This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #AmericanMakers #CollectiveBias #PrintsToLiveBy
Timing. It’s EVERYTHING.
There are countless articles detailing what it really takes to monetize a blog – even a small one like mine. It’s a lot. I have never worked harder on a job – any job – than I have right here. When I’m not making the food/craft/whatever, I’m writing or editing the copy, going through and editing hundreds of photos – to get “the one” – or researching ideas for upcoming content. It is relentless and challenging. And I love it.
But – as anyone who freelances knows all too well – there is always the fear that it will all end. Suddenly and without warning. That the jobs will dry up, financial arrangements will change, clients will go downsize/go out of business.
Or I’ll just burn out. And then what?
For as long as I’ve owned a Kitchen Aid, I’ve dreamed of baking for a living. If anyone ever asks me what my “happy place” is, the answer is (and always has been), in my kitchen. Baking. For hours on end.
And so it would seem obvious – and inevitable – that I do it for a living. At least try to. But there has always been a reason why I haven’t. I won’t bore you with the list that’s accrued over the years but I will say that the most consistent reason is this: I’m afraid that – once this passion becomes “a job” – the joy will be sucked right out of the thing I love to do the most. And my baking is too precious to me to take that chance.
And that’s actually one of the reasons I started this blog – to give a platform to the passions without the pressure of selling the goods. And over the almost five years that I’ve been blogging I’ve done more baking than in the over 25 years I’ve owned that Kitchen Aid.
And the joy hasn’t been sucked out. In fact, I love it more than ever. And I’m more confident in my skills than ever.
So the timing could not have been more perfect, when I received the opportunity to attend the Martha Stewart American Made Event. Part of this opportunity included creating materials for my small business, using the on-line printing services of The UPS Store, and I knew the time had come.
As I had always had the name of my baking business – “Sweet Tooth” – all I needed to do was bring the idea to life on flyers and business cards. I enlisted my talented Conor to design them for me, and he did an amazing job:
I wanted something lighthearted and a bit retro, and I couldn’t have been happier with what Conor came up with.
I then got to work on The UPS Store website. I had no idea that UPS did anything more than shipping, and was delighted with how user-friendly the process was for creating my flyer and business card designs (as we all know how NOT tech savvy I am!).
I easily uploaded the designs to The UPS Store site, and ordered my materials.
The quality of both the printing and the paper are outstanding, and I’m so excited to think about next steps, and how I will begin to spread the word about Sweet Tooth.
And the timing of the American Made Event was equally perfect too, as I got to sit in on some fabulous panels. There was Emeril Lagasse and Lucinda Scala Quinn, talking food (of course). And Avi Flombaum – a college drop-out turned insanely successful entrepreneur (and teacher!). And finally, a panel comprised of Martha herself (all the emoji hearts), Stew Leonard Jr., Tim Davis – president of The UPS Store, and David Bobbitt – president of Score Foundation, which mentors those who want to start, run or grow a small business.
This last panel in particular was so timely for me. I heard Martha Stewart talking about being surrounded by “millenials”, and needing to stay as current as possible – especially when it comes to technology. That, regardless of her age – or how long she’s been running her business (25 years!) – the quest for knowledge and insatiable curiosity never cease. And Tim Davis – who emphasized customer service as the “be all” – particularly in this age of on-line everything and a growing sense of disconnectedness between seller and consumer. And I loved Stew Leonard Jr.’s two words to live by – “balance” and “perspective”.
There were some amazing “makers” there too, displaying and selling their wares.
It was an inspiring day, to say the least, and perfect timing for me as I consider when and how to launch my own little biz.
SO inspiring, in fact, that I knew exactly what I wanted to say when I approached the Prints To Live By booth, hosted by The UPS Store. Attendees were given the opportunity to share a favorite quote, which was then hand-lettered and framed.
This is what I chose:
This has been a quote that has stayed with me of late, and resonates so strongly for me through many areas of my life. Again, perfect perfect timing.
What’s your secret dream? Did you pursue it? How did you get up the courage to do so? And if you didn’t, what held you back?