This blog post has been in the works for a long time but it was my husband who reminded me recently that this thing called ‘entrepreneurship’ is just a fancy word for learning to fail gracefully. Back in June, when I first pressed the button to Go Live on the Patreon site, I had no idea what I was embarking on. I did not have any inclination that the rest of 2016 would be a series of learning events, one after the other, in constant assault. While that sounds quite negative, I don’t mean it to!
The reality is that learning to run a small business is incredibly hard work, often all-consuming if one allows it to become so. I have worked hard these past 6 months to ensure it doesn’t take over, which means things sometimes were pushed aside or completely forgotten! The reason I started Patreon and decided to commit to Wool n’ Spinning in a more professional way was three-fold: Sustainability to continue doing what I love, the ability to grow and create more, and surround myself with a community of like-minded, enthusiastic people.
As these months have passed, I have learned some really important things about creating the content and running the world of Wool n’ Spinning. I thought I would share some of them with you:
1. Taking on too much.
It is so easy to always say “Yes!” to everything. The reality is, you can’t do everything and sleep is incredibly important. I figured out very quickly that staying up to work on content was not a good use of my time. Although I have some help throughout the week to be able to work on things, I have found that what works best is getting enough sleep and ensuring the house obligations (kids, cooking, laundry) are done. These are vitally important because then when I sit down to work on Wool n’ Spinning, I am totally focused.
As well, I felt as if I needed to reach out and work on things outside my space here at Wool n’ Spinning. While these other obligations are important, they aren’t necessarily a good use of my time when it is all the time! Over the course of the fall, I steadily finished looming deadlines and consciously chose not to take on more. In future, I will continue to be very discerning about what I take on!
2. Social Media Take-Over.
When one is not careful, social media seeps into everything. I am not on Facebook for a reason – I can’t do everything and do it all well. Between Slack and Instagram, and Ravelry, Twitter and Pinterest, that is more than enough and I probably could drop Pinterest. And don’t forget YouTube, Google+ and so on and so on! I have found these are very time-consuming and can be incredibly negative. It’s easy to begin comparing myself to others as I scroll through feeds, read what people have written and worry about content. I have found that glancing at posts here and there but mostly remaining positive on Social Media has helped immensely. If I need to chat about things or share things I can’t on a more public forum like Instagram, I go to Slack and share there. It’s a great outlet have a group of people who are working on things they don’t necessarily want to put out into the public fray immediately (or at all) either! It always feels safer.
3. Learning to Fail Gracefully.
The number of times I have had to say sorry or re-work something or delete something that was rubbish is infinite now. I have learned there are many, many things that if not well thought out, they won’t work. Plain and simple. Tired? Stop now. Frustrated? Take a break. Distracted? Attend to the distraction. And on and on!
The content and product I am making certainly isn’t for everyone – I want people to come to this place and decide what’s going to work for them, enjoy the community and learn so that they can then go on to empower others, maybe teaching themselves. There was a moment that I just sat back and thought, “Really? I can’t believe I missed that.” I had missed something and I texted my husband and said, “I can’t believe it but …” He was incredibly gracious about it and said, “You’re going to mess up. You’ve done it a hundred times before, you’ll do it again. Don’t beat yourself up about it.” That was a turning point for me – I have really learned that my internal dialogue needs to be incredibly kind and generous. I’m going to mess up. Fail. But I’ll keep getting back up and trying again because what I’m actually learning is how to do this new job. It is almost like I’m on probation with myself – learning, trying things, re-vamping, etc. It is literally like learning a new job. I’m a new hire! And the learning curve is immense!
As I reflect back on all these things, I feel a sense of awe that this community has grown as quickly as it has, given my feeling of it still being so new! The engagement from everyone is amazing and it is continuing, which is wonderful. This community exists because of the feedback, engagement and support from you so I created a new tier called the Co-Executive Producer. When you claim you’re a Co-Exec, I’ll back you up. Your name will be IN PRINT in the show each week as Producer and of course, you will have access to the chatty Spinning Circle in SLACK. Did I mention we draw a mug monthly that I send out to a Patreon supporter? You receive that too!
If there is a Patreon tier that is currently closed or a combination that you are interested in, please don’t hesitate to email me about it and ask. I’d love to hear from you about what you think might work!
Until next time, Happy Spinning!