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Tuesday, March 12, 2013

this fun online life.

Right now I'm prepping for my Handmade: Next Level class with the Influence Network this week and I thought I'd share a little bit about our lives as small business owners as it stands right now. I wonder if our lives will always be like this, so it might be fun to look back eventually, and also - it's one of my most emailed questions; 
what is your life like? how do you handle it all? 

So. Here's what it's like. 
First, our small business/online life has become much more manageable, structured, and consolidated over the last year and that is a goooood thing. As of right now, we run our shop, I write the blog, and we manage the network. I also write for/help manage SheReadsTruth, but that falls more into extra-curricular Jessi-ministry time. The shop feels very much like Nick's job, the blog feels like my job, and the network feels like a team effort. I don't do anything without Hayley and we don't do anything without our amazing team. 

But how does it all shake out? 
I'll tell you... 

Our schedule - monthly/weekly/daily is like a massive puzzle that we work on together. Things are planned pretty meticulously and most of our days are very much on purpose. At least once a week, Nick and I tackle the weekly schedule and talk about the days in detail. Then before going to bed, we kind of review the next day. We share and split responsibilities and we take days and nights off pretty seriously. Right now, Saturday is our only real day off from business, church, and ministry and we're getting better at guarding the mess out of it. But other than that, it's a big puzzle. 

About 70-75% of our income comes from our handmade shop, with the rest coming in from other endeavors and freelance stuff. Since this is our livelihood - we don't just watch what happens and hope for the best. We plan the shop and all of it's promotions and new releases and marketing based off past patterns and the budget. Right now, we almost always have a 2-3 month plan in place, I'd love to get to where I know what's ahead for a whole year, but we're not there yet. 

Like I said, Nick is pretty much 100% the boss of the print shop, even though I'm the mouthpiece. This has been incredibly good for our business. We've established that I have a good grasp on social media and women and their hearts, but when it comes to keeping things running and getting product out - he does the best. About twice a week, he has a packing/shipping session and he actually REALLY enjoys it. It feels like magic when my creative/marketing side and his strategic/logical side meet in the middle. I'm grateful for it. 

I think having inspirational women that you can look to is super important. There aren't many people who identify with our job/businesses/stresses/joys, but when I find someone - I watch them & draw encouragement from them. These people for me are 
Hayley & Mike: our business partners, of course. Hayley is my friend first, but she also really identifies with my schedule and my concerns and my stresses. It really helps that our husbands also really like one another and can relate to our personal brand of crazy. 

Lara Casey: editor & chief of Southern Weddings, mama, founder of Making Things Happen. Lara just inspires the mess out of me. I've got big hopes to one day 
share a cup of coffee with her! 

Korie Robertson: y'all - Duck Dynasty isn't just a funny show. It's a family business turned national brand. Do you not think it takes some wise women encouraging + serving those camo-clad men? The scenes where Korie comes into the office are usually super cute, but I see past that and I picture walking around our family's office years from now (minus the cameras). I'd love for Naptime Diaries to eventually employ people we love, with all of us working together to get more scripture in more homes in more creative ways. 

lastly, Lisa Leonard is a huge inspiration to me. Not only do I love her jewelry, I love her story. I love that she does what she loves and her husband partners with her and also does ministry. I love that even though she's incredibly successful, her children come first. I love that she is strategic AND kind and both encourage me. 

In general, I have to say - I love this crazy little life. I was telling a friend recently that something has certainly shifted in my head and heart and I rarely feel bitter that I have a lot on my plate and not a ton of people around who understand exactly what that looks like. Now, I just choose to feel grateful. I have a lot to get done every week, I have some very full hands. But I'm really grateful for this life. For sure. It's also sweet to have grace for other women around me, because who knows what they have on their plate that may be stressful for them. 

On Thursday, I'll be teaching the class on handmade businesses and I think there are about 10 seats left. If you're a small business owner who would like to learn more about going past hobby and into profitability, I'd love to have you join us! Grab more details here!

And if you're already signed up for the class, what are some questions you might have? 
I'd love to know!

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