Last night I went to a party. While I was there, I ran into a mum from my children's primary school who has always been very supportive of my jewellery making and has even bought a couple of my pieces over the years.
'You never got back to me about those rings I liked!' she shouted over the music.
"I know...I'm sorry. I'm a terrible business person,' I shouted back.
'You really are!' she agreed, and laughed. Then she told me to message her about her ring size.
This conversation stuck with me. I have been learning to make jewellery for years and have invested a lot of money in trainings and workshops, tools and materials. Jewellery requires creativity and focus that allows me to slip into that wonderful liminal space where I'm fully immersed in and fully enjoying what I am doing. Making jewellery gives me the opportunity to create beautiful pieces that bring other people joy. It is, like my yoga practice, a way to connect with my true Self. In discovering this love of making, I cracked myself open a little more. It is a lifeline and a passion. So why, I ask myself on a daily basis, have I been reluctant to turn this passion into a business?
The short answer: because I'm scared.
I've done enough therapy and self-exploration to know that fear has kept me--and most other humans on this planet-- from doing a lot. Fear lets us stay in our comfort zone, where we think we are safe and where nothing is unpredictable. Fear of the unknown is intrinsically linked to our sympathetic nervous system, which doesn't care about anything but keeping us from being eaten by the hypothetical tiger that we are hardwired to be alert to. Fear keeps us in our heads, where we rationalise all the ways we should continue living in fear. And it keeps us from taking chances.
My fear is like an uninvited guest who has taken up residence on my living room sofa (or wherever I happen to be. Currently, she is lying next to me in bed, reading over my shoulder). She sits there spouting her opinion about whatever 'scary' thing I'm thinking of doing. She thinks she's helping me and she never shuts up.
'Why do you think anyone will buy your jewellery?' she yammers. ' When they say it's beautiful, they're just being polite. You don't have enough experience to do this. How are you ever going to have time or money to do this? You'll never have the skills. You'll never be able to compete with all those other people out there who are really talented. You know nothing about marketing. Stop kidding yourself! Just get a job like a normal person and stop trying to be an artist. You'll just fail anyway. You're too disorganised. You're too busy already. And when you can't hack it, everyone will pity you. You'll be a failure,..' and on and on and on. She's been with me in some form or another my whole life. And lately, I've been letting her know that I don't want her around anymore. I don't think she'll go quietly, but overcoming the fear is the first step to getting her out of my life.
So, spurred on by my friend at the party last night and my determination to gag that ever-present voice of fear, I'm really and truly going to make an effort to get this jewellery making business adventure off the ground! AND I NEED YOUR HELP! Please subscribe below for future newsletters with opportunities to help me shape my jewellery business. The more I know about you and what you love, the more I can make things that you will love! Because, really, that's what I want to do. And that's not scary at all.