How Not To Do It All – A Post From My Heart

This is a little (a lot) out of the norm from my regular posts, probably an odd post to write, however, its from the heart. It’s not about painting or a how to, or decorating. It’s about someone trying to run a creative business and do it all and not taking care of the important things. And burnout. Anyone else relate?

Creative Pause

Not even sure anyone will read this or care to. But I feel compelled to share, as I am seeing this with some other creative friends, and I’ve found myself in the last 2 weeks apologizing so much I thought I would explain.

unplug

You see, running my little business started slowly, without a big plan, just a girl who liked to diy and paint, who was looking for something to do that would fill my happy bucket as a job, who loved nesting, and DIY’ing her home on a budget, who loved taking care of her family, who was a people person and received real joy from inspiring others, so I started a blog to journal my ongoing DIY’s and painting, I stepped out of my box and went to a blog conference in Atlanta where I found a “tribe” of inspiring and encouraging women, this lit me on fire and was life altering to me, there was a wonderful conversation with the amazing Marian Parsons (Miss Mustard Seed), a few serendipitous moments and poof, a business was born.

There was and is a lot of work into opening and running a retail business. I kinda thrive on it. I love my shop. I love my landlord and my customers are beyond the best! I learned the ropes, and my business grew. And people came. And it grew even more. I LOVE inspiring people, I love teaching my workshops, without planning I naturally fell into some wonderful positions as National educators and/or Representatives with Miss Mustard Seed, Fusion Mineral Paint and The FAT Paint Company. There are lots of other amazing things that have happened and I’ve been asked to be part of. So many wonderful things! I am so blessed. Essential

Things are going SO well with the business. We’ve hired great staff, we have wonderful regular clientele that I love, lots of new customers coming in, fantastic paint lines and support, workshops have been full. We’ve been featured in a few magazines (they called little ole ME!), we’ve expanded to Lunenburg where we have equally amazing clients and awesome other things happening there. I am so blessed.

eat sleep create

It’s all so wonderful. But, it’s hard work. I’m busy. Really busy. Which I like, but something happened a few weeks ago. My daughter, who I adore, told me (on Mothers Day- thanks kid) that her planned trip for July was moved up and she was leaving for New Zealand for A YEAR in 2 weeks. TWO WEEKS. It rippled through me like an earthquake. I had 2 weeks to hang out with my baby girl (ok she’s 19) and I had just way too many things to do with work.But, family first, so I made some plans and schedules.

Then I got sick. REALLY sick. Like crazy stomach flu sick. Could not get out of bed for 3 days sick, unable to work (even on my computer sick). My work suffered (orders didn’t get in, workshops didn’t get planned, FB didn’t get updated, Spring revamp of the shop didn’t happen, some special events were not planned, blog posts didn’t get written, newsletters didn’t happen, phone calls were not always being returned, I wasn’t in the shop at all etc ugh) Thank goodness for epic awesome staff. But still.

And I didn’t get to spend my “scheduled” family time with my girl.

It was right then that I realized I was in a bit of a burnout with work and I could not keep all the balls in the air. I felt terrible about everything. My house was a mess, my family time was non existent, I wasn’t painting for the pure joy of it anymore, I wasn’t taking time for yoga and healthy eating, I wasn’t nesting or enjoying moments on my porch, I wasn’t getting my customers what they wanted (workshops in particular). I wasn’t answering emails as fast as I like to. etc. I wasn’t spending quality time growing my business as I wanted, I wanted to crawl under the covers and binge watch Netflicks.

I created a monster load of work, and I needed to rest But instead of rushing back to work when I felt a little better, I made a decision, to take another week kinda “off” and enjoy my family before she leaves this coming weekend. We went for pedicures, had some shopping dates, went to the cottage for a few days. I cooked meals and kinda cleaned my house. We’ve just sat and chatted a lot too. We have more family time planned this week. (But I’m still in the shop too a bit).

time is so precious

I’m feeling better (but still not 100%), I’ve been up a little earlier every day, orders were placed, blog posts written, I’ve been working on the schedule and June’s workshops are on the calendar (with some fun new ones!). The shop revamp will wait, paint tip Tuesday will return, custom paint orders will resume, I will resume coaching creative retailers, I’m working through all emails and commitments. (If you are waiting for me to answer you, send me another as I think I’m all caught up).  I have an amazing amazing supportive husband and daughter and staff (who are my friends) that are amazing and I could not ask for better, friends that are my biggest cheerleaders and supporters and a tribe of creative and business friends that encourage me daily. I have so many kind words from my customers too (how lucky is THAT?) I am so grateful and blessed.

All this to say, I never like to do things at less than 110%, and I feel like I’ve been running at 50-80% with work, family, self care and life lately. Sometimes less than that. (0% for self care lately – that is changing). I need to replenish so I can serve you all better.

I’m making some changes going forward, my one week of being sick was a wake up call, that I have to get a little more help so Front Porch Mercantile (behind the scenes) can run smoothly without Wendy doing all the backend, I owe that to my customers and to myself and family. I’m also making time for whats important. I’ve even painted this week just for me. It felt awesome. The rest will fall into place.

I guess we can’t do it all and we shouldn’t have to.

I’m focusing on whats important (and why). I might even take a vacation ha ha.

take some time to mess around

If you are a creative business owner (or an overworked woman in any field) I beg you to sit down and think about how you can make some changes, what IS important? Why?

If you are still reading this, you are so kind, or tired like me. I just felt I needed to explain why there has been a little gap in workshops etc at the shop lately, and I wanted to be honest and real for those that think (and have said to me) that they love how I “can do it all”. I can’t.

Rest and self care are so important to creative business

I’m hoping to get happily back to things I love, my little shop, family nurturing, nesting, more painting for joy, creating,  yoga AND business. I love my business and my life. It can all fit in. With a little planning.

Taking time will inspire you

After only a few days of rest I already feel more creative and have new energy and creative ideas. I’ve even posted a fun new workshop for June!

Oh yes, for those that have emailed me asking, I will do some updates from our new beach cottage rental reno (see, another thing I have not been working on at all) I’ve had to be ok with all the renos planned not getting done on schedule. They will, later, and I will share with you all as soon as I can. (For those asking – The rental info is here for the beach cottage in NB we are working on and here for the seaside cottage in NS we renovated last year)

Have a wonderful day, take some time for YOU today and I would LOVE it if you shared with me how you balance it all, any tips and tricks to share? Leave a comment, I’d love to hear from you.

Thanks for reading my weird honest from the heart post.

I promise to return to diy and paint related topics next time!! Pinky swear.

Cheers all,

Wendy

ps..my girl leaves on Monday for possibly up to a year maybe longer, I’m not really sure how I will get through that, proud of the strong independant woman she has grown into, but I’m going to miss her and this season of my life. Give me a hug if you see me Monday ok? ;)

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Comments

  1. Going through the same thing with my business , plus our other businesses, planned expansions and offshoots, our house being demolished and rebuilt , family, aging family, illness … and it all suffers. It is simply impossible to keep all the plates spinning. The brakes are coming on and changes will happen … and it will all work out . Because , in the end, only a few things really really matter. Thanks for sharing. Best of everything to you.

    • The Front Porch Mercantile says:

      Oh Pam, its tough isn’t it? But it’s good too. I really think we need to remember to refill that cup once in awhile. Take care, and take some time for yourself too! xo

  2. Sending you hugs. You’ve got this?

  3. As someone who has experienced burn out first hand, good for you for recognizing this now.
    I mean, before the burn out got worse.

    Look at it this way.. Even the PRIME MINISTER is taking a day off. And ya know what, good for him! He deserves it and you deserve it.

    • The Front Porch Mercantile says:

      Thanks for the reminder, and yes, thats right, if the Prime Minister can take a day off, I should too ! :)

  4. Love the Eleanor Brownn quote because it is the truth. As women we tend to try and take on the world ~ be too proud to ask for help and until something knocks us on our a$$es we just go go go. You need to take the time for you and your family first ~ everything else will fall into place. You have loyal customers and are surrounded by a great tribe ~ sending you a virtual hug as your little bird flies off xo

  5. Annette says:

    ❤️

  6. Jocelyn says:

    ((Hugs)) Wendy,you are a very strong and capable woman. Take one day at a time and remember to take time for yourself.
    I will be thinking of you and your family on Monday,best of luck to your daughter in her next adventure!

  7. This is pure wisdom!!! We women needed to hear this. We all need to slow down and enjoy life and the precious people we have been given.

    • The Front Porch Mercantile says:

      Thanks Kim, I don’t know about wisdom, but I hope others take a look at their workloads and think about self care a bit too :)

  8. Hey Wendy, first, a big hug. It was great seeing such an honest post. It is so amazing what you have done over few years; you have the most drive in a women I think I have maybe ever seen. And with Laura leaving I am sure it’s so hard (my Gab is going on a gr 8 trip to Quebec and my heart is doing a backflip) so I can’t imagine how you feel. So as a creative this is what I have learned and makes my life less stressful: #1. Say no to projects (and don’t feel bad about it.) Even if you say no, it doesn’t mean you’ll stop getting work, in fact it means that the door opens up for something better later on. #2. If you can’t deliver or can’t meet the deadline THEY want, most understanding clients will be cool with that. I don’t do it a lot but haven’t had issues and I bet this week has tought you the same thing. #3. Only take on the projects you enjoy; the ones you hate will leave you annoyed and you won’t want to showcase them. But. I am sure you are doing all of that. #4. don’t take on ots of volunteering. My mom did that and she was the recipient of a massive stroke, so she didn’t get to travel and do the things she loved. I take on only a couple large volunteering projects and as for the rest, I just say that I am maxed out for the year. I think we all have the fear that if we say “no” we won’t be liked or we are failures but in fact it’s the opposite; it makes you stringer and people will respect you for being honest… And that is what you had to do this week my friend.

  9. Wendy I loved reading your story this morning. You can’t pour from an empty cup and it sounds like yours was dangerously low.
    I hope you will return to your business refreshed.

    Lisa

  10. Elle Blythe says:

    Thanks for being so open and honest. I think we all look at the women who surround us and believe that the life they lead is filled with ease. We forget that creativity is both a blessing and a curse. It’s draining, because often it inspires us to take on so much more than we should. It looks like you are finding your balance. It seems like you are back on the path to finding your joyful self.

  11. Lots of love from the shop!
    Take your time, family and self are v important! ❤

  12. Wendy Jamieson (Easy Peasy Paint & Decor) says:

    So sorry to hear you were so sick but am super glad you are on the mend.
    I can so relate to all the emotions and “things” going on in your life and I was at that same point until I realized that what I used to love and love doing wasn’t so much fun anymore……that’s when I stopped, stood back and decided then, that at this point in my life, what I choose to do had to be not only my passion but not “work”……something was suffering when there was no time at the end of the day for the things and people I loved. Now, I take time for me, work and post when I can without letting it control and take over what’s important. Healthy balance and learning and accepting that I wasn’t wonder woman improved my quality of living.
    Anyone who has been in your shop, attended a workshop or read a post knows you are busy and you certainly deserve some “me time” to spend with those you love. Best of luck and safe travels to your daughter. :)

  13. You know you are making progress when you realize you HAVE to take time for you! But yes, my friend, it is a daily battle! Thanks for the reminder! And the inspiration!

  14. Kim demond(the blue dresser) says:

    hi Wendy, totally get everything you have written! Trust you are feeling 100% soon. Thanks for reminding us that it is ok to just unplug for a bit!

  15. Well done my friend! Well done in your honesty and well done in your choices. I know burn out well. It took me months to recover creatively from each barn sale I ran. Deep breath. Make the choice that suits your deeper goals and let go of the rest with faith that they will be covered eventually. You are totally doing this right! And just in case you are still doubting, take my life as an example. I came home from Haven thinking I was totally going to make this blog thing happen. And I did for a while. And then life happened. And I quit blogging completely for a year. It was so terrifying to let that go, as I loved it so much. But in that year, I had the space to change. And I did change. And I did start blogging again, but not so much DIY as hope. And this new direction is more me, more of the best I have to give the world. It fits in my life so much better, into my marriage, into my family. So take the space you need. It will lead you to the best places.
    Love you girl!
    The Other Marian

    • The Front Porch Mercantile says:

      Aw thank you Marian, I so appreciate your kind words and advice and your friendship! xo

  16. Wendy this is a brilliant post. So relatable! If we weren’t so far away from each other, I’d say we need to catch up for a coffee!! Great to hear you are prioritizing and taking care of your health and well being. Much love to you from across the ocean. xx