Happy New Year, Folks!
After another long, introspective and productive, hiatus, I’m back & ready to start the next exciting chapter in the Happy Eyeballz Designs saga.
As some of you may already know, my jewelry design odyssey started out as a hobby and a much-needed healthy diversion from a high pressure job. My primary motivation was the peace and relaxation I felt while working on a new design. I found the process of transmuting a pretty picture in my head into a tangible “objet de bling” to be thrilling! Initially, earning money with my creations was not a consideration or motivating factor; I just wanted to make pretty jewelry for myself. A few years later, after much practical experimentation, the development of some technical mastery, lots of external encouragement and personal reflection, I decided to turn my hobby into a business.
And that’s when the fight [within me] started.
Like many solopreneurs, I had no previous business experience, so I sought advice and guidance from those who had gone before me. I read books and researched the internet until my eyes crossed! Many of the things I learned were extremely informative and helpful because they were practical and immediately actionable. Conversely, there were also things I learned that turned out to be very unhelpful to me. Due to my business insecurities, I naively allowed myself to be seduced into believing that I had to conduct my business the way “Business Experts” dictated. My understanding of some of what I read was that rather than spend the bulk of my time actually designing/creating jewelry, I should instead use that time to focus on business metrics such as: search engine optimization; sales projections; sales analytics; customer analytics; customer demographics; business plans; sales & promotions; coupons; customer attraction & retention; multiple daily posts on on multiple social media platforms; the ever present need to keep track of, keep up with, and stay ahead of my competition; etc.
WTF?! Gimme a break, wilya?! I’m only ONE person…
I wondered: between the time I spend implementing those suggested practices AND working a full-time job, when will I have time to create my jewelry?! After trying unsuccessfully to incorporate these new ideas and activities into my consciousness (and my already busy life), I eventually became overwhelmed and lost all motivation to do anything to move my business forward. It seemed to me that in order for my jewelry business to be successful, I had to cut back on actually doing what I love doing, and essentially become someone else. What disturbed me the most was the fact that I had even lost interest in designing/creating new jewelry pieces.
What the hell happened to me?
I finally concluded that deferring to the advice and guidance of “Business Experts” was not going to work for me. So, I decided to switch gears, go back to my creative roots, and follow the wise and famous advice of Sir Richard Branson: “Screw Business As Usual”. No more buying into the prevailing business advice that I feel does nothing more than encourage a belief in concepts such as the virtue of avarice, scarcity, toxic competition and toxic self-sacrifice. Sir Richard Branson also said, “Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
Sir Richard is a VERY wise man.
The most valuable takeaway of my creative journey is a deeper understanding of myself; specifically, the importance of remaining true to my OWN values, and meeting my own needs FIRST. Per “Expert Advice”, I worked so hard trying to figure out the best way to attract, intuit and meet the needs of potential customers that I stopped taking care of “my employees”. Granted, as a solopreneur, I am my only employee, but up to this point I have not been putting myself first. In my opinion, the prevailing business concepts taught by many “Business Experts” are complete and utter bullshit, designed specifically to make us feel insecure, incomplete, distrustful of our own judgment, hyper-competitive, afraid of connecting with other people, and ultimately, totally dependent upon the guidance of “Business Experts”.
Or, I could just be projecting my own shit.
Regardless, I’m off that treadmill now. Trying to be everything to everyone is exhausting AF. Instead, I choose to re-embrace the values that formed me-the-person, and the life that I’ve built, for which I’m incomprehensibly grateful. Specifically, I’ll refocus on the concepts of abundance, balance, cooperation, security and wholeness within myself. I choose to remember and realign myself with the values that motivated, stimulated and sustained me in my jewelry creation activities before I turned those activities into a business and drove myself nuts trying to embrace other people’s values. Going this route will empower me to attract into my life any and all resources I need to be successful in both my business and personal life.
In short, my “Business Plan” for 2019 onward is to return to doing what made me happy when I started my jewelry design odyssey: designing and creating pretty jewelry.