Usually I don’t see myself as someone who complains and moans a lot. Some may disagree, of course, but I think for the most part, I let a lot of things go and try not to sweat the little stuff. There is something that makes me want to apologize for yesterdays’ post being whiny and there is part of me feels really good because I am standing up for myself. Not that I have really done anything yet, but just drawing the line in my own head and knowing within myself that things are going to change makes a big difference.
Now, I am not going to go on any rampage or anything silly like that. As with most of you, even though I am self-employed, these people are my business colleagues and as I have said many times in the past, we need each other in order to function. I don’t want to say or do anything (especially when my emotions are very high) that I would later regret.
The phrase “speak softly and carry a big stick” comes to mind, although with a bit of modified thinking.
As difficult as it is to admit, the only reason that I am in the position that I find myself in right now is because I allowed it to go this far.
“There are no victims – only volunteers” is another phrase that comes to mind (Oh – those Roosevelts were full of wisdom, weren’t they?)
My grandmother taught me that one and it was one that stuck with me throughout my life.
How true those words are in so many cases. How many times do we put ourselves into situations that are not what you would say “beneficial” to us only to cry “victim”?
Not me and not now.
Whatever things are with my business, it is because of choices that I alone made. I can’t blame anyone for holding a gun to my head and forcing me to do anything. I take full responsibility for where I am and also for the issues that I am encountering at the moment.
Although it feels comforting to know that many agree with me and feel my pain regarding the issues that I have talked about the past couple of days, I found that ultimately, I begin to feel like a victim. That is a hat I don’t like wearing very much. I don’t want it to appear to be the big bad companies against the long suffering designer. There is no pleasure for me being in that role.
I would much rather have my peers and customers and business associates look at me with admiration and respect. I want to pull myself out of this situation that is detrimental to my business and turn it into one that will not only make it grow, but also earn the respect of all of the above. After all, respect is something that is not given unless it is earned.
The way I am going to do this, is by being honest and fair and also by being realistic and starting to look out for myself and my company first and foremost. That doesn’t mean that I am going to be unfair or harsh with others, but it means that in my future decision making, my first and foremost bottom line will be what is healthy for me.
There is nothing mean or unscrupulous about that. After all, if my business isn’t healthy, how can theirs be? They depend on me as I do them and if I continued on the way I am it would only be a matter of time before I dropped off like so many have done before me and then they would have nothing. They are not designers. They need designers to be able to offer quality products to their customers. They could hire full time people, but I can’t believe the quality of the work would be the same as mine and my other designer colleagues that also supply them with projects. We have passion and experience as well as love of designing under out belts. It would be difficult, if not impossible for them to find replacements for us with those qualities – at least not at the wages they would be wiling to pay.
So let the campaign begin.
I won’t go back on any previous commitments that I made. After all, they are commitments. However, as new things arise, you can rest assured that things will be thought out and dealt with in a different way. No more bending over backwards for things that aren’t beneficial to me and my company. No more selling out cheap. It is time to be a business woman and work on the business part of my job.
This shouldn’t affect me very much, as I always try to hold myself to the highest of standards in regards to fairness and service to my customers and my wholesalers. I just need to learn to use the word “no” when others try to push the line with me. When put in those terms, it sounds easy, doesn’t it?
I have come to the conclusion that if the catalogs don’t want to take my designs, then it is their loss. I am not going to shelf this seasons things and hold back on them unless the companies want to pay me for exclusives. I had offered to do exclusives in the past for some of the companies and no one bit. Perhaps they didn’t want to take the risk and invest the money. The ones that did buy exclusive designs from me in the past have grossly underpaid me for them. I took them up on it because I was desperate at the time. But as they say “that ship has sailed” and the offer is no longer on the table. I am seeing more and more that when I sell exclusive rights to others, I am only creating competition with myself. In today’s market, which is not doing great, I can’t afford to do that anymore.
So with all that said, I take a deep breath and prepare to move on. I feel much better about things though, as I no longer feel trapped. The word “no” allows us so much freedom. As difficult as it is to use sometimes, it is extremely empowering when we finally figures it out. I look at this time in my business-life as a new beginning. Perhaps these past weeks were just growing pains and a necessary part of moving toward success. I certainly hope so.
Have a great day and thank you all again for your encouragement and support.
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"