Life changed, in more ways than one, when Covid hit. Of course, life changed for everyone, some good and some not so good but for me it was revolutionary. After years of struggling with my mental health and not being able to hear or understand my own voice, lockdown was the restart I needed.
Within this blog I share my journey from full time employment, redundancy and homeschooling to being the champion of my own future, finding my voice and taking the relevant action to make dreams come true. Even if a side step or two is needed to get to the end destination!
The pandemic has been the breathing space my brain has needed
Although the detachment from the outside world has been hard during the pandemic, and I have faced things like redundancy from the only job I've ever really known, homeschooled strong willed girls and experienced months of firefighting to try and bring in an income, the pandemic has also been the breathing space my brain has needed. I feel clearer and stronger and ready for the next part of my journey. Kind of!
I feel like a broken record here. I love the sayings, 'Enjoy the journey' and 'Embrace each new path' but right now I feel like I have chopped and changed so many times that the destination is so far in the distance I can hardly see it.
When I was made redundant, at the end of 2020, I truly believed that the universe was telling me, now is my time to shine - my time to focus on my business and follow my dreams. Six months later I realise now is just another stepping stone along a windy road and no matter how hard I try I will never, ever get to my destination. Ok, so that sounds pretty depressing but bear with me. If you have a growth mindset, like I have, even when you get to where you thought you wanted to be you will always want more, the next level, the next step!
Here's where I am at!
Setting the foundations for leveling up!
The first four years of my business was focused on brand and community. I worked a day job and it's all I could manage, it's all I thought I needed but fast forward to the present day and actually money is pretty important to survive and grow - who would have thought!
Over the past six months I have:
There are so many amazing things that have come about over the past few months I couldn't possibly list them all. When I journey down one path and think I have clarity, a spanner is thrown into the works and I wander down a new path. "I want to work in community. I want to make to sell. I don't want to make to sell. I want to design. I want to be an artist, I want to teach!!!!!" What will I want next? Where will I end up?
Life is confusing and constantly keeps us on our toes. But despite all the questions and new turns, I can honestly say the journey is all part of the fun. I am so proud of the growth I am making and grateful for the amazing people around me - YOU!
When I began this post I thought it would be a big old rant about money mindset and not being able to convert (bring in a consistent, worth while income!) but the more I share the more I recognise how awesome things have been, despite the lack of funds.
I have been setting the foundations in preparation for leveling up!
Me, the community artist
Sharing my knowledge and skills with others is something I am hugely passionate about. I love to use creativity to bring people together and feel it has enormous benefits on our mental health.
I would love to be paid to practice as a community artist! During my time of self discovery (the period between being made redundant to now) I have completed many art commission applications, often promoting the themes of my Joining Lines in Nature project but, time and time again, have been unsuccessful. Don't get me wrong, I have learnt a lot from the process and gained some incredible feedback but I just can't seem to convert! (Make money!)
This is, of course, all part of the foundation setting stage and the connections I am making now will guide me in the future and my time in community arts will come.
If you would like to discuss being part of one of my projects or would like to offer funding then please get in touch, let's continue this conversation. I have so many ideas just waiting to get out there - I wish I could do it all for free!
Me, the shop owner
Alongside the search for community art funding I revamped my Etsy shop and listed brand new designs and products suitable for crocheters, fibre artists and art lovers a like. I even offered a cheeky discount throughout April on everything in my shop to entice people to buy but I only had one sale. My newsletter subscribers weren't even interested! It was a big old disappointment!
There's always a positive to take from every situation, even when self doubt sets in. I had one sale! I'll say that again, I had one sale! One sale is still a sale and should be celebrated. Again, I am setting the foundations and making the relevant changes to take the next steps towards leveling up. Conversion will happen when everyone has got used to the changes, remember, I have focused on brand and community over the past four years not selling! It's a lot to process, for me and my audience - YOU!
The joys of owning your own business is you get to be in control of your future! Right now I am working hard to change my limiting beliefs and money mindset as well as doing my best for my family and my own self worth.
Me, the teacher... the forever me!
Out of no where, an opportunity presented itself which I just had to embrace. A teaching assistant job became available at a local primary school and I felt the urge to apply for it. It was a total side step to where my focus has been (making a go of my business!) but I was so incredibly drawn to the position I couldn't let it pass without exploring it further.
I completed the application, updated my CV, created a personal statement and was invited for an interview. Amazing! The interview was a breeze and the entire process confirmed where my place is in life. Within schools, supporting our future adults, nurturing them and helping them achieve their best... creatively of course!
Unfortunately I didn't get the job, I don't have the right qualifications and my experience is outdated but it hasn't stopped me. If anything it has fired me up more and I feel more determined than ever.
One day in the near future - I will be a teaching assistant!
I will continue to do it all! I will train and volunteer and get a job in a school. I will continue to share EVERYTHING with anyone that wants to hear and I will enjoy the journey!
I have tried working alone on my business, seeking support from others when needed but what I thrive on is community. Having a network of people around me, face-to-face interactions, colleagues to bounces off, to feel empowered by, and challenged by. My journey of self discovery and growth has allowed me to realise who I am and what I am here to achieve. I have so much to share, I've just been focusing my attention in the wrong direction. Right now, I need to be employed, surrounded by others to continue to evolve and grow and in turn my business will naturally progress as a result of it.
I hope this personal rambling has offered you an insight into where I'm at right now and what my focus will be on. My attention will be shifted and I will be balancing all.the.things but what I can assure you is, this little blog and my presence on the world wide web will not disappear, it will simply be refocused and intentional.
Be the person you want to be. Follow your dreams and don't give up. It's ok to wander down new paths as long as you take each step with purpose and you 'enjoy the journey'.