…building a business: boundaries

Life is so interesting when one is paying attention, isn’t it? Sometimes the same lessons in one’s personal life is parallel to what is happening in one’s business. Maybe Someone is taping us on the shoulder asking us to flex a certain muscle in order to be, well, happier & more productive.

Boundaries.

My therapist tells me that this is a developmental lesson and something that children must go through in order to be effective adults and create their own lives and perspectives. It is important for us all to learn to set boundaries and to learn to respect other’s boundaries.

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If you work from home or have a business where you ship from home, you need to set healthy boundaries for clients & potential clients. This lesson is usually learned the hard way. When I first started out and got my first bit of press, I decided to do Open Houses 2xs a week! What was I thinking? I was thinking I could do it all and then some. Guess what, I couldn’t. I needed time to finish my coffee, write on my site, chat with my kids, cook, read….shower.

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I had to keep the toys picked up and everything spotless – not to mention bringing in loads of furniture to display & sell in my own, personal space. Things went wrong quickly. I love meeting new people, talking design & painting, but the lines between my work & my home life were becoming too intertwined. Worlds were colliding and that was not good for anyone!

I became tired & cranky. I needed to set boundaries and feel good about them. It took me a while to realize that I could see be seen & have my business while keeping a piece of my life separate. I could set drop off hours and make set appointments. I could say no to jobs with visions that did not align with mine. I didn’t have to have my door open to the world at all times. Wow!

Peace comes with boundaries because you are parenting yourself and making room for your needs.

Why are we not good at setting boundaries? Maybe we are not good at paying attention to our own needs before it’s too late. As I parent my own child I can see their needs – when it’s nap time, when they’ve had enough at the park, when they are hungry. It’s easy to see a child’s needs, but to see our own can be difficult. Maybe it feels selfish or we can push through it or we think we are tough as nails and people/things cannot push us down. We are human – not people of steal.

This lesson also goes for those of us that have a business where we are the only ones on the payroll. When we are overworked and just feel plain tired. Guess what – that is OK! It’s normal and we all need to take a break, especially creative people. We need to recharge to make space in our brains for ideas.

Boundaries keep us safe and sane. It is not meanness, it’s knowing our own limits. Feeling pushed? Pulled? Take a pause, take a breath and set some appropriate boundaries that you can live with. Take a lesson from a cat – they are pretty good at doing what they need to do at all times.

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…building a business: i dreamed a dream

…in time gone by. (Love that Les Mis is now a household name as it should be.) I think dreams for oneself are always changing as we change & grow. When my sister was little she is quoted as wanting to be a “naked clown”. I’m not sure where that came from or what circus she was after, but it stuck as the running joke. I was a much more timid & subdued child. I wanted to grown up and live in Price Edward Island with Anne & her friends and write books.

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Sadly, somewhere along the line we realize that we have to be quite ambitious to make these little dreams of ours a reality. We can’t just say we want to be the pirate of a boat, as my 3 year old son does, and not have a boat. And little does he know that boats cost quite a bit of money.

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We probably did not say we wanted to become aritsans or crafters or painters when we were little, but we probably loved the arts. When reality began to set in around senior year of highschool that I was to find a college to support my profession, I know I felt as though I had to scramble. I still remember my highschool creative writing teacher telling a disappointed me at 17 that I could not eat my poetry for breakfast. Ouch.

Life took over and I did as I was supposed to. Graduated, got a job and worked my heart out at something I did not love. I found solice in writing & creative things and dreamed it could be bigger. Years & years went by. Strange things started coming together like building our house, designing my kid’s nurseries, working on furniture with my DH. My marketing background took over when I decided to document my chalk painting process and I wanted to show & sell what I was working on.

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Building our first house.

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I certainly never wanted to grow up and be a chalk painter. And maybe I won’t be chalk painting forever. I kinda think watercolors would be pretty great. Or maybe I’ll be a yoga instructor in my 40s. Life took me here and I’m able to enjoy it as part of my motherhood years and thirty-something time.

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Maybe you’ve dreamed about having this business of yours and dreamed of making it into a profession. Maybe it has taken a while to get here or maybe you still have a ways to go. Maybe you dream of opening your own shop or becoming a part of another person’s shop. Dreams are ever changing and I think we need to be open to the circumstances in our life and the direction that they lead us. We can work towards our vision and have a goal in mind. But, what is happening in the present is equally important in leading us. Maybe our kids are too small for the shop. Maybe our finances are not where they should for all the materials we need. Maybe we need to care for a loved one who is ill. Maybe we are in the middle of a rough patch in a relationship. Maybe we have no space to work. Maybe we are in a waiting period.

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Don’t be disappointed if your dreams need to adjust because of where you are in life. We are ever changing and learning new things and our present circumstances are adding to where we will end up. I am not saying ever give up, but maybe learn from where we are & be patient. What we are experiencing in the now will give service to where we will end up.

I’m not writing poetry, but I do get to write. Every day. I’m open to where I am and excited about where these lessons will lead me.

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…building a business: when bad things happen to good people

When owning your own business often times it is ONLY YOU! Can I hear an amen? It’s alot of work and alot of responsibility. So when we do our very best and give our heart, it can be crushing when bad things just happen. This blue door was one of those moments in my Blue Egg Brown Nest life.

A super lovely & charming client, Rosemary, brought me those amazing doors to refinish for her. She was planning on putting them in her kitchen for her pantry doors. I love a creative lady! She picked Napoleonic Blue, a bold & beautiful choice.

As you can imagine, working on two doors about 10 ft tall was a bit of an effort for this gal at 4’11”. It involved a step stool and my DH flipping them over between coats.

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I. Was. So. Careful.

I only worked on them when DH was there to help me. They were finally completed one bright, sunny Sunday and I had them propted against the garage to do a few touch ups. I went inside for a coffee and between sips, DH came up to me, laid a hand on my back and said “Whatever you do, don’t go outside.” I threw my hands up to my face, covering my eyes and hanging my head. Deep breath. Okay, fine, shallow breath and then ran to see what happend. And there she was, like a crime sceen she had fallen hard onto the driveway, glass shattered and scattered everywhere. I sat on the ground & cried. And once I was done, I went in and emailed Rosemary.

It happens. There are always going to be accidents & missteps. All that matters at the end of the day is how you deal with it. It can either become a funny anticdote years later or it can become a bruise on your business. Make sure it’s the former by communicating immediately. Then do everything you can to remedy the situation.

DH called about 5 glass places and finally found one that could find the exact, vintage glass. They picked up a sample from his office and within 2 days delivered an exact piece, cut to fit the door.

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It had to have the right thickness and that greenish-blue color on the sides.

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Oh DH! What would I do without you?!

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And this…

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After a few more touch ups, the doors headed to their home and are awaiting hanging.

If you are open, honest & communicate with your client they will be much more trusting of you and you will gain integrity & credibility. Never, ever, ever, ever, ever try to hide anything. Ever. If you’ve promised something and it just can’t be delivered, communicate it as soon as you are able. If you break something, communicate & then remedy. If you are super late on finishing up a project, update your client. If you are a creative business, everything you do is special & custom and doesn’t always come to completion on time. That fine. What is not fine is if you stay silent. Keep the client in the know. You will all breathe a bit easier.

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A sigh of relief.