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a few tools of the trade

liz lamoreux

yesterday's P.O. adventure

Over the last week, I have been pretty busy with holiday orders from my Etsy shop. And I have to say, it has been kind of awesome. As in "I am not as frazzled as I expected to be" kind of awesome. When last Wednesday's sale was a bigger success than I anticipated (thank you!), I knew I would get the orders sent in time for Christmas, but I didn't think it would take me less than a week to get quite a few of them out the door. As I was packaging while Ellie napped yesterday, I started to think about the tools that have helped me with my Etsy business lately, from using online shipping to being aware of self-care, and thought it would be fun to share a few. 

1) Uline has awesome customer service and they ship same day. I buy padded envelopes, those delightful little manila tags, glassine bags, tissue paper, and other fun things from Uline. You get things in bulk though so it might not work for everyone, but it also is much cheaper to get a big box of 250 envelopes than buying 25 at your local office store (or buying 10 tags for $5 at your local scrapbook store). If you have another favorite supplier, please share in the comments! 

took this right as i was having a "move everything toward the center of the table so ellie can't reach it" moment

2) Over the weekend, I started using PayPal shipping for the first time. I know, I know, how have I had an Etsy shop for more than four years and I just started using online shipping? Well, the simple truth: I was overwhelmed. But it is super easy. You need a postal scale and labels (and you need to know that the only labels that seem to work with PayPal shipping are this size, which are two to one sheet) and printer. Because my studio is pretty small and my kitchen table has to become my shipping station when I have a lot of orders, my wireless printer makes it so much easier for me. (This is my favorite printer since the one I had in college years ago and the first that was truly "plug and play" for me.)

3) Having a way to "store" the jewelry as I was making it was key to things going smoothly. As I made each necklace, I would hang it on a display piece I use for the pajama soiree/trunk show nights at my retreats. I have taken an old small wooden shutter and simply hammered small nails across the top for the necklaces to hang from. It is hinged, so the shutter stands up. This way they don't get tangled and I can see what I have made. Here is a not so awesome photo but it will give you an idea of what I mean. I love it so much that I think I might use another one in our bedroom to store my own necklaces. Although I might hang it on the wall. I will take a better photo soon!

4) Noticing the self-care I need. Here are just a few ways I am practicing self-care right now:

 

"time to pick up the pieces off the floor mom"

  • Tea. Mugs and mugs of tea. I thought a cold might be coming on over the weekend, so I drank a lot of hot, hot tea and it helped. Mint tea from Trader Joe's is my current favorite.
  • Continuing to enjoy this time of year and documenting it (more on the documenting part soon). We have decorated just a bit and put up a tree, but we might not do more than that. And the truth is that part of the reason I won't decorate more is that I don't want to go through the boxes of decorations in the garage. And I am okay with that.
  • Stopping everything to simply have fun. On Sunday, I was vacuuming while Ellie and Jon listened to music. When I realized they were dancing, I stopped cleaning and joined them.
  • Resting and reading. After I went to the post office yesterday, I still had some time until Ellie's babysitter was scheduled to go home (right now, we have an awesome high school student who comes over for 8-10 hours a week). I did have quite a few things on my to do list, but I didn't have much motivation to do them. So I went to Starbucks and had a peppermint mocha and read. It felt like I was majorly breaking the rules, but then I realized that there really aren't any rules when it comes to getting through and taking care of me so I can take care of others. And it wasn't a waste of money (which was a gremlin that came up for me) because today I feel rested, clear-headed, and ready to tackle more things. 
  • Paying attention to what Ellie Jane needs. This really does fall into the category of my self-care, and it helps me to think of it like that sometimes. I am trying to really be aware of when she is showing signs of needing a nap or that she wants to go outside and run around. I am not altering our schedule too much by packing it with things (not that we have a schedule...but...alas there is a rhythm to it all in there somewhere) because if she gets overtired and has a meltdown, I know I won't be far behind. I am also becoming more aware of how much she enjoys playing by herself, so I am working a bit while she does that but including her in the ways that I can (even if that means just putting her in her high chair with a puzzle and drink while I package things and chat with her). 
  • Using my altar daily and burning candles throughout the day and while I work. It is a simple thing but it helps to ground me and I believe that is passed into the talismans I send out into the world.

5) And another major help to all aspects of my business has been working with Nona Jordan for the last few months. I keep saying I am going to write a post all about her (and I will!), but the truth is that it is hard to articulate all the shifts I have experienced. Recently though, it really helped me to begin to see the numbers of how my business has grown this year. I have had some guilt around a few things concerning money (okay, that should read, "I have a lot of guilt concerning money for lots of reasons"), and looking at the numbers has pushed me to own that I am really running a business over here and I should be proud of that. In turn, owning this truth invites me to feel lighter while I work because I see how it all connects to what I feel called to be doing in this world. (Letting go of the guilt is key to so much for me.)

As I wrote this today, I started to add several paragraphs about what it is like to run a business from home and be a work at home mom and how it saddens me to think about the assumptions people make when they come to a blog and only see part of the story. But these paragraphs were beginning to ramble and suffer from explanation-itis, so I have popped them into a Word document to look at later.

That said, I really do want to share more about my business and the projects I am working on and pull back the curtain a bit. I get questions about how I do it all and I am sometimes puzzled by how to answer and wonder what others thing "it" is. But then I look how my life has changed so much in the last two years and realize I do have a few things to say about this.

In this moment though, I feel moved to say: I try to find my way. I live with my heart open. And I fall down. And I realize I have to shift things. And I have to realize I cannot do it all. And I have to honor that letting go of others' expectations is a piece for me (even though that is a hard one). And I breathe. And I try to be still. And I try to remember to choose love and seek the joy each day. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. And somehow in the midst of it, I am beginning to see that it really is unfolding just as it should...