGfD27RjLU (You Tube video I made 5 days after we aired) Except for an occasional, “Hey aren’t you that towel lady from Shark Tank?” my life hasn’t changed that much. I have gotten a lot busier and thanks to my exposure from the show, my business has grown tenfold. I’m no millionaire (yet) and no celebrity. Just me. It always cracks me up when people treat me like I’m someone special. I’m no different than anyone. I’m just a mom with a towel who ended up on a tv show. For me, the best part of being on the show has been the connections I have made. I have become “instant friends” with people across the country and that has been really cool! I have made awesome friendships with other entrepreneurs from the show and call them my Shark Tank Pals. They are the best! Looking back over the year, it’s funny cause it looks nothing like I thought it would a year ago. I KNOW now in faith that that’s ok. Just because it doesn’t look like I thought it would, doesn’t mean it’s wrong. There are no mistakes. I KNOW I am exactly where I am supposed to be, doing exactly what I am supposed to do. I am dreaming my biggest dream and believing it! I don’t really know what my future holds, but I wake every morning and Thank God for all my blessings. I am open, ready to receive, faithful and grateful. In that space ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!