I might be the least patient person you will ever encounter.
When I want for something to happen, I need it to happen now. As a result, I've had some rude awakenings due to unrealistic expectations about the status of my small business.
My husband and I are really in the thick of raising our child --- a teething child at that. These last few months have been a little discouraging, and this "new normal" as first-time parents is definitely a culture shock for the both of us. Things haven't been easy to balance these past few months, and as a result, I have watched some of my business endeavors fall through the cracks. I have been filled with a lot of anxiety about where my small business goals should be at, at this point, and it's not a fun feeling.
Let's get transparent.
Whomever thinks this is easy is dreaming. Working a 9-5 job, whilst trying to create new designs for Wesley James Co., update the website, keep viewers engaged, keep content fresh on social media, create email campaigns, schedule my metalsmithing classes in Austin, update/maintain online shop products (MANUALLY....ONE BY ONE.....which is a total pain in the butt), photograph merchandise, stay true to the trends but also remain true to myself as a designer....WRITE THE MONTHLY BLOG, try not to sound redundant, make list after list of supplies and create a budget for those supplies, and THEN manage all of the day-to-day home/personal stuff............to say I am overwhelmed right now is an understatement.
The short and long of it?
By the time I turn around its 11:30 PM , I haven't bathed myself, the house is a wreck, I haven't done a single thing that day to keep WJC up to date, my analytics are totally in the red, my sales are down, and I have not a single click or visit to the website for the entire day.
All of this leaves me feeling....simply.....deflated.
Time management is really, REALLY hard.
I haven't cried about it yet. I won't lie and say that I haven't been on the verge, but.... I don't know... something about crying in the face of adversity has always been something that I hated. I don't cry when I'm faced with a challenge. I don't cry when I get really angry. Things have to get really, REALLY bad for me to shed tears over trials or certain issues. I am DEFINITELY Tom Hanks in A League Of Their Own. There really is, "No crying in baseball" .....and that's just a rule of life for me. It's how I was raised. You get up, you dust yourself off, you learn from the mistake, you move forward.
The thing is, I have all of these great ideas and plans for what I want Wesley James Co. to be, and its SO difficult to help these ideas come to fruition. When you envision a brick and mortar shop filled with your designs, but you look at your financial status and it's simply not feasible, things can feel bleak. The whole work-personal life-small business- balance is tough!
Don't get me wrong, I wouldn't change my crazy days or my son for anything in the world. I am certainly not whining! After all, what would Wesley James be without Wesley James Frederick Graham?? He has been my entire inspiration and reason for creating this small business in the first place!
Yet, I can't help but feel as if I am failing him.
Perhaps it's because I have hit a creative dry spell. Perhaps it's because I don't have thousands of dollars in the bank yet. Perhaps it's because I haven't been able to save much of anything from sales because the money goes in, and the money comes out for supplies. I haven't profited much of anything, and I don't have a huge inventory. But...hey, neither did Kendra Scott when she first started out, and look at her now! It took her years to achieve the success that she has had.
I had a pivotal conversation with my mother in-law this evening.
While we were finishing the last few episodes of Virgin River on Netflix, she turned to me and said that she had something that she wanted to talk to me about. I knew if she was interrupting VIRGIN RIVER to tell me something, it must be pretty important.
By the way, if you haven't taken a chance on Virgin River yet.....WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN? It's amazing and you should watch it....like, TONIGHT.
In a nutshell, she said to me, "You are so, SO talented with this stuff (waves at the dinner table filled with leather and jewelry). I know that you want to create a solid line of jewelry. I know you want to turn this into something else, but for now, I truly believe that you should focus on month-to-month/holiday related items to get your foot in the door, build your brand, and THEN go about creating your own metals-based line. Right now, you're in a writer's block for creativity. It's OKAY to make the classic designs that people enjoy. Get back to the FUN and wait for the bigger picture to come later. Don't put all of that pressure on yourself to create something you aren't ready for. You'll be ready for the rest when you're ready."
It's strange, I didn't say a single word to her about my feelings or what I was going through with my small business, but somehow.....Mama Julie just knew.
Prior to all of this (I probably should have prefaced this entire entry with this minor detail), I had been praying and praying over my little company. Mainly for guidance. Every morning, when I get in the car and head to work, I thank God for letting me see another sunrise, I ask him to bless me on my journey, bless the cars around me, bless my friends and family, and to lay his hands on Wesley James Co. I ask God to help me stay focused and to fill me up with creativity and joy while I create. I ask him to help me to TRUST that He will lead this to wherever it's supposed to go.....wherever that is, and WHENEVER that is...I ask Him to give me guidance and help me to keep the faith. I think the conversation with my mother in-law was the guidance I had been praying for. It was God's way of telling me to take a breath, calm down, do what I knew how to do, to be PATIENT, shut-up, and WAIT.
Running a small business is like an episode of Kung Fu. Every day, I try to snatch the pebble from the masters hand.
I know for a while, I'm going to continue to come up short. I know there are days, weeks, and months...maybe even years...of tribulations ahead of me with this endeavor. As long as I have the Will to try, to learn, and to listen, I know that I'll eventually reach my goals and persistent creativity will start to flow within.
I look forward to the day when I can post this GIF again. When I snatch the pebble on this whole thing.
Until then, I think I know what the Master is telling me, and I hope you'll stick around to see it.
Patience, young grasshopper,