The Ins and Outs of Small Handmade and Spiritual Businesses
Nowadays people jump on the chance to be their own bosses, make their own hours, and revel in the luxury of working from home. And who can blame them, right? More hours to socialize and do what you love, eventual financial freedom, and creating with ease in a state of eternal bliss!
Fast forward to a couple of years later...where did all that extra time you thought you'd have go?! Instead, you're staying up until 3 in the morning trying to create a website or research a new technique. Taking photos of your items with your Iphone means half a day of editing and cropping and creating descriptions for your listings. You haven't talked to your mom or your best friend in about a month now, because every time you try to use your phone for personal purposes a customer needs your help, the dryer goes off and it's time to fold clothes, or your dog pees all over the bedroom floor, or you accidentally drop your glove into your tank of acid and burn yourself with hot melted silver due to just a moment of distraction. Your friends think you're crazy (crazier than before) because you squeal when you find a pretty rock you can make something with, but hey, free materials, which you desperately need because crystals can cost an arm and a leg when you use them regularly to create products to sell in your shop. You sit down to write a blog post about how much you just love running your own business and working from home, but you can hardly concentrate because every 5 minutes a car passes by the house and your dogs go completely insane and the floors haven't been swept or mopped in a week and it's been in the back of your mind the whole time, and all of your friends keep calling because they think you might be dead by now and three people you hardly know keep sending you witchy memes back to back so your phone is blowing up and oh! you forgot to take the turtle out for some sunshine this morning so she's banging her body up against the side of the tank like the diva with attitude that she is (which you normally find cute, but now it's just a pain), and...and...and you're sitting there suddenly with your head in your hands and wondering how anyone on Earth can have plants and pets and husbands and dirty laundry and social media accounts and nights out and phone conversations and online classes and still remember to drink water and get plenty of rest and look somewhat decent each day while living the dream life of running a small business.
The truth is, it's hard...and it's lonely. The truth is, it's competitive and not many are going to offer guidance or assistance if you reach out for help (unless they're charging you). And the core truth is, you have to seriously make some difficult choices in order to see your small business grow. You cannot do it all. Sure, there's no one demanding that you clock in and out each day, so the FREEDOM is there to decide to spend your time hanging out with friends, chilling around the house with your pets, and maybe even catching up on chores. But the hours you aren't putting into your work WILL be felt when the bills are due, or when subscribers aren't receiving updates and emails so they unsubscribe from your site, or when you can't seem to establish an online presence because the businesses who ARE putting in the hours are carving their niche and making their work known. People are NOT going to understand when you try to explain that you really cannot sit and chat on the phone, that you really cannot be distracted during times when you're planning a big shop update or a new collection or a new project in general. They'll see you on Facebook or Instagram and assume you're just avoiding them-they won't realize you're probably only on there to speak with some of your clients, or to ask a question in a group of jewelry designers, or to watch an instructional video...that you really are working, just like anyone else at their job, putting in their hours. People won't understand much of your life at all anymore, really. Once the work, for that time frame at least, is done, it's on to the next project, on to learning the next skill to improve your work, on to the next event or collection...because that is your job: to constantly create and improve and learn, to take on new projects and stay relevant. If you're planning a trip/vacation, you know you better work even harder, or else money will not continue to flow while you're away from your work. And that's how it goes: you put in seemingly endless hours, and you hope for it to pay off in the end.
Don't get me wrong; it truly is a beautiful life. You come to know and love so many people from all around the world! Your business has the power to put you in some incredible positions and take you to some really awesome places, and through it you can learn a lot about yourself and about people in general. There ARE times when the ideas flow, sales are great, and you can enjoy a few days of lounging around the house in your pjs and talking to your bestie on the phone for hours. I have never once regretted stepping away from my 9to5 and pursuing my passion...but I've also never lost sight of the fact that in doing this, I've chosen it as my career and my means of providing. It's not all luxurious, and it's not ALL hard work and sweat and tears. It is a very rewarding pursuit, but like all pursuits, it has its demands. If you're ready for that, it's a calling worth chasing after.