Now that I have your attention, I just want to talk for a minute about my own meandering little journey, and where I might be headed next.
We're all struggling, right? I try to remember that when I'm feeling uncharitable toward someone. From my struggles, I've had a few successes, and then sometimes (when it seems I'm trying hardest) no success at all. But nobody ever talks about the no success part, do they? We form an impression of someone based on their tiniest pinnacles of achievement, and have no idea of the struggles they endured along the way. At best, we're misinformed, and at worst, we view ourselves as being inferior.
I say, let's talk about the things that didn't work out (but that have led to greater things anyway). I've had lots of them.
My mother didn't work out. That's a tough one, but I'm okay. I've learned to get pretty good at relationships, and now I have some amazing ones. I'm resilient!
That Fine Art degree did not work out in the romantic way I might have imagined. One would think that with a degree from The Harvard of the South (their words, not mine), doors would be flung open left and right. Well, not exactly. Upon graduating, I worked at the mall. Then I moved to NYC for grad school, and that didn't work out either (I mean, I decided not to finish my degree because I wasn't positive about that particular career track, Industrial Design). But it got me to NY, which was amazing and formative and important to my experience, and which I will always remember fondly.
Living in NYC didn't exactly work out. After I found out I was pregnant and then 9/11 occurred, I knew I had to leave. But what a place to have lived. And now I have my sweet daughter too (who regularly gets to travel to NY to visit her daddy-- lucky girl!)
Dating with a toddler DID NOT work out. Until it did. My husband knew he wanted children, and was fortunately willing to date somebody with one. He loves my daughter like she is his own.
Financially, being a painter/single mother didn't work out. But my skills transferred pretty well into graphic design, when I figured out how to use the programs while working in marketing at a real estate office.
Working full time after having my second child didn't work out. So I decided to go out on my own and start a line of................*drumroll*............................ curtains!!!
Those damn curtains didn't work out AT ALL. I was so sure they would sell! I didn't know how to sew, but I figured that if I designed them, any seamstress could sew them. I STILL have stockpiles of silk from all the custom curtains I didn't make. Wanna know how many curtains I sold? One.
Selling that one curtain barely worked out. The moment I got my first curtain order, my seamstress disappeared. So I got some sewing lessons real quick (and ended up hiring my instructor to just make the curtain). But for sewing practice, and to get acquainted with my machine, I made lots of little animals. I started sewing pockets on them and Allison suggested I call them Tooth Cushions. They worked out pretty well! Daily Candy picked them up the day I put them in my etsy shop, and they became quite a hit. I got plenty of orders.
Having a herniated disk actually worked out okay. It made me rethink (for the millionth time) my business plan. One thing led to another and I came up with a portfolio of fabric designs which landed me my Kokka line.
So, now I've finally had a success or two, right? The answer is yes, and I'm eternally grateful. But I haven't made a speck of money since I left my real estate marketing job. When I did my taxes for my booming elephant tooth cushion year (2009), I was finally in the black... my net profit for the year had been $24!!!
Last year was a bust, with more money invested in my business than I made in return. Hopefully this year will be better.
I'm cheerful as I write this because I think it's important to be honest. As I move forward, I have to do work that honestly inspires me, and not get caught up in the trap of what-I-think-will-sell. I've already shopped around one big project this winter that may not get picked up at all, and today, I signed up to do the Surtex show in May. That's something I've been planning for months, but have been incredibly afraid to pull the trigger on until today.
I hate motivational sayings. Really, they kind of irritate me, except this one:
Leap, and the net will appear.
What leaps have you taken, for better or for worse?