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?
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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.
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.
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.
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! (see the schedule here)
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.
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? ;)