The Sweet Taste of Disappointment

I have written about disappointment before, and now I am getting to write about it again. Ah. On well. Last time I was writing about diappointment in the moment, when something you expected to go well suddenly goes wrong, like when your holiday photos are eaten by the printer. This time I am writing about the gradual realisation that a long term plan or dream might not be going to work out. Its a diappointment that creeps up slowly. You can see it in the corner of your eye, but you don’t want to look. It gets bigger and bigger and then suddenly its right in front of you.

When I was writing about giving up buying second hand goods to sell, the question of whether it was a good idea to be selling greeting cards was the back of my mind. If I don’t want to sell second hand goods because of the problems of transporting them without a car,  the storage issues, and reservations about getting people to buy more stuff they don’t need, why do I want to sell greeting cards which pose the same problems? I decided not to think about that yet because I liked selling the greeting cards. That activity was different because it was creative. I was using my own talents to make something, and I enjoyed that. I started expressing my concerns in an earlier post, the Minimalist Artists Dilemma. Now I am starting to realise what facing up to that dilemma really means for me.

I have been exploring selling to shops, at fetes and markets, and online, and have come to the conclusion that its going to take a huge amount of time and effort to make the exercise a financial success. Selling to shops requires physically going from store to store and asking them if they would be interested in selling  my cards. It takes a lot of time and effort for a small return. There are significant overheads involved in selling at markets, and without a car it would be very difficult to set up a stall. Selling greeting cards online is much more difficult than I expected. Its easy enough to list them, and people like them, but they don’t buy. To do well on Etsy a store needs to have distinctive products of exceptional quality in a contemporary style that has very strong appeal to a niche market. From my observations, the majority of shops have nice things but are failing to make a significant volume of sales because they lack the wow factor. My cards are nice, but not exceptional.

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Disappointment has hit me hard in the last couple of days as I have realised that all the effort I have put into making cards is not going work out as a source of income. I am have been particularly disheartened that all the effort in setting up an Etsy store, linking up with other sellers and promoting Etsy products has failed to produce sales. Making greeting cards is going to be a hobby at best, and like any good hobby, its more likely to cost money rather than make money. I am already well out of pocket and it seems like it will be an uphill battle to break even. Its not just a theoretical issue anymore. While I invest a huge amount of time in the cardmaking project, I am not working on projects that have a realistic chance of providing an income.

So how is this disappointment sweet? I know about “Never Give Up” and “Expecting to Succeed” and “Giving it 110%”. But thats only worth doing if you are on the right track. I am resisting “taking it to the next level” because although I enjoy making cards, promoting and selling them is not really what I am passionate about. I am more interested in creating a simple and intentional life with fewer material possessions. I want to live a life that is not dominated by stuff, even nice stuff. I think I will allow the Etsy Store to run itself, and gradually time out as listings expire.

Facing up to disappointment is tough. Its awful. Its like being hit by an emotional truck. But thats part of the process of letting go so that change can happen. Its necessary to allow grieving for the loss of of a dream that didn’t work out.  Letting go of one dream is also means choosing to make space for something more important, and thats the sweet part.

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