When the Summer holidays started, I had two lots of patterns to complete for clients, a tech pack and Vanjo lingerie to sew up and ship out. As well as the day -to-day running of van Jonsson Design, sending out books, answering emails , accounts and blogs.
I sat down and made a plan of how I could complete it all whilst looking after a five year old, three year old and 4 month old, with a husband working away part of the week every week.
The answer was - I couldn’t.
With fielding questions all day from the 5 year old such as “are caterpillar insects?” and being yelled at by the three year old in a faux Australian accent “look at me” whilst balancing precariously on one leg and having the five month old deciding only power naps are the way forward, something had to give before my sanity did!
Usually when I’m busy working on work with clients, my work goes to the back burner, but over the Summer I decided to take it the step further and drop all blogs and posting on social media, so no Facebook, twitter, Instagram or Pinterest.
It wasn’t just a case of no absent scrolling (which I totally do) it was no posting, no interacting and no promoting. Apart from a couple of commitments I’d agreed to, I was just going to concentrate on getting the work I had to do done.
So I thought I’d have more time, and in a way I did, but not as much I thought. I wasn’t absently minded reaching for the phone, and just looking at things, although I did google answers for questions that didn’t really matter, a lot more. I had planned to read more books and maybe learn knitting (i really can’t sit still) but after a couple of weeks the urge to ‘do’ something it wasn’t really there.
After a couple weeks I did have to go back on Instagram to check messages from people, but didn’t feel the need to look at peoples accounts the way I did before. Besides there is nothing more grounding when your three year old ask “who’s that?” and you reply “don’t know “ for you to realise that you’re probably wasting your time.
After checking Instagram I did go on it again a few times but I think had it not been for work (or am I telling myself that?) I don’t think I would have bothered.
The biggest factor was that by giving myself permission to have to not come up with content or “be seen” it was actually a relief to be off, I didn’t have the feeling of not enough time in the day. I knew what work was coming in, what had to be completed and when I was sewing up customer’s lingerie it was nice to just complete the project, rather than stop and take photos along the way.
MONEY & STATS
The biggest fear of coming offline was money, I get quite a lot of sales and enquiries through Instagram and a lot of links from Pinterest coming through to the website, so this was one of the things that I wasn’t looking forward to. I thought though it would be good to see how much my income altered and if the time I spent on social media correlated to the money earned or if my time could be spent better else where.
Fact was monies coming in, dropped by 50%, numbers to the website went down, the only thing that went up was the conversion rate. There was a higher number of people actually buying that visited rather than people visiting and not buying.
My creativity went up, the less I was consumed by other designers or by other peoples ideas, I had more time to create rather than worry about if it looked liked someone else, or thought I should be moving quicker. I was able to be more “on brand’ with my company and be a bit more me. I was also able to see what works for me time wise rather than trying to fit everything in. I definitely work better in the morning - but that’s not going to happen with little people, they sense when I am up and seem to navigate towards me within 30 mins demanding requests. And I also work better with timed projects, where by I plan out something I need to complete within a set amount of time rather than plan out things yearly.
I’ve realised by taking a step back, that there is only so much I can do, even though I want to do more, last year I grew my business, increased the number of clients and money. Although the amount of work I need to undertake to push the business forward can be overwhelming. I had chance to reflect to where I began and when my second child was born I would have made more money not working, but by viewing the overall picture of where I want to go, what I want to achieve and how great it is to work with interesting people on their designs, it’s a reminder that there is no rush and I may not tick off my things on my list, but that’s not what it is about.
Currently in the pipe line there is a book being edited, all of the patterns (plus more) are being re-vamped and if it takes longer than I would like. I think I’m okay with that.