I am a bit late writing this morning, I suppose that is of no consequence to most of you. It seems to be that time of year when there is more than the ‘normal’ amount of correspondence to attend to. Or maybe that is just part of the business growing. Either way, it is good.
A big part of what keeps me motivated and encourages me is the feedback I receive from customers. Whether it is positive or suggestions on how I might do things a little better, it is always a learning process and I try to listen to what others have to offer and weigh each idea with deep consideration.
I think one of the dangers of being self-employed is that working for oneself, you tend to be a bit isolated. Anyone who has their own business (and are successful at it) realize the amount of time it consumes out of your day in order to be run properly. That leaves little time for outside socialization.
Before the days of social networking, I could understand how that would become a problem. People are naturally social beings and locking oneself away and constantly working could easily lead to being burned out.
But with the ability to constantly communicate with others through our computers and the many forums and social networking sites, I don’t think that happens as much. I can only speak for myself, but I find that ‘talking’ to my friends throughout the day and seeing what they are up to is a continual source of encouragement and inspiration. And it makes life fun too!
Yesterday was one of those days for me where several times throughout the day I really stopped and thought about how much I loved my job. I spent most of the day writing up the pattern packet for the little sled ornaments, but in between writing, I was answering questions from customers, filling orders and doing other types of correspondence that were related to the business. I also kept an eye on my Facebook page where many of my creative friends post progress pictures and stopped in throughout the day to splash a bit on the screen about how their day was going. It was a warm and friendly atmosphere and more than once I laughed out loud at the funny things that they were talking about or said. I also was able to help someone through some questions and admire the work that another person did on their current project – all from my own computer right here in my own house.
It is part of what keeps me going on those ‘blah’ days when I don’t feel very motivated. (Yes. They happen to ALL of us!)
The other day a customer sent me a photograph of a project she made. Eden wrote me that she takes patterns that were intended for the scroll saw, and makes other things from them. Recently, she saw my pattern for my dimensional Christmas star ornament:
and she used it to make this wonderful hanging quilt:
When I saw this, it really made me feel good. What a clever idea! Along with the picture, Eden wrote me a beautiful note about how she began doing this about five years ago and how she is introducing this idea to her quilter’s guild, The Enchanted Quilters from New Mexico.
I feel very honored that she chose one of my designs to share with her group. It is instances such as this and wonderfully kind people that take the time out of their day to write me and show me what they do that encourage me on those days when I feel ‘uninspired.’ I don’t know if it is because my little business is growing, or because more people are using the computer as a way to communicated, but it seems to be happening more and more lately. Perhaps it is a bit of both.
I know this may sound like a cliche to many of you, but I really don’t do this for the money. I know that it isn’t good business practice to think the way I do sometimes, and in order to keep doing what I do, I have to adhere to some sort of business practices, but I feel that the real reward for doing what I do is stories like this. When I design, I think of the people who I am designing for and how in some little way I am doing something that may enrich their lives or put a smile on their faces, and those of the recipients of the project that they make from my designs.
And that as they say – is priceless.
Thank you all for your wonderful letters and words of encouragement. You certainly all make my life much better!
-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs (http://www.sheilalandrydesigns.com) Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"