9Months in the Biz – An Update!

Well, it has been 9 crazy months since I started Victoria Marie Designs. Lately, I’ve been feeling like a chicken with it’s head cut off. Most of the time I am a really good boss and employee, other times I should probably be “written up” for a lack of productivity and general laziness.

It ebbs and flows.

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Winner 🙂

So what have I been up to? Glad you asked…here’s my 9 month update:

The Good Stuff…

Classes and More Classes: So, I successfully launched two new classes, The Holiday Project (December 2016) and Layering Like a Boss 2 – Impactful Embellishing (January 2017). I have four more classes coming later in 2017 so stay tuned for more information!

Other projects: I am in the process of working on an exciting new project – Victoria Marie Merchandise! I’ve had several requests from of my subscribers to offer VM branded t-shirts, coffee mugs, binders (for VM class PDFs) and much more. I’ve spent several months researching and developing ideas and I am getting closer to a finish product to bring to the market. More to come soon! Oh, and there might be a sketch guide in the works as well (shhh, I’ve said to much! Stay tuned)!

Wonderful Opportunities: This year I have gladly accepted two awesome opportunities. I am excited to announce that I am creating custom scrapbook sketches for the April Lilli Shop, a new online scrapbooking store! I love working with other creative entrepreneurs and was thrilled when the owner asked me to design sketches for her shop! Be sure to check out the April Lilli Shop and the beautiful work of the April Lilli design team – they will be using my sketches starting March 2017.

The next opportunity I’ve had to keep a secret for a few weeks…but now I can share! I’ve been chosen as a design team member for Clique Kits scrapbooking club! I am so totally excited and can’t wait to create layouts using their gorgeous products. My 6-month term will begin in April  2017. Be sure to visit Clique Kits for more information about their kits and other product offerings!

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I still like the entrepreneur life: As I continue to my journey as a creative entrepreneur, I am thankful for the opportunity to call my own shots and to be my own boss. There is a level of flexibility that I cannot easily give up at this point in my life. I am trying to slow down a bit, enjoy the moment, and show myself grace when times get really tough. And they do. Speaking of…

The Challenges:

I almost quit: Yep, you read that right…there was a period right before the holidays and a little after the new year when I considered giving it up and going back to work. I mean, it would be so much easier to work for someone else (nothing wrong with that at all). I would know what the expectations are, do my work, and collect a paycheck every two weeks. It’s comfortable and familiar and sometimes safe. And that’s okay.

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But I don’t want that.

To be honest, we experienced a financial setback and I began to worry about my “not-so-consistent” income relative to our expenses. But the weird thing is…things always work out. Something happens (God, the universe, positive vibes…whatever) that turns the ship around and keeps me headed in the right direction. The financial crisis got solved. I’ve learned not to panic in the moment – fear is debilitating. Also, Rome wasn’t built in a day and neither will my business. I am taking things one day at a time. My family is fine, our needs are being met and then some, I have a supportive spouse who works hard for our family while I am getting this thing off the ground and I have the encouragement of our relatives who say, “Don’t give up on your dream! You are doing so well! Don’t let minor things set you back! Come to us if you need anything.”

So I keep moving along. 🙂

Everything takes longer than expected: Part of my panic comes from the fact that I set unrealistic expectations for myself and my business projects. I want ALL THE THINGS to happen right now and I want them to be done right and I want to make a million dollars and shut down the internet with my greatness!!! Of course, I have to come back to planet Earth and remind myself that everything takes time. I cannot rush the creative process. I cannot rush filming content for my classes. I cannot rush the design of my upcoming merchandise. I cannot force my clients to like my offerings. I’ve had to learn to pace myself and to slow down. Otherwise, I am going to quickly hate the work that I love so much. I don’t want to be resentful of my business. The main reason I am working for myself is so I don’t have to be stressed over deadlines or working “quick, fast and in a hurry” (been there, done that). Everything takes time…

It’s okay to enjoy the creative process: As a creative entrepreneur I sometimes feel guilty for spending my days creating. I know…you are probably saying, “Victoria, shut up…you are stupid.” Okay, you probably didn’t say that, but honestly, I do feel a bit guilty sometimes…like I have to justify my creative time when people ask me what I do.

“Oh, I just finished working on an awesome layout for my next class. And I played with two new art journaling techniques…just practicing because I think I might offer an art journaling class next year. And then I played around with my die cutting machine because I want to offer a tutorial on how to create stencils using stencil paper. Then I contacted a hotel about a venue space for an upcoming event I plan to host. I took a break, went to Starbucks and took a walk around the park. Then I came home, read for an hour and worked a bit on the content for my new class.”

That is literally how my day goes, more or less. 🙂 And sometimes I think, “Man, I should probably do more serious stuff.” But the thing is, I AM WORKING! I’m working creatively so I can continue to provide creative goodness to the masses. This means that I am constantly practicing my craft and flexing my creative muscle. Not all of my work is creative…I have to balance my business account, file my taxes, send an invoice to a client, and blah, blah, blah. But my main focus is creating. That is just as important as my taxes and expense reports (but more fun). 🙂

Sometimes, I’m a bad boss and a piss poor employeeall wrapped up into one: There are some weeks when I am rockin’ and rollin’, getting my stuff done, being productive and moving my cheese! And there are other weeks when I should fire myself. I sit around for hours doing god knows what (watching yet another episode of Parenthood). Then I realize, “Oh holy hell! It’s 11:59 am! I need to get to work.” Sadly, there is only so much I can do before leaving the house to pick up my kid at 3:45 (remember, everything takes time).

I realized that I needed to put myself on a schedule…like a 9:00 – 5:00 kind of schedule…sort of. When I left my last job, I vowed that I would never ever, ever, ever, ever work a 9-5 schedule ever, ever, ever again.

Well, look at me now!

So, while I don’t exactly work 9-5, I had to impose a schedule that allowed me to work in chunks but to be product throughout the day. Basically, this is what it looks like:

Up at 6:30 am – Get the kid up, dressed, breakfast, kid off to school 

8:00 am – A quick 30 minute workout, shower, eat and get dressed (hair and makeup, decent outfit – I need to feel “put together”)

9:00 am to 12:00 noon – Work, create, listen to podcasts about creative entrepreneurship, participate in an online workshop

12:00 noon to 1:00 pm – Lunch (by myself or with a friend), errands, lay on the couch and watch Parenthood (catching up…plus I’m obsessed!), watch my favorite YouTube creatives, read my book

1:00 pm to 3:30 pm: –  Work  then take a break – get coffee because I usually crash at 2:00 pm…read or watch YouTube videos for a bit then finish a work task

3:30 pm to 9:00 pm – Pick up the kid from school, finish up a bit of work, cook dinner, family time, bedtime routine for the kiddo, spouse comes home from a long day of teaching

9:00 pm: Watch more Parenthood (can’t get enough), catch up with my spouse, maybe work a little more, get ready for bed, read

11:00 pm or later: Fall asleep

There are some days when I cannot work during the day because (1) I don’t want to or (2) I have something going on like a field trip with my kid or spending time with my mom. There are some tasks that I prefer to do at night when everyone is asleep and the house is quiet, like writing a blog post (it’s 1:23 am as I write this post) or write content for my classes. So, I make the executive decision to work at night and allow myself time during the day for creative play, taking an online class, reading, and spending time enjoying my other interests (shopping). Honestly, I work better after 2:00 pm but I have this thing called “parental responsibilities” (so very lame). 🙂

When I am being productive, I reward myself. When I am not being productive, I have to call myself out on it and make the necessary changes to get back on track (bad employee). When I am working myself to death, imposing to many unrealistic expectations on myself (bad boss), I have to pull back and show myself some grace, rest, and regroup.

It’s a fine balance. And it’s not perfect.

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Well, that is basically it. I am so very happy and thankful for this time in my life. I try to live my life with intention, to be grateful for hard work, challenges, and good times. I embrace my imperfections, my fears (then I let them go), and the fact that I am a very new and very novice business owner. I am doing my best and learning many lessons along the way. I am continually amazed by what I can do.

I will just keep on keeping on.

Thanks for your support. 🙂

 

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