Friday, January 11, 2013

They Aren't Pipe Dreams

Last week I mentioned something while I shared my goals with you-- something that has been really bothering me the last few months. I mentioned the fact that a lot of people in my life (real world, not virtual world) don't seem to take my design business seriously. I'm not really sure what their reasoning is, but I get a lot of nods, blank stares, and laughs when I mention anything about my greeting cards and stationery. One person even stated, "Haha! You sell just ONE card to people?! Who buys just ONE card online?!"

I am a teacher now, but I always knew I wasn't meant to teach forever. I've always been a creative person and a free spirit and, quite honestly, teaching in a public school system doesn't cater to either of those qualities. I come from a family in which my mother and father are both artists and have their own businesses. They never had the office jobs or the standard professions that people in today's society seem to assume we must have in order to be taken seriously. This is not weird to me. It is normal. However, this is the only reasoning I can see as to why these people doubt me so much when I talk about my business.

I can tell I'm soon going to be ready to move on. That looks kind of scary when I see it in writing, but in reality I've told this to many people (including my assistant principal-- this isn't breaking news in case someone from school were to stumble upon this). I've just been feeling the itch.

I believe in myself. I know I can sustain myself (once I've paid off all of those pesky student loans). I just wish everyone around me would believe in me too. My parents, sister, and of course Andrew are behind me completely. Yet some days I still feel like the little kid that tells an adult that when they grow up they want to accomplish big things only to have the adult steer them in a different direction or suggest an alternate choice. I almost want to be that kid and yell back, "They aren't pipe dreams!"

I decided to hang this print in my studio from Pen & Paint. It spoke to me for several reasons. 1) The vibrancy of the colors and the sketch itself is inspiring. 2) It reminds me that I AM going to do this. This is not some sort of silly pipe dream. Every day I tell Andrew, "I am going to have an awesome blog" or "I am going to sell ten of these cards in a week" or a general "I'm totally going to kick some ass today!"

And then I do it.

I do it because I know that I can. I've decided that it is going to happen and so it happens. And If I know I can make it happen, then friends, family, and other people around me, please encourage me. It's a rough road having only a few people on your side and sometimes you can use all of the extra motivation that you can get!

Does anyone else ever feel alone in their ambitions? Or feel as though they are not being taken seriously? What do you do to keep yourself motivated and on track to accomplish your dreams?


  1. Heidi, thanks for writing about this issue. You are not alone! I know a bunch of other independent small business owners who have not been taken seriously when they started out. It's happened to me too! But through sheer hard work and perserverance I have shown them differently. Ignore the nay-sayers and surround yourself with people who want you to succeed!
    best wishes,

  2. YES! You can and will do it! Haters gonna hate. I ran into some of that same nonsense from people (mostly co-workers) when I was making jewelry and still working a day job. They thought it was cute that I had a hobby, basically. My parents own their own business, too, so when I realized radio wasn't what I wanted to do anymore, I started Little White Chapel. It just seemed so obvious to me that I should work for myself when I had the skills, and like you said, it's because of my parents.

    Anyway, some people just won't get it, and I'm still learning to let that go. Sometimes I feel kind of weird hanging out with people from my husband's office because of the societal constructs you mentioned, but I try not to. I might not have a corner office, but I started my own company with a $30 investment and now it's my job. I think I should be proud, not feeling lame. :-) And you should feel the same way! Your shop is really taking off! Do you have a goal date to quit?

  3. I say if you can be successful and support yourself following your passion, go for it! You don't ever want to go through life feeling as though you are holding yourself back from accomplishing your dreams. Screw society, and do what you love! ;)

  4. It will never cease to amaze me when I hear about people knocking down others for the dreams they have. I just want to scream at them! What if you did that to them!? You're taking risks to be happy. I'm guessing they don't take very many risks and in turn, aren't as happy as they probably could be. Good for you! As long as you've taken the time to figure out exactly how it will work in your life (and it appears you have), go for it! Don't let others knock you down!

  5. I don't understand how friends can't be 100% supportive, regardless of the dream we choose to have. Your work looks incredible, I love that you have the passion to make it a reality, and you should always be proud of what you do. I have some big dreams for B'more Girlie, but too at times feel like others may not take me seriously. However, it's my life, it's what I want, and I'm going to do it. Keep kicking ass in what you do!! :)

  6. First of all, I would ask those people, "Do you ever spend money on gas to drive to the store to buy just one card because you needed it?" because that's about all the argument they deserve for being so narrow-minded. I'm sorry that you have to deal with people being negative, or close-minded maybe, about your work and your business. My guess is that those people just cannot envision a life outside of an outside paying job. And when an idea is foreign, you make fun of it.

    I'm in between right now. I don't want to teach again. I don't love it and I really don't want to put myself into that school environment again but I'm not at a point yet where I consider my business a business. And when people ask me how it's going (my little hobby) then I don't exactly know what to say.

  7. That print is so inspiring! I agree about not being taken seriously. I've had several online businesses, and my family often just shakes their head whenever I have a new idea. All I can think of are the great artists and their masterpieces-- do people really know how many they went through that were so-so or "okay" before coming up with something we can consider a masterpiece?

    I'm so glad you posted about this. You are not alone, and we are not playing at pipe dreams. My husband and I love your shop, and we wish you lots of luck pursuing your non-pipe-dream business! :)

    Thanks for sharing this on the Etsy Blog Team! :)

    Tiffany Barry
    In a Pretty Box
    Enter our giveaway!

  8. oooohh. I have the similar feelings from some friends and family. I went to school to become a physicist and then graduate school. I was not very successful in grad school I realized that I did not want to be a scientist anymore. Part of that was because I was getting great grades and also when I left I could not find a job at all in anything physics related. Family and friends have this perception that when you go into school for one career that you have to stick with it for your entire life. If you experience any changes then it's just a 'phase' not an actual permanent change. My best friend is currently a NYC high school teacher and she has decided to quit. She enjoys teaching however she is ready for a change too. She may go back to teaching or she may not but she has gotten a lot of crap from some people that don't understand that people change. She is currently a Mary Kay consultant and decided she wants to do that full time (hence her quitting in a few months). She has become really successful in it and sees herself growing more and more. I support her in everything that she does even if it's stepping outside the box because I'm doing it too!. I definitely believe you will be successful no matter what plus.. it doesn't hurt to try. There will ALWAYS be a need for teachers if other things don't work out.

  9. I think you have amazing talent Heidi and I believe in you! Some people cannot think outside of their little box and cannot imagine doing something that doesn't have a designated path. For others, that's what inspires and drives us to create wonderful things. I love that print and think you've already taken it to heart. You have a great blog, many fans, and a successful Etsy shop with almost a thousand sales! That is amazing!! Don't let others' negativity bring you down, just tune it out and stay focused on your dream. Your future looks bright to me!

  10. So inspiring! I can't wait to see this happen for you! And damn those student loans...

  11. Hell yes- you go for it!!
    And no, you aren't alone in that- almost every single big dream I've had has been doubted and questioned by almost everyone in my life (most notably by my family, despite the fact that I have a very supportive, nurturing family). I once asked my mother "why bother telling me I can achieve anything, if you're just going to naysay everything I dream?!". Her answer? "I'm trying to make sure you understand what the pitfalls might be, so you are aware that you might fail". Twisted logic, but logic nonetheless.

    It could be that your friends don't understand that such a business DOES exist (you aren't inventing the wheel), or that they aren't sure how to be supportive, or that they are worried you might fail and then be horribly depressed. But I think you're well within bounds to (politely) ask for their support and assistance...maybe in helping you choose a design or weigh-in on colors, or even spread the word once your business is established. I think recruiting them to assist will let them know a) you ARE serious, and b) they can be vested in a way that is no-risk for them.

    And do let us know when your shop goes live! Some of us DO buy one card for one occasion. Or prints. :D

  12. You CAN do it! Sometimes people who are just happy in the normal 9-5 world don't understand why people like us want something more. I think a lot of people are fine just going to work and getting their paycheck and living, and that's great, good for them. Personally, I would rather have an inconsistent income and do what I love than just do a j-o-b. Life's too short :).


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