WFMW: Combating Stuck

Don’t forget my giveaway!

Last night Kevin and I had an interesting conversation.

We have this phenomenon going on in our lives.

I call it Stuck.

Simple, huh? Yeah. Well, Stuck looks like this: we both are not satisfied with our work, but we have not gotten to a place where we’re comfortable breaking free. (By not comfortable I mean, if we both quit today, we would not be able to pay the rent. We haven’t done the work to get Unstuck.)

Last night we talked about what to me seems to be the only way out of Stuck. Starting a family business. I’m way more comfortable with this than Kevin. I grew up with my dad working for himself. As a single mother with a high-needs kidlet, I was the princess of figuring out how to make money in unconventional ways.

Kevin has always had a standard 9-5 (well, he’s worked grave yard shifts at a casino for twenty years) job, as has his father, and his mother, and his grandparents. I’m sure his great-grandparents, and every aunt, uncle, and cousin as well. Where I tend toward the free-thinking spectrum of workdom, Kevin is firmly on the side of doing-the-familiar.

I have had a successful vintage store on Etsy in the past. I had my items on the front page every week. Blogs featured my offerings. Somewhere along the way I’ve developed a good eye for design and classic style. (I don’t really know where that came from, because I don’t have a super sophisticated personal style. I did have a penchant for altering vintage finds in my Material Girl days.)ย  I added a bit of fixing things up to make them slightly more modern, and it was a winning combination.

When we lived in Vegas I figured out a way to connect professional photographers with professional models and my stylings (oh that sounds important doesn’t it?) and got pictures like this taken for free:

(I sold each of those dresses for $100. That model on the right ended up on Project Runway this past season.)

When we moved and I didn’t have access to fancy pants models and photo shoots, I bought a dress form and did the best I could.

(That dress started out as a ankle-to-neck-to-wrist full-coverage pink pouf of a 70s prom dress. I sold it for $200.)

At the height of my business I was making about $500 a week in sales. I’m sure there are people who blow me out of the water, but it was a living. A real one. Then Etsy made some changes, and the sales slowed way down. And I got offered a job substitute teaching at the local high school–then another one to be a substance abuse counselor–and now I’m kicking myself for not appreciating what I had.

I’ve been evaluating why exactly I was so willing to give up my store. And I realized that a big part of it was that it was a lot of work. A whole lot of work. And after a while I wasn’t happy doing it by myself. I love the photography, the shopping, the fixing up, the washing and ironing and mending–there is art in vintage, and I honestly believe that I found away to express myself creatively in it. But I also had to organize, find the things that had sold, package and ship them. I didn’t like those things so much.

So now I have an entire room filled with vintage clothing, shoes, purses, and kitschy home stuff. And a strong, deep desire to be home again.

I also have some ideas for handmade things to add to my store. I want to join the handmade revolution! I’ve been thinking about the things I write about here. The things that are important to me, and my interior homestead. And I have this head full of ideas for things to make and add to our store.

So when we were talking about it last night, Kevin started getting into it. He started thinking about things he could make to add to the family shop. He also pointed out that organization, putting things where they belong, and the whole shipping thing–right up his alley.

In a perfect world, Live Once Juicy: the shop, would be our ticket to freedom. It would mean that we could move to Seattle, or where ever we end up, without having to worry about jobs. We could bring our work with us.

So I’ve been slowly crocheting wash cloths, and sewing up little goodies, and filling notebooks with ideas. I’ve been slowly getting back in the habit of hitting the thrift stores and finding the hidden beauty in things that others might not even see. Kevin has been paying attention to the things I bring into the house to add to our stock. He’s thinking up ingenious ideas for organizing the stock and keeping track of what’s listed and what needs to be sent out.

This is how we combat Stuck. And it works for us.

More Works For Me Wednesday here.

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10 Comments

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10 responses to “WFMW: Combating Stuck

  1. Melissa

    Good for you for taking these steps!!!

  2. Oh, I so wish you both well, whatever you end up doing! I LOVE etsy and will be sure to look up your store! ; ) Here is an idea: I would love to get more green, but am having a hard time finding frugal, plastic-free, green stuff. So if you are starting a store, and if any of the things that fall into that category work in your store vision, consider it! (or maybe I am just not yet finding the right places to get things–I just want to get stuff that is good for my family and good for the earth, and if it is not made locally, then it had better be fair trade! I could trust things handmade by you to not be child labor-made, right?)

    And if you already know some awesome one-stop places to get frugal, green products, please let me know! : )

    • You never know…I might put Ruby to work! (HAHAHA) I have lots of green, re-usuable ideas for adding to the vintage stuff. I can’t wait to get your opinion!

  3. P.S. “Stuck” is a great way to describe the way my dh and I are here in our home improvements. I am pretty discouraged at the lack of any forward momentum for, oh, the past couple of years. And our house needs us to have momentum! I think dh gets immobilized by wondering what will happen in the future (i.e. should we bother fixing this place up) and worrying about money. I say we don’t worry about the future–we have already wasted too much time living in a less than ideal way when there is really no reason for it. We could already have met our goals of finishing fixing up this house if we had not stalled for so long!

    So, I hope you and your dh figure out how to get unstuck, however you do it. : )

  4. Penny Saver

    Oh, you have to do it! I love LOVE your dresses! ๐Ÿ˜€

    My husband is self employed and it’s a leap of faith, and we’re pushing the edge of intentional poverty temporarily, but it’s worth it to have the satisfaction of him doing what he loves.

    Plus, you can write a lot of stuff off with a home based business, and that’s allowing us to live on the edge of poverty without feeling quite so impoverished! The business provides us with some rent, some utilities, signs on the car in exchange for a “signage fee” (that conveniently equals half of the car payment), stuff like that. There are a lot of completely legal and legit write offs that can really help you out. Get a good accountant who will give you advice for your situation and all that, but take advantage of the financial goodies available to small business owners!

  5. Good for you! Good luck.

  6. adjunctmom

    Stuck is a great way to describe this. Actually, Anneli Rufus wrote a book on this notion. She’s one of my favorite non-fiction writers, so it might be worth taking a look at if you’re interested in someone else’s take on the topic.

    And those dresses are awesome!

  7. Loved this post. I can completely relate, as this describes our situation, too. Glad you’re taking positive steps to be “unstuck”!

  8. Sandwiched

    Love this! Good luck with everything…

  9. aww i’m sorry. i hope things get better. ๐Ÿ˜€

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