Tuesday, 31 May 2011

It's All About Ink!!!

There is an art to juggling the amount of shops I have... since I run 3 different shops side by side and each one has at least one folksy and one etsy shop (with the exception of feltanomicon which is a bit of fun!) plus zibbet and hopefully Dawanda later in the year... it can get hellishly confusing at times.
Last week I decided that I would prioritise a different shop each week... I can do bits for the others but the main thing this week is Inkmeup... I have already started refreshing my old Folksy shop which has resulted in my first sales there since February... which just goes to show you get out what you put in. I made a new design and am making it into notebooks and lavender bags as well as prints and I am planning a joint feltmeup/inkmeup giveaway for later in the week.
This week Ink is in charge... next week it's Felt's turn... and it feels good to have a rough plan to work to. I'm not very good with plans and don't often write things down... my brain doesn't work that way at all! I have also planned in lots of fun stuff as well cos a gal has to have a break! I've also decided to work on not feeling so guilty for taking breaks... I still kinda feel like I should be working all the time!

Friday, 27 May 2011

A Little Inspiration

The Work Hangover

Now I was warned it would happen but I guess I wasn't prepared for the full extent of the post work haze that I am kinda stuck in at the moment. I think maybe I was a bit naive and thought that it would only last a couple of weeks and then I would be out of it and feeling amazing and creative.

I'm making things and working hard but I don't feel like I am achieving things, for one I am spending far too long on the massive time suck that is Facebook! I asked a pal who had recently quit her job how long it lasted for her and she said she felt weird for about 6 months... 6 MONTHS!!!

It's hard to put my finger on what's wrong, the post work hangover seems to be a mix of exhaustion, laziness and a weird feeling that really I'm doing something naughty and should be at work. (Not particularly helped by the "jokes" about how many lie ins I can have and how much game time I seem to be logging) There's also this huge guilty feeling when I do anything that isn't work.

I'm still trying really hard to push thru it, and I'm sure I'll get there, but for the time being I know I need to stop beating myself up and just get on with it. I need to enjoy this freedom, after all it's what I worked so hard for.

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Plan? What Plan?

You may have noticed but I don't have a plan (yet)... I keep meaning to write a "proper business plan" but somehow I never get round to it. I don't even make to do lists... at least not on paper, I keep it all in my head.

This weeks plan is to work on The Feltanomicon which has lain mostly empty and neglected for the best part of a year. Feltanomicon is my monster shop... a place where all the things that would probably eat the Tweets if I left them in the regular shop go! I'd like to have 10 things to list before I reopen (I have 3 so not a bad start) and of course I will need a new border and avatar so alot of felting and photographing needs to happen.

I like it at The feltanomicon, it's fun, it's like working without working... next week I need to work on Inkmeup... which has been maintained but only just since Christmas, now that will feel a lot like work as it's a very high maintenance shop. Plus I need to get Inkmeup at Folksy back up and running too... and I am getting sorta mad at all those people who think all I do is lie around in my pyjamas all day watching daytime TV... this girl works hard! (Are you listening Dad?)

Monday, 23 May 2011

Down Time

The laptop went down over the weekend... now I knew I used it alot but the gaping hole that suddenly appeared in my life, when she caught a virus and had to be carted off to the repair shop, was immense.

John loaned me his net book but it was so slow that it wouldn't even let me edit my etsy listings never mind think about putting new ones up. Worse... the netbook would not speak to my printer so I couldn't print off my orders and get them posted. Only later when I got my laptop back did it occur to me that I could in fact write postage labels... how daft am I!

It did make me realise how much time I spend on line, my social life is online, my business... those little facebook games which eat huge chunks of time... so I am resolved to spend less time online... lets see how long that one lasts!

Thursday, 19 May 2011

Too Many Ideas

I fall out of bed, make coffee and crawl to the studio (pausing to admire my lovely new pink cushions... A girls gotta have some treats) My morning routine is pretty well established, get up, make coffee, check emails, play around on facebook and say hi to the Etsy peeps over in the UK cake and chat team, wrap parcels, go to post office.

Today I can't get going I have too many ideas swirling around my brain (and no parcels to wrap). What to do? Should I take photos, make birds, make monsters, do some drawing, get the gocco out, visit a friend... the resultant buzz in my brain renders me unable to do anything so I spend 2 hours making treasuries on etsy instead.

Feeling slightly guilty now I decide to clean the house only to find myself sat on my new cushions reading an old magazine... I feel guilty for not working again... and then I remember that I am allowed a day off and didn't I promise myself a little break before I got seriously into this self employed malarky? I smile to myself, make another coffee and snuggle up to those lovely cushions... those ideas can wait a little while!

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

What's This all About Then?

If you know me already you may well be wondering "Mel? A third Blog? Really? You know you don't blog on Inkmeup often enough and, well, Feltmeup has been a bit neglected of late!" And I would say to you "Yes, yes I know but..."

If you don't know me then we wouldn't have this conversation and you would be left baffled by my blithering on... but trust me I am getting there.

The purpose of this blog is different from the others, I wanted a place to keep all my random thoughts, musings and the stuff that just doesn't fit in to Ink and Felt... and I don't keep a diary, I start one every year with great plans and abandon it by mid January. So this is kind of an online journal about my experience of being a full time self employed craft worker.

Let me begin at the beginning...

In 2007 I set up as a feltmaker on etsy and registered as self employed, I was miserable, stuck in a dead end job, bored, depressed and tired. The realisation dawned on me that the job I wanted, the job which would make me happy didn't exist so I set out to make it happen and Feltmeup was born. But it's never that simple... I still had to eat, I still had to pay rent so I kept working in part-time jobs and slowly building my business.

Cut to present day... well cut to last month. I had managed to cut down my working hours to 3 days a week, a mere 18 hours as a bookslave, but the headspace they took up was massive. Every night I went to bed I would turn to my boyfriend and say "I don't want to go to work tomorrow" and he would smile and tell me he knew... problem being I was doing what should have been a full time job in part time hours, and frankly it was killing me.

I realised I just wasn't enjoying my days off because I felt I had to work on my business and if I took an actual day off I felt guilty for not working but if I did work I was a wee bit half arsed and uninspired... not a place you wanna be. So one night I turned to John and told him I was handing in my notice tomorrow, he was supportive but I don't think he actually thought I would do it. I had a little cry because for all it's amassive pain in the arse I really did love that job.

The following day I went to work and snuck my resignation letter on to the assistant manager's desk and ran away. A few minutes later she called down "Do you want to come up to the ofice and talk about it?" Me: "do I have to?" Boss: "Not if you don't want to, I was hoping I could talk you out of it" Me: "No, it's ok, I don't want to be talked out of it and I'm a huge wuss so if you try I'll cave" Silence... "Ok, but if you want to talk I'm here" Me: runs off and has a blub in the stock cupboard for 5 mins.

It's probably one of the hardest things I've had to do, kind of on a par with breaking up with a boyfriend you still love but you know you have to because while you still love him really you know it's going no where and if you carry on you'll just end up hurting each other. So I broke up with my job... sorry I mean resigned.

Now don't think that this was a spur of the moment thing. You can't be dumb about this stuff, so don't go quitting you're day job tomorrow without a little forward planning. Quitting had been on my mind for a long time, I'd even tried to quit way back in September and bottled it, I have a back up plan... in fact back in September the back up plan was there in a little savings account which had 3 months worth of rent and bill money hidden away in it... just in case... you know... I quit my job and then don't sell anything for 3 months. Plus I keep detailed accounts (oh yes... my dad would be proud!) so I know how much I make each month and I know it covers my living costs and then some for at least 10 out of every 12 months and to be honest I mostly spent the money from my day job on treats for myself and John... but a gal only needs so many pairs of shoes!

I finished my notice period just under a week ago... so here I am at the start of my self employed adventure with a big old list of things I need to do. Right now I am just enjoying the freedom and not having to say "I don't wanna go to work".

I did plan to take a couple of weeks off just to de-pressurise but in the last 3 days I have been more productive than I have been in ages... I have felt like a weight has lifted and I want to work so I'm riding that feeling for now.

And if you have made it to the end of this very long and waffley post then thankyou... I promise they won't all be this long, I'm aiming for a post a day but we'll see how that one goes. I look forward to scrolling back to this post in a year's time to find out how I felt back here... so I'll just wave to future Mel and get on with some work now!