What I've learned in 5 years
I have been working for myself for five years. I cannot express the amount of knowledge I have gain in both leather working and running a small business. The past five years have defiantly been full of ups, downs and longs stretches of the same. One thing I do not see a lot of talk about in this industry is personal growth long side business growth. Being your own boss is stressful, so how do you handle the stresses and pressure that comes along with it? The success or failure of your business is all on you. And if you are a mom you feel like the success or failure of your family is all on you as well. There is also the feeling as a business owner that the sky is the limit so I have to reach it. And if we don’t we may tell ourselves things like --“I am lazy” “not good enough at what I do” “not trying hard enough” “a failure”. These are ALL LIES. They will only bring you unnecessary stress and ultimately crush your creativity and dampen the passion you have for your craft.
So, how do we avoid those feelings? One of the biggest things is STOP comparing your journey to others. Theodore Roosevelt said it best, “Comparison is the thief of joy”. If you find yourself on a social media stewing over how good you think someone else is doing get off your phone or computer and refocus on you. Remind yourself of everything you have to be thankful for and GET TO WORK. Secondly, we have to set attainable goals and focus on here and now. For example, right now the only things I can juggle are making bags, selling them on Facebook, taking care of my toddler and home, and riding my two colts. There are SO many other things that I would like to do with Lantana Made but at this point in my life I set goals within the boundaries of what I can attain. Do not get me wrong; you should push yourself just not off a cliff. Learn how to say “No” or “not right now”. Making sure you do not overextend yourself is important. Your mental health matters so much.
Another valuable lesson I have learned is to make your business work for you not the other way around. Figure out what makes you happy in your business and what direction you want to go and do not veer from that path. For example, in 2017 my business was mostly custom orders based. I made a custom bag per request out of a Navajo blanket and this started an influx of orders for the same bag over and over and over again. The design was not even something I was drawn to. Yet, I literally let it become my business for almost a whole year because I was afraid to say no. I was miserable. And lets be honest when your miserable at your job your miserable in your personal life as well. My bank account was fine but I was not happy with what I was doing. I was letting my business run me. Until I said enough! I figured out what I wanted and made it happen. Currently, I only make and design what I want to and my business has never been better, because I am better.
If reading this has helped at least one of you it was worth writing. Thank you so much for taking the time to read it. If you are feeling down in your business you are not alone! Or if you just had a win and you are feeling on top of the world lets all share in the joy! Please feel free to reach out if you want to talk.