A few days ago, past me was be-bopping along, writing some posts (ahead of time, gasp!) and reading through the other blogs I follow. And I thought, I need some new blogs to add to my reader feed. So I’ll do a search and find some new and interesting and exciting blogs to follow. Right?
Maybe it’s because my blog isn’t really a ‘niche’ blog. Or maybe it’s because I’m interested in everything. (Except creepy crawlies – those can f*ck right off.)
I’m interested in photography, editing photographs, writing, blogging, creating, dungeons and dragons, painting miniatures, mandalas, stickers, self-publishing, running my own business, virtual reality – the list goes on and on.
But I have had no luck just doing searches on WordPress and trying to find other bloggers/writers to support and read. I mean, I’ve found some that look interesting, but I feel like I must be missing a whole huge lot of them.
So – who do you follow? Who’s funny? Who makes you think? Who posts pretty things? I need AALLLLL the links! Post them below – don’t forget to include your own blog so I can follow you too!
A few days ago I decided that I wanted to add some music to my smartphone. I’m a music lover and I have a large collection of music files that I’ve compiled over the years – CD’s I owned that I ripped the music from, songs I’ve purchased at various places (including Amazon and iTunes), even some old cassettes and vinyl that I converted into digital files.
I have Amazon music on my phone, but it only lets me play songs I’ve purchased from Amazon. You used to be able to upload other songs you owned, but I never did that. You still can, but you are limited to 250 songs. With something like 12,000 songs in my library, that didn’t seem feasible.
I do have an iPod, but rather than carry two items (my phone and iPod) around, I thought, “Why not put some of the music files on my phone?” Easy, right?
I spent an hour or so pulling out some music and putting it in a file on my PC so that I could drag/drop it onto my phone. Unfortunately, I forgot something.
I own an iPhone. 😦
So when I hooked up my iPhone, it wanted to sync with my iTunes account. Which wouldn’t have worked, because I have two different apple IDs – one on my phone and one for iTunes. And which I didn’t want anyway, because I didn’t want my entire iTunes library on my phone.
Now, I own the music in my library. I also own the phone. So why can I not just simply drag/drop files from my PC onto my phone? Oh, right, because it’s Apple.
I could go out and get a third party app/software that would let me transfer the music files. But it would still put them in the iTunes library on my phone, which I also do not want. My husband doesn’t understand my frustration. Maybe you won’t either.
Regardless, I am incredibly frustrated. After two hours and bunch of internet searches later, I am disgusted with the whole process. All I wanted was to have my music (again, which I own) be portable so that I could take it with me.
Last time I was talking about my (lifelong) tendency to procrastinate. I hope I’m doing better (past me is writing this, so I hope future me is doing better). However, I’ve been dealing with a lot of Imposter Syndrome lately.
For those of you unfamiliar with Imposter Syndrome (lucky you!), it is defined as ‘the persistent inability to believe that one’s success is deserved or has been legitimately achieved as a result of one’s own efforts or skills.’ (Dictionary.com) Basically, I feel like a fraud and that at any moment, someone will discover that I really have no idea what I’m doing.
It’s the opposite of the Dunning-Kruger effect, which is defined as ‘a cognitive bias in which people of low ability have illusory superiority and mistakenly assess their cognitive ability as greater than it is.’ (Wikipedia.com)
I wonder if there’s any way to trick my brain into switching one out for the other?
Every time I sit down to try and work on designs for my (eventual) store, I am beset by doubts. Nothing seems good enough. That little voice in my head starts whispering about how I’m not trained, I’m a hack, an amateur, a fraud. Then the very next day (or sometimes sooner), I am looking at other people’s work and thinking, pfft, I can do that!
The Imposter Syndrome was so bad that my Cameo, after sitting in the box for two weeks, sat for another two weeks in my office before I actually tried using it. And I only did it then because my husband was busy working on some designs of his own and wanted to use the machine to cut them (he was making vinyl decals).
I nixed him getting to use it before I did, so I finally sat down and tried cutting out some sticker files that I had purchased on Etsy. (That is another failure story, so keep an eye out for that one.) So, I have now used the machine and learned a few things, but I am still suffering from both Imposter Syndrome and my usual procrastination.
Meanwhile, my husband is busy creating designs and cutting out decals in his spare time and has decorated several of our vehicles with them. Le sigh.
How do you deal with procrastination and/or Imposter Syndrome?
I am a procrastinator. Which is bad for a home business, probably. I work best under pressure (like writing a 5 page college paper the night before it’s due, etc). I think I get overwhelmed by choices, so leaving things until the last minute forces me to make quick choices and I don’t have the time to over think them. (I think there’s a sticker in there somewhere!)
So when I decided to try and start a sticker business, I was making list after list after list. What would I use as a name? Did I need a blog? What equipment and supplies would I need? My husband, on the other hand, was immediately online, researching what the best equipment and supplies would be and encouraging me to order them asap so I could get started.
We ended up purchasing a new printer, since my current printer was about 7 years old. We also bought a Silhouette Cameo 3, which I will be using to cut out the stickers I plan to sell. The printer we bought locally, but both items sat in the box for about two weeks – I needed to rearrange some things in my office to make room for the new machines.
We finally got around to rearranging the office so we could set up the new printer and the Cameo. A few days ago I set up a separate bank account to use for the business and got a PO Box as well. So now I don’t have any more excuses for not getting started.
So, have I? Of course not.
I set a deadline for myself of April 1, which has come and gone. I do have the machines set up and I’ve been working on designs and learning the ins and outs of the Cameo. But it seems that external deadlines are easier for me to worry about than internal ones. So I’m going to try my hardest to meet the next one – by May 1 I want to have at least 10 products ready to launch. Crossing my fingers that I can stick with this one.
How do you keep yourself motivated to meet personal deadlines?
You can’t know everything – a fact which frustrates me often. Take today, for example. I was doing some research to see what counted as views on my blog. Because WordPress has set up this fantastic Reader which lets me follow and comment on all the millions of blogs out there, so surely using it helps the people I’m following, right? And vice versa?
Turns out, not so much. From what I was able to find, the answer about whether it’s counted as view is – it depends. But essentially, unless I go to the actual URL of a blog/site, it probably isn’t counted as a view. Which I get. But then, why have the Reader? Convenience, sure, but is that enough?
So then I thought – well, what if I use Feedly (that’s still around, right? Or did I just date myself?) or some other RSS aggregator? That would count as view since I have to actually put in the blogs/sites I want to follow, surely.
Viewing a site using RSS doesn’t count. I think.
You know, I’m an educated person and, I’d like to think, a fairly quick learner. But I can’t know everything. Dealing with the internet makes me think I have to. It seems like there is never a straight-forward answer, and what answers there are contain a bunch of jargon that I don’t understand.
With all the wonders the internet has provided (including memes and hilarious animal videos), following blogs I like all in one place, while also providing a view to those blogs doesn’t seem like a huge undertaking, does it? I’m not a tech person, so there’s probably nuances to this issue I don’t understand or haven’t thought of.
So, for now, this will have to be one of those topics that doesn’t make sense to me. I could spend more time doing research, but it will probably frustrate me and it’s not a topic I want to spend a lot of time on. I mean, views are nice, but they are not the reason I started this blog. I will use the Reader to follow other blogs that interest me, and I hope others are doing the same. If it doesn’t count as a view on my blog, it’s not the end of the world for me.
Organic growth is what I’m hoping for – that what I put out here has some value to others and that my writing speaks for itself. If it doesn’t, and it fails, then that’s another lesson for me, right?
My OCD need for organization has been the butt of many jokes in my life. My children find it hilarious that I can’t remember what I had for dinner last night, but I can tell you if someone moved my stapler two inches. (Maybe that’s just my OCD and not my need for organization, but that’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)
I’ve always been a ‘neatnik,’ as my mother would have said. I like things to have a place and for things to be in that place. There are things I don’t do – like organize my clothes by color or season or things like that (because I don’t have the time, nor do I care, frankly). When it comes to my office and files, however, I want everything neat and tidy.
I started using daily planners in college to help keep track of homework, due dates, etc. I’ve been using them ever since. However, I usually have just purchased a generic daily planner and used those. I like having my month laid out so I can see everything at once. The planner was something I liked and used because I wanted to, but once I had children, it became a necessity.
A few years ago, someone mentioned a bullet journal and I was intrigued. I did some research and decided I would try it.
My need for perfection ruined my use of the bullet journal. I felt like I had to not only be an expert at using the bullet journal, but also be a fantastic artist and decorate it beautifully as well. Which, of course, didn’t happen, and I got so frustrated I quit using it and went back to my generic planners.
Fast forward to about 6 months ago, and I discovered the planner/sticker community on YouTube and Etsy. I was instantly hooked – a way to stay organized with a planner and make it look cute and fancy, but with stickers! As I dove deeper into the idea, I realized a sticker business was something I was interested in. I could work from home, set my own schedule, have some extra income, and satisfy my own need for creativity and organization.
I don’t know if this business idea will work out, but that’s part of the fun, right? I might succeed, I might fail. Either way, at least I will have tried, which is more than most people can say. I’m still working out the logistics of everything – setting up my Etsy store, making product, learning about incredibly boring things like sales tax and online business, but it’s all slowly coming together.
I’m also a huge procrastinator and I suffer from sometimes debilitating bouts of imposter syndrome, but I am determined to see this through. So follow along and watch me fail and learn.
I know all the advice out there says you should ‘niche’ your blog. I’m still not sure I understand why. I mean, I get wanting to be seen as an expert in your field. But I am interested in people, not in niches. When I think about it in that light, it makes me wonder about the other advice you always hear on social media – be authentic, be real. But authentic and real people are complex and multi-dimensional, not a single ‘niche’ idea, right?
As an introvert, people usually assume that I hate people. I don’t. I love watching people, observing their behavior, trying to figure out what makes them tick. Interacting with people is a completely different thing, though. Because I’m an introvert, I’m socially awkward. I mean, I can handle being in social situations, but I don’t generally enjoy them. Mostly because I don’t understand them. If you don’t really care how I am, why are you asking? I want to talk about deep and meaningful things, but most social conversation is completely superficial.
Anyway, I’m getting sidetracked, sorry. This post is about why this blog likely won’t fit into a neat little niche. The purpose behind it is not to present myself as an expert about anything, but rather to (hopefully) show people that with success comes a lot of failure. I think that people are so afraid these days to fail at anything that they prefer to do nothing. But you don’t learn if you don’t fail. I think that’s a lesson that so many people miss. We’re so focused on success that we forget it is driven by failure.
I decided to start a business, and as is usual with me, I jumped right in with both feet. But after spending a week or so researching and doing some paperwork, that darn imposter syndrome showed its ugly face. Suddenly, the whole prospect seemed incredibly daunting. I have no idea what I’m doing; what was I thinking?
Then I started to really head down the rabbit hole. I don’t even really use social media – I have no ‘following’ to promote this business to, so how in the world am I going to get sales? Then I started researching selling online and all the new tax and privacy laws in the US and elsewhere and it really started to get overwhelming. How am I ever going to make this a success?
Then one day, in the midst of all my angst, I thought, why the hell am I worrying about all this? When I originally decided to start the business, I told myself that I wouldn’t worry about failing. If I did fail, then at least I would have learned something. If I fail, I’ll have lost some money and some time, but at least I will have tried. I’d regret not trying more than I’d regret failing. So, here I am.
If you’re expecting this to be a blog about only things relating to an online business venture, you might be disappointed. I will write about that, but other things interest me, and since this is, after all, my blog, I will probably write about them too.
I’m opening at Etsy shop selling planner stickers and vinyl decals. Topics you may encounter in this blog: starting an online home business, cutting machines (like the Silhouette Cameo), stickers, planners, vinyl, decals, sales tax, using Etsy, etc. I may also write about things like fonts, software, blogging, writing, creating, art, being an introvert (and sometimes a hermit), my tinfoil hat theories (shh, don’t tell anyone about these), and you may encounter my snark/sarcasm.
If any of those don’t strike your fancy, no problem. The internet is a big place, and this is just one tiny corner of it. If you’re interested in watching me fail (or succeed), then slap the follow button and let’s go!
Welcome to my little corner of the internet – the Hermit Hut! It’s usually just me in here, but it does get lonely. So, I decided to hang a shingle and invite you all in.
I’m a lifelong introvert, though I’m not officially a hermit – yet. It’s not that I mind being outside – it’s the people. And most people are nice, don’t get me wrong, but people are sometimes (most times) mentally and emotionally exhausting for me. I’m just not built to be sociable and ‘on’ all the time. I need time to recharge my batteries, and for me, that means time alone.
The last few years have been great, because my kids are in school and I have a part-time job that forces me to get out of the house. So I get time to socialize, to work, and I still get to have a lot of alone time, which suits me just fine.
I started this blog because I wanted to share my journey – both in living life as an introvert and starting my online business. One of the possible changes coming in my life is a more nomadic lifestyle, and so I wanted a way to connect with people and to have a decently stable job that I could do from pretty much anywhere. (I decided to start a sticker shop on Etsy, in case you’re wondering.)
So, come along and watch me fail! Because that’s when you learn – when you fall flat on your face and have to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start again. There’ll be plenty of failures here and plenty of laughs (not all at my expense, I hope). Let’s all laugh and learn together and, again, welcome to the Hut!