After roughly twenty years toying with this idea of owning a business where I sell the things I make, I’ve come to terms with reality. It’s not going to happen. It sort of happened, in several forms, and even actually took off for a brief moment in time. I really started to feel direction and purpose for that fleeting moment. The spark, the passion, it was there, I felt it, I lived it. I loved it. Even on the most nerve-wracking days, I loved it. It fueled my soul and gave me purpose. Then, it all came to an abrupt halt when we moved. It was like running full speed into a brick wall.
Once we moved, I had to start over. I had to find my niche, find my people, find the shows, the stores; find me. I’m lost. I am truly, deeply, emotionally and spiritually lost. I feel empty, dead, inside. I feel defeated, broken; irreparable. It’s been almost three years and I’m still stalled. I have no direction, no focus, very little drive or desire.
I rarely speak about my personal life here, and doing so now will shed a little light on why I am where I am emotionally. My husband is very fortunate to have his dream career. He worked extremely hard, dedicated years of his life, to get where he is, and he’s doing what he loves, and does it well. The flip side of that is long hours, and the ever-looming possibility of relocating, yet again, on very short notice. The possibility has come up three times in the last two years and eight months since our last relocation. I thought having an online business was ideal because I could take it with me, run it from anywhere. In theory, that is true. In reality, it doesn’t exactly work that way.
I don’t have the financial resources to dedicate to a prominent online presence. The minute online presence I did have proved to be exhausting. I’m starting over in an unfamiliar place, and don’t have the contacts that previously were so easy to build. I’m dedicated to a w-2 job that doesn’t afford me the luxury of weekends off, so finding and participating in shows is virtually impossible. That means I’m not in contact with the experienced professionals. I’m not running into people who know the circuit, the ins and outs, dos and don’ts. While I’ve fallen into a fantastic network of artists and crafters in the area, they are all new to the environment as well. We are all learning the proverbial terrain together. I’ve learned that what is a norm in one state, does not apply in others, therefore, its hard to figure out where my products will be received with the most financial enthusiasm. It also makes planning ahead difficult.
The children are older and demand more time. I thought that when they started school, life would get easier, that I would have more free time to dedicate to my business, but that’s not how it works. Starting school brought on more demands, more things demanding priority, more time involved in other things.
Really, it comes down to time and money. My attention is required by more things now than before we moved. The cost of living is much higher here, causing the need for the job I didn’t have before, and meaning that shows are more expensive. When I have to prioritize, the dream gets left off the list, or pushed off to the side until “later.” Later isn’t coming. It isn’t happening.
I recently offered a huge price reduction in my Etsy shop. I cut prices to the point that I wasn’t going to make a profit, and even took a major loss on one item that actually sold. I sold two items in that “giant sale”. I let it run for about a month, and sold two items. After the second item was delivered, I closed the shop. I deleted all the listings. All my product is packed away, and most of my supplies have been rehomed. There is very little left, and it too, will be gone soon. It will all be a distant memory before long.
Really, it’s devastating. My heart is broken, my spirit is broken. I feel completely defeated. I have no direction. People have offered encouragement by telling me to ‘just take a break for a little while.’ ‘Give it time. You’ll figure it out.’ ‘It happens to everyone, it will pass.’ ‘But it’s your dream, don’t give up.’ Yes, yes it is, but the dream is over. It’s time for me to let go and move on. It’s time to find something else to be passionate about.