What a year it has been. We spent the last two weeks virtually offline, spending time with each other, resting, and rebooting. There are so many things that are not talked about in the small business world...mainly, the struggles. It is such a hard line to walk between wanting to put the best foot forward for your customers, and being transparent, relatable and honest.
The craft community, at least the ones I have run across, are another breed all together. I hope you read through to the end. The craft community is heavily female, and in the years I have been in this world I can liken it only to that of mean girls from high school.
The rise of social media, particularly Tiktok, has brought with it the ability to be completely nasty to each other in the name of "accountability". This has made it so it is virtually impossible to ACTUALLY hold someone accountable without being bullied yourself. I am by no means perfect, and I make mistakes. But one thing you can NEVER accuse me of is being self serving. I am fiercely protective of my family, this company, and my friends, but make no mistake, that doesn't make me weak.
I have been wrestling with how to approach this topic for literally MONTHS. How do you hold up a mirror, teach, and talk openly without becoming a "THIS YOU?!" video on Tiktok for someone else? This year I will be turning the blog towards being a mom, fulltime engineer, business owner and mental health advocate. I want to bring together a community...without being taken advantage of, something that is very hard to do.
This year, as recently as the NIGHT before my daughter's big appointment (and YES, the person who did this knew full well what they were doing), has been a year where I am simply seen as someone to use. I thought I had friends in this community, but really I was a resource for them. I opened up to someone I thought was a friend, when they checked in on me, and literally seconds later, was asked for the supplier for my tumblers. This individual had been treating me as a friend, asking personal questions, and was someone I had helped grow. Instead, I was basically treated as a free resource.
So...what does that mean? That means I had to make a mental shift. While I will ALWAYS want to see those around me succeed, I am not going to allow the phrase "community over competition" to be a mask for inappropriate behavior, toxic individuals, and laziness. I'll be digging into what community over competition means to me in great detail, so please don't tear me apart over this one sentence.
The mental shift I have taken is incredibly difficult. I don't ever want to become the person who only cares about the bottom the line, and doesn't connect with my clients. I deeply care about the success of each of my clients, and cheer so loudly for each of you. I have to distance myself on a personal level, while remaining engaged on a professional level with each of you.
One of the things I value the most is the fact that everyone knows I am brutally honest, even if it's not the most flattering look for my company. It doesn't feel good to admit to all of you that this year I got sidetracked, sucked into watching the orders roll in, seeing the follower count rise, and feeling like I was "important" to the craft community.
I hurt my family this year. I hurt myself this year. I let down my clients. I haven't practiced what I preached and I did the thing that bugs me the most. I made my platform look successful, easy, fun, and not wholely honest. I never told an untruth, but I did hide the struggles we have had this year. I hid the tears over being harassed on social media. I hid the tears of straight rage when someone was just MISERABLE to us in our emails. I didn't share the whole mess.
It wore my soul out. If it wore my soul out, I'm sure others feel this way. With the encouragement of my husband, and my close friends, I am making some BIG shifts to Advancing Aiden. We are turning back to teaching. THAT is what makes me happy. THAT is what makes me feel like I am helping others.
Don't worry, tumblers, inks and glitters aren't going anywhere! Not when I JUST got Nick excited about glitter. :) BUT. You'll be seeing a little less of me. Advancing Aiden will grow how and when it is right. I'll be clocking out every evening. I will be working ONLY on Saturday. I will be focusing on my family more.
My 2021 pledge to each of you is to be more real. I will be working to address some of the issues that we ALL have. I will always be client focused. Our priority to always our clients first. We want to continue to be known for quick shipping, great teaching, wonderful quality, and a peaceful community where you can come for support. I am human. I want friends. I want to be liked. But. I want to like myself.
You'll be seeing more of Nick, and seeing us more as a team. We hope you will walk along this imperfect journey with us, share in our triumphs, let us share in yours, and allow us to help you professionally along the way.