Friday, March 11, 2016

Successes and Failures...

If you've been following along with my blog, then you know that I've been participating in a self-imposed challenge.  The idea was to make new creative things for 30 days, post them each day, sell them, and fundraise for a project for the store.  The goal was to purchase the remaining inventory off of a store that was closing and use this to supplement our current offerings.

I started off well and made a ton of stuff.   I even kept up with posting things each day.  But little challenges kept creeping up.  For instance, one of the obstacles that we were facing was moving everything to a new online store.  I don't think we were ready for something like that.  I also don't think our customers were ready for that either.  So we've sort of had to backtrack on that idea.  Our resolution to this issue was that we would post things that appeared online and in the brick and mortar store in the new online store and keep online only offerings in the old store.  It's not ideal, but I think for the moment, it'll have to work.

One of the other challenges was that there simply wasn't enough time.  I'd sit down to work, look up and realize that most of the day had zipped by.  And then I'd have to take photos, edit photos, upload items to the online store, and then blog about it.  While it doesn't seem terribly different from what I do on a regular basis, on top of all my other current projects, I found the time crunch to be a little intense.  Plus, if I struggled with a project, I'd be empty-handed for the day.

Another of the biggest problems was that I don't really work like that.  I'm more of a pollinator.  I have multiple project going on, I float around, I give a little attention to each project, and move on.  It might not seem like I get much done and then all of a sudden, BAM! I have a mountain of finished work.  I think with this project, it's more about setting little goals and planning for smaller, more manageable projects and getting them done.

And then... well... there just wasn't any response.  I was literally going without sleep and running on caffeine fumes and there wasn't a single sale.  I talked with a few folks who were interested in helping out and they said that they wanted to wait until it was over for them to decide on what they'd get.  I think I was getting subconsciously a little nervous.  What if I spent 30 days working on a project and no one bought a single thing.  It'd be an incredible waste of time.  I was naturally a little apprehensive.  A further distraction from this project was that I posted a few of my things that I was working on via Facebook and that DID get traction.  And then the next day, I posted another thing that I made on Facebook and that sold and so forth and so on.  And then a week passed and I realized I hadn't listed a single thing that I made on my blog.

Perhaps the biggest thing to come up is that I like my life.  I've built a happy little home and I enjoy spending time with William and my cats and taking time for things to happen as they happen.  With the challenge of the daily deadlines, I wasn't really able to enjoy any of the things that I was working so hard to have.  The goal was to acquire more beads, but behind that was the ability to better serve our customers and behind that was to maintain my happy little home and build an even brighter future.

So those were my stumbling blocks...

Even though things didn't work according to plan, there were a lot of successes.

I think one of the most profound successes in this project is connecting with so many great people about my work.  I received so many positive compliments and so much encouragement and support.  I ended up getting a few sales (far short of my goal, but still some sales), I traded some of my work, and I received some wonderful gifts from friends.  It really blew me away to see how many people wanted us to do well.  It's amazing and I feel blessed.

All was not lost.  In engaging this project, I also tapped into my muses and awoke things within me that were long dormant.  Parts of my creative spirit soared!  It wasn't always easy.  Sometimes coming face to face with these aspects of myself was relentlessly daunting, but the process provided rich creative fodder and germinated a thousand different ideas.

It seems like my list of successes is far shorter than my list of failures, but those things that did work far outweigh and outshine any area where I felt like I fell short.  I think there are times when it's easy to focus on the negative and it feels as though you've hit a stone wall.  But if you examine everything, there is always good to be found and sometimes that thing which was at first invisible, turns out to be the greatest and most important thing.


Rebecca said...

I so admire the way you take things that could seem like failures and not only learn from them, but see through them to their successes. For me, I would really love to support you but am limited by budget - I just couldn't afford any of your lovely offerings! I also would rather give you a donation (however small!) directly, rather than pay for postage that you would never see. If you feel there's some way that you could take donations too - maybe a PayPal donate button on your blog? - then I would love to contribute :-)

Andrew Thornton said...

Thank you for your kind words! I have been meaning to stop by your blog to leave a note as well! I was really moved by your farewell post on Art Bead Scene. And I know what you mean, about how things change and you have to change with them. In a lot of ways, I felt similarly with my time at the shop. I wasn't burnt out yet, but it was definitely time that things needed to change. And change they did and change for the better! I think with this challenge, I had intentions of creating multi-level tiers, with access to support at whatever level, but I sort of got caught up in the failures and let that get to me before I could do implement that. I originally thought that I didn't want to have a donate function, just because I thought that I'd like folks to get something for what they gave, but I'm starting to reconsider that. So keep your eyes peeled and thanks for the suggestion!