Hello one and all! Today we have the sweet and lovely Amanda, the lady behind it all over at Apple Blue, here to share her incredibly inspiring story and advice with us on blogging, being crafty, and dreaming big!
Hello! I’m Amanda and I am the blogger, designer and soon-to-be shopkeeper at Apple Blue. You can find me and all of my crafty adventures at appleblue.org. Apple Blue started as just a simple blog under an equally simple name. It was an exercise in discovering that creative side of myself that I knew so very little about at the time. Over the years it has become one of the biggest and most amazing parts of my life! I went from a fledgling blogger to a budding entrepreneur and owner of two successful Etsy stores. Several months ago I liquidated all of my inventory and closed those virtual doors to open up a door to the one big dream I just couldn’t get out of my head. That dream was to open an actual storefront filled with lovely curated handmade goods and to facilitate a creative environment where the community could come together. In January of 2012 I started writing a business plan and every day has been more exciting than the one before. I hope to open up shop sometime in Winter 2013! I am happiest when listening to great music, drinking fancy coffee and sitting in front of my sewing machine.
3 things you’ve learned about yourself from crafting?
Patience, persistence and how to push myself beyond what I feel capable of. I remember when I started sewing I was constantly making mistakes and messing things up because I was in too much of a hurry. Learning to slow down, play by (some of) the rules and just have fun was a hard learned but really valuable lesson. I’ve also learned that the more challenged I am in whatever kind of “craft” I’m working on, the more I enjoy it. Step outside the box every now and again to try something completely different. You might be surprised at how much fun you’ll have!
3 things you’ve learned from being your own boss?
The main thing I’ve learned is the importance of staying organized! There is no one standing next to me reminding me of deadlines or editing my work. The success or failure of my business depends largely on me. Another thing I have learned is that failure is okay. But only if you have the courage to learn from it and move on. And perhaps the most valuable lesson I have learned thus far is to not take yourself too seriously. Being your own boss could easily become a tremendous emotional burden if you can’t develop the ability to roll with the punches. Because the punches will come. A little comic relief can go a very long way.
3 ways you stay inspired? Like a lot of people, I am most definitely inspired by the beautiful things I see in magazines and film. But sometimes the best remedy for those days when your well of creativity has run dry is to just get out of the house. Taking a long walk around my quaint little part of town with my headphones on, sitting down by the river or spending an hour on my patio with some tea can really help me clear my head and define the ideas that are always floating around up there. Another great way to stay inspired is to bring variety into your life and craft. Spending hours at my computer can get tiresome, so stepping away and working on something completely different, even just for 15 minutes, really helps rejuvenate me!
3 things you enjoy the most about what you do?
I love being the master of my own destiny. I get to be truly led by my heart in everything that I do and there’s something so exciting and fulfilling about that. I also feel tremendously blessed by the challenge that freelance graphic design brings. With every client comes an entirely different project and a unique personality, and each time I try to teach myself some new skill along the way. Things are definitely never boring in the world of freelance! I also love the flexibility to make my own schedule. During the holidays when all I want to do is be with my family and friends, I can shut things down and hold off on new projects until I get back. The people I love will always be my first priority and it is wonderful to have a career that supports that.
3 words of wisdom for others starting out in an independent creative business on Etsy or otherwise?
The best piece of advice I received in my three years of being an Etsy seller was the saying “fake it ’til you make it!” That’s not to say that it’s okay to misrepresent yourself or your product of course. But go out there and be confident in your work! Live and create as if you’ve already attained the success you dream of. I also like to think of it like this, I’ve been given certain gifts and so have you and we should all respect ourselves and those gifts enough to do it great or don’t do it at all. Push yourself further than you think you can go! Do something original! Don’t be afraid to take a risk, especially in the beginning! And do not, I repeat, do not give up before the ninth inning. Discouragement is a clever thief of joy. (That was way more than three but I’m just that wise… haha, just kidding.)