the business brain & the human heart

Marian Parsonsa slice of life, Balance, my business story, Popular, Running a Business103 Comments

Before I get into the thick of it, I have to say that you all overwhelm me so often!  The first installment of the Lucketts Leftover Sale went live today and pieces were selling before I could even get everything live on the site.  So, I’m “listening” to what you’re “saying” and I need to have more things for sale online on a more regular basis.  That’s a part of a grand plan, anyway, but I can have sales like these until all of that is sorted out.


That means I need to do some shopping just for you!  Let me know in the comments what you’d like to buy, so I can order it/hunt it out.

If you missed out on pieces this sale, I still have a lot more to list and I will work on that tomorrow (Friday).  As I did with this sale, I’ll list items as “coming soon” in the online shop, so you can check them out and have time to select what you want to buy when the sale goes live, which will be Friday, June 3, at 9:00 PM EST.

We’ll all be so cool hanging out on our computers together on a Friday night!  Woohoo!


So, I shared back in February, an acknowledgement.  Most days I’m just winging it and feel pretty much in over my head with this whole running-a-business/CEO thing.  In the beginning, I longed for growth.  Now, in those overwhelming moments, I wistfully remember those scrappy days when it was just me and my paint brush and my hair in a bandana.  (If you remember the bandana days, you’ve been with me a long time!)

That post I wrote, as most pour-my-heart-out posts usually do, led to something pretty cool.  A reader sent me an e-mail that said something like, “I saw you wanted CEO lessons and my sister does that!”  Seriously?!  I was sort of half kidding about CEO lessons and didn’t know they were a real thing.  She gave me her sister’s information and I decided to contact her.  It was at least worth a call.

That call was the perfect blend of professional and touchy-feely and I knew that it was exactly what I needed.  So, a couple of months ago, I started working with Joy of The Frontline Group as my “CEO coach.”  If you are super quick at putting two and two together, you might have guessed that it’s the same Joy who was featured on decorating dilemmas.  (This isn’t a commercial for her, by the way, but just a part of the story.)

I started working with her and I can’t tell you the relief and encouragement I feel when I get to talk through all of the things pinging around in my head.  Not just to Jeff or my mom or Kriste, although they are all amazing people, but I can talk to someone who has launched businesses, dealt with growing pains, felt the pressure, understood the challenges and the opportunities, and, most importantly, could see things clearly that I couldn’t, because I was just too close.


She’s walked me through some big, obvious decisions that I should’ve made a long time ago.  She’s pointed out things that should be a no-brainer, but they just weren’t.  Joy has challenged me to grow in a lot of ways, but also voiced the fact that it’s okay to say “no” and it’s okay if I don’t want this business to get any bigger.

It’s sort of like therapy for business owners!

These sessions have also made me see more potential in my business than I have acknowledged and made it clear that I have been the biggest obstacle to realizing that potential.

I’m too hand’s on with stuff.  I like flexibility and an organic workflow.  I don’t bring in enough help to accomplish tasks quicker.  I stink at delegating.

You might be surprised to know that my team consists of me and two part-timers – Kriste and Heidi.  That’s it.  (Well, Katie comes for about four hours a week and hangs out with us, but she has twin boys and limited availability, so she can only get so involved.)

So, that’s me and two part-timers managing the milk paint line (all of the retailers, new applicants, marketing, advertising, PR, promotion, customer service, etc.), all of our social media, two blogs, buying & selling antiques, making over furniture, writing look books, working on freelance projects, developing new ideas and products, managing the online shop, packing & shipping…  and there are probably another dozen things I’m forgetting.

Basically, I’m a crazy person and I have two people who are willing to join my crazy on a part-time basis.  Katie can only take it in two hour doses, twice a week!

Yeah, it’s a lot.  And just typing out that list makes me realize how crazy it is and no wonder I feel rushed perpetually!  No wonder I can’t implement all of my ideas.  No wonder things languish on my to-do list.

I am a bottleneck.


Not only am I a bottleneck when it comes to productivity (even though I am highly productive, there are only so many hours in the day), but my emotional investment in this business can be a bottleneck as well.

I struggle with the balance of my business brain and my imperfect, sensitive human heart.  The balance between what I want to do and what I can do.  The balance between what is best for others and what is best for my business and, by extension, my family.  The balance between the professional and the personal.

There are times when I wish I just had it all figured out and the balance was easy and obvious.  But there is a piece of me that recognizes the beauty in my deficiencies, fears, struggles, and bottlenecking.  Without 100% confidence in myself alone, I have to look beyond myself for strength to make tough, but right decisions. Courage to put myself and my ideas out there.  Wisdom to ensure fairness and integrity in my business dealings. Discernment to know which opportunities to pursue and which ones to decline.

And love.  To make sure my heart isn’t run by my business and my business is run with heart.


All of this to share that I am working on it.  All of it.  Priorities, focus, followthrough, growth, balance…  And I’m making progress!  I’m putting together job descriptions for people I hope to hire to grow with me and my business.  I’m carrying a notebook, so I can write down ideas, thoughts, to-dos as they come to me.  I’m setting alarms, so I don’t miss so many appointments and meetings.  I’m climbing the mountain one step at a time.

This isn’t one of those neatly-knotted posts with a clear point to the reader, if you didn’t figure that out, yet.  This is just one of those heart-to-hearts that I need to have with all of you every once in a while.  To keep it real and encouraging.  To remind you that there are joys and struggles in every season.

To let you know that I’m still just Marian – a stay-at-home-mom/pastor’s wife who nervously started a small business to make some money for groceries and diapers.

And you’re just watching how it all unfolds…


the business brain & the human heart

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103 Comments on “the business brain & the human heart”

  1. Marian,
    I have followed your blog for a while now and it is an honor to see how your business has grown and changed over the years. Thank you for being honest and sharing your heart with us. You’re truly an inspiration to so many and through what you shared tonight, I think you’ll encourage more people to look at themselves and say, you know what I’m going to take one more step to make my dream a reality. Yes it’ll take more hours than one could fathom and many times of trial and error but in the end it’s worth it. You share your God given talents and gifts with us and it makes me want to do more to pursue my own dreams.
    Thank you Marian for all that you do. I hope and pray that you will one day realize and feel how many lives you and your team have changed by taking a leap. God bless you, your family and all those that help you. Keep up the great work!

  2. And I thought I was busy with my Cafe’s, food truck, antiques/vintage business, wife and kids…

    I am the bottleneck as well. I know how it feels. Here’s to moving forward!

    Good talking to you, albeit briefly, at Lucketts!

    1. The sale went live Thursday night at 9:00 pm EST. I’ll be listing more products today as “coming soon” and they will go live tonight (Friday, June 3) and 9:00 pm EST.

  3. I’ve read your blog every day for years now. (I can’t say that about any other blog.). You have a gift! I am rooting for you. Wishing you continued luck and success! Thanks so much for putting yourself out there, Marian!

  4. This is why I love reading your blog so much, Marian. You are so honest about your experience. Thanks for being willing to lead and share your struggles and insights with all of us.
    Have a great weekend!
    The Other Marian

  5. I have followed your blog for a while now and I have to say, your open, honest and heart felt dialog is so refreshing. Your willingness to teach others through your own business struggles and growth is such a lovely part of your God given talents. That being said, I have to say everything you bring to this space is lovely. The furniture, the smalls and the photography is always, always spot on. You are my current “blog crush”. I was so giddy when I read about your on-line sale after the spring market. We were planning on making the trip but life got in the way. I went on and on about the Ironstone you posted and last night I walked into the Office and there sat my wonderful husband snapping up those pieces I went on and on about. He was able to purchase two pieces so Happy Birthday to me (June 15)! Thanks for sharing yourself and your lovely finds!

  6. Marian,

    When I read this : “,,, to make sure my heart isn’t run by my business and my business is run with heart.” it really touched me. I am sure that you have had SO many opportunities to grow that may have compromised your values in the end. To be able to stay true to who you are while expanding your business as far as you see fit to is more than admirable in this day and age. In the end, staying true to your purpose will make everyone happy. I’m sure it won’t be easy at times and folks will be disappointed along the way, but that’s life. I have so enjoyed following you since the “bandana days” and the basement paint tutorials 🙂

    In the end, you know who you have to please and honor, and I firmly believe He is smiling down on the fact that you are using His gifts to make the world a better place with your example of running your business with heart.

  7. Thank you for being such an honest real person. I find posts like these to be so inspiring. You are authentic and I appreciate how relatable you are. We need more people like you in the blog/social media world!

  8. What an incredible post. I brought tears to my eyes because I know it came from deep inside of you. Figuring it all out applies to most everything we do in life. You have just stated it in such a pure form. Beautiful. If you build it they will come! We love you and your open and honest writings. I start my day with you, and my coffee, and it make me smile and feel like anything is possible. Have a great weekend.

  9. I follow you through Bloglovin and no where did I see anything about your sale – like how to even access it. How do I do this if I only get your column thru bloglovin?

  10. And it’s been a blast. I’m one of your very long time readers, and enjoy the inner world of your business as much as the outer one. Thanks for sharing. I’m glad to hear that the online store will be gearing up. I so often see something I’d like to have.

  11. You seem to find more ironstone in your area than I can find in my neck of the woods (southeast WI).
    I would love to see more of that in your online sale!

  12. I have been following you since the bandana days, and I just enjoy reading about the successes and challenges of a real-life wife, daughter and mom. Your writing and pictures of your beautiful work is a gift to those of us who follow your blog.

  13. Courage, wisdom, discernment, and love. A very good combination! We should all pray to have that.
    I have been a long time reader, and I have loved seeing this journey unfold. Thank you for sharing all of it with us.

  14. Praying for you, Marian.

    You have unlimited options with your business, but I think a strength of yours is being real and encouraging other creatives in their business, by sharing like in this post!

  15. Love this! Hope you will share some of the lessons your coach is teaching you with the rest of us who are also “winging it!” I love the creative blog posts, but my favorites are definitely the ones about your business. So few women are confident enough to share the “secrets” of their businesses. I do wish women could be more supportive and less competitive sometimes. I think that’s why I like your blog so much. You put it all out there for us! Thanks!

  16. I’ve been following you since the beginning and I love how natural your growth has been. Nothing seems forced but instead has been a slow and steady stretch as your abilities and interests have grown. I love the quote “Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity”. Your business is the perfect example of that. I can’t wait to see what the next year brings you.

  17. I’ve been here since the bandana days and have scarcely missed a post. It’s an honor and a privilege to watch your story unfold, Marian. Thank you for sharing so much with us. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been encouraged by you.

    1. Ditto, Hannah! I couldn’t have said it better! Miss Mustard Seed is a household name ’round here. I’m so proud of you, Marian. Whatever direction you go, whenever, however, I’m on board!

  18. I’ve been here quite awhile now and you and Prodigal Pieces are two blogs I love and follow (yours is definitely #1 on my list though!) I have been amazed and enthralled with your journey and “envy” I guess is the word for your dedication and organization! I have a full time job, am 57 years old, have an antiques booth an hour away on the side, makeover furniture, take care of a house, a one acre yard, 9 chickens, 2 cats, a dog and a husband. My house is never clean, my projects never done, or even close, everything is cluttered and unorganized! The older I get, the less I care about the clutter and mess, but I try as best I can. I know I need to pare down, but when I see what you accomplish, it simply amazes me! Plus you have children! ( I don’t) I know I need more focus, but sometimes I am just TIRED! BUT, I love what you do, I know your family is very proud of you and I have loved watching and reading your journey, plus I have learned so many things from your blog about furniture, paint, etc. I hope to keep reading and following for MANY more years! Hugs!

  19. Marian,
    I’m an over doer, ocd, crazy older lady, and you have out matched the pace that I set for myself. Wow, that is simply amazing. You have a fearless attitude and have done something that I desire to do and that is blog. It scares the day lights out of me to take the plunge. I so wish that I were closer to your town. I would be banging on your door to be your next, “full time” unpaid employee! You would be paying me with your, enthusiasm, dedication, talents, craziness…….should I go on? Here’s to your new adventure!

  20. Oh Marian, what a lovely heart you have. I enjoy every moment of your journey. You are such an inspiration. That line about money for grocery and diapers really hit home with me! Can’t wait to see what you do next.

  21. Fabulous. Just fabulous. Thanks so much for sharing. We can all take away some advice from your journey. And – We are all rooting for you! 🙂

  22. This left my heart feeling as though it took a deep breath and was refreshed. Your writing, creativity and heart for God is beautiful. His love is made evident in you. Thank you for sharing- you are just you- you do a lot, and it’s ok to get help. I think that can be hard for us people sometimes… glad you made a connection with someone who has been so helpful! Very neat how those things happen. Good work Miss CEO Mustard Seed. 🙂

  23. you’re such a dear.. and so encouraging. I always love your posts because you are so real and dont forget about those that are following behind in their artistic and business adventures. bless you and thank you for sharing your heart and what you’ve learned. hugs
    Tamara <3

  24. Vegetable brushes!! Please and thank you! Great blog. Lovely to see you grow every which way!

  25. LOVE IT! I follow you because I also have a teeny, tiny, itsy bitsy, little seasonal business. I learn from you.
    You make me think, wonder, decide, or just run away from it all to refresh. With you it is all good. Thank you!

  26. You’ve done so much with your heart leading the way….you should be very proud. Setting goals for the future is wonderful. Making them reasonable and achievable is even better. You only have to grow to the edges of what makes you happy. Challenge yourself? Of course. Exist in endless stress. No, thank you.

    Balance is everything. Success is measured by your yardstick, no one else’s.

    Do what you personally love to do, delegate as much as you can. Cut off what’s not working, expand what is, and allow Joy to help you find more joy in the choices you make.

  27. Hire a great, part time (20 -25 hrs/wk) business manager. It will free up the “have to do’s”, give you a consistent sense of where you are financially, handle the “business” end of things so you can do what you do best and continue to ENJOY it. Trust me, it will be the best investment you make.

  28. I know how hard it is to come to the realization that something needs to change and that change is you. I worked for small very successful business that had two owners. One brought in a coach and that coach became my saving grace. I would echo his wisdom when they would start go back to old habits. They both had similar personalities which would lead to conflict and there was me, stuck in the middle. I still had the biz to manage and take care of the clients. They both were brilliant at what they did well. The were the best. The rest they needed some guidance which empowered the biz to be what they wanted from it and wonderful place to work. There were still 5 alarm fires, but this time they were the fault of the client so we were always a hero.

    I look forward to the changes you will me making at MMS. To see these changes will mean that you are doing what you want, but also enjoying all that you do. Not to mention that work life balance.

  29. Real honesty, love it. Makes me realize I’m not the only one. I have had to make major changes the past few weeks in my little enterprise, but I’m starting to see the reason why, God is so patient and so good! What is coming is so much better than what was before!

    Oh grain sacks and hemp sheets!

    Thank you!

  30. I have to say Marian, I am so glad you are taking these steps for growth! You are only one person and deserve a team to help you go where you want to go. Your fan base (well me) has been waiting for something like this for some time. You have what it takes to lead your ideas and future pathways into something huge! And have time for you and your family. The control thing is how you got this far. Use it now to gather a crew to follow your direction. Then take the time for your creativity and time for your family and friends! I can’t wait to see how this all pans out but I know you are bound for greatness!!! Thanks for being my inspiration!!!

  31. My request for your online store is ironstone! I particularly like pitchers, milk jugs/ creamers, and footed compotes. I live in Phoenix, and I think most people who make the journey west divest themselves of most of their belongings (I did!). So, there is a dearth of nice old pieces.
    I remember the bandana days!

  32. Bless you! A coach is brilliant. Sometime it’s great to have a direction assist. The suggestion about a part time business manager was a good one! I’d love to buy the French soap
    Keep the faith!

  33. Marian, I am new to your blog, but I look for it everyday! I love your style, dedication, spirit, honesty and talent. You are doing something that I dream about, so I will just live vicariously thru you! Ha ha! I think I could learn a lot from you and will continue to follow your journey. Thank you and I will be reading and learning from your posts as long as you keep writing! Take care and God bless!

  34. I would really like to see more of the different kinds of brushes. I tried to buy a few last night but when I put them in my cart they were already gone and was on the site when it opened! I’m happy for you that online sales went so well last night, I hope to be one of your buyers in the future!

  35. I admire you for making the call to get help, and Lord knows you need it with that description. I wish I lived near you and could work with you! I love doing my furniture and collectibles! I was wondering g why you didn’t have retail space in your rented space, so you wouldn’t have to haul your stuff all over. I haul my stuff to sales and it gets tiring…but I know you know thay! Good luck with climbing your Mountain!!!
    I would love to see ironstone.

  36. Marian, I’ve read your blog everyday for years, and I’ve always loved what you share, including these heart to hearts! I have learned from you openness and honesty that I am not alone, and I have been challenged by your growth! All along,your transparency has been so helpful for me, and many others, taking similar risks and steps behind you! Due to changes in my husband’s employment I’ve been asking myself the same thing, how far so I really want this little business to go? And is some of that for later in life? And is it ok, in America where we are challenged to dream big dreams and go all the way, to say “no for now”, or “this is about what I can handle,”? I am excited to continue to watch the process, and learn from afar as you make decisions and grow.
    I had to work and wasn’t able to shop, but there were items I would have bought and still would: ironstone tureens, pitchers, and plates. The vintage kitchen shears and small scissors were also something I was interested in. I would have bought a Grainsack or two as well.

  37. Great post! I remember the bandannas!! Your wax tutorial was the first diy I ever watched. I think the coach is a wonderful idea and sounds like she came at just the right time. Looking forward to where you are going. I ditto the the other ladies that yours is the only blog I read on a daily basis. Thanks for all the hard work and great content. God bless!!!

  38. Thank you for such an open and genuine post. So many of the things you said resonated with me in my season of life. Wishing you all the best. God bless.

  39. Hi Marian I missed out on the sale last nite. I’ve got my alarm set for tonite. The ironstone is what I’m interested in. We don’t see very many good pieces in Tn. Also, I loved the reproduction scissors and the whole line of brushes. I never miss reading your blog. I feel like we’re close friends 🙂 love you.

  40. Such a lovely post, Marian, and what I would really, really like (for my Granddaughter) is one of those adorable little angel pigs you had. I wish you would find more of those. <3

  41. This has to be one of my ALL-TIME favorite posts from you EVER! Always remember that you are a woman in progress and are learning every moment of every day. Do not be too hard on yourself and know you are loved and cherished. Keep up the great work and never, ever doubt what you can do…. but in God’s time. HUGS and deepest thanks!

  42. Mmm. Thank you so much for sharing, not only the highs but the lows. Yes I would like it if you sold more online. Ironstone is my favorite. Also vintage linens. I hope for the best for you and your business. May God continue to guide you and bring the people you need to be the business you want to be. Yes I’ve been with you for a long time.

  43. Hi Marian,

    I’ve been following you since you were painting in your basement. I loved watching those tutorials and listening to the music. Love your style and heart.

    From living in Silicon Valley for the past 23 years, my best advice to you is to hire, or at least talk to for an hour, a really good corporate transaction attorney who specializes in small companies and start-ups. Now not later is the best time to do this. You may have already done this.

    Start-up attorneys will make sure your company is structurally correct and watch out for your interests when negotiating with investors, licensing deals and other scenarios. Never do a transaction, especially with investors, without one of these attorneys. That show “Shark Tank” isn’t called that for no good reason. Your brand is well known now, which is fantastic and exciting, but along with that comes the opportunists. I wanted to pass this information along to you so you knew who to talk with to protect yourself and your business.

    A good read is “How I Did It” by Shabby Chic creator Rachel Ashwell. I don’t think the article is detailed enough but it will give you a good idea of what I’m talking about.



  44. Marion….the bandana days! YES. Thanks for keeping it real. I have followed (and unfollowed) many a blog, but Miss Mustard Seed is a non-negotiable. I will always follow, and am enjoying your perspective, your humor/fun (yes it shines out from your blog) and your growth – professionally and personally. Thanks for your ministry – cuz yes, it’s a ministry to be as transparent with the world thru the internet. Blessings.

  45. I so love reading your blog! I have my own little Etsy shop, and I adore your milk paint! I often feel pulled in twenty conflicting directions, with work, kids, and life vying for attention… So I can only imagine how you feel with so many endeavors.

    I have loved seeing each of your successes over the years, and can’t wait to see what comes next!
    Your warmth always comes through in your writing, which makes me feel like I’m talking to an old friend! If only I lived closer, I’d apply for a job! I’m a longtime Ironstone collector, my favorite color is blue, and I LOVE painting furniture! We’d be best of pals?
    Ps sorry I use too many exclamation points..there’s a Seinfeld episode about that..

  46. Dear Marian,
    I’m a follower of your blog from way back and I wait with anticipation to see what today’s blog from my friend will bring. I love your design style and your business sense. I have been lucky to meet you at Luckettes and take a class with you. Since you are taking requests I am looking for 2 occasional chairs like you had at Luckettes and would come pick them up if you found some. I have been wondering how is your son doing if you choose to share.

  47. There is a very interesting book you might like, “Rise of the Creative Class”. Even tho I know you don’t have time!

  48. Hi Marian!

    Can’t imagine juggling all that you have on your plate, but in reading this blog today, it’s very apparent that a couple of full-time folks could lighten your load immensely! Leave the tedious tasks like order filling and house cleaning and paperwork to those who are good and experienced with those things. Spend your time on the special tasks…..the ones you love to do and where only YOU are the one with the expertise. As much as we perfectionists love to think that nobody can do it as well as we can, there are people out there who can do an excellent job and just want to help you shine! They are the folks you need behind you. They are there….just waiting for you to find them!
    I look forward to hearing about your “new hires” and how life has beome so much easier and a lot less stressful!

  49. You are larger than you allow yourself to be. You are already at (rock star) the level to move wherever you want to go. Don’t shy away from it!

  50. Your post makes me smile and realize that I too, must learn to say no and make sure I can get through with the things I want to do and not hold back on the “what-ifs” that plague me.

    And I’m not a CEO. I’m a retired woman with too many irons in the fire!

  51. I would love to see you have more linens/textiles (and baby clothes..those were too cute to look at in your posts). Oh, and obviously ironstone :). Ironstone isn’t something that is readily available in my area (southwestern TN), or I just haven’t found any in my area at least.

  52. Hi Marian, you were interested in items your blog followers are collecting and would like more of? Well I can say I collect English Ironstone, American Sweetheart pink depression glass, OLD hat pins, and linens. Looking forward to your new shop! Rebecca

  53. Thank you for sharing Marian. As always I am in your corner cheering you o pin and delighted that I have been the recipient of several beautiful pieces of your work. Sending my best . Cheryl

  54. Marion,
    I think this is my favorite, most heart felt, most motivational post by far! Thank you for writing this.

  55. It’s a joy to read your blogs and get to know your business. You speak for many entrepreneurial women. Remember how much you have done and know there is plenty of time ahead.

  56. I loved bandanna Marian and now love brown boots Marian — can’t wait to see your next transformation!

  57. I too have been following your blog and look forward to each one. I was happy to be able to meet you at Lucketts a couple of weeks ago. My sister and I were lucky to get VIP tickets and enjoy the beautiful Friday weather before the rain started. We bee-lined to your tent when the gates opened as well as everyone else! Man, you were crazy busy! Good for you! You definitely deserve it. I would love to be able to attend a milk paint class with you if you plan on offering one in your free time (Ha! Ha!). I am close enough to be able to drive up. I tell my husband I would like to come up (I’m in Maryland) and be a free intern and learn all your secrets to success! He thinks I’m joking, but I’m not! 🙂

  58. Hello Marian,
    I went to the Lucketts event,however I was there on Sunday after church, not knowing it was canceled. I was even more upset at not getting to meet you. Oh well. . . I have they to look forward to next year.
    I purchased one of your new look books and a tee shirt earlier today and can’t wait to get them.
    I really hope you sell more of the braided jute trim that you sold out of. I will be watching for it in se you get more.
    Thank you &,
    God Bless,

  59. I’ve been visiting your blog for, it must be, several years now, and I find your growth amazing. It is obvious that the leader of your life is firmly in place and you and your husband have built a stable and happy family together. I wish I had had our wisdom when I was young, but I drank and caroused and threw it away. Too bad! But I am in balance now and have finally established a compass to focus on. Kudos to you…

  60. Marian, LOL that’s exactly why I was attracted to you in the first place and started following MMS, because I too am an eclectic bandana and paint covered overall wearing kinda designer girl who gratefully realized I was not alone. Plus, I love that you wear your heart on your sleeve, your daily faith and devotion to acknowledging the creative gift you were blessed with and the overwhelming desire to share it and to do it all with joy is contagious and uplifting to us on the other end of the social media line. You’re the anchor for a lot of us, I believe in what goes around comes around and the spark that I get from your daily design inspirations and insights inspires me to pass it along on my end. Being a good delagator is easy to do when the receiver is receptive, and by judging from your number of followers you’ve already aced in that category. Good luck on the next chapter. xoTK

  61. I am one of those who have been reading your blog since you had about 300 readers. I even wrote you for some business advice more than 10 years ago! It has been a joy to watch it all unfold and you move from the young woman in a bandana to an entrepreneur with so many possibilities in your future. Thank you for sharing the ride!

  62. Dear Marian
    I follow your posts all the way from the UK! I love reading about what you do, and I think you are so brave to step out and do your own thing. It’s amazing how much you’ve achieved, and it’s a joy to read how many people like me out there are rooting for you. You are an inspiration- even in your weakest moments we love to hear how you muddle through!
    Jo xx

  63. I am so glad you are selling more items on line! I love all the “sold-out” items and wish I would have been on-line Friday to get a few things for myself. I am always looking for old kitchen items, anything with crocheted lace, galvanized items, enamelware, and any old or new treasures from France or Germany. I can’t wait for your expanded on-line store!

  64. Marian, I just wrote a similar post about “how not to do it all” and burnout, I love that you open your heart and share that you struggle as well, it’s not easy, I think we creatives have so many ideas and intentions but its so hard to do it all. I am most proud to part of your extended team and if you need any help I would love to help you more. You are always such an inspiration to me and so many others, even when you don’t have it all together, that just makes you human. You’re doing awesome Wendy @ Front Porch Mercantile

  65. Dear Marian,

    I have follows you for awhile now. I look forward to all your posts everyday. You are inspiring. You see potential and beauty in things where no one else might. I find encouragement in your posts. They actually give me inspiration. So thank you.

  66. OMG I just love your honesty, your human-ness. Without your heart an a wing and a prayer Miss Mustardseed wouldn’t be here. You’re doing just fine. All of us envy your courage to take that first step. Just keep taking them one at a time. Need I remind you of the haul you pulled together for Luckets!

  67. Thanks for being real……in the m “perfect” world of the Internet, itsceasyvto tgink everyone has it figured out and you’re the only one struggling. Thinking you’ll never make it or get it figured out! I needed this today, thanks for being a blessing. And I’m praying for peace and the Lords perfect will for your business!

  68. I read your blog every morning while sipping coffee my “lets get this day started fuel”. You inspire me to keep going when those demons of doubt start tugging on my heart and jumping in my stomach. I worked the retail game most of my life until a horrendous back injury took me out. God is good and my surgeon was too. Science has come along way and my kids sometimes call me too Mom on occasion. I started decorating my house for something to do them I started decorating our daughters home then I started thrifting. It got real as the too cool for me teens would say. I love to paint, reclaim and upcycle real furniture and everything wood. I now have a booth on our town square. God is amazing. When your whole life changes and he is in control AMAZING things happen. You truly inspire me! You help me put the fear of success behind me and help me just keep chugging along. Thanks Miss Mustard Seed for keeping it real 😉

  69. I am interested in the German brushes if you can continue to offer them, especially the vegetable and bottle brushes. Love your blog and you are so inspiring,
    Thanks Paula

  70. As a avid reader that is also trying desperately trying to raise two small children, juggling a part time job and trying to get my creative business off the ground, my eyes filled to the brim with tears reading this. You put your heart out there in every bit of what you do, it is so obvious. This post was touching, uplifting and real. Its enlightening to hear the backside (true story) and know that with hard work dedication, a paint brush and a look book (or two) that someone small could grow to something great. Thank you for not only this post but so many! You are truly an inspiration to so many.

  71. i remember the bandana. i was also just asked multiple times this week to write a “day in the life” post for the blog as customers are so curious what i do with my time and where the battery packs are stored. i haven’t put my post into words nearly as well as you did with this one. the heart to business conversation feels very familiar and i am glad to read how well you are doing and seeing the comments above what an inspiration you continue to be. congratulations for pushing through it and being you. from a blog standpoint i love that yours is still truly a “blog”. i love seeing your furniture, your home and what you’re up to instead of sponsored blogs that no one can relate to. have a great weekend.

  72. Marion,
    I’ve been thinking about your business and am going to offer some unsolicited advice. Whether it resonates with you depends on which, of all the things you do, you love the most.

    You can hire people to do much of what you’re doing now, but you can’t hire anyone to create the amazing hand painted furniture that, IMO, you don’t do enough of. I’m thinking especially of the landscape dresser and that exquisite bed you created and sold a while back. Pieces like those are Miss Mustard Seed Originals, and they could sell for way more than you’ve asked for them. You could also do hand painting on the wooden parts of some of the more special furniture you reupholster and make them Originals as well. Your Originals would be where you spend most of your creative labor, and they would be priced accordingly. The other furniture pieces could be executed by your employees under your direction–that is, you would envision what needs to be done with them but not actually do it. You’re doing some of that now. The Original line, however, would be the primary focus of your creativity. (You would, of course, continue to develop new milk paint colors.)

    I believe that if you poured your energy into the Original line, it would become famous. Not blog famous, but really famous. I read a lot of decorator magazines, and I’ve never seen anything like your painted furniture. I showed your dresser to two of my sisters, both of them very discerning, and all three of us with very different taste in furnishings, and they loved it too.

    You indicated in this post that you’re all over the board in what you do and are getting some help with that. You do need to be a CEO, but a creative CEO, spending at least 60 to 70% of your time on what you love, and the rest in oversight to make sure that your brand is maintained exactly the way you want. You have an incredible opportunity before you–if the Lord tarries!

    1. That is really great advice and a part of the direction I’m heading. I realized that I really love doing the hand painted pieces and I need to do more of it. Thanks for the encouraging, constructive words!

  73. My Favorite Post of All!!!
    I have been a loooooong time follower, I think before you even took advertisers on your blog! You have inspired more than you will ever know. you challenge me to do more and seek what God has for me and my tiny business. You just seem to go forward everyday and it is always seems like every move is always blessed!!
    It was my honor to meet you and Kristie at Lucketts this year for the first time and I’m not surprised at all that you sold out of furniture the first day!
    Your youtube “Design Ramblings” are one of my favorite things to watch while working. I think I’m almost through them all.

  74. You are just awesome. Thank you for sharing this, for being real with your struggles and successes. It’s one of many reasons why you are so loved in your endeavors.

  75. I am still pretty new here & still just wetting my feet in this stuff … but I just want to say that the person you are inside has as much to do with your success as your talents & taste do. Thank you for opening your heart like this, from time to time. This is a really nice blog in so many ways and you set the tone for it by being yourself. Thanks for the enjoyment and lessons in life and style that it brings.

  76. Hi Marian

    I am such a huge fan of your blog and I am constantly inspired by your business and your attitude to business….as a small business owner I have the same challenges and dilemmas and as I am really putting major time and effort into growing my business this year , I can totally understand your crazy life…mine is just as bad!!!!!
    Please keep sharing the good the bad and the crazy….it makes inspirational reading!

  77. I just read this post and I loved every word of it! Thank you for letting me be a small part of your journey….it’s a privilege for sure! I love what you do and how you do it. It’s fun to “see” your brain open up to all the possibilities. I have no doubt God has GIANT things in store for Miss Mustard Seed. Happy to be along for the ride… 🙂 (Now I have to get back to working on my family room….)

  78. I say make yourself happy first. I am looking for a pair of beefy corbels BUT don’t want to pay a fortune. Thanks for any help.

  79. I have followed your blog since your bandana days. Others have come and gone in my reading list, but you stay put not only because of your talent, but because of your heart. I am a small business owner myself and though our businesses are very different (I’m a CPA) I struggle with many of the same things you do. I have really enjoyed watching your business grow and change without losing the essential “you-ness” that makes it so special. Thanks for continuing to share with us all.

  80. AWESOME post Marian. After reading it, i was so happy to see that even through all the muck, you still value your heart as a vital part of the whole business experience. You being open to to the magic of possibilities and watching them manifest has also been one of my favorite things to observe through the years.

  81. One suggestion I would have is to hire someone that can run a piece of the business (like the milk paint line or the on-line store) and give them the responsibility for that piece…with your over-site, of course.

    One of the problems of having people that “help” you is that it is still on your plate. I compare it to having your husband “helping”. It it isn’t his complete responsibility (like doing all the grocery shopping or cleaning the bathrooms), you still have to think and/ or plan what has to happen.

    I like the idea of your painting special pieces –but you have to free up the mental time as well as the physical time!

    I selfishly hope that giving up blogging is not on the list of things to cut 🙂

    1. Yes, I totally agree on putting people in place who can take ownership of an entire piece of the pie, so to speak. That’s definitely a part of my plan!

      No, I see the blog as the heart of my business and therapy for me, so I don’t see it going anywhere!

  82. Marion, thank you for your honesty. It helps me in my journey so much.

    Peace to you and your family!

    btw, love that pic of you!

  83. I love that you are not afraid to share your struggles along with your achievements! And the road along the way! Most people only share their achievements and it makes achieving ones goals so unattainable. Thank you for your willingness to share your heart.

  84. This was so heart warming to hear and I love how you can share your struggles with us and writing is a form of therapy in a way too am I right?! You have tons going on but you are one strong, determined, heartfull lady! Your journey is a great one and your on the right road so keep going and never up, everything will keep falling into place.

    Lauren | Lovely Décor

  85. Hi Marian, I am fairly new to your blog but must say I enjoy it very much, I love your style an all your tutorials. I would like to see more of your textiles on your online sohp,I bought one of your hemp sheets for a upholstery project and it wasn’t big enough,have been waiting for more to go on sale and before I knew it they sold out.


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