Wading in . . .

One thing I've learned in this creative business is that wading in can be just the right pace!  Sometimes ideas need to be slowly explored and evaluated as we go rather than trying to decide and commit all at once.

For instance, this past year I explored the idea of applying and setting up shop at a permanent farmer's market. I looked into the details and thought that it seemed quite manageable. I emailed the organizer and asked ten questions. He returned my email with his answers and I decided to apply. The application itself took some time, some decision making and needed some good photos etc. Then a few months later, my application was accepted and I was given a date to show up to a jury who would view my products and either approve or reject them. The first date got cancelled due to scheduling issues for the organization and a second date was then set for the following month.

By the time the actual jury date came around, other life circumstances had happened, new information had come my way regarding my own calendar commitments for the year and it was beginning to look like being a vendor every Saturday was NOT a good fit for me. I didn't know this months ago when I started exploring, but I knew now. So I sent an email a few weeks before the jury date and thanked them for the opportunity and withdrew my application. 

I have no regrets! Had I jumped in to the deep end right away, I would not have learned some of the information I needed in order to make a good decision and one that I could follow through with. Wading in . . . one step at a time . . . allowed me to explore and get closer to the answers I was looking for. 

What are you considering these days? Is there a way to wade in, explore, learn new information by taking a few steps? Go for it! Wade in, the water's fine! 

Hobby or Business?

These past few months I've been wondering . . . if I really want to make this business boom, then I need to engage in it much more seriously. I will probably need to be willing to do at least these top 5 priorities:

1. increase the number of shops who sell my product.

2. be willing to sell in a public vendor environment (festivals, craft fairs).

3. spend more time advertising (facebook, instagram, pinterest etc.)

4. spend more time creating product.

5. eliminate other things from my to-do list to make room for this. 

 

So I had to ask myself, is this what I want? 

I decided to go back to the beginning and ask myself the question that other people ask me, "How did you get into this in the first place?"

About 5 years ago, my endometriosis and adhesions had created such a spiderweb in my abdomen that my intestines decided to stop working properly. They "froze", so to speak. So upon the advice of doctors and to avoid abdominal surgery again, which can make things worse, I started blending my food into drink form. This helped me gain the proper nutritional value I needed from food and reduced the pain of eating. It was an inconvenience, but allowed me to function well for about three more years before a medical procedure was necessary. 

During those years, since "dinner" could be swallowed in one glass size, it meant that while other people were going back for seconds, I sat there watching them eat and crunch and swallow. I got a little restless, but I didn't want to just leave and sit in another room, I wanted to engage in conversation and linger around the table with my family and friends. So, I came up with this idea: What if I had a small craft that I could hold in my hand and do at the table, that only required as much space as a placemat needed? I found a few lonely socks in my laundry room and began to create! 

It became so much fun and such a  relaxing distraction for me during tough pain times as well, that it became a part of my everyday coping strategy! 

So, back to the question . . . hobby or business? If my daily pain decreased to the point that my daily routine opened up enough to allow for more time and energy spent toward building a business then maybe I could pursue it as a bigger business. But the reality is that pain is still a part of my everyday routine. It requires time and rest and doctor appointments and exercise. 

I do have a few tourist shops in Jasper and Whistler that sell my product for me and a few more in Edmonton and Langley too. It provides just enough "demand" that a few hours per day of work can supply enough product for when they order throughout the year. Right now, based on a few hours a day, I have over 120 sock animals finished, tagged and ready for shipping as soon as the orders come in early Spring!

So I guess, it is a hobby AND a business. A hob-business, a hobness? Whatever it is, it is the right balance of creative enjoyment and practical sharing with others and making a little money on the side! I'm grateful for that and will accept that it is part of my story . . . a gentle story that leaves room for caring for myself, my family and those whose paths I cross. And for those who joke with me about showing up on Dragon's Den someday . . . I don't think so . . . and I'm quite okay with that! :)