*** Sit down and grab a drink... this might take a while***
Alright, so I've started the first sentence of this post about 20 times. If you know me, then you KNOW that I'm never at a loss for words, but this post has me really going in circles! I think it's because I feel so connected to what I'm about to write, that anything that I start with... just sounds so minimal or "played-down" compared to everything that we've been through in the past few years.
Let's make a ridiculously long story just a little shorter by first off saying...
Blogging is freaking amazing. Blogging is hard. Blogging is my passion, hobby, and now... my job.
Recently I've taken insane amounts of time making sure that this "job" is legit. Crossing my "t's" and dotting my "i's" with tax forms, business registrations, new bank accounts, lawyers and more.
Creative people are NOT meant to deal with the "running businesses" part of life.
(well, at least not THIS creative person)
I felt like my brain had been pumping some serious iron lately and I was ready for some rest.
Oh wait... I'm a blogger/Mom!... No time to rest! Must post, must finish projects, must answer emails, must attend blogging conferences, raise kids, then take pictures of said kids... volunteer at preschool, pay attention to my husband, plan a party, sew something, bake something, then go to the gym to work-off that "baked something"...
You get the idea.
Am I complaining?... HECK NO, I love this life!
(and I'm not just saying that, to make this post sound fluffy or pretty)
Does it make me cry, stress out like a crazy person, eat bad things, give me heartburn and cause sleep deprivation?... You better believe it!
So on top of this crazy blogging life I was living, I was also running a full fledged vinyl decal business.
I love selling vinyl. Wait... scratch that. I love DESIGNING vinyl. I could sit in front of my computer all day just dreaming up ways to plot a favorite new saying, or cover a naked wall with some-kind of fabulous graphic decal. But alas, I couldn't do both the blog AND the vinyl business because they were each now their own full time jobs, and well... throw "being a Mom" in there, and I'm workin' a 120 hour week. And believe ME, nobody likes THIS Momma after a few weeks in a row like that!
Ask my poor husband...
One night I crawled into bed at 3am, barely had a chance to get under the covers when I felt a loving rub on my back, and out of nowhere whipped around and yelled,
"NO WAY! Don't even THINK about it!" ...and with a shocked look on my unassuming guys face he whispered, "I just wanted to make sure you locked the front door." ... My response?... "No! I didn't! If someone wanted to rob us tonight they would have done it by now! It's 3AM! It's WAY past robbing time! But YOU wouldn't know that, because you've been SLEEPING for the past 5 hours!"
Yes. It's true. Kinda funny now that I write it out...and maybe a bit of an over-share, but true. I was spiraling out of control, and my family was starting to take the grunt of it, so...I decided that I needed to focus on a few core things (aka: my family) and I took the Summer off from vinyl...
with the intentions of never looking back.
At first it was awesome. So much freedom all at once! No more 2am sessions of filling orders or "date's" with Cason and I siting on the couch surrounded by mountains of picked vinyl residue. I was loving it, but I knew I'd have to answer to my customers sooner or later, and I got nervous. The emails never stopped pouring in, and I just simply told everyone who wanted to know... the honest truth.
"I wasn't able to sell vinyl anymore, I just didn't have the time".
And then The Creative Connection happened.
It was there that I was completely inspired, motivated, moved and reignited by Kim, Becki, Gussy, Tara, Becky, Susan and so many others. All amazingly successful bloggers AND business owners. Through a completely indirect (and some VERY direct) methods, these women quickly became my much needed business mentors, whether they knew it or not.
As Becki so eloquently put it..."Shelley! You are in the Vortex of DEATH! You can't be the production crew, shipping and receiving, PR team, and customer service person to a business that you ONLY want to DESIGN for! And you CAN'T quit 'cause NOBODY quits a business because it's TOO successful. So put on your big girl undies and figure it out!"
PS: That was verbatim. lol (oh my gosh, I adore her)
She was right! I loved bringing a piece of OUR home and design into OTHER peoples homes, too much to just "let this go" without a fight. So I did one of the hardest things that I've ever done.
I asked for help.
I rallied myself around people who knew the answers to questions that I did not. People who had the knowledge to take my business to the next level, and to the point where I didn't want to shoot myself every time a new order came in, but rejoice in the fact that people LOVED my products and wanted them in their homes too!
I was slowly doing something that has been one of my biggest challenges in life.
I was letting go of control.
I was letting go of control.
Something that I knew I had to do in order for my business to succeed and run the way that I wanted it to. I was having to let someone ELSE build up my new website. Someone ELSE learn how to cut, pick, transfer and ship my products exactly like I wanted, and teach someone ELSE how to answer emails and make business related decisions without ME there, every step of the way. Not only was I giving up control, but I was having to trust people with something that had my name written ALL over it.
After TONS of hours of blood, sweat and tears (Okay... no blood, minimal sweat but LOTS of tears) I am finally SO incredibly
nervous thrilled to introduce to you our brand NEW shop...
It's a happier, cleaner, prettier, easier and more convenient way to shop for all of the fun designs that you see in our home! The products that you know and love are still in our shop, along with some new items and upcoming awesome-ness that we have yet to post about :)
So just for the sake of having an end purpose for those of you who have made it to this point thus far, (ha!) head on over to check out our new shop and take a look around! Right now we're offering FREE shipping on any orders over $100.00! (just enter FREESHIP100 at checkout)
Again, we've tried to streamline our vinyl buying process by eliminating custom orders and any guess work or multiple emails on your part. Although we know that custom labels, sizes and designs are things that our customers may need from time to time, we also have realized our limits and know that for NOW, we are going to stick to selling only our pre-designed items that we've listed, so far.
But we've also taken note of a few things that our customers requested from us!
Better ease of site browsing, Paypal checkout capabilities and shipped package tracking. ALL things that you'll find we've done!...not to mention the upgrade in cute packaging. Wouldn't be a complete revamp without some House of Smiths colors thrown in, right?
Now before I sign off, I have to give a huge... and I mean H.U.G.E shout out to the main man, now turned business partner that has made 99.9% of this new business venture possible...
My big brother, Mike.
Our best photo session ever?... Definitely Not.
Exactly how we act in real life?... Yes.
Mike has taught me more things about business, HTML, and accounting... well, then I ever wanted to know. But along with all of that, Mike has taught me how to (cautiously) take risks. One of my favorite Mike quotes has been: "Shelley! Nobody successful got that way by playing it safe, and nobody STAYED successful by doing all the work or making all the decisions themselves!"
SO TRUE! I guess it just took a big brother to point it out.
And the last thing that I want to end with (yes, this means I'm almost done) is a snip-it from a question I answered for a friend a few days back.
"If you think you have the potential to grow your blog or business to a point where it will take away from family time, then make sure that your spouse and even close extended family are on board, first! Know that it WILL require sacrifice from ALL parties, whether directly involved with the actual blogging/business process or not."
This has proved to be true for me over and over again, and I know that through the support and love of my family, readers and especially my sweet husband, that NONE of this blogging or business nonsense that I've gotten us into (ha!) would have been possible without all of them and YOU... cheering me on along the way.
Thank you SO much, I love every one of you and am SO excited to see what the future brings.