Have you guys heard about the magpie bird? More specifically the magpie's reputation for having the compulsive need to collect shiny things? Now this might not make total sense but I've been thinking a lot lately (my cleaning jobs give me a lot of time to contemplate my life ha ha) and I totally feel like I've been acting like a magpie. It's almost impossible for me to focus on anything one thing because I am always thinking about the future, thinking of new "shiny things" to do, to create, to buy. I lay in bed at night, my brain buzzing with thousands of thoughts of new items to make for the shop, stuff to do around the house, what to add to the blog. I have the bad habit of helplessly getting excited about and distracted by new "shiny things" and forgetting what I've already started.
I feel like nearly everything I do (business wise), I act like a magpie, jumping in without fully thinking things through.
My etsy shop? Magpie. Total complete magpie.
Basically I first opened an etsy shop because it was a "shiny thing" that I got excited about, starting a shop with little to no thought about a name or what I was even doing (embarrassing fun fact: I photographed some of my first items on a white pillow case that did in face still have a pillow inside it) and I pursued making many different types of "shiny things", hair bows and paper garlands and baby blankets, until I finally found my true love, chunky yarn and cozy knits. If you want to read more about it, click here.
If I had just taken a breath and not been a magpie, I could have taken the time to research how etsy works, best ways to photograph merchandise, and how to professionally package items for shipments (embarrassing fun fact: with my first couple of orders, I just put my mom's famous Christmas ornaments in little ziplock baggies and tossed them into a yellow shipping envelope...yeah I have no idea how I made two sales to the same lady by doing this...what a sweetheart to not mind my total rookie mistake). Now don't get me wrong, you can totally have the opposite problem of overthinking everything and sometimes you just gotta jump in and learn as you go. I'm just saying I wish I had made things easier on myself from the start by having a focused and clear business plan in mind which in the long run would have saved me so much time and money.
And this blog? Also a magpie. A total magpie.
I had just re-named my etsy shop (for the third time) and was so super excited about the thought of having my own website, dreaming of making a blog that would be beautiful and that people would love reading. And here I am, about four months in, wondering what the heck I'm doing. I should probably have put more focus on my shop first, making sure it was on the right foot before I tried running a blog on top of everything else because I don't know if you guys realize this (I know I sure didn't before I got started) but blogging is insanely hard work. It's basically a full time job in and of itself which is difficult when all this little blog does is add expenses to my life rather than profit. (Good thing I love what I do right?)
I feel like I have probably put way too much on my plate all at once and all too new in the game, trying to run (and re-build) an etsy shop, develop a beautiful instagram account worth following, writing a successful blog that ya'll find worth reading, tackling constant little reno projects in my incredibly unorganized home, all the while still trying to somehow have a life.
I just feel so unorganized and quite frankly it's driving me crazy. I'm a perfectionist at heart who's a total nerd for organization, needing everything to have a functional place and every task having a smooth easily repeated process, so living like this just ain't cutting it anymore.
I'm just going to come right out and say it, I don't know how to do it all.
I don't know how to have a clean, well organized home, fresh cooked meals every night, be a good wife to my husband, be a good momma to my pup, all the while having a professional looking etsy shop, insanely cute packaged orders, a stunning instagram account, and a blog with wow worthy posts.
Curse you inner magpie because I just so desperately want to be and to make all the shiny things!
But alas there are just not enough hours in the day.
So in order to calm this magpie down, I am forcing myself to stop for a second, to slow down and better prioritize my life. I'm getting back to the basics.
First place to start? My home.
When we moved into this house about a year ago, I never really took the time to organize things properly, getting super distracted by starting my etsy shop. Moving here was especially challenging because we basically moved into a fully furnished house. It already had four couches, three beds, a huge recliner, a large dinning table, three entertainment centers, two chunky super heavy old school tvs, three large dressers, paintings on the walls, a framed puzzle, a small safe, a mounted antelope head, and a glass Japanese display case complete with fake samurai swords perched on top. I feel bad saying this because it was such a sweet gesture from the previous homeowner, but pretty much most of what was left here wasn't really my taste (but I did end up with a super beautiful and incredibly roomy king size bed which is one of my most favorite things ever so that's super awesome.) If you want to get a better idea of what the house looked like when we moved in, I wrote about it here.
So nevertheless, moving all of mine and my husband's stuff (which included yet another bed and a couch and a dresser and a few chairs of our own) into a fully furnished house was extremely challenging. We didn't have anywhere to put anything because the house was already so full. We took several trips to our local thrift shop to try to decongest things but money was (and still is) tight so we tried to hold on to some of it in hopes of selling things but it's been a year and there's still stuff that I haven't made the time to post to craigslist. Anyway the point that I'm trying to make here is that I've been living in an extremely cluttered and dysfunctional house for a little over a year now. (Embarrassing fun fact: we didn't have just one but actually two shove rooms. What's a shove room you ask? It's a room where whenever I didn't know where to put something, I'd just shove it in there and shut the door and try to pretend the mess didn't exist.)
So the last week or so, I've been spending hours and hours finally going through every inch of my home, every drawer, every shelf, every storage box, every pile, sorting through, organizing, and getting rid of so much junk. I am in total purge mode. So far, I've got two room pretty much complete, the office and the living room, and man it feels so so good. I've still got a ways to go but I can't believe how much better my house feels already. Just having my house a little more under control makes me feel energized and ready to take on the world.
Next step? Figuring out my business.
I keep finding this excited brain of mine wandering to thoughts of making cute, fun things like pineapple garlands and unicorn brooches (I'm not the only one who'd proudly wear one of those around right?) but I'm taming my inner magpie and instead I am working hard to build a solid foundation for what I've already started, creating a beautiful fall line of my favorite winter beanies and scarves. I keep telling myself that once I've got that foundation down, I can pursue other things. But I can't keep jumping around all over the place like I have been, making coasters and drink cozies and garlands, especially with fall so crazy close.
I've been taking the time to study and to figure out how to make my business, Darling Be Brave, an actual-real-life-grown-up-hopefully-professional-looking-business where I'll be able to actually make money at someday. I've already put an insane amount of time and money into this etsy shop and I am just barely starting to break even which just doesn't seem quite right. I am taking the time to ponder what my shop currently looks like, what I actually want it to look like, what my brand is that I want to establish, what items I actually enjoy making, what items actually make me money, what I want it to be like around Christmas, etc. (It's hard trying to do all this by myself. Most days I wish I had a mentor or someone to help guide me or give me advice.)
I am taking the time to better plan out this blog each week, thinking of what I have in this head of mine that you, my dear sweet readers, could find interesting or beneficial. I am taking the time to write posts (like this one) at least a week in advance so I can do several re-reads and make sure everything sounds good rather than being in a panic of, "Ah! It's been a week! I've got to post something!" and spending all day Wednesday taking photographs and being on the computer, finally clicking that "publish" button around 10pm.
I am now finally taking the time to plan out fun photo ideas for what to post to instagram, making it a goal to post a pretty picture daily (or at least Monday through Friday) rather than just flying by the seat of my pants and randomly uploading photos a few days a week.
I just need to and am working on better establishing my basics and building on what I've already started instead of always chasing after new and exciting things. If I want to be successful, I need to be better dedicated to what I've already started. Once I've got the basics down, I can better grow.
I don't want to be a magpie anymore. I don't want to be distracted by and constantly pursuing newer "shiny things". I'm giving myself some much needed time to breathe and to get my house and life a little better figured out. I just need to slow down and focus in order to make my business a profitable business, rather than the stressful money draining hobby it's been for a while now.
Is anyone else struggling with any of this? Feeling like a magpie too? Let's chat about it in the comments below. :)
Happy Wednesday my friends!