When I think about all of the investments that I need to make to ensure the continued success of Misneach, investments in myself never seem to make it to the top of the list. There always seems to be something else that needs the time or the money first. But after attending Maker Retreat hosted by Emily Arbour of Cheerfully Made this weekend, I'm going to start prioritizing myself.
I'll admit that I was hesitant to attend. Not because I didn't think it would be a great experience, but because it's really hard, at least for an introvert like me, to attend an event where I don't know anyone. Add to that getting up close and personal in shared cabins and bathrooms, and it's enough to send even the most extroverted introvert into a spiral of self-consciousness and doubt. But after some encouragement from my partner Scott (who, incidentally, gifted me this AMAZING experience for my upcoming birthday!!), I decided to put my hang-ups aside and take the plunge.
And I'm so glad I did. To say the weekend was inspiring is an understatement. I met so many wonderfully talented women, some of whom I'm so pleased to call new friends. I learned a lot about all of the business-y things that I don't feel confident about, like branding, the value of good photos (and how to take better ones) and SEO (search engine optimization, for the uninitiated). But more than that, I learned that I actually DO know a lot of things about running a handmade business and that I DO have confidence in myself and what I'm doing, no matter how buried it seems at times. The thing about running a handmade business is that you're putting a little piece of your heart and soul out there in everything you make. It's incredibly hard to do that. When you see one of your pieces out in the "wild", you see a little piece of yourself. And for me, that's the hardest part. I have never liked being "out there". But the whole weekend was about building the confidence to keep putting myself out there, to trust that I can continue to make beautiful and practical products and to believe that I am worth the investment to continue on this path. In the future I will continue to invest in myself. A business is nothing without a strong, confident person behind it.
Thank you to Emily and her team for making this event happen, to all of the fabulous speakers who took the time to share their wisdom with us and to all of my fellow makers who made this experience one to remember!
Photo Credit: @amy.takes.pictures