how to be successful in small {handmade} business! part six!

Here is part ONE.  And part TWO. And part THREE. And Four. & Five.

Are you having fun on this adventure with me?  I hope so!  Recalling my path has been fuel for me to keep going.  Sometimes when we are stuck in a rut all we can see it the RUT and not the lush path we just came through and since we can't see around the next bend, sometimes we just assume that it's going to be all rut all the time!  Right now I'm in a bit of a rut so prying myself loose this way, is good!

So, I think we left the story in about Spring of 2008.  I was getting to know my fancy new sewing machine and we fell in love with each other.  At this point I usually worked from the dining room table, which was our only place to eat, so that meant packing everything up every day. 

I also had a spare room at the time that served as a home for all of my other supplies...paper, buttons and etc. We had no Aaron at the time so I had the luxury of a whole room for storage and to serve as an office.  In June of that year, that changed.  We got pregnant with Aaron and I knew, given we had the option, that the boys would be in separate rooms, at least until they could both sleep through the night and have the ability to get up and leave the room without waking the other up!  So my office became a nursery.  My craft room went into a million different boxes and got tucked here and there around the house....under beds or this shelf of that closet or that shelf of another.  I had one small linen closet that I cleared out about half way and organized a lot into there.

By July of 2008 I had hit 2000 sales in my etsy shop!  A huge deal to me considering that I had barely started a little over a year before that.  From day one I never had a schedule.  I just learned early on to make the most of every free moment I had.  Nap time? Work time.  Bedtime? Work time.  During these years, Doug worked overnight and had to be in bed by 6pm or so.  Moses went to bed around the same time so I had hours and hours to fill each night.  I would normally spend the evenings with my supplies spread out in front of me while I watched TV.  It was during this season that I realized something.  I was making real money, like a real job.  Somehow, I had stumbled onto this great gift of a 100% flexible job that I LOVED.  From that realization on, I treated it like a job.  Doug treated it like a job.  It was becoming income we could count on.  Slowly but surely God was making me into a small business owner, though I couldn't have claimed to know that at the time.  Looking back I can see how He was teaching me the things that I didn't know about running a business, through trial and error and good ol' intuition.  If I had started out to start a business, researching what that meant and taking a normal approach, I would have failed.  I know it.  But, with the completely unique path that God was setting before me, I could not fail.  He taught me how to integrate my job into my life, not my life into my job.  It was like I became a wife, then a mother and then He tended my business around those two things.  The wife and mother parts are the largest and most filling of my time, but He taught me how to fill the gaps with the job He was creating for me.      
Two things that worked well together: Moses has always been great at independent play and I've never thought that being a mother involved in every second of my child's life was a good thing.  We were always together but doing our separate things at times.  I would work and he would play at my feet.  I've always taught my boys how to entertain themselves, use their imaginations and not depend on mom and dad to supply them with endless fun.  Whenever I get grief for this approach I always mention Mary, mother of Jesus.  Do we think that all she did all day was play with baby Jesus?  Did she dote on the King endlessly or do we think she had chores to do?  Did she have to work at making dinner, or darning clothes or tend the garden?  I would bet that YES, she had a lot to do, things that still had to be done despite being mother to the King of the universe.  I always figure, if it's good enough for Jesus, it's good enough for my boys.  There is not a thing wrong with telling our kids to "go play!", filling their time for them does them no favors and only serves to give us an excuse NOT to get things done.

From the very beginning I focused on Proverbs 31.  I have always felt that that scripture gives us all we need to know about being the woman of God that He wants us to be.  She is not lazy or docile, she isn't weak or silly with her time.  She is focused and hard working.  Her family sees how she behaves and respects her for it.  There is not a woman in the world that can't fit in that mold because that mold is so vast and all consuming.  I don't think that God has any one path for "woman" to follow.  He makes some to have this job or that or stay at home or work from home.  God is endlessly creative with how He supplies ways to fill our time.            

All He expects is for us to follow Him down the path, even if it makes no sense or we can't see more than a step or two ahead of us.  That's the secret to my success really, blindly following and trusting, even when it made no sense whatsoever.

But I digress.  I apologize for going down a rabbit trail.  Maybe you needed to hear that?

Next time we will talk about blogging and getting income from that venue!

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