Christa’s Soapbox – Do the Work

So back at the end of 2012 I set some pretty lofty goals for my business. That summer I discovered the modern aesthetic and decided it was time to go pro with my quilting. It’s been 3 years of hard, but enjoyable work and I’m finally starting to see the fruits of my labor. This had me reflecting on the idea of how there’s really no such thing as overnight success. It takes dedication, organization and WORK to get to where you want or need to be.

I listen to a lot of craft business/entrepreneurial type podcasts and enjoy reading trade magazines and attending industry events where I get to talk shop with other makers and business owners. One theme that continually comes up is “Do the Work.” You can set all the goals in the world, make up pretty charts, keep a business journal and go to conferences for inspiration. However, unless you actually buckle down and do the work, it’s not going to happen.

20150721_wipJust a few of the behind-the-scenes projects I am working on….

I feel like I’ve finally reached a turning point with my business over the last year. In that time, I’ve (1) finalized my book, (2) been accepted to teach at QuiltCon, (3) created my first set of professional looking quilt patterns and (4) curated a selection of precuts that successfully sell.

But what has led up to that point is a lot of HARD WORK behind the scenes: (1) It took months of researching and brainstorming to come up with a really good proposal. (2) It took years of teaching experience to craft a good set of class offerings (not to mention determination to try again when I wasn’t accepted the previous year). (3) It took nearly a decade to decide how to produce my patterns and get some help making that happen. (4) It took a leap of faith to completely change our retail business model.

In this world of instantaneous communication, it’s often hard to work on long-term projects behind the scenes that can’t be shared until much later. But I made a promise to myself that no matter how busy things get, I would still take time to stop and reflect. So I write this post today not only to encourage others to do the work to make things happen, but also as a reminder to myself to keep doing the hard work that eventually pays off.

What goals are you working towards? I’d love to know!

My Phrase of the Year for 2015 – Be More Present.

My 2014 word of the year was Quilt, and boy did I take that to heart with my 2014 finishes. I think I made more quilts last year than I have in a long time and it felt wonderful!

For 2015 I came up with a phrase that will be my mantra for the year – Be More Present.

20141225_kids_xmasThese 3 are my pride and joy. I want to be more present for them!

As I continue to juggle the work/life balance, I want to be more involved and invested in everything I do. If I’m hanging out with the kids, I want to really be there (not thinking about the gazillion quilts I want to design and make).

If I’m teaching a workshop, I want to be fully ready ahead of time so I can focus on my students’ needs and be prepared to adapt the class if needed. When I’m trail running with Jason, I will enjoy the ambiance, rather than thinking about how hard it is to run up hills!

2014_kidstrailOur kids joined us on a recent trail run. We love the desert where we live!

We also came up with a family phrase – “be more adventurous,” and I think the two will go hand in hand. We’ve got a lot of fun family trips planned (Disneyland, lots of skiing, Hawaii & California beaches), plus Jason and I have signed up for a few trail races (there’s nothing like deadlines to keep me motivated)!

20141227_jason_jenna_skiMy daughter and hubby on a recent ski trip – we want to be more adventurous!

I’ll also be doing a lot more quilting-related travel this year. I think that if I can be more present at home, I’ll be able to be more adventurous when I’m out and about. That’s the plan, anyway!!

How about you? Have you coined a word or phrase for the year?