Thursday, May 7, 2009

On Success...and My New Business Cards!

My Mini Moos.
My designs for my business card. I cannot wait to get them.

A few months ago, my sister and I were chatting on G-chat about my Etsy shop and graphic design aspirations. I confessed that I started my shop on a whim and was quite excited that I had actually sold things.

"That's great that you've been so successful," Mel said.

I quickly corrected her: I wasn't successful, not yet. I've simply sold a few dozen goodies on Etsy and have been lucky enough to use my passion for design on a modest scale.

"I won't be successful until...," I stumbled. When would consider myself successful? When I've sold 1,000 items? When I can quit my day job? When I make more from my side "job" than my day job?

"It depends how you define success," Mel pointed out.

This conversation resurfaced in my consciousness while reading a fabulous book this weekend. I completed an exercise on my measures of success - things like, "I'll be able to work less than X hours a week." and "I'll be able to spend 75% of my work time designing."

Five-and-a-half months after opening my little shop - and four months after "starting" my design business - I am hardly to the point where I feel successful.

So I've decided to come up with some different parameters for how I measure success right now:

- Selling that bag I put my heart into.
- Creating a note card set that I love.
- Capturing that wallet just right with my little camera.
- Hearing from my dad that "it is way cool" and "shows an entrepreneurial spirit" that I sell things I make online.
- Hearing that people actually USE the things I make. And like them!
- Being asked by my current employer to submit a proposal to design a program for them after I leave.
- Being affirmed by all the wonderful people in my life and on the internet.
- Making 25% of my (albeit crappy) monthly salary in Etsy and design sales.
- Spending my time doing things that I love. Period.

This list makes me feel better about where I've come and where I'm going, and it's far less daunting than aiming for numbers and statistics. I got an email from a student today that was sweet and encouraging. She ended with, "Just don't stop looking until you find something you love doing!" Maybe that should be my definition of success: Looking forward to work every day.

Please, follow your passion. Whatever it may be.


  1. Hi Ashley,

    I really love the design elements you used for your business cards! I am always a fan of your work, and I definitely think you are on your way to being a success - you already took the first big step which was putting your work out there for the world to see! I'm not that brave!

    Also, I love that you're now selling custom blog banners. I'm already telling myself that if I can keep my new little blog going for 2 months, my gift to myself will be one of your banners!

    Cheers and good luck!

  2. Sooooo cute! I think it's awesome that you're doing what you have a passion for.

    Best wishes to you in your endeavors!

  3. It's so important to have a passion in life and to explore it fully, I'm glad you've found yours!

    I think mine is home made waffles & puppies. I'm devoting my time accordingly ;)

  4. You are such an inspiration. You're doing a wonderful job. I don't comment much, but I read often and am just in such awe of how creative and lovely you are.

  5. Um, this post is perfection. I tend to lurk...but I'm trying to get over that.

    Following passion is something I too, am working on right now. I'm so happy for you that you've discovered yours and are already seeing success from it. People tend to want to make "success" something that has to be big in pay-off or whatever...but "small" things are just as successful.

    You are amazing and lovely. :)

  6. you have a gift and I can't imagine how awesome it must feel to create cute things and have people buy them.

    your business cards are great! love the colors!

  7. Keep on doing what you're doing! You are going in the right direction, and I cannot wait for the day that you reach your goal. (I also cannot wait for the day that I reach my photo goal, too!)

  8. I'm happy you followed your passion, because I really love your designs :) Keep at it. I'm trying to justify sending stuff from the USA to here, even if they are Etsy bought!

  9. Those business cards are so super adorable! And I also want to let you know, not only do I love the stuff I bought from you, but I've given a lot of it as gifts and the recipients always squeal in glee when they see the goods. So, there's another success you can add to your list ;)

  10. Adorable cards! And adorable blog.

  11. Ah, lists. I think they are what separates us from the rest of the animal kingdom :) We love to commit things to paper and check them off, don't we? I think your definitions of success are great. I think it's important to remember that we can choose to be happy. Sometimes it's achieving a big goal, and sometimes it's about changing your definitions so you can be happy where you stand. Either way, you have to decide to be satisfied/successful/happy. It won't just happen to you.

  12. This post came at the perfect time for me. I'm completing my associate's degree this semester and am in the middle of a what-do-I-do-with-my-life-now-and-how-can-I-be-a-useful-member-of-society-and-survive-this-economic-crisis? debate, so it's refreshing to have a solid reminder that I should aspire to do what I love next.

  13. Yes! And I got my stickers in the mail yesterday. LOVE THEM. :)

  14. I completely and utterly "get" this post. It's so encouraging to read the words of someone else who seems to be at the same place I am right now. Finding just who they are as an artist, as a designer, as an etsy-er! :)

    Your design skills (or skillz?) are absolutely lovely, and I can't wait to see what you come up with next! Your business cards are gorgeous - love the colors. And it feels so good to have a business card, right? Makes me feel more legit, or something. Heehee.

    Best of luck with everything, my dear! You're right about the success thing. How can we measure something like that, anyway? Just keep on doing what you love, and the rest will come along. That's what I tell myself, anyway.

  15. I am 100% all about finding ones passion and following it.

    You're doing wonderfully. Email coming your way soon!

  16. Your cards are beautiful! I'm so proud of how much you've grown, even in just the time I'm "known" you. I hope you are able to continue to grow your business, especially since it makes you so much happier and fulfilled.

  17. I'm so happy for you, that you've found your passion and that you're good at it.

    Your business cards are adorable!

  18. You designed really lovely business card... I wanna see the finished products...


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