Loving what you do is crucial to living a productive and happy life; at least in my book. I’ve never been one to take a job just for the money – there has to be something that stirs in my soul for me to continue working on any given thing. I guess you could say that I prefer being involved in a calling rather than a career.
But, what happens when those stirrings change?
- Go away completely?
- Die down for a bit?
That’s just what I’m having to figure out, and I hope by sharing my experiences, you won’t panic like I did when this first happened to me.
My business first started out as a craft business. Why? Because it was something I liked doing and that I was good at. (Looking back, I realize it was just a hobby and I probably should have given more thought to what I really wanted my business to be.) It eventually grew into graphic design and printing, then freelance writing and editing, add in some marketing and social media, and you’ve got a full house. I started spreading out, spreading myself too thin, liking too many things, and not even really doing what I started out doing. Then, I helped co-found a ministry and created a community website. I was losing my original business in the process – not literally, but it was getting lost in all the other things I started getting passionate about.
I realized I didn’t even really enjoy the craft part of my business any more. I wasn’t participating in craft shows, but wasn’t promoting that part of the business as frequently, and completely stopped sending my newsletter or keeping up with my blog.
At the same time, I didn’t just want to close the doors to my first business. Why? Well, my name was tied up in it – that business name was how everyone knew me, where over 700 fans on Facebook kept up with me and over 1,000 Twitter followers engaged. I felt tied to the identity, the effort behind the website and branding I had done, and didn’t feel I could let go.
There was in fact a moment of panic.
First, I had to stop and ask myself WHY I had the business, or that part of the business. Was there a component I could let go of? For me, it was more because I wanted to be in business for myself than wanting to sell my crafts. Once I realized I didn’t want to do the crafting part anymore, I had to figure out how to revamp things so that I didn’t lose my brand identity. This part would be a little tougher and take some time and thought.
The first thing I did was set up a landing page website – angelabickford.com – this site hosts everything I do and supplies the visitor with my resume, portfolio samples, testimonials, links to all my projects, bio, and a complete run down of everything I do and how I can help them. This way, I could (hopefully) avoid the confusion that was about to ensue. Then, I looked at my original business website. The way it had been set up was specifically for the crafts I sold – not for the graphic design I did or the stationery products I sold. I’m in the process of creating shopping cart for those products and removing the crafts; same site – different items for sale. I’ll be able to keep the name I tweet from too, and the fan page won’t change much – again, just the products on it.
Next, I looked at my newsletter and blog. I had to decide if I was going to keep those around. For me, the answer isn’t clear yet, so I’m continuing to put those on hold until I deal with my website changes – I think I’ll know which direction to go in after that.
In the meantime, I am focusing on what I do love to do – all the rest of it. I’ve learned that there’s nothing wrong with deciding you don’t like doing something anymore – even if it is a part of your business. Doing what you love is more important than continuing to do something just because people expect it. A little change never hurt anyone.
Angela Bickford – Angela is a Jill-of-all-trades, so to speak. She has a home-business where she sells custom stationery and gifts, has created a resource website for her local community, is the Local Director for a new women’s ministry, and does various freelancing projects in her spare time. She lives in Texas with her family.