My dilemma

I am not sure that I am going to do myself any favours here but I need to form some thoughts!!! and I guess that part of the reason for a blog is to help me do that!

I make glass beads…except that I simply don’t have time right now! I work full time doing shifts and to make beads I need a good couple of hours free. It is not simply about making a glass ball on a stick it is more complex. Ok I don’t have to fire up the kiln I can batch anneal but I lose more beads that way (potentially anyway). So to make beads I have to have a few hours free. On top of that I am finding it frustrating. I don’t feel that I have moved on in my bead making skills for some time now and more frequently I find myself sitting in front of the flame totally at a loss at what to make. I fail to see colour combos like some people. I have tried lots of different ways of beating this lack of mojo but quite simply I have not made much since the beginning of this year! On top of that the book keeping is a complete bind for the end of year tax return. I struggle to keep my books mostly my own fault cos I am quite undisciplined like that but I also fail to see the point on a business that runs at a substantial loss!

Another factor is my home life. Tony has been fantastically supportive with the things I have done over the last year and going back to shifts has been quite difficult for him to come to terms with. Running my own business on top of that means that I spend an inordinate amount of time on the internet promoting myself and keeping my profile up. Working on a computer is not really something I can do with my husband especially one who is completely computer illiterate. I like my time off to be with my family and not sitting on a computer!!

On the other side I have spent time and money building up my skills and my business and collecting the equipment that I have and am totally reluctant to sell. But do I leave them in the shedio collecting dust just in case one day I decide to make beads! If only someone lived close by that I could buy torch time off when I wanted to make stuff. I thought I had a friend nearby but something seems to have gone wrong with that and I am not sure what which saddens me a lot!

When I went off sick last year Tony bought me a sewing machine cos I wanted to make bags and this week I have started quilting. There is no way I can sell what I make cos the price of material works out to be quite phenomenal. I have just ordered some stuff to make a quilt for me and the price of materials is £80 so to sell will cost something like £160, would you buy a handmade quilt for £160? I can’t sell £20 beads so highly unlikely that I can sell quilts!

My dilemma simply then is – do I keep my torch or do I sell it? Do I give this up as a bad idea now or do I hold some more???

Arrrggghhhhhhh!!! why do I have to make things so difficult and overthink stuff !!!

BTW as a final thing there are still a few bits in my Etsy sale here not sure how much longer I am gonna leave the sale going so if you have your eye on something get it before it goes cos once it has gone it has gone! These prices are the final reduction so  quick get in and pick up a bargain!



8 thoughts on “My dilemma

  1. Aw, Sam, it saddens me that you’re feeling this way, things seemed to be looking up for you.

    My personal opinion – don’t sell the kit. Not unless you really, really, really need the money. So what if it languishes in the shed, getting dusty? It will be there, when you WANT to make beads. And you probably will. But, instead of making them to sell, make them for yourself. For swaps. For gifts.

    If your business is running at a loss, don’t do it – just do the beads as a hobby, as and when you feel like it. There’s lots of people who spend money on a hobby which doesn’t give them any return – we work hard, we deserve ‘play time’.

    I still can’t help wondering if your lack of mojo is down to you putting yourself under pressure – I know you’ve tried not to, but clearly you’re still thinking in terms of “have I got time enough to make a decent set of beads, and have I got time to list them….”.

    So, forget about making to sell, forget about Etsy, but don’t sell your kit. Keep hold of it for a little while longer. And just do what you *want* to do for now.


  2. Sam,

    The thing is with art, is there isnt always money in it. It has to be done because you love doing it and are prepared to fight for it. Money is the bonus. Everyone who is involved in art in some way has their lulls and times where we feel we should give it up because the reality of money gets in the way. We also all experience ‘art block’ and have to wait for something to come along that we really care enough about to get into. Sometimes that can take months, years but when it comes along its worth it.

    Have you considered renting your equipment out? That way you still own it for when you want to get back into it.

    Bec x

  3. I had the same issue with my Etsy shop a few years ago. I was spending so much time “marketing” and trying to figure out what would sell, it sucked the fun out of it. So I closed up shop for a while and just had fun with the hobby again. I’ve re-opened, and sales are scarse, but I just make what I like (and keep a lot of it, or give it away as gifts) and figure anything I sell is just gravy. If you have a fulltime job, and the biz isn’t makeing you happy or making money, I’d agree with the other posters and say scale it back to being a hobby, or maybe a hobby that has occational sales, rather than a biz. I vote keep the torch. Once the burnout wears off, I bet you want to play with it again. Hang in there

  4. I would say keep it. If you sell it all and decide you miss it, it’ll cost more to buy it all back again. At least keep it for a good long time before you decide.

    Go and have a play when you really want to, when you aren’t worrying about having to produce something good in a short time period. I hear you on the time – I have a maximum of two hours in the evenings when I can torch, if I manage to start right on time with everything ready. Having a kiln actually makes it a bit more complicated, because I have to decide whether I’m switching it on or not! But I get grouchy if I don’t go and have a go most nights, even if it’s only making twisties for half an hour. It cheers me up tremendously.

    About the business, I don’t know. I’d say it sounds like you want to step it down, particularly the marketing. I don’t know if you’d be better to make it inactive so you don’t have to fill in the paperwork, or just pause it for the time being, so there isn’t much that needs adding. No idea how complicated it would be to start it up again once it’s closed down. It depends if you think you might want to sell in bursts occasionally, I guess. What I would do is try to keep it in a state where you could start back up again without too much hassle – don’t get rid of your website, for example. Keep a gallery on it. Don’t flush your mailing list.

    Good luck, and I hope you can enjoy it again without the pressure!

  5. Hi my lovely, well what a great amount of advice and all my thoughts too! Please dont sell your kit, stop putting yourself under pressure and do the beadmaking when you want too not because you feel you have too.

    Marketing is very time consuming, as well as the books! And when you have a young family, you want to spend time with them as well as having to work your new job (especially the shifts too!) All these factors are pressure, pressure you could well do without but its all about prioritising them! (Look at me I am totally rubbish at it!!) Along with following forums, fb, twitter and obviously running your blog too. You just have to say I cant do it all, so do what you want to do the most, at that time!

    Hoping there is some ME time in there ~ A MUST!

    I think that is the biggest problem of all, losing ME time means you get so dispondent with everything that you resent it! I have to say this is where I am AT myself, giving myself more time for ME! It has helped me get my head around priorities and taken a step back to get my future a little more straightened out, still got a long way to go but LITTLE STEPS!!! I think thats what maybe you may need to do, don’t try to take such BIG steps.

    As for inspiration maybe you could look at other jewellery makers work, what trends are IN on the high street, and what people are buying maybe some little spark may ignite to move your bead inspiration on! This is always a hard one, as what one person likes another may not this is true of what we like to wear as well as make!

    I really think you had spread yourself very thin, beadmaking, jewellery making, pmc/silversmithing, bag making and then the tutorials for the magazines with their deadlines, can you really cope with making and selling all of them, all of the time? All wonderful in themselves but impossible to achieve along with the family and now work commitments! It has had to have a major effect on you and your work!

    Stop being so hard on yourself and give yourself some breathing space and maybe little by little you will see what you want to do!!!

    Sorry if I have rambled on and I do hope it has helped in some way!

  6. As someone who has had her own product design business when I lived in South Africa, and now has my own childminding business in London… I still have much of my arty equipment I once used, to create what I used to create, even though I do not make money with it any more. I make things for myself, for friends, as gifts. It’s a creative outlet I NEED to have.

    I have never had an online shop before (I had a studio and factory where we made our products), so am unsure as to how much you need to market, but am sure it’s LOADS, as there is so much competition out there. The ONLY time I started making with my hobby (making handmade paper and greeting cards/wedding stationery/other paper products), was when I rented a unit, and hit the big boys for possible orders. When they knew I had the unit so could handle quantity, I got the orders… Woolworths SA, many tops hotels and game lodges, smaller retailers etc.

    There is a time and a place for everything and we go through cycles in our life. You probably need a break from it all, a time to focus on your family and yourself (often neglected when self employed), and who knows? After a couple of years that desire might come back and you’ll start creating for the market again. Refreshed and rejuvenated.

    I wish you all the very best, please keep us posted here how you get on. I have subscribed to your feed.

    Jen x

  7. Money can get in the way of dreams sometimes. Its very important to be sure on what you really want. Is it a way of making money or is it something you love doing. It sounds simple but once you truly decide it will help you be more creative.

    Passion can make us blind from bottom line if that is what your interested in. Its a wonderful thing to make money from something you love I’m sure 99% of the people in the world would love that.

    When reality sets in its easy to understand if it was easy to make money from something you love more people would be doing it.

    Hang in there be patient and it will work out for the best even if it might not seem like it now.

    All the best Cara x.

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