From Home Based to Bricks & Mortar and Back Again

Mar 6, 2017 | Business



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This is a pretty long, and somewhat boring story, so feel free to not read it. I just kept finding there were other posts I was writing that referred to parts of this story, so rather than always be typing out parts from the story, I’ll just put it here, and now I can just refer people back to this post if they’re really interested. So, you’ve been warned – long. boring. Ok.

Last year I had the incredible privilege of being the proud owner of a little shop in the Yarra Valley. It was a bit of a dream come true, and a seriously amazing growth journey for me, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. It was, however, a pretty intense, overwhelming year too, and unfortunately ended with the decision to close the shop as it just turned out not to be viable.

I started my first business in 2011 when I was pregnant with my first daughter. Over the next couple of years it  morphed into a completely different business model, and towards the end of 2014 I spent some time thinking about what it was I really wanted for my business, and ended up deciding to move into being more physical products based. So I designed a line of stationery, and it was ticking along ok, it wasn’t making me millions but it was a profitable little business and I enjoyed seeing the things I had designed and made out there in the big, wide world.

However, at this point I’d had another baby girl, so I was at home, with a three year old and a one year old, trying to run a successful business and life was just totally hectic. I felt like I was being a bad mum, and I was also constantly playing catch up with work. The lack of balance, and the constant ‘need’ to hustle wore me down, and I felt like I didn’t even know who I was anymore. I knew something needed to change, but I was so invested *too invested* in the business I had grown that I was not willing to give that up.

So here are the options I saw before me: 1. Close down my business and just be a full time mum (ok, I know ‘just’ is a stupid word to use here because there’s nothing about being a full time mum that deserve a ‘just’ in front of it, but I’m sort of saying it how my stressed-out-verge-of-nervous-breakdown self was thinking it), 2. Expand the business and move it out of home, so I can separate my mum role, from my business woman role. I see now, in hindsight, and with a clearer mind, that there were a myriad of other options. But at the time I literally felt these were the only two ways to proceed. So, of course, being so invested in the business I had, I opted for option 2.

So basically a few months of scheming, a super in-depth business plan, a big ol’ loan and a lease later, I got the keys to the shop and started my bricks and mortar journey. There are so many things I learnt along the way, SO MANY! But I think the number one gift I received from the year as a shop owner was the space. Not the physical space, although that certainly helped, but the mental and emotional space. I always love to keep myself busy, but for the first time in a long time I didn’t have kids crawling over me, housework calling to me, and the pressure to be everything at once, and so I was able to set some time aside to do some internal work and focus on personal growth.

yarra valley branding, small business branding

I guess personal growth looks different to everyone, but for me, as a Christian, I was listening to podcasts from pastors and churches I respected, as well as from successful business coaches and speakers I resonated with. I spent time considering my deepest desires, hopes, strengths, weaknesses, things I liked about myself and things I didn’t, what I could change and what I couldn’t. I spent time reading the bible and waiting to hear what God had to say to me. And I feel like it was the absolute best investment I could have made, and my only regret is that I didn’t take the time to do this sooner. No matter where you’re at in life or in business, I absolutely believe investing in your own personal growth is always going to yield the greatest returns.

No matter where you’re at in life or in business, I absolutely believe investing in your own personal growth is always going to yield the greatest returns. 

So yeah, the shop died, sadly so many others in the town are closing too as it’s been a really hard year in Yarra Glen, and I think in retail in general. But thankfully I’ve been feeling so at peace with the whole thing. This is going to sound super cliche, but I’m so thankful to have had the opportunity, to have been given the space I clearly needed to just grow as a person, get out of that crappy, stressful and detrimental headspace and just be more content.

So now I’m back, working from home, and so far I’m really enjoying it. I’m definitely better as scheduling ‘work time’ and turning off when I’m with the family. I’ve been able to have a bit more flexibility, and now that I’m not having to work set in stone hours, I can schedule my work around my life, instead of the other way around. I’m also really enjoying the fact that I have found some focus. One of my biggest struggles has always been lack of focus, and that’s probably a topic for another day. But I’m so excited to feel the peace that comes with heading down a path with authenticity, and giving up on the constant striving. But yeah, that’s a whole other post.

So there it is, I think I actually kept it pretty brief compared to what I was imagining. Nonetheless, if you made it this far, congratulations! That’s pretty much my story. For now anyway.