Monday, March 7, 2011

Creative Burnout

Well, Etsy burnout is probably a more appropriate title. 

I opened my shop last August with some hats I'd knitted.  They just sat there.  I began incorporating pieces of jewelry, and they just sat there.  I started adding some vintage goodies that I'd thrifted and I finally sold something in September.  I began adding some of the odds and ends I'd been thrifting and making over for this here blog, and I began selling a couple of things each week.  

Then it was October, and Christmas was coming.  So, I started spending more time working on new items for the shop, so that I could be prepared for the Christmas rush.  The more I made, the more I sold.  So I focused more time and energy on my shop.  I was prepared for a slowdown in January, but it didn't happen.  I was selling even more items weekly.  Then in mid-january, I was featured in an Etsy newsletter and my shop blew up.  I wasn't prepared and my inventory was pretty much depleted.  I didn't want that to happen again so I gave my shop more time and more energy.  

I'm pretty sure you can guess what happened next.  Yep... burnout.  It's so much fun to transform tired, abandoned objects into something people want to buy, but after awhile, it really started to seem like a job and it became something I no longer enjoyed doing.  I thought maybe it was because once I felt like it was something I HAD to do, it became something I wanted to avoid.  Nobody likes to do something they feel like they have to do, right?  I just couldn't accept that, the feeling that I was bucking my success because it had become a chore.  I thought about it and thought about it and I finally figured out what it was.

I'd become so focused on helping others make their nests pretty, that I'd stopped making MY nest pretty.  Not only had I begun selling pretties that I wanted for myself, I'd begun neglecting my home.  I abandoned the master bedroom makeover that I started in November.  I didn't do a whole lot of cleaning.  I didn't cook anymore.  Dinner became something from either a box in the freezer or a box from the pantry.  This was not why I chose to leave my job and stay at home.  No way.

So, I've decided to back off on Etsy, just a little bit.  Don't get me wrong, I'm VERY thankful that my shop has been successful.  I'm not planning to give up on it either.  I'm still shooting to add a few items each week, but I'm not going to kill myself with trying to maintain a certain number of active listings.  

For now, I'm working on tidying and prettying my house.  I've moved my supplies off of the dining room table and we have been eating dinner, prepared by me, not Betty Crocker, at the table every night for the past two weeks.  It has been awesome!  The house has been neater and because of that, I feel less stressed and I'm pretty sure Charles and Han do too.

This week, I'm finishing my master bedroom makeover.  I'd planned to finish and post it today, but I've come up with a few more finishing touches I'd like to add.  I'm going to shoot for a Thursday post.  In the meantime, I'll probably post a couple of small makeovers that I've done for the shop.

Since I'm taking a mini Etsy break, I'm also going to shelve Treasury Tuesday for awhile.  I love making treasuries, but they take a long time to make.  That's time I could be using for something a little more productive.

If you're still reading, thanks for taking the time to be my diary.

I'll leave you with a few snip-its from my new bedroom. 

17 crafty peeps said:

  1. it is so ok to take a break if you need it. i stopped taking orders through december and into january a bit just to have some down time. you need to listen to yourself, and if you are tired and burnt out, take some you time, and then come back when you are ready- your shop will be better if you are excited about it.

  2. I've been skimming posts for the past hour but took the time to read yours today. I ready it because the SAME thing happened to me a year ago. Not only did I have an Etsy shop that was taking off faster than I expected, I had a blog I was trying to maintain too. It was all becoming way too much to handle. I was suffering and my family was suffering (although I don't know if they realized it) and I was coming to loathe the site of anything jewelry related. I chose to completely step away from both of them and it was the best decision I ever made. I felt like I got my life back. I still sell in a local store but what I send to them is completely up to me so it's so much less pressure. Enjoy your break and enjoy your family! That's the stuff you won't get back.

  3. Oh what lovely snippets they are...

    It is always hard to make the decision to pull back on a "successful" business...I have done the same thing with my doll clothing designing, I got very burnt out doing commission work and my own creativity became squashed and lost, I even lost my desire to even look at my personal doll collection after over 20 yrs of collecting...I am only now after 2yrs break looking at slowing going back to working on my designing my line again...

    The truth is success in business is not a true measure of a successful life...Be happy, Be with your family, BE YOU....and PRAY

    Blessings and Prayers Kelsie

  4. I totally understand! My etsy that I opened in December is just sitting there at the moment...and I am not sure what to do...I still enjoy making things...but I don't know if I want to keep on putting money in the shop (advertising and such) for not much in the end...the creating was more for the fun of it anyway...so, we'll see what'll happen!
    Can't wait to see your bedroom makeover! Hugs xxx

  5. Good idea take a break, that's what cool about etsy. you only sell you have made. So you don't have to feel the pressure of maintaining an inventory. : )

  6. Good for you! It is okay to take a break, we all need one sometimes. I bet you'll enjoy it too! Have fun with your etsy cut back!

  7. Ok, you can send all of your customers my way! ha, ha! I was expecting a slow down in January, too, but it was my busiest month yet! I'm glad that you took a much needed break, I certainly can understand the fact that creating didn't seem like fun any more! One day you will want to get back to it, til then, just enjoy the time you spend on your house, with your family, and all the other fun stuff that you love! BTW, how did you get featured in an Etsy newsletter? Sorry I missed that one!!

  8. Well...I can say that your things are so fabulous that I can see why it took off. I love your creations. They are so well done...so I can imagine the more you sold, the more orders you got. Taking a break and slowing down is a wonderful thing...once you do that I am sure your creative juices will come flowing back!!!

  9. I think you've probably made a very good decision, Kristi. It's great that your etsy took off, but people will still come and buy whether you add five new things a week or five new things a month. Enjoy your family and the time you can spend with them! Believe me when I tell you it goes by quickly.

  10. You are like talking my language girl! It can be so hard to find a balance between it all! If you are happy with your decision, then it is the right one for you!! :)

  11. I think it's great to take a break if you're not having fun anymore. You're absolutely right to maintain that perspective of why you became a stay at home mom in the first place. Sometimes it's easy to lose sight of that when we get caught up in the world of blogging and Etsy and Facebook and Twitter...wears me out just thinking about it! And at least you now know what sells in your shop so it will be easy to get it going again if/when you decide it's the right time!

  12. I'm with ya, Kristi! Only do it if you love it! Otherwise it will suck all the fun, and who wants a fun sucker??

    Sooo agreed. Take a break. Do it only for fun.

  13. Completely understandable. Plus, you've got to deal with the contest now, too. Figure out what works for you and makes you and your family happy. Can't wait to see the bedroom makeover.

  14. Things really happen the least you expect them to happen. Your shop is successful now, but if it does stress you and stop you from functioning normally then that's the time you really need a break.

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  15. I agree with Rebecca... work and fun great complement!!!

  16. I have just came to the conclusion just recently that it is ok to take a break from something so you can be what you wanted to be in the first place....i just quit a job that I didn't really need, and am concentrating on my family and house....what I wanted to do from the get go.....the job was only a way to "get me out of the house a little" but it took me away too much....so I know as a woman we naturally want to do it all...but it is impossible! I am sooooo proud of you and heck I am proud of me too :) You have amazing talent girl and I enjoy peeking into your blog!!! enjoy a break!

  17. THanks for enlightening me. I have an etsy shop too but it has yet to take off... I Now blog in hopes to bring more traffic. ANy ideas? Thanks for sharing! I am a Stay at home mom of 3 and i know how Burnt out feels all too well

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