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Blog — "business"

Handmade Holiday in Richmond

Heidi business cards

I know I'm a few days late with this post, but I've been incredibly swamped trying to get orders out for the last day of shipping before Christmas. Now that I have, I'm taking a breather, remembering to eat lunch for once, and preparing to work on some design projects. However, nonetheless, I still wanted to give a big shout out to Richmond, Virginia and the Richmond Craft Mafia for their amazing...

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Handmade Holiday in Richmond

Heidi Shenk "business" "cards"

I know I'm a few days late with this post, but I've been incredibly swamped trying to get orders out for the last day of shipping before Christmas. Now that I have, I'm taking a breather, remembering to eat lunch for once, and preparing to work on some design projects. However, nonetheless, I still wanted to give a big shout out to Richmond, Virginia and the Richmond Craft Mafia for their amazing hospitality, loads of laughs, and creative energy.

I spent this past Saturday at the Handmade Holiday show that the Richmond Craft Mafia puts on and it was easily the best show I've had to date. This was my audience for sure! I was so thankful to have people appreciate my work and LAUGH. I always have plenty of laughs at shows, but this one had quite a few less of those side eyed looks of disgust.  Aside from meeting many new people, I was also able to test out five new cards, four of which will be new for Valentine's Day. You can catch a sneak peek here.

These cards went over extremely well, so I can't wait to share them with you in the coming weeks. And last but not least, I was thrilled to get to meet my friend Ayla! We have gotten to know each other through our blogs and the handmade world, but had never met, and it was a real treat to be able to finally make that connection. She actually wrote a bit more about the Handmade Holiday (and took much better photos as I forgot my camera) on her blog.

As for now, I'm tying up some loose ends for the holidays, working on new designs, and breathing a sigh of relief that I'm done with my holiday shows and will (hopefully) have a little more down time for a few weeks.

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Dreaming of Fear of Failure

Heidi Shenk "business"

I had a dream the other night that was horrible.

Four kids broke into our house and our neighbors' house. They stole everything-- appliances, furniture, art pieces, Beauty and the Beast (aka my Mac and printer-- sob), and our house was bare. I caught the kids as they were leaving. I even remember the license plate number of their car-- 6668666. (I know what some of you might interpret in those numbers, but I don't really play that game. Maybe my subconscious does?) I tried calling 911 three times and no one answered. While calling the cops, the kids returned and began stealing all of our potted plants and even started digging up the cherry blossom tree from our huge planter out front.


At first, I thought this had to do with an overload of information I've been reading as of late about the surrounding neighborhoods and the spike of summer crimes that happens every year. Then in dawned on me-- it was about a whole lot more. Maybe it's my worry wart mind. I've written before about fear of failure, and I think this is what my dream was all about.

For the first time in six years, this month marks the start of my life without a regular paycheck. As I've ventured into my business full time, I've already shared some successes that I had not imagined would be possible. I've take some serious risks that have paid off. I believe in myself, but those risks were taken with the cushion of my last summer paychecks in the bank.

I have this awful underlying fear that I'll fail and that whatever I had hoped to accomplish will melt away and result in catastrophe. The irrational side of me visualizes a complete collapse-- having to sell all of our things and losing our house. You know, the whole living in a van down by the river thing. In reality, I know this won't happen. I know what I'm capable of in the pinching pennies department and if something horrible truly did happen, I'm resourceful enough that I think I'd be able to find a part time job or something.

Bottom line though? In these few short months of being self-employed, quite the opposite has been happening. I think I just need the reminder that being self-reliant doesn't always mean the end of the world. In fact, it most often rarely means that. It's quite the opposite, in fact. It means being more grounded in yourself. Now I just need to find the confidence in it all to know that my house won't end up stripped bare of all we have.

Do you have fears of failure too? How do you gain the confidence to overcome those fears?

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That Blog Post That I've Been Waiting to Write

Heidi Shenk "business" "etsy shop" "school"

Ever have one of those blog posts that you dream of writing, but you have to wait until that right moment? Well, people, that post is happening today. And what is that post about? It's about how I quit my day job. Yup! You read that right. After over a year of contemplating, I finally did it!!! Woot woot!!

I have always known that I wasn't meant to be a teacher my entire life, that I'd eventually want to move on to something new. Over the past two years I started really feeling burned out and found myself much happier with my handmade business. Then there was that pivotal moment when Andrew and I went out to dinner on a Friday night in January and we just sat there talking about school and how much I hated it and how stressed out I was about it and how stifled I was feeling. We were also talking about how happy I was when I was working with my hands in my card business, how much creative energy I was able to use in my designs. Ultimately, Andrew said, "You remember when we were in college and we were dirt poor? Those were some of the most fun moments of our lives. Wouldn't you rather be poor and happy than rich and unhappy?"

It was a moment of reality-- one that made me understand just how unhappy I was with my teaching job, and a moment in which I realized Andrew's happiness was at risk because of my own unhappiness.

I decided in that instant that I would be moving on. It had been in the works for a while. I had planned on coming back for one more year of teaching, long enough for me to totally pay off my student loans to provide a little more financial stability. I couldn't imagine having to give up another year of my happiness just to pay off some loans that will be manageable anyway.

If you're unhappy, you are the only one that can change that. I was unhappy, so I decided to change that.
via NeueGraphic
I am turning 30 in September. I am not afraid of getting older. I am afraid of not living my life to its fullest potential. There are so many things that I want to do in my lifetime that I know change needs to happen now.

Before my Spring Break, I spoke with both my Principal and Assistant Principal and let them know I would be leaving at the end of the year. A couple weeks ago, I handed in my letter of resignation, and this past week I told my students that I would be leaving. While a huge weight had lifted off of me, I also had a very rough week dealing with the emotions of breaking the news to my students. Some of them wanted to know why I was leaving them, which was the toughest part of all. One of my closest students sat in the classroom with tears in his eyes. One of my basketball players made me promise her I would still come to see her games. They did not make it easy for me and I hadn't expected they would.

After sharing the news with one of my former students, I felt better. He said, "Ms. Shenk, all I want is for you to be happy. If you're happy, then I'm happy. Life isn't fun if you're not happy." Here I had spent a good three years dishing out advice to this kid and here he was dishing it back at me. Being happy. That's what life is about.

So where does life lead me next? My card business! At the end of the school year, I'll be taking a quick break and then return to work being self-employed working from home. I have a lot to be thankful for and a lot of you to thank because I know my business wouldn't be what it is today without all of you! Aside from working full time with my business, there will also be a few other crazy things to look forward to in my future! Let's just say that 30 is going to be an amazing year!

And to celebrate and thank YOU ALL, for the next few days you can use the code WOOTWOOT25 to get 25% off everything in my shop and 25% off all blog ads. I'm looking forward starting this new adventure in the coming year!

P.S. 24 school days til I peace out from Baltimore City Schools! And yes, I've been counting down. You know that's how I do! ;)

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