Saturday, 28 April 2012

Busy doing something

It's been a strange week for me, orders have really tailed off which worries me as we are a family of hanging in there, freelancers!

 new front page for Moobaacluck.com shortly

When you take your eye off the ball it's quite surprising how even though you think you aren't doing anything that different it seems to make the status quo dip. If that makes sense. There are so many things going on which seem to be draining me financially -  some good things, some really annoying like having to replace all the tyres on the car and TV aerial breaking in the lightning last week!

The good things are my courses and visiting London next week for a conference all about working with agents and licensing. Plus I am really looking forward to getting together for lunch at the forum next week with 6 or 7 other maker friends from Norfolk/Suffolk/ and Cambridge.
I know my work is good but I haven't been promoting myself at all really because I've had my head in surface pattern design course heaven or haven ;. The course has reminded me of what I love to do - design!!

 © Gabriella Buckingham - elements for card/wrap

And of course I start thinking about my illustration career which - before I had children - was  going really rather well. I know there are people out there routing for me that possibly are disappointed that I haven't expanded Moobaacluck more. Something always holds me back and I know it is my other ambitions. Anyone that knows me knows that I live and breathe my work - it has to be the best it can be - I have to be - I seem to be spending years juggling to find what that is. My friendships suffer as I don't give them the attention I should.. I'm the sort of person quietly in the background just hoping that real friends understand that. I'll be sending lots of cards when my new range is put together:)

I think the answer is to be very very strict with myself. 

I shall have to write out a timetable of what needs doing and allocate days to different aspects of my businesses. People say you can't do everything - at least not well - and I can see why. Clearly if you have one business and stick to developing more of the same it is going to work - assuming you have a customer base already which  I do.

On the other hand if you have a little voice inside you saying .. is this it?  If you have a vision of yourself designing for all sort of products, having exhibitions, maybe having a shop or running different web businesses... are they all supposed to remain dreams? Some of them perhaps. I had to end one of my ideas this year- Help-a-Creative is something I would have done if I'd had the money behind me to employ others to set it up. But I realised after a couple of months working on it that I needed to turn my attention back to my business or I wouldn't have an income! I am very enthusiastic about new projects and need a little dose of realism possibly :)

 © Gabriella Buckingham - Star Dream

For lack of money I try to do everything myself but deep down I know that isn't the way to make a business a success - it does depend on the sort of business of course but at some point you need help - whether financial or advisory. It's not being sure of your plans or yourself that scuppers you from the start. Writing this it is so obvious that I need a plan,  a goal and a set of instructions. Something I have never done, however listening to Tim Minchin on Radio 4 I feel in good company :)). I've always been one to just do it and see what happens. There comes a point where you have to direct what has happened. That's what I'm doing.

  part of something I am working on with my handwriting

I love Moobaacluck and will be developing it further refining what I offer on wood and introducing a lot more childrens art and greeting cards. The wooden decorations are unlikely to be mass produced (unless someone tips up with a licensing deal? anyone!?). I very recently acknowledged to myself that I don't want to do a large wooden trade range myself in the future because that would divert me away from designing and painting, I may keep that aspect very small and concentrate on personal orders.

Apart from needing extra help painting backgrounds at busy times I will be the one doing the painting, by hand with a brush. So many people say "spray paint!!" I fully understand why but that feels like cheating to me and I just won't go there. The action of painting is part of what I love. Some customers really get that - I know from all the lovely emails I get from them. So Moobaacluck will remain a hand painted personalised gift business - direct from me to the customer. My things are on a few select websites and I am very happy about that and grateful for all the orders that come through.

(Note: May 10th:  realised this week that the flower I drew on this card looks very like the Spoonflower logo so I am glad that as yet I haven't printed these!)

What do you think of this as a potential business card ? just the first draft  - spent far too long designing logos and web headers one day this week. Only to conclude it is much too soon to create a new site! Update: stationery designs coming on well and I am ordering paper stock and getting in quotes :)

Working with other people in some way for some of the time would be great. When my new lines are a success I will need  someone to pack with me;) and I may even get an accountant!

I love to design and paint and I love supporting other people where I can (hence the help a creative thing). Plenty to keep me busy. I am getting there - if I can stop myself fiddling with potential websites!

Do any of you identify with what I have said?

This post has been edited  - I am so grateful to you all for your comments , glad I posted but think doing this has been a lesson itself. It was cathartic but probably too open. Somethings should probably be written on paper and left to read the next day. The way I blog can sometimes be a bit too close to doing just that for comfort!



37 comments:

  1. I love your sewing things sketches :-)

    Hang on in there... a plan will hatch.
    See you Friday xxx
    Celia

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  2. Kate (aka The Cakesmith)11:49 am, April 28, 2012

    Hello Gabriella! I just wanted to send you a hug - you sound like you need one! :-)
    Thank you for sharing. I get equally confused and frustrated about where I'm going and what I'm doing with my business, and for me it's all still in the very early stages, so ultimately I end up going nowhere fast. On the plus side you should be pleased that you have established a fabulous brand & creative business in Moobaacluck, and I am sure you will be successful in your new endeavours. These things just take time (frustrating I know), you just need to be patient with yourself! :-)

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    1. You're so right Kate.. .I can be patient a while yet. Thanks for you lovely comments!

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  3. FAB post Gabs - everything you've said will strike a chord with someone - I think if we're all honest and as you say you are to an extreme, we have all been there. I constantly question whether what I'm doing is right, should I have given up my teaching etc. I have the flexibility with d&s to work around the children but financially I would be better off teaching. It is hard to find the balance between what pays the bills and what you enjoy doing particularly when both money and time aren't in abundance. YOU WILL work it all out, I'm sure - you are far too talented for it not to all work out. Maybe take a week off to really get things clearer in your mind but I know, that will mean a week of no earnings. Big hugs all round and always only a phone call away if you ever want/need to talk things through!

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    1. thank you for such a caring thoughtful response Becky. It means a lot to me and it's interesting that you still question what you're doing sometimes. It's probably the human condition isn't it .. just part of life and of growing - whatever we chose to pursue. It's lovely to know you are there and big hugs back x Gabs

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  4. Hi Gabs,
    Agree with everyone above, it's a great post, very honest of you and absolutely others can identify with you. It's so hard to do everything you want when there are always constraints like time and money but I'm sure you'll achieve your dreams because you want to so much, no-one says you have to get there in the next x amount of time or else it's game over. Maybe it'd help to talk things through with a friend and put some of the stuff in your head down on paper. It doesn't have to be organised yet, just writing it down can help clarify things and then you can make them into more of a plan. Remember you've got lots of friends and cheerleaders online, and as Becky says, if you ever want to talk things through just give me a holler! Love Gabs x

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    1. Thanks Gabs :) I'm making a plan - drawing in the kitchen all afternoon but trying not to pile on the pressure. Ignoring the housework - as usual.; x

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  5. Can any of us identify ... can we! After the inspirational branding course we did recently I had all these new ideas but time just keeps slipping away from me which I find so frustrating and I also don't feel confident enough to get anyone else involved. So yes I completely understand and sympathise. I have no doubt that you will find the right way to go and Becky is right perhaps take some time off (even a day) to sort things out, perhaps writing this post has helped already? I had a long chat with a friend (self employed too) yesterday and just by talking to her realised that the reason I can't set up the new business/website is because I don't have the time so how on earth did I imagine I'd be able to run it? So for me I'm just going to carry on as I am for the moment but still dream of bigger things but just do it slowly and in a controlled way.

    Thank you for the post it was really interesting to hear. Perhaps you could design us a support group website .... only joking :-)

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    1. GRINS

      Oh yes indeed wouldn't that be nice!
      Sounds like you're going through just what I am - good luck to us xx
      And yes writing all this out has helped already. Thank you

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  6. No one has mentioned that business card...? is it too much?

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  7. I love the business card Gabs! But more importantly I know exactly how you feel. My head is always so full of ideas that I could happily have created 10 businesses in the past year! But I know that is not possible and since doing the Branding masterclass I have reigned my ideas in, decided what it is I really want to do. Take some time out Gabs, even a couple of days, stop trying to thrash it out, you will feel refreshed and the ideas will actually start to flow again, more clearly too.

    You will work out what it is that you WANT to do and can do. Dream big, plan how to get there and please take advantage of your friends, as your true friends, wherever they are will be there to help, however we can :)

    Something I also decided that if we are going to be poor, I would rather be doing something I want to do than something that makes me miserable!

    I'm at the end of the phone, Skype, email or an hour down the road anytime for you. Huge hugs Gabs, you will get there, I promise :))
    Zoe
    xx

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  8. I know you can relate to all that Zoe, despite all the above I do feel closer to knowing what I want. I shall try to have fun with it all for a while - think I've been feeling pressure for obvious reasons. See you before too long whether on a fuzzy screen or perhaps for a picnic in Suffolk!X X lots of love G

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  9. I'm going through similar money and order worries....feel like I'm drowning sometimes. I often think about giving it all up and trying to get a proper job but I'm pretty much unemployable(long story). However, I don't give up on my dreams and I will fight all the way to keep going. Like Zoe, I'd rather be happy but poor doing something I love.

    You have SUCH TALENT and anything in this life is possible. Aim for sky and stars above a teacher once told me.

    If you ever need anything and I really mean this, please tweet, email, whatever and I am happy to help, support or give a virtual bar of chocolate/glass of wine. Lets stick together!

    Caroline xx

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    1. Thanks Caroline - here for you too,here's to clarity and finding our unique paths- x Gabs

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  10. Yes! I too like your business card.
    You would not be normal if you did not have times of worry. Coming into my seventh year of RG.com I will say that I had got to the point of doing 4/5 trade shows a year and was doing really well, and making good money, but, and it is a big 'but' I wasn't happy! I had become a packer of orders, an employer, spending all my time overseeing orders, staff and I was continually getting ready for the next show - I soon realised this was not what I wanted from life. Over the last year I have been making big changes to how and what I do and feel so much better for it. I think what I am trying to say is we sometimes rush into things and don't look ahead at the long term, bigger picture of our lives. We can spend years trying to get to a point and when we get there we realise it is not what we wanted after all. Think about where you want to be in 10 years time, what would you actually like to be doing. Take some time to stop completely everything and move away from it for week (or two) - take time to reflect and think about what you are good at and how to turn that into an income so that you can enjoy life with your family.
    Sending you lots of love
    Rachel XXXXXX
    P.S. Your handwriting is really beautiful!

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    1. You know what Rachel - you are so so right. This is I think why I haven't thrown myself deep into trade shows etc - the fear of being stuck in something too big for me. Great advice. I had to smile at the handwriting comment - if you could see the letter I wrote to a friend last week you'd think differently. I think she's still trying to decipher it! :)

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  11. Hi Gabs,

    Firstly I absolutely love your business card design. I really wish I could be that creative!

    Again like others have said I am right with you, I think we all worry whether what we are doing is right.

    I find myself struggling with orders sometimes and this usually ends up in me spreading myself too thinly to attract different people, making things I don't like or enjoy making.

    I know that your new designs will go down a storm they are absolutely gorgeous. I have been watching your progress on your designs over the last few weeks and the do not disappoint.

    If you ever need a break from things you are more than welcome to visit (cloudy) Leamington Spa.

    Chloe
    xx

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    1. Hi Chloe
      That's so kind of you to offer! love Gabs x

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  12. I read to the end of your post, and love the business card design. I can understand the turmoil going on inside your head, have you ever thought about meditation? Given practice it clears the mind and allows your subconscious to sort out what you really want to do, in only 10 minutes a day! If you are interested in giving it a try let me know and I'll send you a link x x (And dont say you dont have the time, anyone can find 10 minutes a day xx)

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    1. Joy that would be lovely x :) send me a link, thank you

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  13. What a totally honest blog post, right from the heart. I can identify with all that you are saying and hope that you can work it through to the conclusion that is right for you. Now my youngest is at school my head says I should go back to being an Air Traffic Controller - fabulous money and a great job too. My heart wants me to succeed at this though, it's all me, has grown with me and continues too. I have product envy of those people who can pack and dispatch as everything I do gets customised and personalised which leaves me out of my depth at busy times in a scary kind of way.

    I too have another fab idea that I haven't had the time or courage to start yet, I hope that I do soon though.

    Lots of great advice to take a little time out, invariably this would lead to clearer thinking.

    Hugs

    Dottie x

    PS I love your business card!!

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  14. We have to be CEO, COO, CFO, designer, techie, strategist and goodness knows what else, all in one person. No wonder it's super tough sometimes. Direction and focus is the toughest I find. As Celia says, a plan will come - there may be a few sleepless nights but you know where you want to go, it's just the exact journey that's unknown. In the meantime I hope you're raising a glass to your beautiful new business card and I'm so excited to see what happens with the new part of your venture.

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    1. The business card is likely to change as I have decided to call my new venture Ink.paint.paper a name I LOVE! but it will still be gabriellabuckingham.com with a hidden illustration portfolio for those that are interested! :) x

      Sorry not to see you on the 9th June but hope to at the next Pick n mix

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  15. Lovely, thoughtful post - oh yes, I can *so* identify with it. I feel a little hemmed in by painting plaques to order - the repetition gets me down sometimes, so even when it's busy it's far from perfect, although I know I'm lucky to be doing it at all. Like you, I also have so many other things I want to do, and painting by hand slows you down from doing all that. The licensing conference sounds fascinating, I'd love to hear how that goes. I've got my sewing machine out from a long hibernation and I'm making sewing patterns, which is great as it's totally different from the gift painting business and has got me excited about design again. Oh, and the business card is amazing. Love it. Good luck xx

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    1. That's the feeling - you know only too well!

      Licensing was about employing agents to sell cards. NOt a route I will ever go down. It was an eye opener of a talk. x

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  16. I hung in there as it rung so many bells in my head and I've never got to the stage you have Gabriella. The business card jumped out at me and I thought I love it, before I read what it was so there you go the instant reaction.

    I've never worked out how you keep the exceptional craftsmanship that is the handmade piece and make enough to actually make a good living from it. I'd say keep painting, not spraying as that's what makes your business - Mike always goes on at me about business identity and what would people instantly recognise as my work to make it stand out. I think handpainting is part of what makes your work stand out. Looking forward to seeing you on Friday. My girls told me they'd seen Penny today after I'd left the building she was in.

    X

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    1. hmmm "good living" is the aim;)

      Very much looking forward to the 9th June - send me a poster if you can before the 27th May as off to Spain on 29th x G

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  17. Morning Eeyore! I know the feeling. I actually haven't done any of anything for a while. I started a website but it is not finished and I have struggled with what how and where next.
    I hope things pick up for you and Tigger comes back soon.
    Xx

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    1. Tigger is back but being tamed slightly :) x

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  18. Sending you ((hugs)) Gabby I know EXACTLY where your coming from. Your paragraph about structured plans for the week struck a cord. I'll tweet you a piccie of my planner. Cant live without it and it is a Sunday night ritual

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    1. Thanks Claire - yet to implement one but it's coming!!

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  19. Wow, I could have written your post myself. This is exactly how I am feeling right now...!

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    1. just been to your site - gorgeously designed - well done!

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  20. Ok so wow! Your post really got to me because I can totally feel what your feeling-still going through it myself. i think that when you are creative person you do get all these ideas coming in (well i do) on how i can make more money with my work which then i find actually competes/goes against with what i actually want to do with my work- does that make sense? Everyday I have to keep saying to myself 'yes that would make more money, but is that what you want to do?' The answer is normally 'no' & that i need to try & make money doing the work I love to do but then like you there's the issue of risking making less money for a while until hopefully it takes off- which is very scary! i think its a great idea to have a plan as to where you want you business to go and stick with it- a lesson I've been trying to teach myself too. I feel like I'm rambling now so I'll stop! :)

    Oh & I do love your business cards but I'm so drawn to your painting/s I would love to see another business card showing off that amazing talent too- how about creating a painted floral wrap design, which could be the back drop?

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    1. Emma your post made me smile so much - firstly 'cos you sound like Will - I - am "Ok so wow!"
      I am making head way with designing things that I really love behind the scenes and will reveal all in a month or so!
      Hanging in there and thanks to one of my many books that I rarely sit and read am going to write out a plan.
      Thank you so much for your comment and here's to planning a lifesytle business. X Gabs

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  21. Dear lord! i do sound like him don't I! All i can say is, it was very late for me when I wrote the comment! lol! R u going to the NOTHS Make Do & Meet? x

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I love to have comments and read every one.. thank you!