First off, I've been really loving doing this little series on the sins I struggle with (all I really wanted to do was write a post about vanity and then all the other sins spoke to me). I felt like the other sins spoke to me and needed to be addressed. Secondly, I don't consider myself a religious person and am using these sins as they relate to understanding myself as a moral human being. While this is deserving of another post that I will not write, one can be both moral and atheist at the same time. However, this is not the place I want to go with this post - today I want to talk about greed and how it has affected me and my blog and my life.
Now, I wouldn't say that I've had a lust for money or riches or anything close to the most literal interpretation of greed - which is a inordinate desire to possess wealth, goods, or objects with intention to keep it for oneself (thank you Wikipedia) - however, I have had a bout with something that really impeded my ability to share and create things freely with out the desire for recognition or compensation. And that really affected all of my businesses. I began to feel like I deserved something that wasn't really owed to me. This is why I closed up my shop and then decided to offer free things on the blog because I wanted to create with out the desire to be compensated....does that make sense? I was getting too caught up in what would sell and really missing the creative aspect I had when I really wanted to open my shop.
Here's my short shop story - The summer before my sophomore year of college my boyfriend at the time was like 'sure, open an etsy shop' so I did. Then we broke up and I changed my major to art. I loved being creative and listing things in my shop. However, I was making little sales - pretty sure I spent more in etsy fees than I made. I had a lot of passion for it at this time, did a few craft shows, kinda lost my passion junior year and really just wanted the easy money I thought etsy could be. Senior year, same sort of thing....still selling nothing on the side, finally gave my crocheted hats to a friend who was selling them for me at a fundraiser thing for $5 a hat - far less that they were worth and far less than I though I'd deserved - since no one really wanted them anyway. Super senior year (yes, that happened) same thing, trying to sell things, kinda got back into it, finally met a goal of 10 sales by the end of the year - which was a lot of work between like October and December when all the sales happened. Fast forward, I'd graduated college, was taking a ceramics class just to be creative, did a few fairs, sold nothing......tried to launch collections in my shop which failed, still had a whole bunch of handmade stuff left over (I still do - some is listed in my handmade shop that have very few sales). I really wanted to make money from my ceramic wares that I still think are pretty awesome, beautiful, and deserving of good homes. After all of that seemed to get me no where, I started doing blog designs which seemed to be the way to go. I was making a bit of $$ off of it and considered it to be pretty successful. Moved to Michigan/Indiana, rebranded the shop, started doing blog designs and some stuff in Zazzle. More graphic design oriented and while I liked exploring and learning and designing I also realized that blog design was full of pressure. I was making money - there was a demand and I was kind of good at it - but the though always crossed my mind 'what if I fucked up someone's blog?' Then we opened the vintage shop, which of all the shops was the most fun to do. It was something that Zach & I could do together and if I ever find myself unemployed again I am so all over that. But since I was trying not to put all my eggs in one basket I was getting sort of bogged down with all of it - blog designs, vintage shop, zazzle, handmade shop, blogging, etc. Then because I was feeling like a failure at all of this I struggled to find a full time job, which I eventually landed. And that is where it all went down hill. I got negative feedback on our vintage shop and that was the time I decided I needed to close all doors to things I was actively doing - the blog designs and the vintage - because I just couldn't provide the quality of service I needed too. I was putting things off because the greed got the best of me. I wanted the profit with none of the hard work. That's how I see it now. I stopped doing things for me and started doing the things that would make the most. And I realized, this wasn't my full time job - I had one of those - and I should get back to what was really me.
That was big hunk of text huh?
I started to feel like I deserved sales and that I just had to find what was selling, even when my passion for it was over. That is why I ended up changing my blog over. In my about me blurb at the top there I say I believe I should try something new everyday and I want to keep to that motto. I want to explore what I like and when it no longer makes me happy, I want to change it. Is that bad? I don't think so and I actually am really inspired by Elise's blog and her Make29 and here Make&Give30 where she's doing projects for herself yet still able to profit - both in income and in personal growth - by being willing to explore (hey, funny how this word is working it's way in here right?) what she'd like to do.
So, like I said earlier, I stopped trying to create things to sell and started to create things I loved. But the part of me that really liked sharing what I'd made was feeling that this was a really selfish thing to do so I started offering a lot of things for free.
After I discovered my mojo again I totally was all over a million new things - Project Life, Planners, Beauty and Makeup, Blogging, YouTube - and I really wanted to put myself out there again but with little pressure. I stopped trying to be that blogger I stopped trying to get the recognition of everyone and focused on created a blog I'd like to read. I stopped trying to force myself to make money from blogging - I always felt so much pressure when there were sponsors or required posts and I felt like these posts were my worst content. I was struggling to be one with the bigger bloggers when I couldn't naturally integrate these things into my blog with out feeling like something was off. These posts weren't my greatest content.
I've decided it is time to open up shop again and this time it's digital downloads. I can create and I don't have to worry about the leftover things that don't sell. I've loved selling things on Zazzle because it's pretty passive. I create, you customize and buy it if you want. I don't have to please everyone and I can still feel profitable and creative with out the stress.
Overall, I've overcome greed by focusing on my needs - which seems to be contradictory, you think? I am focusing on being the best me I can be and the best me I can present to the world - the best me I'm proud and that may not be someone who is able to make bank from their blog. I want to be inspiring and I want to try, I don't want to be greedy and not explore what I could in this life.
**Sidenote - I didn't intend for this to be a series nor did I intend for this series to turn into something that goes a long with my word of the year which is explore, but it has. Maybe just because it has been on my mind lately and I really want to live up to the word. You can read more about my word here.
Do struggle with something like this? Something that seems to be like greed, affecting a part of you that you don't like?