Falling Out of Love (with a Business)

I wonder if anyone else ever feels this way so often. I seem to have an affinity for what I call “shiny object syndrome” in that I think of a project and go gung-ho into it, thinking about how it could sustain my family if I really kept at it.

Then something will happen. It could be the time cost, the feeling of overwhelm, or a new shiny object, but invariably I end up falling out of love with the project and closing it down and moving on to the next one. Sometimes this takes years, sometimes months, but I’m at it again.

There are positives and negatives to allowing my emotions to dictate how I run a business, but nonetheless, I am who I am. I’m in a constant state of “busy”, only helped by my todo list journal and a brain that won’t quit.

Right now I have 5 projects: this blog, Beige House, the personal blog, Reserved Stock, and Meve Vintage. If you go through the post history here, you’ll see I dropped off to focus on building beige house. Reserved Stock was a summer attempt at running a jewelry business but I fell out of love with that (and was quickly reminded why I hated doing shows with my old soap company). Meve is probably the frontrunner for most time spent and most space taken up in my house, and Beige is #1 in terms of focus.

Beige has gone in and out of my love and attention, but luckily I’ve planned for that and hired a blogger and social media manager to make sure the site still runs despite my blah moments. It’s brought me to an interesting lesson that I’d like to share:

My first company, Metropolis Soap/MSC Skin Care + Home, was closed after ~8 years due to burning out. I refused to give up control, thinking I couldn’t afford it, and so my company turned into a job I hated going to. I closed it, got all of the formulas and recipes together and offered them for sale to whoever wanted them, and moved on.

Beige House has had months where I never posted, yet it still ran because of my team. I support the blog rather than it supporting me or my team, but it’s been on a trajectory towards becoming profitable very soon, and I know that’s because it’s had consistent updates.

Reserved Stock just became a chore that I used to feel connected to what I used to know (craft shows, indie/scrappy product-based business life, etc) but that solely kept going because I had so much inventory. I hope to close it soon.

The personal blog comes and goes. I don’t do much with it except use it to account for our travel and my mental health stuff. I don’t link to it because it’s more of an exercise in mindfulness than a thing I want to promote.

Lastly, Meve. Meve is a purposeful excuse to hoard and collect amazing vintage shit that this city is full of. I’ve had success with it, but I’m falling out of love. It’s more “stuff” and very overwhelming because I acquired so much inventory without sorting through my already-purchased, particularly when it comes to vintage jewelry. I’ve begun to resent it a little bit, if I’m being honest. I don’t foresee it as a project I’ll continue to cultivate.

So what’s the point to this meandering post? Sometimes you’ll fall out of love with your business baby. It happens. It could be time sucks, or financial strains, or shiny new objects, but running a business of any kind comes with ebbs and flows. I think that’s the time to take stock of how important it is to you in the grand scheme of things, and make some hard choices.

Does falling out of love mean closing a business? It doesn’t have to be. It just means you need to find a way to get your groove back and go to marriage-business counseling to remember why you wanted this life. Or maybe it does. Maybe falling out of love is a sign that your strengths are better spent elsewhere, be it another business or maybe just living like the Normies do with their job that turns off at 5pm every day. It’s a personal choice.

But don’t let that turn into an ego thing. Don’t talk yourself into continuing on because you’re “not a quitter” or you’re afraid of what other people will think. I knew a woman who hated her business because it cost her so much effort and money but refused to close it because “they” would talk about how she gave up behind her back. And that’s like…okay, so what? Are these people paying your bills? No? Fuck them.

The moral of this post is: do what makes you happiest. And not in some #wanderlust #girlboss way, but in the actual way your therapist would want you to be. If you feel that you can come back to your business and fall back in love, go for it. If you have a sinking feeling that this might’ve been a mistake and you want to move on, do that. Your life is dictated by you and whoever else is directly affected (spouse, partner). But whatever you decide, let yourself be okay with that choice and take the steps to get excited about it.

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