Trust Falling in Small Business

Small {handmade} business is a special creature.

Sure, I get to spend every day doing precisely what I LOVE to do.  I can't remember a moment I begrudged turning my machine on and putting thread to fabric.  My job is a true JOY and I daily feel  grateful that this is what I get to do with my life. 

I make things that spread love and joy to kids {and adults} all over the world.  I ship packages everywhere from Arizona to Japan.  Hohos take up residence in many countries and probably every state. 

This, however, was not a life I ever envisioned.  It's not a life I dreamed about or hoped for.  This small handmade business life is a visual aide for God teaching me how to dream. 

It dawned on me recently that I never thought about "the future" growing up. My only goal, my only dream in life then was getting the hell out of there.  I only wanted "away".  I never thought about getting married or having kids or what I want to do when I grow up.  I wanted OUT and that was all my mind could take or focus on.

So this current life has become a concrete one with every step into the dark I have taken in the {almost} last nine years.

You may look at what I have accomplished and like some, think it's nothing.  Not a real job or a real career or a real anything.  You may dismiss it as a cute hobby or a drain on my husband or me avoiding a real contribution to society.  All of those things have been said.   None of those things matter to me because the one person whose whole support I need, my husband, I have.  And rest assured, I pay real taxes and real social security payments. 

But if you are in this handmade world with me or even a small business owner you may see something else.  My success may come across as confidence, as sureness of step, as "knows what I am doing" but that is all a crock.

Let me offer you a peek into my weekly life.  I have a goal of X amount earned per week.  Every Friday I empty out my Paypal and "pay" myself generally an amount over the goal I have set for myself.

Then Monday morning comes.  This week I am sure "this is the end".  This is it.  I can feel it.  It's over.  No one wants what I have to offer anymore.  I'm done.  Where will I ever get a job? Starbucks? {that seems to be the only option I can ever come up with}.  What will I do?  What will I have to give up to make up for my loss of income?  How can I ever work for someone else again? WHY is this the end?

Add to that crazy the fact that a little piece of me goes into every thing I make and you have "they hate my very SOUL now".  Every offering of something I have created reflects ME and rejection of that object is a rejection of ME.  AHHHHH! 

Every week I become an Israelite.

Every single week I forget what God has done for me every single week since May of 2007.   So much so that I had to write myself a note and hang it where I can see it every, single, day. (see photo above).

Small, handmade, business is hard.  It's hard in a way that's difficult to understand if you don't make things for a living for yourself (and not work for someone else).  We makers pour our soul into every stitch or button or painting or artwork and then we offer it up in exchange for karate lessons and school clothes and groceries and new shoes for growing kids and soccer and school supplies.  We put ourselves out there constantly and if you do that online, you are also subject to a million anonymous opinions.  It's a daily way to be thrown in the fire.  And you either get harder and more thick skinned (which thankfully has happened) or you get burned (which has also happened).   I'm certain we all doubt ourselves and doubt our abilities but we get up every day and keep trying.  Keep making.  Keep integrating our souls into what we do and offer because deep down, that's what we love. 

But we all doubt.  I doubt myself every day.  I let those negatives become amplified and grow greater than the cloud before me during the day or the fire that warms me at night. 

It's a challenge to us all no matter how successful we may appear on the outside.  We all struggle sometimes from the first sale to the 1,000th we wonder if it will happen or keep happening.

But.  If God has shown you this path, and He keeps saying "show up", then show up.  Enjoy the work.  Revel in the process.  Take a break when you want because you are the boss.

I'll end this with the best way I have found to counteract "the end is coming!!".  Work.  Really take that time and dig into what you are doing.  Do it better.  Work behind the scenes, get caught up on laundry, or go to the grocery store.  Shop for supplies.  Get caught up on orders.  Encourage other makers and small business owners.  Do whatever you can to keep you moving forward as WHOLE and do not let the weight of doubt stop you. 

Remember.  The Lord has done great things for us and He isn't done.

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