In Response to The Mystery

Thoughts on This Is What’s Holding You Back from Succeeding

It’s a fact that we can royally get in our own way and not even know it. I worked for two years full-time to get my online business up and running. It failed. Now I’m trying again, rebranding, new look, new product line, and it is being better received but still sales are one every few days only. *sigh* It is discouraging at times.

Is it me? Is it the product?

Since moving to Australia four years ago, I went from complete independence, friends, car, communities, resources, unlimited internet – Master of My Own Fate – to complete dependence: living in other people’s homes with all their stuff filling every room, intermittent internet, not allowed to work for half my time here, unable to find work since being allowed to work, no money of my own, no community except online, a twenty year old car with a sketchy transmission, and a new incredible husband who is my raison d’etre and heart’s home but who also has had work and financial losses so we’re looking at a zero cash flow and no savings within the next couple of weeks.

I am knocking at the door of age 56. I have never felt so little mastery over my life and still so fortunate to have found my true love. For goodness sake, when my first husband abandoned me 25 years ago, I took our toddlers and moved to a cabin in Alaska and carved out a new life. I am unbeatable. So I am shocked that this can actually be my real life.

I did everything I had the resources to do for this business and, frustrated by this lack of control over my own life, I took complete control over what I could to grow the business.

I asked, I read, I implemented, I whinged, I rallied, and I worked like a dog because I believed.

And it failed.

BUT I’ve learned a lot and I’m starting over and I know more, thanks to people like Jess Van Den, Karen Gunton, Mayi Carles, and April Bowles Olin who teach and blog and comment and help. I love what I do and I am still hanging on this premise Jess recently immortalized in print: “It’s never been easier to make money from your creativity than it is now…..The only thing you need to spend is time.”

I have had nothing but creativity and time.

There is nothing holding me back except these external limitations so I have to wonder if the above is true. Is it something else? Is it just down to that magical moment when customers find us, start to stream, and then flock to us?

Handmade is a relationship. Business is a relationship.

And no amount of listing on Etsy and tweeting is going to produce that connection. The tipping point seems to be dependent on courting, and as we know, courting can produce a spark when our eyes meet across a crowded room, or it can produce stalking and a restraining order. The tipping point became a mystery to me.

Limitations or no, I now work and watch and wait for the the tipping point. No one among the business gurus has been able to point to it directly, predict it, teach us how to make it happen. They’ve only talked around its mystery, like a Yeti sighting. “Go to Canada. Sit under a tree. The only thing you need is time.” Then they tell us to blog, tweet, post, comment, share, giveaway, host, photograph, list, rinse and repeat.

But no one can really tell us when the love will blossom.

Limitations or no, I now work and watch

Perhaps the last line item necessary, beyond knowledge, money, time, and fear, is love. I am waiting to fall in love and waiting for my customers to fall in love with me. And when I look at it that way, none of the obstacles or successes matter, because there’s something non-quantitative and organic happening and that magic does not depend on any amount of posting, pinning, or pining.

It’s going to happen when it happens.

We know this. We read testimonies of those that put their wares out there and almost immediately had more business than they could handle. And then there are those who churned the cauldron for years before finding the right recipe for their business success.

Being a romantic, which is pretty much how I got myself in this life over which I have so little control – finding my true love who came to the Buddhist retreat center where I lived and served full-time and then moving to another country to marry him – I am willing to, no, I am eager to keep primping and adjusting and touching up my metaphoric lipstick in preparation for the kiss of success.

The cauldron is full of sketches and stories and bits of unusual fabrics and the heady aroma of soft wool fleece. I am making. I am making these things for you, dear lover of play and story. I’ll be hanging out on Etsy with a glass of wine. I’ll be wearing a red carnation. Can you hear the seductive violin in the background?

I will list, and post, and pin, and share, but I am giddy with waiting for my customer base and I to fall madly in love. It will be the magical tipping point. The mystery will be solved and the Yeti found. When we do fall in love, I will order lobster, and my world will never be the same again.

Visit Allison’s Etsy shop here.

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