Being a small business owner, you wear all the hats right? You are sales, production, design, marketing, customer service, new product development, (the dreaded) accounting, and social media guru. Somewhere in between you are also a human with a personal life with a husband and three needy dogs living together in a home that should be cleaned more often. It has been two years since my last blog post. Yes, I own it. It took me two years to add a new post. Am I proud? No. Am I upset? No. Why not? Because you can’t beat yourself up for everything, you can only try your best.
This blog post is going to be more of a conversation between friends. We work our butts off to take our business to the next level. We dedicate so much time and energy to better our craft, put ourselves out there and keep our creative wheels turning out fresh material. We are Creative Entrepreneurs. It’s wonderful as it is challenging. We are our hardest critics and I know, this is not a news flash: we are self-proclaimed perfectionists. (I bet I blew your mind just now! Ha!) I am not going to go on and on about all the fab perks or physical exhaustion. You know that already. What I do want to discuss is that mean voice in your head. The one that keeps comparing you to someone else’s work. That voice that says to you that you’re a failure and that nobody cares about what you do. That same voice that can really ruin your mood. I have one and she is the WORST.
I always thought that if I was tough on myself I would push myself to do great work. Yes I did. It did work but it also made me miserable. I am your typical creative that knocks out their best work under pressure and stress. I was addicted to it. I purposely psyched myself into stress mode without noticing it too. I started to create my stress to maintain this constant flow of creative thoughts. Eventually though, you burn out. You lose your magical ability to just blink a work of art. You’re so wound up that you don’t even realize how erratic you appear. That’s not life. That’s not part of the dream. I burned myself out so bad that I literally had to leave for an entire month and disconnect from work in order to start remembering what I really love to do for fun. I forgot how much joy I get from trying new food that I can’t event pronounce. I forgot how much I enjoyed walking, dressing up just because, taking photographs, and enjoying a cup of coffee sans computer screen with emails to review. We work so much and pump all the inspirational memes into our lives that we hustle ourselves out of life. We are supposed to live! We forgot somewhere along the line that we can thrive creatively with a clear, rested mind.
It took me on a forced hiatus (that is what the first week of my trip felt like since I was working nonstop 7 days a week for 3 months straight – yeah, awesome right? Good grief!) to really realize my goals for my business. I want to streamline and simplify my business to allow for more focus on what I love to do more. I truly love creating suites from what inspires me. I finally realized I had to implement boundaries. Not for my clients or colleagues but boundaries for myself. I was disrespecting my own personal time. I was checking emails at 2 am and taking appointments at 9 pm at night on what should have been our date night. Bad Jasmin! So what did I do? I set boundaries that now I follow. That mean voice has to obey this boundaries too! I’d be lying if I said she has left the building. She is always going to be there but I want to control just how loud she can be. I want her to always push me to be extraordinary. I do not want her to belittle me constantly like a bad relationship. She is not allowed to invade my weekends. She is only allowed to step in during office hours and she only has 1 hour of my time. I am my toughest client and I need to learn to work with her rather than fight or completely let her take over.
I am going to close this rather long entry with this: you are not alone. We all totally fail, think we should just throw in the towel, and go back to a 9-5. You are not alone and you got this. Take notes of both the good and bad. Learn from them and don’t ever give up on your dream. I have still a journey ahead of me to where I want to take JMD but I also know that with each year I acquire something new to implement and better myself.
- Year 1 – I learned I loved creating something with meaning that would be treasured by my clients. It just felt so right!
- Year 2 – I learned I want to work with the luxury market and focus on really unique, luxe designs and print methods and began educating myself on how to design for each method.
- Year 3 – I realized I was meant to be a stationer and I took all the steps to take JMD to the next level. Right when I was about to abandon the entire idea, I discovered just how much I loved it.
- Year 4 – I said goodbye to fear and insecurity. I learned that real life will happen and amidst all the chaos I am still able to stay afloat. I found that back bone that wasn’t scared anymore to at least try. I had been through worst after all.
- Year 5 – I learn to say yes to everything even if I had no idea how to do it. I learned what I was capable of – pretty awesome. I put myself out there, met people and made talented friends along the way. I was no longer so lonely because I now had a community that gets me.
- Year 6 – I learn that I don’t want to do everything and that I want structure. I want balance. I can do everything in theory, but my heart isn’t in it. I want to focus on what inspires me and I shine best at.
Until the next two years (just kidding),