Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Is this a healthy obsession? You can make it so.

Ana Talukder Simpson


How shamelessly obsessed are you with your Etsy life? I am pretty new to Etsy. I really knew very little about it coming into it. I was never even a buyer (I know, booooo on me, but I have bought a load of stuff since then!). In April of this year, I decided to list a few of my creative endeavors and, lo-and-behold, people liked them. My first listing was just over two months ago and I am now shamelessly obsessed with my Etsy life. I know you have all been there and still live here.

I am a stay at home parent with two small children (5 and 2) and I consider the work I do for my shop on Etsy as my ‘work’: My real-life, tangible, get-paid-for-it-in-real-money, work. My children are my joy and butterflies and all those other happy, lovely images one gives when they talk about being a mother. All true –most days.

Being an obsessive Etsy shop owner takes its toll on our little ones, loved ones, friends, relationships, etc. I make no apologies for wanting my shop to succeed or being in love with my work, but I do not want it to negatively affect my life, because, then, what would be the point? So, I invested in an inexpensive little timer with a loud buzzer to keep my obsession in check , and what it ended up doing was help me manage my time and invest it where it needed to go – so EVERYONE is happy! Don’t get me wrong, there totally needs to be more hours in the day, but at least now, I have more definite direction of where my time is going.

I typically set up my email/convo time for fifteen minute segments a few times a day. I make sure that after every thirty minutes of Etsy work, I take a break and hang out with the kids – even if that means just getting out the Play-doh or having ‘tickle-monster-time’. For those more involved projects, I wait until my littlest is napping or they are both in bed for the night. Twenty minutes is devoted to setting up shipments for the next day, another thirty to plan new designs, etc. You get the idea. It is all pretty magical. Oh! And if you get real fancy – you can get a timer with multiple features like counting up, so you can hit “start” right as you begin a new piece so you know exactly how long it takes you to create it for pricing. Shamelessly working the double-duty. Gotta love that.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Success in Happiness

By: Ana Talukder Simpson


I was supposed to be a doctor or an engineer when I grew up. I was supposed to find joy and excitement in studying molecule arrangements or solving a proof. I think I rebelled against my East Indian parents by completely lacking skills in both departments just out of spite. I have always been drawn to the arts – I loved creative writing, each and every art or music class that I took, I daydreamed and created and did it all in a somewhat secret manner because I couldn’t possibly make a realistic career out of any of it. When I was fourteen, I had decided that I would pursue a career in law. That would allow me to major in something fantastic like Philosophy or English and still have that “realistic career” that my parents desperately wanted for me. I ended up majoring in Political Science and Philosophy, took the LSATS, and applied to law school relatively heavy heartedly. I remember the day that I got some acceptance letters, threw them in the trash and decided that I had enough of trying to please someone other than myself. And life began for the first time for me.

I spent the next few years trying to figure out what my “dream” was – I still had to help pay the bills, so I worked in corporate America all the way up until my first child was born. I spent the following two years after his birth completely decorating our new home, remodeling and getting prepared to have a second child. Now I have my two children, a lovely husband, our house is decorated just the way I want, my stint in corporate America was successful but completely unfulfilling and here I was at a time in my life where I had the luxury of putting real thought and motivation behind my creative endeavors.

I started a shop on Etsy somewhat on a whim. I had been selling my pieces here and there for a little over a year and I was working in a new medium and very much in love with the creative process once again. When I opened my Etsy shop in April of this year, I had no idea what to expect. Here it is three months later and I have learned so many invaluable lessons and have a more solid understanding of how my glorified hobby is now a full-fledged small business and I will treat it as such. I could go on and on about the lessons I have learned, but the most important one is that I have found success in my own happiness. I am not the corporate business woman that my parents hoped I would be – or that I even at one point hoped for myself. I have truly become so much more. Success is not the six figure paycheck, or power. It is ultimately judged by happiness. Hope you have found yours.