I am crashing a little bit.
My Instagram game is totally gone. I have posted only a few pictures all month. That directly stems from the fact that I have only been in the stained glass studio 3 times this month. About once a week. That dogged pursuit I described in the first letter has run into a hill.
I am not giving up. But this is not shiny and fun. I am a little sick of creative business podcasts, I think I just feel a little information overload. I have done tons of research, and now I need to stop and just get to work.
Ironically I intend to be blogging about my work, but working on the blog is taking time away from my stained glass work. -eyeroll- Also, I'm not really sure how to blog about my work. How do I mix it up, and not just write the same thing? How do I do more than just show pictures? So, I mostly don't write about my side hustles except for in this casual letter format.
I am still figuring things out. I have goals that I want to reach, but my weekly rhythms and other commitments make it difficult to properly allocate my time.
I struggle with focus, and that defiantly holds me back. It is not hard for me to work, but it is hard for me to work consistently on one project. Which makes progress a little flickering light just out of reach.
There are wins though. This week I designed a flyer for a local event, and got paid for it. No I am not avidly trying to start a graphic design job, but it is fun, something I enjoy and makes me feel like I am really doing something. BUT that is time not spent putting pendants together.
I heard a summary of the creative process recently (of which there many graphics for and versions of) that goes something like this:
1. This is awesome
2. This is hard
3. This sucks
4. I suck
5. This is O.K.
6. This is awesome
I am somewhere in that hard and sucky part. I think I'll be in this rocky winter for a while. But I am holding onto the faith that the awesome will come back into view if I just keep going.
52 IG followers (6 more than last letter)
10 Etsy Items
1 Flyer sold
P.S. Yes my desk is that messy.
The other day I was going through my evernote (which I perviously used as a journal), and look what I found:
"Secretly I hope the etsy thing will go well.
Could I make $2000 dollars a month doing that? That is the high end for the jobs I want now.
Definately not at first. I would have to tell my family, and maybe start a blog for it. how many 5 dollar items is that? 400. 400 items a month. 13 items a day. that doesn't sound too bad. That must be a pretty large audience though. Advertising? Would I do that? craft fairs?
I don't know. I would be cool. I'll give it a go. But I'm not sure. "
I wrote this in 2013, when I was preparing to graduate college. Now, more than two years later I am barely starting to "give it a go".
Last week was so discouraging. I felt like nothing was happening Biz wise, I was sick (red flag on thought legitimacy! haha), and my daily routines were off. I tried a couple things online that went nowhere, and that was rough.
But I am not giving up! (I for sure thought about it though). I am going to get focused, keep listening to my mentors, and keep learning the work.
I have been binge listening to Being Boss and of course this is now my favorite podcast. Emily and Kathleen are just so on top of things, and I love their intro music and mantra. It gets me pumped.
Last week I posted some hand painted cards on the shop, but they haven't gone anywhere either. This whole Biz puzzle has a lot of pieces, and I lose focus easily. I am going to go back to really focusing on perfecting my stained glass line, which I took a break from last week.
I have 46 Instagram followers (5 more than last letter!)
I have 10 items in my Etsy Shop (I added those cards), and they are all still there.
I'm enjoying writing these simple numbers, so I can see the small growth. Not because the numbers are "what matter" but because they are easy to see.
If you haven't picked up on the pattern, I am publishing posts every Tuesday. I schedule them at 6am, so they are ready when you are.
This week I am trying to get just one thing done everyday.
What are your goals for this week?
Dear future me, and people of the internet,
I am working to start an online career. I am 4 weeks into my dogged pursuit of this goal, almost 10 months into the attempted pursuit. Innumerable years of dreaming and denying this idea are behind me. I currently work a split shift job, and in between my shifts I work on this project for two hours a day. It is hard. I struggle to find focus, encouragement, and discipline.
I have begun listening to small business and creatives podcasts on my drives to and from work. This is so helpful, in educating myself and in getting motivated to work. My favorite podcast of the moment is Elise Gets Crafty. Another great one is She Percolates. All these ladies educate me and keep me going. I have been reading Austin Kleon (Steal Like an Artist, and Show Your Work) and I also bought the ebook Building a Business by Elise Blaha Cripe & Maggie Whitley (which is amazing, and totally worth $12). I cannot believe it has only been four weeks of this dedicated work. I struggle to keep working. I have new ideas every week that threaten to throw me completely off track (assuming of course I know where the track is).
I have been scouring the internet for someone's beginning story. I am listening to lots of people's success, many have been at it for 3 years or even 10. Perhaps in the great abyss that is the internet, I just can't find the other people who have been at it for just 4 weeks. But I decided that if nothing else I will write my own story. I am leaving this as a record for myself, when I can no longer remember what it was like to start (so much faith is hidden in that phrase!), and also as a way for people to follow along. As encouragement and honesty for other people just starting out, or wanting to start out. We can do this!
I am starting this journey. I have 41 Instagram followers on my branded account. Most of those are my real life friends. I have made 1 sale via an email request. I have 3 items listen in my Etsy shop, and no sales yet. This is the beginning. No one knows I exist as a brand. I am still deciding what to dedicate my self to. I have made some resin pendants and earrings, and still dream in that direction. But most of my energy is going into developing a line of stained glass jewelry.
I have 2 work areas. I have a desk that is mostly covered in clutter. Where I do my computer work (such as writing this letter), and I have a basement work table where I work on stained glass projects. I am calling this series letters from the basement, because making is the heart of this business I hope to build. As hard as it is to make myself go down there and get to work, I always love it and wish I didn't have to stop and go back to my day job.
These letters are going to be my space to just record how things are going, and be a little more behind the scenes than I can be other places. I hope that someone reading this, in the future I struggle to imagine, is feeling empowered to just start (whatever your dream project is). Even if we fail, we will have learned so much.
I'm Sara. I live in Portland, Oregon. I have chickens. I love coffee AND tea, I make stained glass pendants in my basement, and I love adventures and new ways to live. I have an Etsy store as well.
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