…building a business: “how bendy are you?”

When I first started Blue Egg Brown Nest I was super bendy. If a client or potential client asked me to do/find/make/fix anything I would find a way to make it happen. You want me to find you new hardware? Sure! You want this piece done by next week? Sure! You want me to do a custom color? Sure! You want to buy the console table in my living room. Sure! You want to come talk about paint colors for 3 hours on a Saturday with my kids running circles around me? Sure!

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After about a year of this I realized that the more I bent the worse I felt. And what happens to bendy things over time? They break.

Don’t break, sweet Snowflake. Boundaries in your business may seem mean or difficult in the moment, but in the long term they are going to be what sustains you and your job. You are creating endurance and longevity by being less bendy.

Since I strive for honesty, I must admit that this does not come naturally for me. Does it for you? Somewhere along the line I started believing that I was going to get approval, love, care, acknowledgement & more business if I said yes to everything and to anyone. That if I pleased long and hard enough that I would eventually get what I needed or deserved. Hmmmm. It doesn’t really work that way. And it certainly doesn’t work well no matter how hard I tried.

As a recovering people pleaser I’m learning that I must a) Either say what I want “No, I can’t do a custom color because that will take me double the time to accomplish.” or b) Find some way of hugging myself and tending to myself and soothing myself. “You are okay and your time is precious. You have your own priorities.”

I totally get that as you start out and try to create a name for yourself and a name that people can trust, you want to be flexible. Yes, if you can manage this and the other pulls & pressures in your life can manage not having you, then okay. For just a bit. Then as you grow your name you can create a bit more balance and use words like “No” and “Not now” and “No” again.

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The hard part is when you have a little creative business chances are you have another job or a family or something else to take care of. You truly don’t have that extra time or energy, do you? That’s okay! We’ve all heard of this little thing called supply & demand. If you are not available and willing at all times then this will actually HELP your business. Go figure!

For example, I am a SUCKER for things like One King’s Lane where there is actually a little, tiny clock that tells me how many minutes I have to buy the item in my cart! And if I don’t but it NOW someone else will take it and buy it and there will never be another one like it…ever. You don’t even want to see me at an estate sale or flea market!

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That’s DH claiming a pie safe. I planted him there so no one would snatch it!

My point is that if you are not bendy and CANNOT be bendy it is good and it is okay. I remember when I was pregnant with my second child. I was feeling very sad for my eldest and that she would have to share me with another human. A friend told me, “Every child should learn that they are not the center of the universe.” And like Fiona, my second baby, your client will also learn that they don’t get to have everything they want at all times either. (If you have a Fiona-Client, she will certainly try.)

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(This picture is after they found out they were going to be sharing life with a boy too.)

You can be successful without throwing yourself under the bus. Once you start doing this you may find that you actually feel better and have more to give.

 

Comments

  1. Christen,
    The hardest thing to learn is there are only 24 hours in every day. How you spend them is up to you.
    I also liked your quote “Every child should learn that they are not the center of the universe.”. I told my daughter once when she in fifth grade that “by now you should have learned that the Sun, the Moon, and the Stars don’t revolve around you”. Be considerate of others. She was reminded every so often but I think she gets it.

    Kids will copy what you do faster than what you say, and they always see what parents are doing.

    rick

  2. Dear Christen,

    I´ve learned to say NO over the years when I recognized that I had not enough energy to always say YES. Still there is that small doubt if it´s okay to say no. But I also learned that customers also as family and friends accept it. Everytime a little more. 🙂

    Angela

  3. How does Ollie do that???

  4. Oh what words of wisdom. I needed to read this today. I’ve been very overwhelmed lately. All because I don’t give myself permission to say no!

  5. Christian ~~~ Thank you! I accidently came across your video tutorials over the weekend. I watched many more than I am willing to admit to watching. I’ve been using ASCP for a couple years and you taught me a few new tricks! Thanks! We NEED to hang out! If you’re ever in California – let me know! CJ at http://www.facebook.com/HumbleBeginningsHomeAccessories

  6. Hello Christen! I stumbled upon your blog a few weeks ago when my husband and I were looking for chalk painting tutorials…we are hooked! We love your honesty and your bringing us, your viewers, into your home and life.

    My husband owned a contracting business for a few years, and I wish we had known then what we know now. Thank you for this reminder about setting boundaries. It’s right where we are in our life this year. I, like you, am also a recovering people-pleaser! Haha! It’s not easy, but my best practice has been saying no to my own child. 🙂

    Keep up the fabulous work!
    Sarah @ http://www.marriageisnotforwimps.blogspot.com

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