The Ebb and Flow of Running a Small Business

You know those happy posts I promised this week? They’ll have to wait one more week. Because as it turns out, it’s hard for me to force something when I’m not feeling it. And today, I’m not feeling it.

Today what I’m feeling is just a little bit defeated. Okay, a lotta bit defeated if I’m being honest. What I’m referring to right now is the whole “running a small business” side of my life. Me, Chris, and Har; we’re all doing pretty great. (Which is the important thing, really.) However, there’s also that part of life where you have to pay bills and stuff.

And while every self help book I’ve ever read states that I should never talk, think, or especially blog about the downside of things, that’s exactly what I’m doing right now. Because I know that all business ebbs and flows. And right now my business is “ebbing.”

In short, 2016 was a really great year. I got lucky and was the first to slap Married AF on a shirt and the sales came in hard and fast. I remember thinking to myself, wow running a tshirt biz SO EASY. Why doesn’t everyone do it?! 

Oh you silly foolish girl. I knew I had it good. But I didn’t know how good.

In 2017 competition picked up and I had to try a little harder. Thus we have Facebook ads and me running ads with big Instagram accounts. So I’d toss a few bucks into the ad bucket and still see a large influx of sales.

I’ve figured it out! I can just pay big meme accounts to promote me and ALL IS GOOD. Tshirts tshirts tshirts. Sales sales sales!

Oh you naive little thing, just wait…

Because now we have 2018. Facebook and Instagram changed up the way users see ads and … and… and it’s tough. I can see the amount of people who see my posts now compared to last year and it hurts my heart. (And my marketing budget.)

So what do I do? Keep throwing money into the ad bucket. Pray that more people see my stuff. Try to keep creating new things that people like. And at the very least, keep my head above water and get through this because I know (I hope) it will pass… The flow will come back.

And I’m sure at this point some of you might be thinking, okay dumb shit, you’ve been traveling quite a bit, perhaps a little more worky, a little less vacay. Noted. But here’s the thing, behind all of the fun vacation Instagram pics, what you don’t see is me cooped up in my room for a few hours getting my stuff done. Simply put, my business doesn’t work unless I do. There’s not a day that goes by (even when I’m on trips) that I don’t respond to emails, am working on posts for social media, or am corresponding with wholesale accounts, to name just a few things. It’s a benefit of having a “work from anywhere” kind of job. Which brings me to my next point…

Part two of running a small business. Even with all the hard shit that comes with it, I know how lucky I am. I truly appreciate the hell out of my days and the fact I get to start and end them however I please, from wherever I want. But with this knowledge comes anxiety (ugh, I’ve been saying that word too much.)

The weirdest part is that it really seems as if my anxiety is rooted in gratitude. Talk about a contradiction, right?! It’s because I feel so lucky to be where I am, that suddenly a thought pops into my head reminding me it could be gone at any moment. That white faux fur rug that I’m standing on (or sitting on snapping selfies) could be pulled out from under me and then what? Back to a cubicle? Back to leaving Har for eight hours a day? Nope. Nope. Nope. (And yes, I’m aware this paragraph is bleeding with insecurity, but what can I say? I’M EBBING right now. I can’t help it.)

I’m on my ebb. 

Okay I’ll stop with the ebb jokes.

Anyway, I feel like this is something people don’t talk about when they tell you to “do what you love and you won’t work a day life your life!” It should be followed up by, “but don’t enjoy it too much, because then you’ll become wildly aware of how lucky you are, which will then turn into fear you could lose it all and would have to go back to that awful job you hated where the highlight of your day was walking to the bodega across the street to buy a diet orange soda on your 2 p.m. break.”

But I guess that wouldn’t look as cute on a poster.

And maybe it’s just me?! I’m a bit off my rocker this week…

I’m not going to end this on a downer note, because even though I’m feeling defeated, I also see this as a challenge. This is the Universe telling me to take a new path, try something different, DIVERSIFY MORE.

I like to imagine I’m on a tube floating down a river and right now I’m using all of my strength and energy to fight the current in an attempt to go where I want to go. But if I just got out of my own way for a second, I would probably see that there’s a reason why I’m being pushed where I am. If I just relax and let the river do its thing, I may end up somewhere even better.

I just gotta let the flow take me.

And just like that, I’m feeling better. Thanks for listening. And if you’re on your ebb right now, hang in there, the flow will return. It always does.


*and you have my word that I will never again make another loosely related period joke on this blog for the rest of my life.

Good day and good night.

And to purchase 100 dog shirts from me click here.  🙂