Moving On

Owning a small business is tough. At one point you hope that you can make something that everyone will want and you can sell it. When you find something that sells, you don’t want to let go of it. But what if that something makes you unhappy? What if every time you sell that item you dread the entire process and wish you didn’t have to do it? Is it then worth continuing to make the product, just so you can sell it?

This is something I’ve been struggling with for a while. Recently, a member in one of my Etsy groups announced that she would no longer be making some of her popular quilts. She said that she simply wasn’t happy making them. She didn’t enjoy it and wanted to make other things. Things that she enjoyed making. This was one of those moments when you smack yourself in the head with the heel of your palm and say, “THAT’S what’s wrong! THAT’S exactly what I need to do!”

So I did it. And what did I change? I stopped making my embroidered pot holders and small appliance covers. I just didn’t enjoy doing it. Most of them would take up to 10 hours to create depending on the intricacy of the embroidery and the quilting. Then it was the fitting and stressing over if it was the right size, if the client would like it, if they sent me the right measurements, etc., etc. I also have a collection of close to 300 different embroidery designs. But not one of them is ever what my clients want, unless it’s the rooster and love bug collection.

Honestly, I had only started making the pot holders as a way to run stitch outs for new patterns. Then someone asked if I could make matching appliance covers. Sure! Why not?? Thus started my journey down that road. Psh! Why do I do such things to myself??? My covers were quilted, embroidered, some with piping and ruffles and took forever. I just couldn’t make them fast enough to justify the price people wanted to pay.

I. Just. Quit. I removed all of them from my Etsy shop. I let people know on my Facebook page, and I am now only doing quilts and moving into making knitting and crochet patterns. I want to do what I love to do, not something that stresses me out. Besides, isn’t that one of the benefits of working for yourself?

It all sounds terribly selfish, but it’s not. I’m giving up the sales I was making off of them. I’m working on a new path that I’m not sure will sell, but hopefully will. It’s a risk. But I’m going to do it. I finished up my last mixer cover this past Sunday, put it in the mail on Monday, and nearly skipped out of the post office, knowing I would never have to do another one. It was a very freeing moment.

Are you a small business owner? What are some moves you’ve made in your business that you weren’t too sure of? How did it work out? 

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