Hey y'all! I hope your 2015 is off to a great start. If I'm being honest, I have been dropping the ball all over the place and the worst part about it? I just don't care all that much. I think this is what they call burnout. For the first time since starting this creative business (February 2009!) I have had to make myself get some work done when work used to be what I wanted to do with any spare moment I had. A number of things have contributed to this but I am happy to say that I feel like I'm starting to come out on the other side. I took a long break around the holidays and once I was back in the office on January 5th, I wasn't too hard on myself. I pretty much only got the bare necessities done, did a little planning for the future and practiced watercolor. As a result, things have been pretty quiet over here on the Shop Talk blog and I apologize for that.
I know I'm not the only person who has felt this way - maybe even someone in this group has felt that way, so I just wanted to share and maybe start a dialogue.
So, what's contributing to the burnout?
As I mentioned above there are a number of things that have played a part (moving, retiring popular product lines, etc.) but I'm going to talk about the two I think everyone can most relate to!
01. The pressure. In the last couple of years my business has done very well and has continued to grow. I feel like I'm in a place where my focus may be shifting and my style is slightly changing. If you follow along with my shop you may have noticed that I'm retiring quite a bit of my line. The products were still selling and the demand was high, but I felt like they were hindering my growth. I was using them as a crutch and had kind of let myself hit a plateau. For me, I just needed to move on but once I did that, I kind of freaked out. People began saying how excited they were to see my new products. Which, on one had is great! I'm so thankful people care what I'm putting out into the world. On the other hand, it's terrifying. What if it doesn't meet their expectations. What if no one likes it? I finally had to let myself off the hook. Failure is inevitable in life. It's going to happen, over and over. I had to tell myself that it's OK if things don't keep going up. It's OK if I decide to switch directions. I even told myself it was OK to quit this whole creative entrepreneur thing and go get a "real job". Once I did that, a huge weight was lifted. Sometimes we put so (too) much importance on what other's think of us and how well we're doing. I love the quote above and it's played a huge part in helping me get out of this funk.
02. Comparison. It's hard (at least for me) to feel creative and motivated 24/7 when a new stationery and home goods brand pops up every day. Don't get me wrong - I love seeing new businesses grow and flourish, but it's hard to feel like what you do matters when you are a small fish in a very large pond. I also want to make sure I'm sticking to my signature style and not just doing something because it's trendy and what everyone else is doing. This can be quite a challenge and in turn had definitely played a part in my burnout. The thing that we all have to remember is there is more than enough to go around. Yeah, there are hundreds of thousands of small business owners doing something very similar to what I'm doing. But, there is plenty of business to go around and as long as we keep doing what we do best there is room for everybody.
So - I'm in the process of unfollowing a bunch of Instagram accounts and unsubscribing from a bunch of newsletters. I love to keep up with friends and other small business owners. I am so inspired by others following their big dreams. BUT, it's beginning to feel overwhelming and less inspiring. We need to surround ourselves with people and things that fire us up, not make us feel inferior.
A little housekeeping:
- The Shop Talk Pinterest board. This is where I will post graphics from the Shop Talk blog (one way to keep up with new postings) as well as other helpful articles I stumble across. I am constantly trying to be better at my job and if something helps me do that, I want to share that with you!
- Blog posts sent to your email. Is this something y'all would be interested in? I want to keep this as simple as possible and I don't want to clog up your already full Inboxes but I've gotten a few emails asking if this is an option. If you'd like to receive an email when a new post goes live then please leave a comment telling me so and I'll make it happen.
P.S. I have a number of books on my reading list and Daring Greatly is one of them. Have any of y'all read it?