I got so busy with other things, that I left this series hanging! A few weeks ago (months at this point), I opened my Instagram Stories up for questions and I’ve been answering most of those in blog posts. If you missed those posts and want to see them, you can find them here…
In today’s post, I’m answering questions asked about my business. I tried to condense similar and repeat questions into one, so this post wouldn’t be a short book!
Is it difficult to maintain consistency with blogging and social media posts?
I would say it is sometimes difficult. I have been blogging for almost 10 years and I took it seriously right from the beginning. I’ve always viewed it as a part of my job, so I do it even when I don’t feel like it. Every once in a while I’ll skip a day when I would normally post, but that’s pretty rare. I struggle a bit more with consistency in social media posts. When I first entered the blog world, utilizing social media just wasn’t a big factor in growing a blog. It was beneficial, but not necessary. Now, it’s become an important part of the business of blogging. So, I’ve had to adapt and embrace some social media platforms I might not use otherwise. In fact, everything I do on social media is for professional purposes. I don’t even have personal accounts, except for Facebook and that’s because they force you to have one in order to have a business page.
As amazing as social media is for promoting a business, I have noticed the negative effects on me as a person. It feeds discontentment and encourages comparison. For those reasons, I have started to set time limits for social media apps on my phone and I’ve been more intentional about what kind of posts I’m engaging with, so my feed is encouraging and inspirational. I can’t believe what a difference those small changes have made so far in my mindset!
So, blogging is much easier for me and social media is a bit of a love/hate relationship!
Were you nervous when you started a blog? I am 54 years old, almost empty nester, thinking about blogging…
Yes! I wasn’t too nervous when I set up the blog, but I was nervous when I pushed the publish button for the first time. But then I realized that only two people were reading it and I didn’t need to be nervous about Jeff or my mom reading what I wrote!
The nice thing about starting a blog is that you have time to grow as your audience grows. You won’t have a huge audience right from the start, but will most likely have a small following of friends, acquaintances, and family. There’s no need to be nervous if you’re writing to them and you can just let it grow from there.
Go for it!
What did you do before you started your blog? How did you decide to start one?
Before I started my blog, I was a stay at home mom. And before that, I worked in the technical recruiting field for several years! Can you imagine me in the corporate world? They didn’t know what to do with me sometimes.
If you’d like to read the full story of how and why I started a blog, you can read all about it HERE.
As a blogger, has there been anything you have been afraid to share? Such as your faith or struggles?
Oh, many, many things! I have to confess that I used to be much more open with my blog audience, but after doing this for several years, I have learned that there are some places that I’m just not going to go because it seems to draw in negative comments. Now, I can take constructive criticism and respectful disagreement. It’s okay with me if someone hates a decorating decision or dresser I paint. But I have been on the receiving end of real ugliness that was directed at me as a person… like being called a bad mom, a traitor, and a sell-out just to name a few. People will pick on how I look, how I dress, and even when I put up and take down my Christmas tree.
I wish I could say that negative comments I’ve received over the years haven’t affected me, but they collectively have. And that’s my fault. I have allowed them to make me a little more hesitant to share certain aspects of my business and of myself personally. I’m working on that, though…on becoming more open again, but it’s a process that takes time and practice. I know those comments come from a small handful of people who are maybe having a bad day or they have lost their tact filter or they are just not nice in general. And I don’t want to censor myself for a small handful of people who probably won’t like me no matter what I do.
Do you plan to do shows in Minnesota, similar to Lucketts?
Yes! I will be teaching MMS Milk Paint workshops and selling some antiques at Junk Bonanza in Shakopee, MN this spring – April 11-13, 2019. I won’t be bringing two 20′ trucks as I did to Lucketts, but probably a small van load with a couple of furniture pieces and some ironstone and other smalls. I’ll be sharing the space with my amazing MMS Milk Paint vendor from Buffalo, MN, The Porch & Atelier. The owner is a styling and merchandising master with flawless taste, so I’m excited about watching her in action. We will, of course, be selling the paint and finishes as well!
How is the marketing of your ideas coming in Hobby Lobby? Anything exciting and new going on there?
I spent a couple of years designing hundreds of products, some of which were sold in Hobby Lobby, on Decor Steals, Antique Farmhouse, and through a few wholesale companies. It was hard to know where the products would end up, though. One would just pop up here and there. For example, I designed a Seed & Supply sign that ended up in a shop that ended up in a photo on Liz Marie’s Instagram feed.
I have decided to shift gears with design work now. I really enjoyed watching my designs come to life and seeing some of them in stores and homes. I learned a lot about design and production. It was “buckshot” work, though, and was a little too far from the end customer to be rewarding for me long term.
I am so glad I did it for a while, so I could learn the process and continue to do design work in the future. You still might see some of my designs in the marketplace, but I’m not sure where they’ll pop up!
What project are you most proud of?
I think I’m most proud of my blog. I’ve been writing on it consistently for almost 10 years, so it’s my biggest body of creative work and has been the heart of my business since I first launched it. I can’t imagine where my business would be without it.
I’m also proud of the milk paint line. I had no idea someone like me, without any business or design experience, could design and launch a successful product line. Of course, I didn’t do it on my own. The right people (manufacturer, retailers, label designers, etc.) came along at just the right time we collectively worked together to get the idea off the ground.
How do you prioritize which projects you work on first?
It depends on the day and the season of business. I like being organized and strategic, but I don’t like being overly-scheduled or having to force myself to work on something simply because it’s on that day’s agenda. I work in an organic way, so I can spend time on the things I’m excited or curious about, but I also have to pay attention to deadlines and make sure I’m setting aside time to develop new projects and ideas.
So, I would say I prioritize by deadlines, profit, and what I’m excited to accomplish.
Have you found that your business has suffered a lot with the move?
No, it hasn’t suffered, but it has changed and that was intentional. I was ready for a change. I was ready to work from home again and give myself a break from working on furniture all the time. I wanted to work on a new house and spend more time on art and design projects. The move gave me a natural time to make those changes. I would say that I’m still adjusting to those changes, but they’ve been good for this season of life.
PS – I listed a big grouping of original oil paintings for auction yesterday! Click HERE if you’re interested in checking them out or placing a bid. I have paintings listed in still life, portraits, animals, and landscape.