I wrote this same post two years ago and it felt about time to revisit the subject, see what’s changed, and be candid about self-employment. It’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
Sure owning my own business is amazing and I don’t want to do anything else with my life, but it’s also a whole lot of hard work and stress. Lots of stress. And it’s not for everyone. Some days I’m not even sure if it’s for me. Every day we take risk after risk.
When I first talked about the hardest part about owning my own business, it was letting go of complete control. Now, two years later, I don’t find that to be the case anymore. We’re at a point in our business where we’re looking to expand and grow. I’m eager to welcome other ideas and change into the company. I know I couldn’t have said that two years ago when I could barely let Alex help me.
The hardest part now is prioritizing. There are so many things we’re trying to do in so many different directions that it feels like we’re working on everything at once but accomplishing nothing. Alex and I like to joke that I’m expanding outward while he’s expanding upward. We want to share our business with more people and that means we need help. That’s where things get even more complicated.
In order for Alex and I to work on our projects and go in new directions, we need other people. That’s strange for us to admit since it’s been a two person team for so long. But we physically cannot grow any larger without other people to help with the workload.
The thing about small businesses is you need people who want to help grow the company just as much as you do. It’s easy to find someone to just do the work and go home at the end of the day, but that’s not what a start-up needs. It requires new ideas, effort, and innovative thinking. I feel like I’m pitching a new brand of iPhone or something, but it’s true. I’m at the point where I’m willing to give up “complete control” in order to welcome new ideas and people to help take risks with us. Now it’s just a question of who.
It’s crazy to think that two years ago I couldn’t fathom losing control of my little brain child. We’ve come so far already with just a few years under our belts. So here’s to day after day of interesting challenges on the path of making this dream into a lifelong reality. I’m happy that you’re here with me and that I can openly share the journey.
There are only two emotions any small business or entrepreneur feelings. Complete euphoria or utter terror. April is notorious for being Oh, Hello’s worst month in sales. It also happens to be tax month so the hits are coming from all sides. I have a love/hate relationship with our worst month of the year. April is fantastic at giving me crippling self-doubt, but it’s also the best month for innovation and change.
That’s the thing. It’s so easy to let yourself get overcome with the fear of failure and doubt that you just curl up into a ball and re-watch Parks and Recreation for the twelfth time. Tell yourself you tried, there’s nothing you can do, sales are bad for everyone so you shouldn’t feel bad, etc. That’s obviously the easy way out. And I’m done with that.
One of my favorite things about owning my own business is being the one in complete control of my fate. I don’t work for a company that could suddenly start laying people off or randomly put a target on my back to boot me out. I work for myself. If things go south it’s completely my fault. But if things go right, that’s completely on me too.
So rather than looking at April like the business-crushing month that it likes to be, I’m looking at it as a chance to work on those projects I keep talking about wanting to do but never getting around to. It’s been one week of pushing for these new changes and I’ve already found a regained spirit for Oh, Hello. The passion for my company is bigger than ever and I know we’ll get through April like we have twice before.
There are tons of projects Alex and I are working on, but my favorites are in these photos. I’ve never been so excited about clipboards in my entire life and wristlets just seem like a no-brainer for our designs. We’re working on getting pencil cases and makeup bags too. I’ve finally started working on the sticker organizer books I’ve been talking about since Christmas.
The easiest way to get through a rough sales month is to pull out that to do list full of ideas you want to do if only you had time for. And do them. Stay up later. Wake up earlier. Don’t just give up on something you’re passionate about because it got harder. Don’t think sticking to the same routine will work for you like it has in the past.
Everyone always says to “keep busy” when there’s turbulence in your life. The same is true about small businesses. You have to decide if a bad month is going to make or break you. I’ve made up my mind that Oh, Hello isn’t going anywhere. Now I just have to work my ass off to prove it.
I’ve been meaning to do a tour of our guest bedroom for ages now. Right around the time I finished it my dad came and stayed with us for a few months as my parents moved, making it difficult to get a camera in there to film and photograph the space. My parents are happily in their new home now and the guest bedroom is available again for copious amounts of bed-desking and photo taking.
My biggest goal for the room was to keep it as affordable as possible without losing any comfort or coziness. I wanted the space to be welcoming without feeling cluttered. I wanted a theme without it being shoved down our guests’ throats when they walked into the room. I think I’ve accomplished a lot of what I was hoping to achieve but of course, the space still doesn’t feel truly done. It’s unlikely it’ll ever feel that way I’m sure.
Since it has been quite a while since I purchased a lot of the pieces in the room, most of them aren’t easily available anymore. Luckily inspiration never goes out of stock so maybe there’s still something in this room to inspire your next interiors project. I have linked what I could find in the description of the video however.
Planner Peace is quite the popular buzz term in the planner community. People shout it around like they’ve found the answer to life’s mysteries. I’ve even been known to speculate that I’ve found planner peace as well. But you know what? It doesn’t exist.
I think it’s more realistic to say that you’ve found a system that works for you at that current point in time. But to declare that you’ve found total “planner peace” is just setting yourself up to be a hypocrite a few weeks later when you’re in yet another planner or reorganizing your sticker stash for the hundredth time. It’s going to happen. And you shouldn’t fight it. Because planner peace is made up and won’t help you in the long run anyway.
Here’s why. You should change up your planning system if the current one stops working for you. Sure it might have been an amazing planner for a few months or even years and it helped you through a bunch of tough assignments or a crazy time at work. But there isn’t one planner system out there for you that’ll solve all your organizational problems for the rest of your life. Your planner needs change and adapt as you face different challenges, so your planner should too.
Now you don’t need a thousand different planners to just complicate your life more. But you should be willing to adapt depending on what kind of planner you need at a specific point in your life. I think we all know this already too. We kid ourselves thinking that this one particular planner is the best ever and we’ll never change. It’s a fool’s dream to try and achieve some sort of planner nirvana before everyone else does.
So accept that although you love a system now, you may not love it forever. You’ll find greater happiness in the long run in accepting the inevitable planner-switching future that’s ahead of you rather than proclaiming Planner Peace and pigeon-holding yourself. You change all the time. It’s silly to think your planner won’t have to.
So let’s scrap Planner Peace and pursue planner satisfaction instead.
Now it’s arguable to even bother wearing makeup at all as a self-employed work from home sticker maker. Yet I find that if I do pull myself a bit more together in the morning, I have a more productive day overall. I definitely don’t go crazy, and this makeup routine could also be aptly named “The Minimalist’s Makeup Routine.” Simple and to the point while making my face look fresh, awake, and happy. Who wouldn’t want that.
The Stila One Step Correct is still my holy grail face primer. Even if I convince myself to skip the makeup for a day, I still find myself applying a nice layer of this to my skin. It works as a moisturizer/skin corrector combo and my skin just drinks it up happily. They recently changed the packaging to a fancier gold lid and I couldn’t be more thrilled with the upgrade. It also just so happens that today Ulta is doing their Beauty Days on this gorgeous product so I’ll be picking up as many as I can at half off. Gotta stock up for the apocalypse.
Foundation varies the most often from day to day, but I’ve been enjoying messing around with IT Cosmetic’s Confidence in a Compact Foundation. I bounce between using the shades “Fair” and “Light” depending on how pale I’m looking on a particular day. It’s a much more matte foundation than I’m used to, but I’m loving the finish and how it stays put all day. It’s also super easy to build up with a few extra dabs of a beauty blender. It blends out easily and doesn’t highlight any dry patches of my skin either. I’ve written a full blog post about it if you want more info.
I completely used up my Urban Decay Naked Concealer and I’m trying to keep beauty spending down to a minimum lately so I’ve been working on finishing up another tube of the NARS Creamy Concealer. It’s a great concealer, but I just prefer the Urban Decay one as it’s a bit thicker and lasts longer throughout the day. For just days around the house though or a trip to the grocery store the NARS concealer does just fine.
I completely skip eye shadow and focus on the brows. I’m not entirely loyal to any one brow pencil over another, but I’m working on finishing up the IT Cosmetics Brow Power. I’ve also been jumping around between the Urban Decay Perversion Mascara and Bobbi Brown’s No Smudge Mascara. The Urban Decay offering is far more superior in volume and boldness, but I like Bobbi Brown’s for a more natural, makeup-less makeup look.
Blush tends to be whatever my hands reach first but I do really enjoy the IT Cosmetics Bye Bye Pores Blush in “Je Ne Sais Quoi.” It’s just the right amount of pink on the cheeks that can be built up to seriously full on. I often have to use leftover foundation on my beauty blender to calm the blush down as I apply it with quite a heavy hand on accident most days. It lasts all day which is always impressive for a blush in my world.
For lipstick it’s usually something from MAC, but lately I’ve been loving the thickness of the Urban Decay Revolution lipstick in “Rush.” It’s super duper hydrating and lasts on the lips for ages. It’s a great your lips but better shade as well. They seem to be discontinuing the range sadly, but there are still a few shades on sale for $10. I can’t help but finish the simple look off with the Urban Decay All Nighter Setting Spray. It’s just so dang refreshing on the skin and helps keep everything in place just in case the day brings a few too many face rubs from stress.
A super simple makeup look that spunks up my day and makes me feel like I’m not just living in my pajamas in a sticker dungeon.