The Girl Who Cried Wolf | Illustration by Wondershins

The Girl Who Cried Wolf

Sometimes I feel like I am the Boy Who Cried Wolf, except (I am a girl and) I am crying out, “I’m going to start a business!” How many times have people in my life heard me say that I will start a business, and yet, I still have nothing to show for it?

It feels somewhat embarrassing, and I must be a fraud in their eyes. After all, more than a year ago, I had sent emails to many friends and family members saying, “Hey! I’m finally starting my business! Check out my new website!”

I imagine them smirking knowingly to each other, “Oh, there she goes again…” over lattes and biscuits, as they casually swipe crumbs off the table.

Of course, that is most likely not happening, but the mind can conjure up the most vivid of thoughts, right down to the last crumb-y detail. In all honesty, the support I have received for Wondershins has been beyond my wildest imaginations – people truly rooting for me and patiently waiting to see where this adventure leads, responding to my emails and Instagram posts, and sprinkling me with encouragement when I see them in person.

In reality, it is I who judges myself for not having a shop open right now; it is I who can actually feel how long it is taking. I am the one who sees all the cogs and wheels working in the background and feel like they are not moving fast enough.

What I know that others don’t is that it has been eighteen months since I started Wondershins. I like to think the birth of it came with my first Instagram post at the end of September 2016. A couple months later, my little sister started to build my website – what you see here today. In March of 2017, that is when I released my “announcement email” and thus began the content creation, the newsletter sendings, and the business thinkings.

Throughout these eighteen months, Wondershins has grown to be something that I am extremely happy about; it has gone through many tweaks and twiddles to become what it is today. I have learned things that worked like a properly oiled door hinge, and other things that played like a horribly out-of-tune piano.

Sometimes that wicked sneer wants to creep out from inside me and remind me of all the things I have not accomplished. But I think of these lessons I have learned, and though it seems I haven’t traveled far, I have gotten closer than I have in the past.

For the first time in a long time, I feel like I have arrived at the right destination. Perhaps I’m still standing outside the gate or maybe I’m across the street and further down a couple blocks, but it’s right there – I can see it! And I’m certain I’m not crying, “Wolf!” this time.

The Girl Who Cried Wolf | Illustration by Wondershins

There are still many steps to take to get where I need to be to sell my first product, but if these eighteen months have shown me anything, it’s that I am still going, still putting one foot in front of the other. And that determination is what pushes the doubt and self-criticism down.

So I have decided to share my stories, thoughts, and lessons learned regarding building a business on this blog. Not only to bring you along with me on this adventure, but also because, if you are going through the same thing or went through the same thing, it’s nice to have someone to talk to about things like this.

Starting a business solo and being an artist are both very vulnerable things. Put them together, and it becomes a double dose of vulnerability! You’re constantly putting yourself out there (so hard if you are an introvert, like me!), you’re working by yourself majority of the time, and oftentimes, you feel like others aren’t understanding what you do entirely.

These blog posts may not completely rid the discomforts of solopreneurship and artistry, though I do hope it eases us into a little more comfort. I hope to create a little place here that allows us to discover strength, determination, inspiration, and conversation together. If you have any questions you would like me to address, send them to me in the comments below!

More to come soon – I’m thinking something along the lines of “The Biggest Lesson Learned in Starting a Business.” (It’s not what I would have expected! 😉 )


PENNY FOR YOUR THOUGHTS:

Sometimes we really are our own worst critic. Is there something in your art, business, or life that you continuously judge yourself about? You don’t have to share this personal tidbit in the comments below (unless you want to!), but do share one way that you can be more forgiving and less harsh on yourself. We can all use a positive tip to get us through our trying times!

Comments

  1. Jackie, I love this post so much. What I’m drawn to again and again is your honesty and transparency, and the way you value process. These aspects of being an artist and writing about being an artist resonate with me so much, inspiring me to share even more.

    As to answer your question, I often find myself judging my seemingly slower pace at business growth and reach, when really- it’s simply a slower process because I simultaneously work full-time. It’s so natural to look around at fellow artists who have the resources already in place to dive into their business full-time, whether that be due to saving up for years prior, the financial support of a spouse or partner, or perhaps family money or an inheritance that provides the freedom to go “all in” from the get-go without need for another source of income during the early years of business. It can be disheartening to see others growing at faster speeds simply because they have more hours in the day to devote to it- hours that I crave and of which I dream

    While this is a natural thing, I’ve been working on reminding myself (as often as I need it), that we all start our businesses at different places and resources, which are often out of our control. But, there is something beautiful about organic growth. I remember listening to a pastor speak at some point in my early teens who said, “What we suffer for, we love deeply. What we toil for, we truly value.” Through the toiling, I learn so much about passion and determination and pursuing what I love even when it’s really difficult- because all of it is a conscious choice, each and every day. It may even require sacrifice in other areas in order to grow in the direction to which I’ve committed, but there is comfort in believing that its worth it and that it’s moving somewhere good.

    • Oh my goodness, Kim! You took the words right out of my mind, for sure! I always tell myself that I should not compare, but sometimes it is so easy to forget when I look at how far other people have come. It’s like you said, there can be so many other factors at play here that don’t apply to everyone. What I have always appreciated about you – ever since I first heard you talk at the AHAS summit! – was your realness and honesty. When I look at Lacelit, I can see the hard work that you pour into it, despite having a full-time job and not being able to put all of your time into it. I can see the intentionality behind each piece as you strive to make every minute that you do have count. You make it seem possible and your work continuously inspires me to keep going.

      “What we suffer for, we love deeply. What we toil for we truly value.” Such beautiful and true words to keep in our hearts and remind us that what we do is not for nothing. It makes me so happy to know that you have this reminder to spur you along in your business, because I love seeing how much Lacelit has grown, and I continue to look forward to seeing all the wondrous paths you choose. Thank you for sharing this bit about Lacelit, for inspiring me to look to the positive, and overall, for staying true to yourself!

  2. It’s been 18 months already? Woah, time flies by so fast! Although I don’t know everything about what goes on behind the scenes of Wondershins, I do think you’re doing great and that you’re where you need to be. I know that sounds like a cliché but I’m pretty darn sure there are plenty of good reasons why Wondershins is what it is today and not the “what if” Wondershins of 2016’s dreams (as wonderful as those dreams are!). Things don’t go as planned or desired, but that’s life and that’s normal and that happens to everyone – and anyone who’s being smug about it over lattes and biscuits don’t know any better because they haven’t lived life. (OOOH.) But what’s really, really great is that you’re not giving up and Wondershins is continuing to chug along at its own, rightful pace. I love Wondershins, and I love your words and drawings, ‘nough said.

    Anywho, one way to be more forgiving and less harsh on yourself? Go outside to the park, beach, lake, river, mountains, hills – anywhere – away from the city streets and crowds of people, and surrender all your senses to your surroundings. Then get emotional (maybe cry a little if no one’s around) and know deep down that everything is going to be okay.

    • Yes! 18 months! Time really flies, huh? And I thank you, thank you, thank you for being there since Day 1 and for your neverending support for Wondershins. Your messages always send me so much light and joy, Min! Even if what I do doesn’t reach anyone else, I feel like I’ve already won because my art was able to speak to you. However, I do hope I can take it further, though, and allow your beautiful website to live up to its fullest potential!

      I absolutely love your method of being more forgiving towards yourself. The outdoors and nature can really grant reprieve from the harshness of the real world. Though a step outside is temporary, the invigorating sense of renewal can provide a different perspective and strength to tackle what you need to do. And thank you for the crying bit. 🙂 Crying can be so taboo at times, but sometimes that’s all we need to release the frustrations inside of us – a good ol’ cry!

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