When everything falls apart and your goals and plans for the year go out the window in a flash, there is nothing else you can do but stop.
Stop for a moment, take a deep breath and ask yourself: was that really what I wanted to do anyway? Am I really losing something there?
Ever since my plans and goals for 2020 started falling apart (March 10th, the first impact of Covid-19 in my business) I have experienced all stages of a breakup: I couldn’t believe this was happening to me, I felt depressed and had ups and downs every day, I was angry with the world and myself…
In the past two weeks, I think I experienced the acceptance-recovery stage and now I feel ready to fall in love (again) with my business and my brand.
This isn’t just a direct effect of the challenges Covid-19 has brought on all of us. But it’s definitely responsible for the fact that all of this came at once and so fast.
I tried to dig deep and realize why this was affecting me so hard. And I came to the conclusion that I wasn’t in love with my brand anymore. And because of that, I wasn’t able to talk to the world about that love either. So, if I don’t love my brand, why should someone? The post-it strategy
I think I have never used so many post-its as I do right now. Boy, finally I got to use them! This is the kind of stationery item you buy every now and then (because you might need it at some point, you know), but you actually never use it.
Instead of going crazy and start all kinds of promotions to drive sales in these uncertain times for businesses, I decided to take it easy and work on my self- and my business development.
Inspired by the words of Paul Jarvis in his book Company of One and the online course Make Art that Sells by Lilla Rogers and Beth Kempton, among other resources, I took my pile of post-its and a marker and started evaluating my business.
I listed all my products, workshops and side projects I am currently working on and wrote each of them down on a post-it. Then I checked my revenue and wrote down next to each product/project the estimated revenue I have made with it in the past 12 months. The last part of the exercise consisted of asking myself how happy that product/project makes me. How much do I enjoy the making process of that specific product? I used a scale of 1 to 3 hearts, 1 being “nothing or less” and 3 being “hell yes, let’s keep on doing this”.
Find the balance
I think I knew the answers beforehand, but I was afraid of saying them out loud (or writing them down in this case). Having your own company and brand is like having a baby. You don’t want to wake up one day and tell your baby: I don’t love you anymore. Poor baby! And what would people think?
But finding the right balance between what you love and enjoy doing, what generates revenue and what people need from you – that’s the key!
Certainly, along the road you will need to make peace with some products or projects that only match two out of the three options mentioned above. Maybe you will need to keep working on some project you don’t especially love, but it pays your bills, so you can keep doing other work you love, that isn’t particularly profitable.
Finding the right balance for you and your business should be your priority number one.
Say goodbye to your old friends and welcome new ones
So I found out that my stationery collection wasn’t bringing me joy any longer – rather the opposite: anxiety and stress. Besides, it has never been profitable, because in order to be competitive in the stationery market, I had to keep the prices low and that’s just impossible when you are doing one-of-a-kind books from start to end.
I love making books and will keep doing it. But probably in another format, maybe just as a made-to-order or exclusive custom order constellation.
Next to bookbinding and other crafts like marbling and Shibori, I do enjoy working on upcycling projects. My intention was to share this passion for upcycling by promoting Chalk Paint and bringing this trend closer to you. And although I do love working with Chalk Paint and will definitely use it for my own home décor projects, it will no longer belong to my product range.
I realized there is just one me. And my time and energy are limited. So I need and want to focus just on the projects that bring me joy, are profitable for my business (because at the end of the day I also have to pay my bills), and are truly in demand.
Focusing my time and energy to help you
At the beginning of this year I discovered I am a multipotentialite, a generalist who has many interests and creative passions. I knew this before, I just hadn’t found the right term for it.
This can be tricky when you are trying to focus on just a few projects. But I have made the conclusion that there are many ways of focusing without losing that sense of doing different kinds of things at the time we multipotentialite need.
With my post-its in hand and a long list of ideas, I started prioritizing the next projects I wanted to work ok and one thing was clear: I do want to share my know-how with you and find the best way to help and inspire you.
Now in my roadmap, I can see a mix of different projects that require all of my skills and honour my passions and creative interests, from product design and art-making to email marketing and video editing.
I can’t wait to tell and show you more!
Your crafty fellow,