Thursday, June 21, 2012

:: the road oft-traveled ::

i have officially reached the point in my business at which i need to hire an actual in-my-studio employee.

this is something i have been working toward for a long time. in some ways it was always part of the dream-slash-plan, but in an official spoken-aloud, fully-realized kind of way i've been thinking about it for about the last 13 months.

moving into my own studio, launching aper + pink, and making the move toward working full time have all been important steps along the way. now here i am.

and i'm not sure i want to do it.

there are the usual reasons - the strain + fear of becoming not just a creative being and a business owner but also a supervisor and manager; the burden of finding the right person; the hassle of hiring; the fear of possibly firing; the inability to let go; the added expenses of worker's compensation and taxes as well as things like a computer and a chair to sit on; the fear of being responsible for someone else's livelihood; the reality that i would have to pay my employee before i pay myself, which could be a big problem for my family if business income gets light. 

and there are also my own personal reasons - my really-quite-extraordinary need for solitude; my contrariness; my dislike for confrontation in even the mildest forms; the newly-won knowledge that my times of greatest mental-health-crisis are usually preceded by high stress; and perhaps most of all the very persistent fear that if i hire someone, i'll feel (and probably really be) less free. less free in my manner of working. less free to make crazy decisions. less free to take 180-degree turns in my business plan. less free to create. less free to listen to alix olsen in my studio.  less free to do this the way i want to do it.

if there's one thing that running up up creative (and now aper + pink) has given me over the years it's the sure sense that this can be whatever i need it to be at the time. i answer only to my family and my health.

part of what makes me able to come to work each day and slog through two hours of email and print seven orders and hit the post office on my way home and then do some graphic design at home at night is knowing that if tomorrow i don't want to do it, i don't have to. i can close up shop whenever i choose. i don't choose to, but knowing i could make that choice is part of the allure of the gig.

the truth is, i'm just not ready to hire someone. my business may be ready for me to do it, but i'm not.

but there are whispers in my head: what if i'm never ready? what does this mean for the plans? what does it mean for the way i conduct business now, given that the business is outgrowing me already?

i posted on facebook yesterday that i've been taking a minimalist approach to thinking about my business lately: i've been trying to identify the essential (essential for my happiness, for my bottom line, etc.) and then giving myself permission to eliminate the rest. my hope is that this will make it possible for me to make more space for the work i need and want to do without having to hire someone before i'm ready.

for example did you know that i have the following:
  • a facebook page for up up creative
  • a facebook page for aper + pink (set up, but not yet active)
  • a personal facebook account
  • a twitter account for up up creative
  • a twitter account for aper + pink (set up but not yet active)
  • a portfolio at behance (nothing there, i think)
  • an account at dribbble (nothing there, i think)
  • a portfolio in progress at
  • a pinterest account
  • this blog
  • a blog at
  • a blog/gallery at
  • an etsy shop
  • a shopify shop
  • jotform contact and order forms
  • an x-cart shop in development for aper+ pink
  • a big cartel account (with five shop items)
  • ongoing design work for snapfish, minted, and glo
  • greeting cards
  • wrapping paper
  • calendars
  • wedding invitations + accompaniments
  • a print shop for retail customers
  • a print shop for resellers
  • separate mailchimp lists for aper + pink, shopify, up up creative, and wholesale customers, 
  • workflowy + asana accounts; dropbox, mozy, and yousendit accounts
  • two paypal accounts
  • at least six different email addresses
  • and more!
this is not all necessary. it's not even all desirable. it's ridiculous is what it is. completely effing ridiculous.

things that must stay include this blog, pinterest, Facebook personal and Facebook business (one overarching business page should suffice though), print shop for resellers, one paypal account.

obvious things to go? the blogs at upupcreative and aperandpink, which i don't update anyway. twitter, which i don't use anymore. big cartel. greeting cards. behance and dribbble. 

but what else? what can i consolidate? what can i eliminate? what pays the bills and what doesn't? what adds extra time and expense? what weighs me down? 

i'm in pare-down town, friends. travel recommendations welcome.