Friday, December 14, 2012

Cranberries in the Snow.....

Today is my two year business anniversary!

Two years ago today, I waded through all the sign up information to start an etsy shop. I think it took me all day, between setting up a paypal account (which I didn't have), and figuring out how to work the computer I borrowed. I had made the decision several years before, although I was computer proficient when I was in the workforce, to avoid any and all new technology. I've always been a somewhat quirky person, and to me, having such trappings as a cell phone and a computer was "giving in" to the popular sentiment. And I was very opposed to that!

Right about the time I turned 30 though, I realized that what I thought was setting me apart, was holding me back, and so I got my very first cell phone ever! Soon after, as my soapmaking hobby progressed, I realized that it could benefit me to find a way to make money at it, and so my Etsy shop was born! The picture above was my very first product picture. I came home one day after a lovely snowfall and wanting to try out the camera my Aunt had graciously given me, I set up my Rosewater and Glycerin soap in my tea set, on a bed of fresh cranberries. As you can see, the style I was going for back then was much more reflective of my personal taste, quite romantic and girly. It's probably the best picture, quality-wise, I've ever taken, yet looking at it now, I'm struck with how far I've come stylistically.

From that, to this!

With my mentor's help, I was able to transition from a look that was "cute" to, as she always told me, "something you can build an empire on". While I have a long way to go before I start empire-building, that one change alone took my shop from a "cute-little-hobby" to a full-fledged business, and I'm forever grateful for the help I received.

In the last two years, my life has changed drastically! From a stay at home mom, which truth be told, was a little bored, to an entrepreneur who is going-going-going all the time. From a fairly isolated person, to somebody that has friends and business associates all over the world. I have gained so much self-confidence in the last two years, doing something that is darn hard and (mostly) surviving! It's also been difficult in some ways, I would never want to project that I have it all figured out, because truth be told, sometimes when I'm helping two children with math, while juggling two toddlers, while shipping out products, while emailing back and forth with a client....I think to myself, "what have I done?".

I have been able to gain a lot of strength from knowing that I'm not alone, this is the same dance that all work at home mothers and entrepreneurs do. I'm lucky to have a lot of people around me who have done this well, much better than I, and I learn so much from them. Whenever I'm in danger of feeling overwhelmed and sorry for myself, I remember the struggle my dad had when he started his business 16 year ago, a struggle that goes on today. And I have my Etsy-friends, other moms, who are far busier than me and still manage to pull it off.

Above all, the last two years have been rewarding, as I've been able to enjoy the fruits of my labor, staying home with my children, homeschooling, and being able to help provide for my family at the same time. It's hard work, very hard work, but I hope that I'm creating something here that will blossom into even better things, and that my children will look back at this time of being with me while I do grow a business, as a learning experience, and that they'll learn the value of hard work, sacrifice, and know that when they are all grown up, they can reach for their dreams just as I have!

Happy Etsy-versary to me and a huge thanks to those who've helped along the way, you know who you are :)

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