piper’s dream report: week five

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Thanks everyone for sticking with me on this journey.  It’s funny but when I get ready to write these posts I think to myself:  What should I write about this week?  What will people like to read about? (I’m a chronic people pleaser!)  And then after a few minutes, I realize that all I need to write about is what I’m experiencing – whether good or bad, exciting or dull, this is what my journey looks like and I want to make sure I’m honest about it.

So this week has been the culmination, I think, of the past 6 months or so.  Like I said last week, trying to reach my dream of having my own store has been such a roller coaster of emotions for me.  Not to mention that it takes up a lot of time.  As in A. LOT. OF. TIME!  Of course I knew going in that starting my own business would take a lot of extra time…but I don’t think I realized how tiring it could be especially while working full time at a job I dislike tremendously!  And really how little time that I have for myself and my family now.

The past 6 months have been the same routine:  alarm goes off, I play the mental “should I call off today” game, finally drag my complaining self out of bed, go to work and try desperately to get some work done on my store wishing I was anywhere but at work, come home and spend hours working on my blog and store, repeat as needed – which has become everyday and on the weekends!  And this hasn’t left much time for my husband, my dogs, my friends, my house…or myself.  And I think I’m angering the stress monster that lives inside of me!

This week has been a great example.  I could tell that the stress of working non-stop was starting to get to me.  So with the long weekend ahead of me, I thought I’d make it even longer by taking Friday off….ahh, a 4 day weekend! Think of all the things I can accomplish!  I, of course, set superwoman sized goals for myself and then finally crashed from exhaustion and stress by Sunday as I realized I’d hardly accomplished anything and I felt like I’d never get caught up.  Cue the stress monster!  It all boiled up and with tears in my eyes, I wondered if I should just give up.  Were all the doubts in my head trying to tell me something?  Am I going to fail miserably at this?  How am I going to have the time to do this?

This is when it took all the strength I had to put those thoughts aside and let myself take a much needed break.  So I took Sunday & Monday off and got a chance to relax, read, hang out with my husband and friends.  But then of course the other monster came out…guilt.

Guilt is so useless – I know this.  But it’s there.  Especially now that I’ve committed myself to starting this store.  Any moment or second that I have, I feel like I should be working on the business.  So this only leaves time for 2 things:  working on the business or stressing over and feeling guilty about the fact that I’m not working on the business.  And can I just tell you guys how tiring that is!  I know I deserve some time off or breaks now and then.  But I’m not sure how to actually take them without feeling stressed or guilty.  Especially when taking those 2 days off put me behind my schedule and now I feel like a crazy woman trying to do the impossible!

This then brings up something that’s been on my mind for a long time…what comes first, the chicken or the egg?  Okay, that’s not really what’s on my mind but it’s similar…how do I start a business while working fulltime?  Yet working fulltime provides income that I won’t have until I start the business and possibly after.  So what comes first?!

I remember reading a post of Jess’ awhile ago – and it has stuck with me ever since.  It was her post titled ‘No Plan B‘ and it has made me wonder, ever since, what it would be like to not have a Plan B.  To not have the safety of a paycheck.  To have the chance to throw myself 100%, full-force into my business, my passion, day in and day out.  Not having to split my time between work I dread, that saps my energy and work that I have passion but no time for.  Would this be the push I need – I can imagine how freeing it would feel!  But would the reality of not having a paycheck be too hard?  I have to say there’s a HUGE part of me that wants to take that leap and just quit.  Yet the practical side of me (along with our budget!) shouts “No, don’t do it”!   And that brings me back full circle – how do I start my store while working full time?

Here’s what I’ve decided to do.  It’s not a perfect plan, but it’s a step in the right direction.  I think it helps take care of both the practical side and the “let’s just quit” side of me.  I’ve set my store grand opening date.  I figure it would be best to at least have the possibility of income coming in before I quit my job, right? Having an actual online store would probably help with that!  Once I set that date, I started working backwards with what needs to be done and how long each step will take to make sure the opening date works.

And then, here’s the best part – I set my “quit date”!!  Although this is a bit of a mental game, I can’t tell you how fun it is to look at a calendar and see in big letters “PUT MY NOTICE IN AT WORK” – it’s like a dream (almost) come true!

So now instead of being a vague statement “I’m opening an online store sometime”, I can say “I’m launching the store in 3 months”!!  It feels completely scary (yet freeing and exciting at the same time) to announce this…but here’s hoping that on October 4th I can say….”My store’s opening today”!!  (I’m shooting for September 1st, but that’s coming up faster than I thought!!)

Which means I have a lot to do before October!  And honestly I’m still overwhelmed (I have yet to quiet the stress monster!) with all that needs to be done.  But I’m hoping that having a deadline and a goal will keep me focused.  And by sharing them with you guys, it’s keeping me accountable.  So, here are my goals for the next week:

● Narrow down product lines and send “catalog” to consultant (this feels impossible, btw.  I love all the products!!)

● Set up next appointment with consultant to get her opinion on product mix

I would love to know your thoughts – how do you manage working full time, starting a business & family time?

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  1. Oh my gosh, I do not have a good answer for this one, and I wish I did! I work full time, have a husband, 3 kids, a house and a life, and I’m trying to build a business that I love in between all of that.

    Very little sleep is the answer, for me for now … 🙂

    I just go back to my new mantra “just one little thing” … Once I have all my big dreams and goals outlined on paper, I just try to do ONE little thing each day that gets me closer … and usually the one little thing turns into 3 little things … but ONE little thing AT LEAST. And then I can sleep … 🙂

    I may not get there as fast as if I could dedicate my full-time attention, but I will get there someday.

    Congrats on putting your big goals down – now there is light at the end of the tunnel!

  2. rachel

    Congratulations on fixing a date! 😉 honestly I think giving a dream a deadline is the only way to make it achievable. It’s going to be a crazy few months for you but I bet you will surprise yourself by how quickly and easily it all comes together. Good luck!!
    (and I totally know what you mean about feeling guilty if you take time off to do nothing. I’m really bad at writing myself huge impossibly long to do lists and then getting mad at myself when I don’t tick everything off them.) xxx

  3. Piper that’s awesome! I’m so excited for you. You’ve put your goal out there for the universe to absorb, which makes it all the more likely to come true.

    I have to say that I struggle with the balance as well. My biggest guilt lies in feeling like I’m shorting my husband and son when I’m taking time away from them to work on the business. I haven’t quite gotten my groove yet. Working on my business is so enjoyable for me that I sometimes have to stop and smell the roses and live in the moment.

    The time off is so necessary, but so is living your passion. I think the more we work on the balancing act the easier it will get. Maybe that’s just wishful thinking, but that’s what I’m hoping for. And at least when we’re able to leave the daily grind, we’ll be the only ones in charge of our time!

  4. Maddy

    I read this amazing quote today that I’d like to share with you:

    “Believe you’ve been given this passion for a reason. Understand that you have to work to bring it to fruition – but you’ve also been given the energy and enthusiasm and time you need to make it happen.”

    No one said it would be easy, but you have everything it takes to get this store off the ground! Setting a date is a HUGE step towards actualizing your dream!! I’m so proud of you!! And to watch you make all these strides in the direction of following your dream has been awesome to watch, but especially INSPIRING! Keep it up, love!

  5. Anna

    Oh Piper, congrats on setting a date for your store opening. I think having a deadline keeps you going. I think you are doing a fantastic job. Don’t let the guilt get to you. It’s just your inner critic letting you feel that way. Just acknowledge your inner critic and say “thank you but I deserve to rest today” and hopefully she will leave you alone.
    Have a great weekend.

  6. First; does your boss know you’re planning to quit and that you hate it 😉 ? Could you go down in time at your current job? maybe work 75% and get less paid?

    Second; Why don’t you open a supertiny store that you eventually can expand? Does it have to be this grand thing from the beginning?

    And last but not least; tell us a little about your store, who are your target group, what size is it going to be, etc

    (p.s I don’t think you should quit your job, a business takes more than 1 year to become profitable, at least that’s what I’ve learned in class hehe)

    Keep up the good work! Or as Jillian said “Trying is planning to fail” so just do it!!!

  7. Kate

    I love reading your updates!!

    How VERY exciting you picked a date to open your store! Do you have financial goals in place/mapped out for what you’ll have saved to start with, and what you’ll be making when? I am also terrified of no job, so that would be where I would get held up constantly.

    I am excited to watch you grow!

  8. racheljo

    wow, lots of rachel’s today… anyway, BIG KUDOS to you on setting dates and deadlines. I can only imagine how kicka#* it must feel to put a date on the calendar for your two week notice! I’m cheering for you… if only for vicarious reasons.

  9. Cathy

    Hi Piper!

    Long time reader, first time commenter to your dream report 🙂

    First off, I am so freaking excited for you! I love reading about your progress and can’t wait to see the finished store. Your style is fantastic.

    Also, I can definitely relate with your thoughts and fears each week. I’m not crazy about my current job and can’t wait for the day that I’m self-employed. I just haven’t figured out what that business is yet. And yes, I was slightly tempted to go the “No Plan B” route if I couldn’t find a job when we moved to Chicago. Fortunately I did find a job and I have to be content with and thankful for my current situation.

    As for balancing husband, personal, and work time…let’s just say that it’s a constant struggle. When I work too much, I feel guilty about not spending time with my husband. There are times that I feel guilty about not working enough and I feel guilty when I don’t take “me” time. So when you figure out how to balance everything, could you let us know?

    Finally, I’m from Cleveland too! Westlake to be specific. So I’m proud to see that something good is happening in my hometown 🙂

    Keep up the good work and I can’t wait to see how things turn out in September and October.

  10. First, CONGRATS on setting the dates and breaking things down. Your best friend in achieving this is to make self care a frequent thing, remember if you take time to even say 20 min to just sit read and sip some tea for example, you will more likely have more energy for all the other parts of your life, self care is NEVER selfish, when you take good care of yourself you have more to give to life and get more out of it. Schedule the self care and the cuddle time in,otherwise it’s too easy for it to get put off till later and later does not seem to happen until our body says ENOUGH! Maybe it’s just a mindful dinner with your hubby, self care could be going to the bookstore for an hour to just soak in inspiration.. I love lists, a lot! So I would say make a list of some of those ideas for self care of yourself and your relationship..
    You are doing great and in sharing your journey with the honesty that you are gives the rest of us courage and a feeling of not alone!

  11. Yes yes yes! God this is EXACTLY what I’ve been going through the last few months, even more like the last year or so. I was getting frustrated, working full-time, feeling like I wasn’t moving any closer to getting my dream store off the ground, not making enough at my day job to save as fast as I wanted to for the store. Finally about a year ago I just gradually started ordering a few small lines at a time and doing local events, and home shopping parties, to sell my goods. Then I teamed up with a local small business organization, who put me in touch with a great local web design company and we got my online shop launched in mid-March. Since then I’ve just been busting my butt every moment I can to promote the new shop, and do as many local events as possible, to sell and promote at. I’m in the same position as you, wondering if I’d be better off just making the leap, but wondering if it’s better to stick it out as long as I can and keep building a cash cushion while I have the full-time day job as well. (Not to mention healthcare, etc!)

    Deadlines are definitely helpful, and if you have to start small and build it bit by bit, like I did, I think it’s a step in the right direction! I get so anxious sometimes, especially when I see empty storefronts that would be so PERFECT for my shop, but I have to tell myself to be patient. Just because some people opened up their shops around here first, doesn’t mean that they’ll be more successful in the long-run!

  12. The entire time I was reading, I kept thinking: Piper needs to set an open date. And then work backwards. Yay! That’s exactly what you did.

    On managing your time, I am reading all these comments looking for advice. I think we’re both lucky in that we have someone in our household that supports us. My husband is fully supportive of the time I put into blogging, because he knows my end goals. And we just take it from there, one day at a time.

  13. Leigh

    I agree with Daniella LaPorte on this – balance is not achievable. You’re probably not going to be able to balance all of your commitments during the next three months. You want to go full-steam ahead, into the blinding bright light that is opening your store. Fess up to your friends and husband right now. Say, I’m going for this with my whole heart and I might be a little aloof, but on October 4th, I’m taking a break. I’m spending oodles and oodles of time with you. It doesn’t mean your absent from your relationship, but it does mean that you free up some of that time and space you need to focus on the shop.

  14. Julia

    Piper. You’ve done it again. In between reading Jess’s amazing prose and your inspiring story, you’ve done it. And this time, for good. I think I’ve gained the courage to really go after my dreams now. All the struggles you’ve documented are the dirty things that I don’t think a lot of people want to talk about, and they’re things I know I’m going to encounter as I go after what I am going to do with my life (in short, also starting my own business). I’m so thankful to have you and Jess as a reference, a way to see the highs and lows of this process, and your inspiring words that will help me get back on track. I’ll look forward to seeing where One Sydney Road goes, and in the future-future, I so hope that our paths will cross, business-wise. Best of luck to you. I think you and Jess both have such a gift to give this world. Don’t be shy about it. Just go for it.

  15. Eileen

    Oh Piper! I’m so excited for your Grand Opening! 🙂 Your reports are always so fantastic and this one really hit home and I’m right with you! Between a full-time job and my dream, I feel as though I’m juggling my fears more than anything else. I’m so thankful to have a steady paycheck, but not happy at all with what I’m doing. I feel a little guilty about not loving my job anymore, but I’m anxious to move on…that said.. Piper, your post could not have come at a more perfect time, because I’m now in a position at work where “No Plan B” {awesome Jess!} might just be my push! The part of the company that I work for is no longer in business..I still have a job somewhere doing something within the company, but I can’t imagine doing anything but opening a shop on Etsy! I know it won’t bring in the same income at the beginning {eeekk! I might have to ease out working part-time}, but I fear that if I don’t take this step now and set a firm date and go for it, I’ll be right back where I was… ~ Everyone is giving such wonderful advice! I’m grateful to be following along on your journey! I’m going to follow what EmmaJo said about starting super tiny..it’s bigger than where I am now..and it’s a super start! 🙂 I look forward to next week, Piper!

  16. Yay! Congrats on setting a date 😉 Makes it feel so much more official I’m sure. I’ve been trying to set my own date… was thinking next March, but am thinking earlier now. It really has helped bring my focus in on what needs to happen and bumped up my motivation level.

    Don’t forget to allow more time than expected for things like logo design, having inventory shipped, etc. It might help to have a “drop dead date” for those kinds of things in order to open on time, and then work backwards from there so they don’t sneak up on you! A timeline will definitely help, but don’t make it too rigid or if you miss a deadline you’ll panic (hmm I may be projecting here…)

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