So I joined Etsy. For about 6 months I did nothing, and then last January (2007) I caught on to the benefits of listing frequently and renewing listings frequently. January of last year was promising enough that I began to think that it was possible to build sales to a point that taking on contract design work would not be possible. And that was a good thing, too, because the design work was dwindling. I never really went looking for projects before. I would just finish a project, enjoy the lull that followed, and something new would come along.
So as the something news became less and less, I was able to put more of my efforts toward Etsy, and a slow build began to happen. Sales on Etsy slowed a bit in February '07, but then they began to increase a bit each month. By May '07, I was pretty well convinced that Etsy could sustain me if I could sustain the amount of work that generating sales and filling orders requires. Where I had been working sometimes 8am to 2am days, I could now work 9am to 5pm days. I could certainly do that.
I went from fretting over projects that just couldn't seem to be completed to geeking out over how much faster I could fill orders when I replaced my slow inkjet printer with a new laser printer to make my shipping labels. I mean, we're talking about a 1 1/2 minutes per label to 5 seconds! Who wouldn't geek about that?
There were several key moments in those months that disconnected me from my old work life and made me ready to make a living from my art. Some of the things that happened were strictly tangible business-type things. Others were more mental and mindset-type things. And some were totally spiritual things that I still don't know if I believe but I was able to derive a meaning from that pointed me forward.
The first thing that happened was a spiritual thing, and involved a person that I did not know at the time, and who knew very little about me. This would have been around January, before I had begun to curtail my design projects. I was at the peak of my mental turmoil over not wanting to do contract design work anymore but needing to do it to make a living. I felt stuck in my job in that I felt I could not turn projects down yet and also that I could not turn down client requests for additional deliverables or changes to projects that exceeded the budget. I was afraid to say no.
Next: How I learned to stop worrying and love the NO...