For about 15 months I ran a vinyl business. I made shirts and vinyl decals and signs. In December, I took a break for Christmas and while on Christmas Break I decided not to open my business back up after the beginning of the year. I’ve caught a lot of crap for quitting so I thought I’d take a minute to explain my reasoning, because it’s on my heart.
My business started out as a hobby so I could fill a small booth at the local flea market. Quickly I got very busy. I started to fill custom orders and the next thing I knew I was applying for a tax id number and running a full blown business. Before I knew it, I was working 10+ hours a day. If I wasn’t filling orders I was designing or I was inputting receipts for taxes or answering questions about quotes, or searching for ideas because someone wanted something but they weren’t sure what so they needed me to find ideas. My phone was going off constantly, at dinner, all night long, on vacations, during school events. It was non-stop. And while I was doing all of this I was sticking the baby in front of the tv and letting my house be a disaster and forgetting to set things out for dinner. It was ridiculous and I had zero balance. I’m horrible at telling people no so if someone had an “emergency” I was as accommodating as possible. Even if that meant filling orders on weekends, holidays and over night. I’d fill orders during the day and then lay in bed at night with my laptop designing. I’d get told how horrible I was if I had a vacation planned and couldn’t fill an order for someone. I was skipping the gym, eating junk food for dinner and being a horrible wife and mother. This is not the vision we had for our family when I became a stay at home mom.
When I sat down during my Christmas break to figure out how my expenses and profits for the year, I almost threw up. I made less money in a year than my husband brings home in a month. I know that businesses don’t generally turn a profit in the first five years of operation, so that was understandable but it was more than that. I was missing out on a lot of time with my family and with the amount of time I spent working I might as well have been working at a full time job with benefits and paid vacation time. The time I was losing was worth no amount of money and I wasn’t even making enough to cover our grocery budget for the month.
To top all of this off, something that I used to really enjoy doing, crafting, had turned into something I despised. Turning on my machine annoyed me and when the UPS man came with a package of an average of 30 shirts every week I felt like I was suffocating. Running a business is great if that’s where your passion is, but my passion had been taken out in a pasture, shot and then ran over by a semi. I was over it.
So, I decided to close down. I have a girl that I refer my local customers to, and she does a great job! I know at least 5 people that got machines and heat presses for Christmas so they can make their own things and all I can say to that is YES! It’s fun to make your own shirts and decorate your home with your own creations. There are so many resources out of there so that you can learn to do it. I am finally to the point that I am making our own things and actually enjoying it.
Now, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t start your own craft business. Just because it’s not for me and it was sucking the life out of me, that doesn’t mean it will be the same for you. My heart just wasn’t there anymore. I really believe if you set your own business guidelines and hours you can be successful. Take time to study copyright laws so that you aren’t illegally filling orders and putting your business at risk. Don’t undersell yourself. Designing, and producing products takes a lot of time. Set a turn around time, set business hours and make them known so people know why you aren’t answering them back at midnight, take breaks as needed and have fun.
In the meantime I’m enjoying being a mom and a wife. I’m writing in my blog. I have some other writing plans that I plan to put into motion. I am done apologizing for being such a let down and doing what is best for me. My family is the most important thing to me and I refuse to put them on the back burner.