The words in today’s post are bittersweet for me to write, as they mark both the end of an extremely fulfilling chapter and hopefully the start of an exciting brand new one. After many months of hemming and hawing over this difficult decision, I have chosen to wind down my online boutique and focus full-time on my blog for the foreseeable future. I’m sure this decision will come as a surprise to some of you who have followed my blog and/or online boutique for the past five years and I feel like I owe everyone an explanation for this turn of events. So here’s the (somewhat lengthy) list of reasons that brought me to this decision, in the hopes it will shed some light on my thinking and help you share in my excitement about whatever comes next!
I’m burnt out. It honestly feels really good just to admit that. After relocating the inventory for my online boutique three times in the past five years (from Connecticut to New York to Dallas and back to Connecticut), this half of my business has begun to feel more like a burden than a happy complement to my daily blog posts (which is how it started back in 2012!). Where I used to love going to trade shows and sourcing new products online, lately I’ve had a nagging anxiety about adding to the ever-mounting inventory supply that seems to come with running an online business, particularly as I’ve left my office/warehouse space in Dallas and moved to Connecticut where I’ll be working from home.
I have to remind myself: it’s okay to change jobs, even when you work for yourself. I was so anxious in the few months after my college graduation in 2011 where I interned for a digital magazine in San Francisco and then worked in PR in New York and couldn’t seem to find my footing professionally. I was so determined that my next career move be something lasting and sustainable, and I have to remind myself that starting my online store has been both of those things! I’m not making this decision because running an e-commerce business hasn’t been challenging, educational, profitable, or rewarding — I’m making this decision because I’m ready to find a new direction that can still be all of those things. Nearly all of my friends who aren’t self-employed have changed jobs (even careers) multiple times since we graduated from college nearly six years ago, and it’s a little silly to convince myself I can’t shake things up just because I’m my own boss (in fact, it should be quite the opposite!).
I’m excited to start something new, whatever that may be. Along those lines, I’ve become restless and I’m eager to tackle a new set of challenges, whether that’s figuring out how to earn the same income from just my blog or launching a brand new business venture in the years to come. I get so giddy talking to Will about potential new projects I hope to tackle once I’ve freed up the time, money, and space in our home. I see the excitement he and other friends have in starting new chapters of their professional lives and I totally crave that same clean slate for myself!
I’m excited to create content I’m really proud of again. When my days are filled with printing shipping labels and making repeat runs to the post office, it can be hard to take pictures or write posts that are particularly compelling, especially when I compare myself (a terrible habit, I know) to other bloggers who are heading to a new country or churning out a new room tour seemingly every other week. Whether it’s launching a new interview series (remember this one?), sharing more of my personal life, taking my little 101 in 1001 community to the next level, or starting something I haven’t even thought of yet, I’m ready to get reinspired when it comes to writing heartfelt stories and sharing them with this audience that has been so good to me over the past seven years.
I won’t miss the overhead expenses. This may be a boring financial reason, but I think it’s important to keep it real and admit that it kind of sucks to take money I’m earning from my blog (which I could write from just about anywhere) and allocate it towards rent for an office/warehouse, employee paychecks, and an ever-growing supply of inventory for a separate business. I’m excited to take that money (even if it means I’ll earn less in the near future) and put it to work improving the site where it all began.
Similarly, I’m excited for a little more freedom. It will be extremely refreshing to take a trip without wondering whether orders are getting out the door on time or trying to field customer service emails from a press trip or our honeymoon later this year. I imagine it will be pretty nice to feel less tethered to my desk/printer/USPS man and have more time to actually live life and write about it.
This doesn’t have to be a permanent decision. One of the things I’ve found most comforting about this choice to wind down my online store is that I can always revisit it in the future if I find myself missing the e-commerce world. I plan on keeping up with my LLC, resale certificate, etc. so I can always wind things back up again one day. Knowing that this could be more of a hiatus than a formal farewell and that these kinds of decisions are rarely as irreversible as they feel (whether you’re self-employed or not!) is strangely helpful when you love what you do but want to know what else might be out there.
Most importantly, this decision will push me outside my comfort zone. When I look at my to do list, I will almost always choose the easier, more concrete checklist item (packing boxes and running them to the post office) because it’s time-sensitive, has a definitive beginning and end, and always feels good to cross off the list. Unfortunately, this means I’m rarely carving out enough time for the less concrete, more creative aspects of self-employment that actually contribute to the bigger picture and a more vibrant life. Eliminating the easy option from my to do list makes me excited to see what I’ll be able to create when I’m forced to find more stimulating projects.
So there it is… A hard-to-explain update that feels great to have off my chest, a “good-bye” that could ultimately be more of a “never say never,” and the beginning of a new set of challenges that have me looking forward to whatever phase of my career comes next. If you’ve had your eye on something in the boutique, you’ll have until this Monday, February 20, to make your final purchase at 40% off everything with code FIVE at checkout. I can’t thank you enough for supporting both my blog and online boutique over the past 5-7 years and I am truly excited to take on the next 5-7 with you guys by my virtual side. Cheers to a new chapter! xoxo