Today marks 1 year since I closed my brick and mortar store (I know, I can't believe it's been a year already either). I met some really AMAZING customers in the 3 years I was open and I learned a TON! So many of those awesome customers still follow me and support me however they can and I can't say thank you enough! I have also gained some wonderful customers and friends who have found me online after I closed my store and are incredibly supportive, thank you. Let me fill you in on what I have learned and life after the store.
As most of you know I closed my store due to Covid but it really was a blessing in disguise. I had been trying to get out of this horrible lease agreement before the virus even started. I went into this venture with the idea that within 6 months I would be established enough to hire help. What no one knew is I was already burning the candle at both ends with my custom painting business before I even opened my store. I really didn't know how to "turn off" my brain to business or put healthy boundaries in place to keep myself from overworking. So as a result of that I was working 12 hours every day of the week when I had my store open. Chris and I never had a day off together because all my time was spent working at the store or painting furniture. I know people say "when you love your job you will never have to work a day in your life." This phrase is only true if you know how to have a healthy relationship with work, which I didn't. Saying yes to projects that I didn't have time for and then feeling guilty no one could be at the store because I would work so hard I literally made myself sick. Here is another great example, when I used to list my furniture for sale online people would text me at 9 or 10 pm at night and normally I start falling asleep at 9 pm. I would answer texts and not remember what I said or that I sent them because I really was technically asleep lol!
Fast-forward to present day, I almost don't recognize myself from how I was a year ago. Since I have had my furniture painting business for over 10 years I had created a lot of bad habits for myself which included never taking breaks or doing something fun. Everything I did had to involve some sort of work, it's embarrassing to even admit this. If you are a business owner I'm sure you can relate because there is no "clock in or clock out" time. I always needed to be available for customers or I felt like I did. I felt like I needed to be able to respond lightning fast or get back otherwise I might loose a sale. The most overwhelming aspect was social media and making sure I made one post per day so that I stayed relevant and people didn't forget about me.
"Hustle leads to burn out and resentment"
Now, I have a healthy relationship with work and I schedule my free time. I also don't let my business or customers dictate my schedule. It's amazing how easy my anxiety creeps back in once I start letting customers dictating my schedule. What I have found is that having more free time actually makes me more productive because I'm able to step away and enjoy the fruits of my labor instead of constantly "hustling." We need to start glorifying healthy breaks from work instead of the incessant hustle. Hustle leads to burn out and resentment, I can tell you that much right now.
I am so proud of the work I have been doing on myself which I had never really put myself first, ever. I am riding bikes every morning with my neighbor across the street, going to church on Sunday, helping the food distribution on Tuesdays, golfing when I get a chance, walking the dogs every day
and trying to spend less time looking at my phone just to name a few things. I am figuring out who I am outside of painting furniture because it has been such a huge part of my identity. I was definitely like one of those "before" pictures of a piece of furniture. On the inside I was beat up, scratched and the finish was falling off. Now with some love and TLC I am made new and sparkle once again.
I know I still have a lot of room to grow and learn but I am excited to see where my business goes and how I grow as a person in the next year or so. Thank you so much for sticking with me for this long, I so appreciate your love and support. Also, if you are currently burning the candle at both ends and struggling mentally, please reach out to me. Or if you have a friend with a business, share this with them. They may be struggling or overwhelmed and just not saying anything.
I have been there and I am all ears.
Lots of love,