SO... what happened?
OK LIKE SO MANY WORDS + THOUGHTS + STUFF TO SAY. But where to start? So this year I took about a 6 month break from anything fresh-floral related. And about a 3 month break from my Etsy shop. It was a huge mistake if you look at it numbers wise, as in sales dropped like crazy, I lost a ton of instagram followers, dropped out of school and wasted so much moneyyyyy - yikes- and I'm actually ashamed to say how many all nighters I pulled doing absolutely nothing except walking around the house like a freaking zombie because I couldn't sleep because I had anxiety about all the bad decisions I was making (closing shop / dropping out / wasting money / ETC you get the picture). I was making myself totally mental and the lack of sleep was making me feel sick all the time. This went on for a few months. I was also being super mean towards my nice paying customers and doing really bad things like shipping their orders late (I feel like I can admit that now only because I've apologized to them and literally made a blood oath to never do that to a customer ever again), not sending them thank you notes like I usually do, and I even had to turn down inquiring brides for fresh-cut weddings. I had been over-scheduling myself, running on E, working on too many things, just burnt and unmotivated and it had all caught up to me big time.
After my mini break down, where I closed my shop after basically burning it to the ground, I sort of started to get myself back together. Before all this I had always just unequivocally loved my shop. Had just a pure love for it and really everything about owning a small business. Now, I've kind of realized what a powerful force my business is after almost letting it wreck me. It's like of like that thing in a plane where you have to put the airbag over yourself before you help those around you. It's like everyone in the plane was all the different aspects of my business. That's the best way to describe it. If I'm not OK, my business wasn't going to be OK either.
I felt like in general I had just become so jaded about so many things that used to make me happy with my business! A lot of things were making me discouraged and keeping me from posting and connecting with my Etsy friends. A lot of feelings of inadequacy and a lot of self doubt. I was feeling a lot of 'what's the point of all this', yeah, it was pretty dark for a minute there. I was fine with doing absolutely nothing, like a super lazy asshole, spending everyday in the house and trying as hard as I could to not see or talk to anyone.
I can't really say what pulled me out of that head space. I think it was a combination of a lot of things. Drinking more water, taking walks, visiting bookstores and actually reading a book for the first time all year (the dark tower - loved it!!!), forcing myself to wake up early and doing random to-do's in our lives like change lightbulbs, swiffer kitchen, learning embroidery... I think it was basically just the fact that I didn't have to think about or have any obligations to my business for a second that made me realize how much I missed it, and helped me actually start to like it again. I eventually made my way back, and opened my shop again. I was feeling more motivated and wanted to make all these changes, and was actually excited for the first time in a long time to work again.
I feel creative again, I feel like it's OK that I'm not the same as all of these other shops I see. I feel like it's OK that I don't really know where I'm going right now. I know I'll figure it out eventually but it will be at my pace, and that's an OK thing. I feel like there's a million different paths I could take at any moment, I just need to learn to trust myself again. It's OK to take breaks. I want to work so much harder on my shop, and I can't let other people's success or happiness bully me out of my own. It's Ok that other shops or accounts may not like me or connect with me. There's so many great friends out there. It's OK to want to branch out of this small community. It's OK to just be myself! I'm sure you'll see a lot more changes over at my shop. I'm looking forward to implementing all of the new ideas that are finally FINALLY flowing through my brain. I'm sure I can't be alone in this whole break down thing. Share with me a time if/when something similar happened to you! Especially shop owners, have you ever set your shop on vacation or closed it for sanity reasons? Did you ever re-open? As always, share your shop in a comment below so I can Etsy stalk you later! ;)
Thanks for reading!