It’s Been Three Years…

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…Since I quit my job and became self-employed! Three whole damn years, can you believe that, and guess what? I almost forgot! I won’t lie it’s been a struggle and I’m still nowhere near where I wanted to be but I’m still going. The last three years have been a learning curve and I have learnt so much. Some days I have just wanted to jack it in because I couldn’t see the point of struggling so hard or it was because I had no idea or clue what I was doing or where I wanted to go! Other days I’m like yeah this is the best and I’m a total boss! Freelance/self-employed life is a roller-coaster of emotions sometimes, like everything it’s full of highs and lows.

Every little sale or get a good feedback slowly erases away the self-doubt but every week of slow sales is a reminder not to get cocky and to keep at it! Not to give up if you fall at the first hurdle or even the second or third hurdle. They say behind every overnight success is at least five-ten years hard work most us won’t ever get to that level of success and will just get by day-to-day.  There will be many ‘failures’ a long the way. Some of them won’t even be failures just bad timing, trends come and go and the bat of an eyelid, blink and something new has taken over.

People will still think that you working for yourself is a doss, and that you pretty much free to drop everything and do stuff because hey working for yourself doesn’t mean you have a work schedule to keep at,  or they ask as an after thought (ie when you mention it) oh how’s that going for you than like they’re asking about the weather or even better, oh you’re still doing that then! or that your silly little craft fairs are not important (yes someone actually said that to me), or customer at markets who declare loudly that they could make this for far less, or customers requesting commissions declaring that there design is a big improvement on yours and expecting you to agree with them! And so on and so on, these are the things that keep you grounded and determined. Proving people wrong has always been my number one motivator.

Yes with freelancing comes a certain level of flexibility but you still have to haul ass to the post office regardless of the weather, there are no sick days, sick benefits or paid holidays. You do end up working longer hours and longer weeks but hey you’re leaving the dream so it doesn’t count, tell that to the bills that need paying.

Comparison is definitely the thief of joy, never compare your journey to anyone else’s, numbers are arbitrary, just because someone has 10,000 followers doesn’t always necessarily mean they are doing better than you, we live in a world where the number of likes seemingly make people look popular but at the end of the day it’s not a true indicator. people obsess over them for the wrong reasons, they paying attention to the wrong numbers,

This year I finally managed to settle on a path after much experimenting and somehow now have two shops to run. Two very different styles of shop which equally reflect my passions in life. Well I say two shops, I’m spending a lot of time setting up one with plans for another but obviously having to do everything myself means this is taking a little longer than I expected. I’m hoping to launch my handmade shop in time for my birthday. It seems kind of nice to start a new venture in a new decade.

I’m feeling a lot more settled, though being self-employed there is always the worry where the next sale/commission is coming from but I’m happy with where I’m at, I’m grateful I never gave up thanks to support of my customers and more so to my excellent cheerleader of a husband, reminding me that I can do this and I’m better at this than I think I am.

Everyday I learn something new and everyday I’m grateful I get to do this, some people have viewed my strong will and stubbornness as a negative but in this case it’s working to my advantage, and I guess that’s all that matters.

 

 

June Goals

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I know I stopped setting myself challenges etc because of pressure and work and life commitments but that doesn’t mean I’ve ruled out having goals all together, in fact not at all. I think it’s always good to have something to aim towards, even if it’s something small like saving up for new shoes or a trip to the cinema once a month. In my last post I said I was going to stop doing monthly round ups and do some more photo posts instead, sometimes it is nice to reflect on what’s been done but it’s also nice to look forward to things as well. As always my theory is if I put it in writing I’m more likely to do things, the problem is I have so much I want to do and not enough hours to them, so I breaking them down into more manageable goals.

I’ve spent most of May either trying to catch up on listing stock for the vintage store or de-cluttering the flat, which despite being a chore, I made good progress on but didn’t leave me much time to be creative, so as per my Summer of Selfish Sewing and art post I’m going to try to make more time for creativity. I’ve already pushed back the opening of my new store because I want to concentrate on that properly but that’s post for another time. So here’s what I’m doing to get my creative groove back.

Sewing

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Finish at least five items. My work in progress pile is out of control, it’s more of a mountain plus I’m behind on my vintage pledge. I’m also on a self-imposed ban until some of this fabric gets used up!

Knitting

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Finish my Nuuk sweater. I started this in March and I was planning knitting an item a month but got sidetracked by a knitting commission, so that plan has gone out the window and even though it’s hot now and knitting in summer usually slows me down but I will finish this before June is out.

Reading

I’m one of those people who has several books on the go,  currently have five! I’m also a little behind on my Goodreads challenge, so my goal is to finish the ones I have on the go before starting any new ones (except the complete works of OZ because that is long!!!). Not making any promises on this one. Also I read one of my magazines that I’ve been hoarding, so many interesting articles to read and they just sit there, so time to act on that.

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Writing

So I pulled out all my old writing stuff to sort out and scan and it got me thinking about how I always say I’m going to make time for writing again (blog not included) and seeing I have a lot of half-started stories my goal this month is to at least sort them out and decided which ones are going to get finished. I might also try to start rewriting one.

Art

As above I’m always talking about taking up painting again, actually this is a rolling new years resolution and have failed completely for about four years running unless you count painting backdrops for stock photography. I need to get some practice in especially if I want to start doing my own designs and I also I like painting. So my goal is to start a painting, not finish it but at least start one. Also to start sketching up some designs for my embroidery projects.

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Photography

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I have, like most, a love hate relationship with Instagram. I confess I haven’t been paying too much attention to it lately, mostly my vintage account for obvious reasons. My main account I switched back to a personal account as I’m not sure what I’m doing with it, it’s kind of fallen b y the wayside. I tried making it look professional/themed and then I couldn’t be bothered especially when the whole algorithm/people buying followers/Instagram pod things kicked off! It just took away the point of it but until another better platform comes along that hasn’t been beaten into submission by Facebook I’ll just stick with it and try not to care too much about stats, which is kind of hard when your business relies on social media and stats are thrown around left right and centre! Anyhoo my point is take more pictures of whatever I like! Sounds like a given but apparently it’s not.

So that’s my creative goals for June.

 

I Went For a Walk and Saw…

I was going to the usual monthly round-up post but I’ve spent most of the month trying to catch up with work and so not much to report after what I’ve already blogged about already, so I though instead of doing monthly round ups as I plan on blogging a lot more anyway, doing photo posts.

Anyway here a few shots from our walk round Kensington and Chelsea.

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I know I’m not the world’s greatest photographer but I just like to share some of the things I see on my travels.

Freebies, Food and a Film!

 

This Tuesday me and The Goth celebrated six years since we met and two years since we got married, we both took the day off work, rare considering we’re both self-employed and headed up town for a day out of freebies, food and a film.

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We started off at the V&A for some freebie exhibitions.

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The Prix Pictet in the Porter Gallery showcasing work by artists such Michael Wolf, Benny Lam and Saskia Groneberg on the theme of Space.

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We also swung by Soviet Visuals exhibition which took some walking around the third level until we stumbled upon it. It was only two rooms but interesting to see the development of style.

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Then we headed over to My Old Dutch on Kinds Road for Pancakes.

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Then we had a little walk up and down for me to take some photos which will be coming in another blog post and also to walk off lunch a bit. We then headed to the cinema on Fulham Road to watch Alien Covenant.

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I’ve missed quite a few releases recently just due to laziness. I don’t do well with sitting in the same spot for too long as I get numb bum syndrome, which is hard considering most films these days are over two hours long but some films should be seen in the cinema. I have to say I wasn’t a fan of Prometheus but I did like Covenant.

And that was just my little post of what we got up to on our anniversary.

April Round Up

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Kinda gutted we didn’t go to VLV20 this year but also happy not to be travelling to the US with the current travel ban in place and Trump as so-called president! But there were plenty of other things to keep me occupied.

I did my accounts and taxes, boring I know but I like to get them out the way, future me is always thankful around January when everyone else is having a breakdown before the deadline!

I’m still stocking up the vintage shop, it appears my decision to turn it into a vintage only shop is working in my favour. April was my second best month takings wise since I opened up the shop two and half years ago. I have to say I’m a little surprised but glad some of my decisions and non-stop working are paying off. On the other hand this means I’m a little behind on blogging and starting on designing stuff for the new shop, which looks like more to be a June start because I have about 250 odd items to photograph, edit and list. So do I do it all in one fell swoop so I can properly concentrate on designing or split my week in half which I’m going to have to end up doing at some point anyway?

I’ve also been spring cleaning the flat and had a massive tidy up and clear out and am going to start filling up my Depop shop soon. In the past I’ve been a bit sentimental about my handmade clothes, that and I’m not sure they’re good enough to sell (although I have sold some in the past) but I might as well take a chance and try to sell off some of the stuff that is too big or too small, along with some other bits. My Depop username is NatashaDeVil if you fancy having a butchers at what I’ll be selling. There will be lots like out of print magazines, jewellery, make up, shoes etc from my non vintage collection. Anything vintage will go in the Etsy shop.

I actually got back into sewing this month. The real reason I stopped was continual weight gain due to food intolerances but I think I may have got a handle on that now. It now means I’m probably classed as a fussy eater but I don’t care, I need to do what’s good for me. I’m not going to go into too much because I think there is already too much talk about body standards and people need to stop policing and judging people on the size of their body. Health is important, people’s opinions on what size your body should look to be considered healthy is not!

I quit a lot of my challenges! At the time they all seemed liked good ideas for motivating me in my work and projects but work and life has a habit of taking over and I could do with out the extra pressure. So I didn’t finish the journaling course which my heart wasn’t in any way because the topic didn’t really speak to me, also I have enough of my plate with the challenges of running a business, setting up a new business and all the other life’s curve balls that keep coming our way. I  have enough to keep me busy and when you can’t find time for the things you want to enjoy or all the pressure makes you sick (I ended up sick on the may day bank holiday instead of finishing sewing my dresses!), it’s probably best to cut back a little and concentrate on just a few things instead. At the end of the day the only person you are in competition with is yourself! I know I repeat myself a little in the blog or say things that have already been said by others but it always serves as a good reminder especially to myself.

There’s been a lot of talk recently from long-standing bloggers about the good old days of blogging when we weren’t ruled by DAs, GAs and other whatnot stats. It was less competitive and more community like. To be honest after 8 years I still blog like it’s 2009, I ‘ve tried to keep up but my hearts not in it enough to lose sleep over. I blog when I want to or when I have time, I blog about the stuff I want to, I will always have non clickbait blog titles, I will probably never be sponsored and have an audience of three people. I get that my blog is a bit of a mix but I only like to share the things that I truly like and I’m happy with that and it’s about finding people who you can connect with rather than sell things to. Don’t get me wrong I’d be happy to do a review of something if it’s connected with one of the topics in this blog but it would be honest but for now you’re getting posts on making clothes, vintage stuff and additions to my vinyl collection! I’d go on about the Instagram saga as well but you probably already know about that, at the end of the day I’ve always kept it honest and that’s probably why I have such a small following but at least they are people I can connect with and have something in common with.

We re-watched Twin Peaks, well I re-watched by The Goth watched through in full for the first time to catch up before the new series starts, turns out it had been so long since I last watched it I’d forgotten half of series 2! And I’ve probably decided that I will get a subscription to watch as I love the series too much to hide from spoilers for that long. Might sound a little extreme getting another TV subscription to watch a series but no different from all buying the box set or episodes off Prime or something.

Finally got to see Gutterdammrung: The Loudest Silent Movie on Earth after it had been postponed and rescheduled several times, it finally found a home at the Palladium, it was good but I think with all the waiting and feeling under the weather I was little underwhelmed. It probably didn’t help the lead singer of the band was just over the top and clichéd! But Josh Home with a bazooka kinda made up for that!

And that was April, sorry for the complete rambling, turns out I had a lot more to say than I thought!

Natasha x

 

 

 

 

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