Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Growing up as a business owner

Running a small/indie business is hard.

It's hard work, when you're the sole designer and maker, business manager, photographer, shipper, etc.

It's often emotionally hard, when you're questioning what you do and why, whether your time could be better spent chucking it all and going to Cabo, when you're trying to ignore the several other folks who've become a little too inspired by your original creations of photography styles, when you finish a huge wholesale or custom order and just want to take a day off but the next order is waiting.

It can be physically hard, as the compressed nerve in my shoulder would tell you after a marathon day of knitting. Lifting heavy boxes of mailers (use good back mechanics, folks!). Repeatedly stabbing your thumb with a needle (or is that just me?). And sleep deprivation during the holiday season.

However, running your own design related business is also incredible! Exhilarating! Recharges my soul! Taps into crucial parts of me that were completely shut off in order to finish my degree while working fulltime for so many years! So rewarding!

A year and a half into this, I often feel like I'm pretty clueless on the business side of things, while also feeling more confident every day, particularly as I tie in all of my real life business and financial management experience. That said, I used to despair about ever understanding online advertising, photoshop use, how to use my digital camera, or international shipping. (I'm pretty to very comfortable with all of those things, now!)

At the same time, continuing to learn and grown and master new skills in my craft (and how to find time to do that given all of the above) has been incredible and so much fun.

In my business life, I often talk about increasing your baseline skills so that you can focus on the skills you might not have thought attainable. To me, life is about learning and growing - I can't imagine stopping either! How boring would life be if I wasn't stretching myself to learn something new?

This introspection is because I was marvelling this morning at where I am now, compared to where I was a year ago. I'm getting a little bolder in where I'm promoting. I just learned a new photoshop skill that has completely changed my life (well, my phydeaux life, anyway). I don't even blink over international shipping anymore.

Of course, I'm also tired, full of more ideas than I can possibly execute, more than a little panicky over Fall and the holidays, and really wishing I could hire a wee bit of help. Maybe that's normal. Or is that wishful thinking?

What about you? Where do you fall on the "growth chart?" Am I completely normal in what I'm experiencing and feeling right now? Or off the deep end?

p.s., the photos are just ones I've taken since April that I really like.

1 comment:

paperhill said...

i can't relate to so many of the things you've said so beautifully! that's why i love the etsy/blogging community because we are not alone! enjoy the weekend! xo