I posted a confession over on Instagram this morning that I know some of you fellow business owners and makers can relate too. The confession? I S U C K at social media. Really, I take it to a whole new level.
Some people post pictures that look like they came from a LG flip phone and you wonder what on earth they’re doing. Some people post 5 pictures a day that look like a professional photographer follows them around for a living, and you scroll in awe. Some people have the perfect balance of wit and inspiration and make all of their followers want to be them. Then there’s me. I just don’t post. At all. Ever. BECAUSE, I am none of the above. I’m an average mom, who takes average pictures, and is usually busy running after a slimy nosed toddler, while trying to knock out an ever growing list of orders. The anxiety I get when logging into Instagram is insane, so I just avoid it altogether.
I’ve had to do a little soul searching lately. We’ve been in Germany for 4 months now and it still feels like Day 1. Every day there is very little routine, due to my husband’s new and constantly changing schedule (my fellow Milspouse mama’s know this struggle). I’ve had to try to find bits and pieces of time during the day to work and those moments seem to be few and far between. When I do finally find the time, I spend most of my precious hours working hard on getting orders out to all my lovely clients. This leaves ZERO time for what I love most, designing. I may be an average mom, an average photographer, an average person really, BUT I’m a great designer. After 7 years of being in business and even longer teaching myself how to design, I know that my designs are fun and unique and different from what other people are doing, but there is always that little voice of self-doubt trying to tear you down. To me, there is always someone doing it better, someone that just broke into the business and is killing it on Instagram, etc. etc.
I had a long talk with my husband (by long talk, I mean I cried a lot while he tried to talk me off a mental ledge) and we (he) came to a conclusion. The reason I get so anxious, upset, and emotional every single time I log into my email, my etsy shop, my social media, is because every day I am only working for other people. I don’t do any creating for myself anymore.
When my sister and I started this business in 2012, we did it strictly for FUN. That was it, just fun. We enjoyed designing and figured hey why not, we can do this. After the first couple of years, Kara worked hard on her own successful career in design, working with some major brands in NYC and isn’t working on the shop. I’m so very proud of her, and so thankful that she lets me do what I want with “our” shop. Since her career took off, it’s been a one woman show of creating orders as fast as possible, logging out and attempting not to stress for the rest of the day. Most people don’t realize how much time and work go into running an Etsy shop. It is STRESSFUL guys.
This year, if only for my own sanity, I want to bring the fun back. What does that mean for the shop? It means fun NEW designs for the first time in a long time, it means even more freebies for you throughout the year, because I enjoy making them. It means more random blog posts, with silly quotes, because I like rambling on in them. It also means that I won’t be taking on as many custom requests. Has everyone watched Marie Kondo’s Netflix show yet? (If no, what rock have you been under?!) If yes, then you know where I’m going with this – Do more of what sparks joy in you. These days, some of the crazy custom requests I get do anything but spark joy for me personally. I’m not saying, don’t even bother messaging me about custom items, but I am saying, I may have to turn some of you down.
I can’t wait to get this year (re)started and get to work on more of what makes me happy. Thank you for coming to my Ted Talk and I’d love to hear if you’ve been struggling with this too! Let’s all commiserate in the comments together. - Melissa