Original post made August 2nd, 2017 & reuploaded after the blog reboot.
I started writing this @ 1:50 am, so don’t mind the rambling. (And the fact that I’m writing this this late goes against….every bit of this post) But! Big changes! Run on sentences! Semi important information! This starts as more of a personal post, but hey – hear me out!
As (most of) you know, I just took off on a three week vacation and closed up shop for the first time since I started running this whole crazy art/social media/nonsense. I planned in advance, I didn’t tell anyone besides my immediate family and best friend (who might as well BE immediate family) and I straight up refused to check messages on the GlitterGore Facebook & IG pages the entire time I was gone.
Before I left? An absolute mess. Toiling away in my workspace, “winding down” at 3am, checking every square inch of my social media presence first thing in the morning before I’d even said hello to my parents properly. Constant runs to the post office and craft store, three or four different BATCHES of projects being worked on in a day, multiple cups of coffee (that I’m not even *supposed* to be having…) and a huge to-do list looming – separate for business and personal.
A week before I left, I announced I was closing up shop, and I did. I checked for any pending order messages or things people were waiting on in the mail, but that was it. But I was beat. Trying to pack for a trip I’d planned months in advance was mostly me hucking things in my suitcase, frantically asking my mom where she’d seen something last, and staring at the ceiling in my room because I didn’t have a single ounce of energy left to do what I needed to do for MYSELF.
I realized that pushing myself as hard as I do wasn’t always a good thing when aforementioned best friend texted me as I was packing a couple nights before I left (a ritual in the past few years where we’re not local to each other anymore, in hopes that I’d get things accomplished like I would in high school when she’d sit on the end of my bed and watch me dig through piles of clothes) and told me “you really need this”. I had no idea. If anything, I felt selfish for getting out of my workspace for three weeks. (And also a bit worried, cuz that meant no actual income for almost a month as well. That fear? That’s what caused the frantic countdowns, pushing myself to hit ridiculous goals, and pushing myself HARDER when I met them.) I wasn’t expecting to hear that from her, moreso just a “Oh yeah dude, have fun! Relax!” instead of a “Yeah dude, I can really tell you need a break and you’ve been busting your ass extra hard since christmas, sit the fuck down, I’m kind of worried”. (I realized this more and more DURING my trip when I realized I had no idea what to do with myself unless I’m working on something, and that I’d isolated myself so much so I could work that I didn’t really….have too many conversations to fill in any open space.)
Where does this come from? I’m sure there’s a few common things for anyone that runs their own business, but mines fueled by how much I admire my mom cuz she impresses the fuck out of me me (juggling owning AND working at her own business while running a family for 95 percent of my life, even getting a degree in the meantime…and she still does – commuting 2 hours out of state and staying there for 3-4 days a week to run said business.) and the fact that as someone who’s chronically ill and works from home I feel like I have to push myself even harder than the normal person would to prove a damn point. (To myself? To others? I’m not sure anymore.) Like, if I’m being real – the harder parts of my day include taking care of myself, making food, and showering. Which sounds stupid, but it’s true. I can’t wear most jeans because they hurt my joints. I can’t take a shower over five minutes because I’ll pass out. Even as I’m writing this, my hands feel like they’re burning. Which is why having to work a “normal” 9-5 and answer to someone else isn’t doable for me – even though I’d probably be a lot less stressed, my body would be moreso. But! Because of the value that we seem to put on hard work, I feel absolutely useless & guilty if I take a day off even though y’know, it’s what my body and head needs to keep being able to work in the first place.
…But what does this giant, rambling blog post have to do with y’all – or the future of GlitterGore? Well, I’m gunna have to be making some changes. (And if you run your own shit as well, maybe you can take some pointers so you’re not dead and burnt the hell out like I have been!)
CHANGES THAT I HONESTLY SHOULD HAVE MADE MONTHS AGO:
BUSINESS HOURS –
With a business that’s mainly online, I always always always have my laptop open and my phone on when I’m working, and when I’m not. As nice as it is to be so accessible, I’ve also had times where I get ANGRY messages at 3am because I’m not responding “quick enough”. I’m also going to start ignoring messages that come through my personal account when I’ve repeatedly told people to message my work page (Things get lost, I’d rather keep them in one place – dammit!) because I really can’t keep getting into it with people past midnight on details for their projects, or helping them use the checkout on their site, or putting together Easy bundles. You wouldn’t show up at most other workplaces at 3am demanding someone respond to y’all – right? (24hr gas stations and Walmart are excluded…but you get what I’m saying.)
It’s scary, because I feel like I have to be around at all times or else I risk losing a sale. But, if I’m up all night with a client it makes it so much harder to get things done the next day when I’ve barely slept – or to be nice & professional with someone when I’m groggy and cranky. I’ll be posting new business hours on my Facebook page as well, but for now expect that any messages Monday-Friday from noon to 8pm will be the ones I’ll be answering. If you send something later or earlier, I WILL be getting back to you the next day. Exclusions to this rule include me messaging commission clients, because sometimes I’m up late working on something and like to send progress pictures. But other than that, don’t expect any serious business talks past 8, for my own sanity.
And to go along with that….
TAKE A FUCKING BREAK, AND SHUT YOUR PHONE OFF –
Notice how I said Monday through Friday? Weekends. Weekends are sacred, dammit. If I want to sleep in, I’m gunna. If I need to spend a little bit just relaxing, I’m gunna. But those two days I’m giving myself the day off (which I constantly FORGET to do) where if I feel like painting I will, and if I don’t – I won’t, no pressure. There’s days where I find myself REALLY hostile with messages and too frustrated when I try to work on a project – instead of grabbing a second cup of coffee at this point, I’m gunna give myself a chill break till I can get my head back in the game. (Before my trip there was plenty of me either breaking down and crying in the middle of working, or getting so flustered that I would slam my sketchbook down and choke down a cigarette because I couldn’t function. No bueno.)
If you run your own business, do you give yourself breaks like any other traditional workplace would? You probably should. I again, get the pressure to seem “valuable” via how hard you work and how much you get done, (and most of us have longer to do lists and bigger goals than the average bear, I get it – I do! Chill!) but some of y’all are spread so thin – take a nap. Watch something stupid on TV. Have a snack. Give yourself a break so you can ACTUALLY get things done instead of just spinning your wheels. I’m going to be doing the same.
LIMITING COMMISSIONS –
I know I do this to some extent, saying I’ll open up 3-4 custom slots a month. I’m going to get a little bit stricter with this, between requiring the usual downpayment & confirmation EARLY (Hi, I’m still chasing down payment for $100+ commissions from almost a YEAR ago at this point.) because I value my time – and by not just opening up slots because I’m bored, or because I have some insane goalpost that I want to hit (and then I end up upping once I do so….ugh @ self sit the fuck down, please) I’ll have one vest slot per month (announced on IG/FB/Patreon) and three painting slots per month. The rest of the month will be filled with Patreon content (where I’ve been spread to thin – THANK YOU Patreon crew for sticking by me! It’s been super crazy the past few months and I really appreciate it. Hopefully putting these new rules in place will be beneficial for that as well.) So when I say “slots are closed” please, please don’t ask me to cram something in for you. If you’d like me to shortlist you for the next month, feel free to message me about what you’d like done anyways so I’ll have it when I’m setting up the next months slots. There’s only one of me, and that one of me also has to pack/ship, run every social media page known to man, make art, and somehow function.
….So I mean, none of that is too crazy. And like I’ve mentioned, it’s stuff I should have started doing months ago. But running a business is like having a kid or some shit, you’ll run yourself into the ground to make sure it’s taken care of and developing how it should while it consumes most of your free time. (Which is fine! But unlike with a kid, I can take breaks from working. Thank fuck.) A lot of this is stuff I’d been rolling around in my head for a bit, but when my mom threw in a “So, you really need to start setting boundaries and business hours” into the middle of a “So hun, how was your vacation?” type discussion I realized well….shit Mom, I should probably do that. If you’ve made it this far, thank you SO much for bearing with me and taking in all of these run on sentences. Right now, I’m gearing up so September will be the new and improved GGA (along with…a bunch of other projects) and I hope y’all will join me in that.
Places to keep up with me:
- www.facebook.com/glittergore art