Happy 1 Year to J. Isabel Designs!
1 year of highs and lows. 1 year of tears and frustration. 1 year of excitement and facing the unknown. I didn't know if this adventure would take off. I didn't know if anybody would like what I would offer to the world, and I certainly didn't know I would make it this far. Dreams really do come true.
You never really realize the milestones you have reached in life until you take a good look behind you. It all goes by so fast, and if you don't take a second to look, you just might miss it. Grade school, high school, college. There it goes! It all flies by you, even though when you are right in the middle of it, it seems like centuries of homework, tests, and being graded on nearly everything you do.
After college, you search for a direction. You may be lost for a while, but eventually you stumble upon something that ignites a spark deep within you. Look at you. Lucky you! You have found your passion! Passion will make you crazy, passion will make you fall in love, and chasing what you are passionate about will open up a whole new world.
Your first thought," This is scary." Your second thought, " I can't do this." Your third thought, "Well, let's give it a shot, what is there to lose."
The birth of a new chapter.
May 19th, 2016. The day that changed my life. The day that I finalized a decision. The day that I started J. Isabel Designs. It might have been sooner, but I couldn't decide on a name! Just kidding. Maybe. 😂 Well, here we are. One year later. What have I learned you might ask? What are my goals? What's next? Keep reading and I'll tell you. 😉
What have I learned? Running your own small business is HARD! No, really. It takes a lot of work, a lot of patience ( something I struggle with 🙈) and dedication. Not that I don't posses these qualities, but when you commit to something like this, you have to give it your all. I absolutely did not mind giving it my all, but it really took a while to figure out exactly how to channel that to what I wanted to do. Many of you might not know that I started out glittering bottles and glasses before making gift boxes! If you have read previous blog posts you know that I have been gifting for years, but the very first gift basket that I made right before I started my business was for a friends bridal shower. I had glittered the bottle and the wine glass in the basket, and was so proud of how cute it looked! It was a hit at the bridal shower btw. *Pats self on the back. 🙊
You want to know what else I learned? I learned that it takes a long time to get people to notice your work, and that you must put yourself out there. Also, not everybody is going to like what you do, and that's ok! ( It sure didn't feel ok at first, but as I gained more confidence, with that came acceptance.)
Working with people can be difficult. No matter what you do, there will be times when you may get frustrated with someone, and they might get the same way with you. It's not practical to assume that every person you face will meet you with a pleasant experience. But, hey, that's business. ( Another important lesson!) Being a small business owner changes everything. It not only changes how you see the world, and how you interact with others, but also how you portray yourself. You now see everyone as a potential client, and if not, you must still always be on your best behavior and present yourself in a respectful manner. ( Not that I don't anyways. 😜) Your business is you, and you are your business. You must act like it.
Your mindset also changes with business. You now have to take more responsibility for all of the legal aspects of business and you have to learn how to manage your money and time better than ever before. I am guilty of not always following a set schedule, but I make sure I make time for at least a little bit of business everyday (Well, if you follow along you know that Sundays are now off the books! 😉) Making consistent progress is a good way to maintain your work flow and also maintain your sanity.
Oh, sanity. What's that?
Oh yes, some days you will want to rip your hair out, cry yourself to sleep, and break down in the middle of the mail office. Why? Lots of reasons. Maybe your package got lost in the mail. Maybe you lost 50 followers in one day. ( Yes, that happened in the beginning. Damn bots.) Maybe you haven't slept in a few days because your creative brain wakes you up at night with new ideas. ( Hey Jess, what do you think about a donut themed gift box? At 2am.) I am here to tell you that there will be lows when following your dreams. There will be bad days where you feel like giving up. There will be days where you do give up, go shed a few tears, and then come back stronger than ever the next day. That's business, and that's life.
The bad, the ugly, and the good?
Ok, so you've heard all about the lows of having your own business, but what about the good times? There are lots of those too! Those amazing reviews you get from lovely customers and supportive friends. Ahhh the best! Those incredibly inspiring comments you receive, and equally as motivating messages about how you have inspired someone else. Nothing better! How about putting all of yourself into a gift box and seeing the look on the recipients face? Priceless. There are so many amazing things about having your own business and watching it grow. Notice how I haven't yet mentioned money? Why? Because that's not what it's about, and that's not how you get anywhere. You get far by falling in love with your business everyday. You get somewhere by listening to your gut, trusting yourself no matter what others say, and following your heart. You get here by believing that good things happen to those who wait and those who hustle. Nothing was handed to me in this process, and I am so proud to have worked so hard to come this far.
The future looks bright for me, and I can guarantee that because I am nowhere near ready to stop working. I am nowhere near ready to give up, and I am focusing on continuing full steam ahead. I know there is so much more left to discover from my creative side, and I have so much I still want to share. In terms of actual goals, I do want to gain more followers and in turn reach more people, I want to explore my creativity further and see what else I can offer, and I want to continue to inspire others to follow their dreams as I was inspired by those before me. I hope to continue making gifts for you and your loved ones. I hope to continue documenting the amazing moments in my life through this blog, and I hope to keep living each day to the fullest doing what I love.
New boxes, new blogs, and new friends! I appreciate every last one of you that follows along on this incredible journey! I am still amazed everyday that people actually like what I do, that they want to listen to what I have to say, and that J. Isabel Designs is live and running! Dreams do come true folks, but once they do, new dreams emerge in their place. Keep chasing your dreams, exploring your passions, and facing your fears! Big things happen everyday, unexpected things are waiting to greet you around every corner, and the only thing you have to do is get started and never give up!
The days are going to pass no matter what, why not spend them doing what you love?
P.S. You guys are the best! I have never felt so much love and support before starting J. Isabel Designs, and I am so excited everyday to wake up and continue to share this journey with you all! I literally could not do it without you. Thank you!! ❤️