Love Your Business…Enough.

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If you’re anything like me, you absolutely love what you do. You love being creative. Building something from nothing. The challenge. The early mornings and late nights and everything in between. You love the disappointment because it only makes you try harder next time. You love the sense of accomplishment. The feeling of, ‘yes, I really can do this.’

You love your business.

But do you love it enough?

Do you love it enough to….

Pay Yourself. I’m not talking about the spare change leftover after you break even. I’m not even talking about the paltry minimum wage labor costs you might’ve factored in. This is about loving your business enough to want it sustainable and successful…this is about paying yourself what you are worth.

Stay True to Your Passion. Cherishing your business is not about making anything people will buy, it’s about making something you love and strategically finding the market who appreciates it.

Say No.  Loving often means setting boundaries. Sometimes we need to decline invitations, proposals, and requests. Saying no can free us up to say yes to things that really matter.

Make it a Priority.  This means sacrifice. Tough decisions. Putting other things aside.  I’m not saying work comes before family, but it just might have to come before sleeping in, reality tv shows, and an always clean house.

Invest.Be it time, money, resources…your heart. Investing in your business isn’t quite the same as an expense, it’s like planting a seed to let it grow.

How will you start loving your business enough?

17 comments

  1. Katy says:

    I love the positive vibe of this post. But I’m doing handmade greeting cards–a small market, and there’s a limit to what I can charge for paper cards. If I up the prices to pay myself better (I’m netting a teensy profit now) the price point will be too high. I could mass produce, but that’s not what I’m in it for. So?

  2. Bonnie says:

    Thanks for this post…it’s perfect! I do love my little creative biz, but often feel like it has to come last after everything else is done; which means very little sleep! I was thinking the other day how so many people are so busy with all the tasks of life, and how it’s not uncommon for people to try and outdo each other on how busy they are. I realized I was feeling guilty for having so much fun and enjoying the hours I put into my Etsy shop and all things related. I have to turn that around! Thanks for the push!

  3. Amber says:

    Interesting points here, I was wondering if any others had problems with friends and family wanting free items from their shops? It happens to me constantly. I try to direct people over to my etsy shop to purchase and I do offer several discounts but some people just assume I will give it to them personally or offer it to them cheaper or even free. It’s so hard to get buissness and then getting business and not getting paid isn’t sustaining my business….any suggestions?

  4. Nanako says:

    Food for thought! Thank you for a great post Allisa – really connect with all your bullet points! For us, being self-employed is a way of life + we’re now trying to build in “fun” into the business plan. Sometimes we just get way too serious + forget to have fun!

  5. @katy – Appreciate your comment & concern! Handmade can be difficult to grow…our initial plans are not always scalable.
    If you wanted a bit of advice, I’d suggest seeing how you can best leverage your products now. Perhaps not mass-produced but more efficiently made. Time is currency 😉
    Also, maybe reconsider what you think is too a high price point. If there is value and worth included in a product…there is a market who will happily pay and treasure it!
    Best to you!

  6. Geri Jewitt says:

    Great post! Having recently invested my my most precious commodity – my time – into myself as a FULLTIME (yay!) graphic/web design small biz, these points are so very apt!

    @amber – this may be hard to hear, if all of your friends & family want your hard work for free, it doesn’t sound like they’re being very respectful of you… unless you’re getting something of value (to you) from them, try to hold firm & charge them what you think they should pay!

    Be kind, be brave & believe in yourself!

  7. @amber – oh, what a difficult position to be in, isn’t it? I’ve found that being open and direct about what exactly it is that I do has cleared up any misunderstandings…in advance.
    For example, I phrase things very carefully –
    “I work from home.” “let me check my schedule, that may be day in the studio.” “I’ve been working very hard on my newest collection, can I share photos with you of what I’ve got so far?” I’ve found that sharing with friends & family the amount of work & dedication it takes not only adds credibility to my business, but also makes it clear that there is value in my work….not to just be given away.

    Though I still love to give friends & family things I make and try to be clear that this is something personal, not just from my shop.

    Hope that helps. Always happy to answer other business-y questions! Best to you & your shop.

  8. .tif says:

    This is a timely post for me. I do cherish what I do and truly believe my passion is headed in the right direction. I’ve been freelancing as a designer for over a year and business has been slow to absent. I think it’s because I haven’t really focused my efforts in the right place … or haven’t taken the time to really decide where my right place is.

    Reading this reminds me that it’s really time I sat down and loved my business more.

  9. Allisa, thank you so much for this! I love it, especially where you say “Cherishing your business is not about making anything people will buy, it’s about making something you love and strategically finding the market who appreciates it.” I don’t know how many people who have told me “oh, you should make this. And this. And that!” and as I started out I did that thinking that people would buy it if I made it. It turns out that not only did I not enjoy making some of those things, not as many people as I thought would buy them actually did. I am now in the process of whittling my products down to the core, so I can focus on things I enjoy making.

  10. ginger hooper says:

    I love this article. Just because I loving sewing children’s clothing doesn’t mean I want to sew for adults or do alterations(ugh). I promised myself a few months ago that the word No is a complete sentence even when it comes to family. I don’t feel creatively fed and really hate doing them even for myself. Of course they want them done free or very cheap and even give me a deadline to finish them. No more. Whe I’m doing these things for me no one ever volunteers to clean my house. I’ve decided if they get mad because I say no, so be it. I sew because I love it, it’s my creative theraphy and it”s supplements my income. This article is right on time. Thanks for all of the comments.

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