Archives for March 5, 2013

The Open Door Experiment

Gratitude is the open door to abundance
Gratitude Print by Valentina Design

You know the saying “when one door closes, another one opens”? What happens when it works backwards? When a door opens and closes another? It doesn’t sound nearly as promising or optimistic. But that’s precisely what’s happened to me.

Last Thursday, I made it official that I was closing my door to the Better Blogger Network. Some of you may not know it exists, or even that I was the one that founded it – but it will no longer be a part of my life’s chapters come the end of March. (and if you’re interested in taking it over, please head over to the blog to get more information!)

A long story made short: The Gnarly Whale has consumed me.

And now for the really lengthy version of the story that’s been weighing on me for weeks.

When that shop launched, I thought little of it other than I did plan ahead and create a loose business plan along with a pretty lengthy break even analysis. Outside of that, it was merely a hobby. Someone I’d always wanted to do, something I hoped to prove I could do, and something I didn’t dream of growing at the pace that it grew.

The sales were slow at first and reminded me why I felt the way I did. And then something happened. What, I’m not exactly sure, but somewhere along the speedbumps we had with packaging and the struggle to master product creation in bulk, the shop transformed. Sales picked up, opportunities were knocking on our virtual doors, it was proving to be a solid source of regular income and dreams I nervously reached for became my reality. Suddenly I had a need for the shop to succeed beyond a hobby. Beyond something I did in my spare time. I had a need to grow it and challenge myself while doing so. And my time, my heart, and nearly all of my life – and Nathan’s life – somehow became incredibly intertwined with the rapidly growing business.

Spare time became extinct. My dreams were filled with aspirations for the business when I slept. The need for order management and organization became a must-have instead of a nice-to-have. Lunch was spent talking shop. Dinner was spent talking more shop. TV watching only happened when I was filling orders or checking supplies.

And instead of leading me down the scary slope of burnout, it reminded me to do better. To be better. To take care of myself so I can take care of a flourishing business. To take the time I needed to be me so I could put the best parts of me into the business. To live a healthy, happy, and carefree (when possible) life so the business continued to grow. To let go of things that no longer fit in my life for one reason or another so I could focus on my top priorities and at least temporarily close some doors.

And that’s just what I did. I stopped doing graphic design outside of personal things. I stopped consulting. And now I’m no longer trying to manage more than I can handle by passing the torch to someone else.

While this moment is incredibly bittersweet for me, I’m excited to see where this takes me. I’m excited to see where I can take the business now that it’s become my main priority. I’m excited to really spend the time, digging into what I already do and finding ways to do it better, or new things I can be doing, or bringing back some things that got left behind when I got overloaded. I’m excited to work on growing myself, and our business, instead of scraping by and only doing what I can to maintain it.

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If you entered last week’s giveaways, the winners have been chosen!

The Shabby Apple Giveaway Winner is: Dus Katrina!

The February Giveaway Winner is: Breanna Hohenstein!

Congratulations ladies! Please email me within the next 48 hours to claim your prizes :)