The picture above is one of the outtakes from Elias and my photoshoot earlier today, when we were both still content and giddy.
That's now. Although I'd dreamt about starting a business for a life time, the time I took to really jump into it wasn't long enough. I didn't know what I was doing, I didn't know what it exactly entailed, and I did't know what capabilities I had or could develop.
Right now, the Etsy shop is finished and live (THANK GOD), but I'm still lingering on my website because I don't quite feel finished. I still have yet to announce the official launch of Salt Stains, but let me ramble a little here first while everyone sleeps, including Elias.
Starting from Thanksgiving week, my life has been consumed, completely consumed by this business, because I didn't really plan ahead. I didn't plan ahead because I didn't really know how long things would take. I have to be honest here, the real fun part for me is creating my work, not advertising or calculating. I spent about two months just brainstorming and illustrating, learning calligraphy, buying new toys off of Amazon (prime!) such as a new calligraphy pen and ink set, watching 3-4 movies at a time while working, scrapping everything I did for the whole day and starting over, and so on. Then I spent weeks researching how to start a business. Then I had to think about the actual production process, like what paper to print on, where to print, how to package, how to ship, and how to get the word out. There is nothing better for me than working alone, but this was no joke.
Just two weeks ago Elias came to my rescue, well, to a certain extent, and gave me a breather. He is an expert at Excel, which I don't even know how to spell. He became my personal accountant and assistant and photographer just like that. Regardless of his help, today turned out to be an enormous trial for the both of us. Well, the problem is that I had already announced the launch date, hadn't I? I can't go back on my word! I usually consider myself a pretty competitive and disciplined worker, disciplined enough to set deadlines for myself and keep them. But today was hilarious. I think I murmured to myself, "I'm not gonna make it" about thirty times in the last five hours. And the biggest irony was that most of my work contain encouraging and comforting Scripture verses. As I was writing the product descriptions for each item, I soon realized I was the one that needed these reminders. Funny how that works out.
So here I am. Now 4:16 A.M.
It's so easy to come off spotless through social media, but really, struggle is there for everyone. Salt Stains has launched. It's still not everything I planned and expected, but I am thankful. Elias told me last night that I haven't been this passionate and engrossed in something since my senior thesis project, which was also a series of prints based on Scripture. It's undeniably true. I have the privilege of pursuing what I believe in and love doing, I can't take that for granted.
And hey. Now I have a ton of advice to give to people who want to start a business.