Thursday, July 12, 2012

Ramblings of a Business Woman...

Hi. Remember me? I know it has been a while... so thanks for hanging in there, loyal Jenna Sue-vians.

It has been brought to my attention that many of you have been waiting on an update, and well, I can't give you a house update. It just does not exist. But if you would like an update on me, read on... (warning: very long and random ramblings ahead)

My recent MIA status can be attributed to the fact that my entire life revolves around this one thing. This thing I have always wanted and worked so hard for. Now that it's a reality, you can be sure I'm grabbing this thing by the horns and taking it as far as it can go.

I know some of you are wishing and struggling to get on the same path, so this rambling may be relevant. (feel free to continue even if it's not.)

I've been working at this business for well over a year now (exclusively for 9 months). I wrote about my journey once before on my last day of being an employee. It's still very surreal and humbling to me, and I hope I never lose that feeling, because I believe that is what fuels you to continue and aim higher.

Jacksonville Magazine, June 2012

Growing up we didn't have a ton of money. This was made apparent by my group of classmates starting in the second grade. I transferred to the "good" elementary school across town, where the kids all lived in fancy two story houses (anyone living in 2 stories was rich, of course), and they wore brand name clothes and had cable television and got to travel and use good shampoo and conditioner (which, to me, was Pantene Pro-V). Instead I was stuck with channels 3, 10, 13 and 48 (I can't believe I still remember them), yard sale clothes and Suave.

Don't get me wrong, I had an amazing childhood and it was full of love and happy memories and simple pleasures (the kind that money can't buy) and I wouldn't trade it for the world. But I never forgot the feeling of wanting more from life, and those deep-seated desires are what push me today. I want to succeed for my family and be able to buy them nice things and make them proud. I also want that private yacht and an island with my name on it in the Maldives, damnit, and I'm gonna do what it takes to get there.




This mentality has given birth to constant upward growth since day 1... and then summer hit. I knew it was coming. Every month cannot be more profitable than the previous forever. So I did what I always do when things get slower... pour myself into every aspect of my work and figure out how to make it better. Create new designs, reach out in social media, add new site content, add more site content, streamline my shipping process, source new/better vendors, organize my finances and finally figure out this sales tax thing (a total nightmare in Florida, btw) and the list goes on.

Custom city map in a Detroit Starbucks


The thing to realize is, for as many things as you think you have figured out, there will always be something new to come along and throw you for a loop. Sometimes they are good changes and sometimes bad--but you have to learn to adapt. You would think that after all this time I would have my system perfected, but no. I still find myself adjusting colors and printer settings to get an exact match, and trying to hunt down unsmashable shipping tubes to protect the prints, and searching for better and more cost effective packaging solutions, and so forth. The quest for perfection never ends (not if you want to grow, at least.)

Print production line, Christmas 2011


I think the hardest thing for me is lack of control. For the most part, I run every aspect of my business and make all the decisions. I know what I need to do and quite honestly don't trust anyone with something this significant to me. Which also means I'm working 100 hours a week because I wear every hat in this business (owner, graphic designer, web designer, advertising, marketing, accounting, customer service, shipping, logistics, delivery driver...). But I love it, because I'm accountable and don't have to stress about anyone else not doing their job (and of course no one is going to work as hard for you as you do for yourself).

30x40" Buenos Aires City Map

But there will always be areas beyond my control such as my printing vendor, postal workers, technology and machines (my nemesis), and sometimes (but rarely) even customers. Lately I've been dealing with these issues moreso than normal, and I'm not gonna lie, it's stressful. I feel like business and life would be perfect if only it were all in my control. There is nothing more frustrating than having to rely on someone/something else that lets you down, especially when it impacts such a crucial part of your life.

Yesterday's PO trip


I had hoped by now we'd be starting a family and buying a larger house to grow into. That hasn't happened yet, and is perhaps the hardest to deal with in the "things I cannot control" category. As much as I love this house and am proud of all the work that went into it... I'm getting the itch to move on again.

I'm not sure how normal this is, but it seems I have a "2 year itch" biologically wired into me. All of my relationships since age 15 have lasted about that long (excluding Brad, thank goodness), we decided to move out of our first house after 2 years, and here we are, approaching our second year in this house and I'm daydreaming about our next house. For whatever reason, I can only deal with routine for so long before I need something big to come along and change up my life.

I have been feeling a little off lately without a house project to work on, and I wonder if it's the lack of a sense of accomplishment, or just the pressure to keep blogging... which I certainly don't want. Business has to come first. The need to remodel my living spaces with always be with me though, which means this blog will probably be around for a while--even though I can't always be updating it with new projects (and instead you'll get a big irrelevant mess of a post like this).

Only time will tell when we sign the papers on our next house, but I'll have to suck it up and stick it out a bit longer because of this little rule that self employed people have to have 2 years of tax returns before their income counts. Sigh. Come on, April 2013!

So, in conclusion, that is where I'm at if you were wondering. And to make this post more relevant, I'm still trying to decide if I want to spend upwards of 5k on a built in closet system or add it to the down payment fund on the next house. What would you do?

If you've made it this far.... you get a free print. Just kidding, but I am having an epic map poster sale starting Saturday 7/21 here. 3 days only, get it while you can!


I promise I'll be back.

25 comments:

  1. Just wanted to say that I really enjoy reading your blog. Also, I clicked over to your website and I cannot get it to allow me to sign up for the membership. Is there something I am doing wrong?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Paulette! Are you having trouble joining the mailing list or creating an account? I just tried both as a test and they worked... hmmm... are all the required fields filled out and the captcha entered correctly?

      Delete
    2. Creating an account. Maybe it is on my end. I will try again! Thanks for checking for me. ;)

      Delete
  2. I would put the money towards the next down payment, but debt makes me breakout in hives. So I think the real question should be how much of that closet money will you get back when you go to sell the house? Since that's the ultimate goal!

    Glad that you updated though!

    ReplyDelete
  3. Yay!!! I come to your blog everyday to see if you posted! I was starting to wonder if you were ok!! Glad your dream is coming true!!
    -carrie

    ReplyDelete
  4. I'm with you on the 2 year itch, what is up with that? Although in my case it seems to be more like 2.5 years. I was just thinking about it today... I've never held a job for more than 2.5 years, nor a relationship (aside from the one I'm in now). I've never lived anywhere for more than 2 years either, and in another month we're packing up to relocate.

    I know what it's like to just need a change, whatever it may be. I don't think that's necessarily a bad thing... it's what keeps our creative wheels spinning :) Best of luck to you. I may have to purchase one of your maps to take my old city with me to the new one.

    ReplyDelete
  5. You are more than welcome to start working on my house if you still have the itch! ;)

    I am so happy for you that business is going so well. Hopefully with growth you will be able to streamline more and more and it will be less time consuming. If you need sales tax help, I file for 18 moe's every month!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm totally taking you up on tax advice! I still have some sales tax questions... Accounting is a nightmare!

      Delete
  6. Hi Jenna,
    I really enjoyed reading this. I think because you are a blogger/small business owner of a very creative business/part-time home DIY-er, you don't necessarily need to update us on just your home improvement projects. I really enjoy reading things like today's post, especially why you are so driven. I did wonder where you went...and was starting to get worried but figured that you were just busy, I mean, most business owners are pretty busy! I wish you continued success and happiness with your business.
    -Sonya

    ReplyDelete
  7. Hi Jenna,

    I've "known" you since you lived in CA, from the D&R board on the Nest. I've followed your blog now and I truely have to say I'm proud of how far you've come with your business-- and a little jealous! :) I understand the 2 year itch, but sometimes dreams take time to acheive and you're well on your way! Keep it up the hard work and one day everything will just fall in place for you.
    ~ Erin
    BTW-- um, did we grow up in the same area because I'm pretty sure I remember our channels being 3, 10, 13 and 48 as well! ;)

    ReplyDelete
  8. HI Jenna,
    I was checking the FAB calendar and I dont see the upcoming sale listed there. Do you know why?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ahhh... thank you for pointing this out! There was a schedule change and I didn't realize it had moved to next week. Next Saturday it is!

      Delete
    2. Thanks! I woke up early to check my email to see the sale and nothing...

      Delete
  9. Love you and your blog, best of luck and congrats for your business! Also, I would vote down payment :]

    ReplyDelete
  10. Yay, I'm glad to know why you've been MIA! I was also checking your blog daily and looking forward to new projects to fulfill my creative appetite. Glad to know you've been doing well! I have a one year itch with redecorating rooms. Every summer I have the need to repaint

    ReplyDelete
  11. Congrats on your business! I've been visiting for a few months and love all the redo photos. Knowing now that you've got your own business is even more awesome! congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  12. Hang in there! You are doing a fantastic job. I love your prints. As soon as the renovations are completed in my Jacksonville home, I'll be ordering prints from you! I was so glad to see your Jacksonville Magazine article! Congratulations on your business.

    ReplyDelete
  13. one of your best posts yet!:) we love hearing the ups and downs of design and you creating your business! I have so much respect for you and your work! we love your stuff! .....and save the $5k for your down payment:):):)

    ReplyDelete
  14. So good to hear from you! Would love to just keep seeing posts of the work you are shipping out the door. How awesome that you have one of your prints in a Starbucks? Congrats on all your success and can't wait to see more of it.

    ReplyDelete
  15. I read your story and it reminds me of my own story not so long ago when I had my own business doing similar (creative) work. It was an amazing feeling and I hope, one day, to be able to return to working for myself. I totally get what you mean by all the things beyond your control falling in your lap! I can't even count how many times that was the case with me! Best of luck and keep on, girl!

    ReplyDelete
  16. So glad you're back! I was having withdrawls and started to crawl other home-improvement blogs :(

    If the closet system would add $5k to my house value (or at least be able to appear to) I would go with that. But if it's only going to bump it up a few hundred, then I'd invest in a future home.

    ReplyDelete
  17. Nothing but good things are coming your way :)

    ReplyDelete
  18. Happy for you that business is going well. We tune in for Everything. You know women. We like getting the know the person behind the Fabulous Before and After Dumpster Find. Update us on your job until you get the house thing and then, update us on both. :)

    God Bless and I'll check out your maps, also.

    ReplyDelete
  19. When you think about flying, it's nuts really. Here you are at about 40,000 feet, screaming along at 700 miles an hour and you're sitting there drinking Diet Pepsi and eating peanuts. It just doesn't make any sense.
    Flights to Abidjan
    Cheap Flights to Abidjan
    Cheap Air Tickets to Abidjan

    ReplyDelete
  20. You are a beautiful woman. Brad's a lucky man. I admire your drive.

    ReplyDelete