BALC: What Did I Learn?

 

tired-frenchie

Now that the Build-A-Line Challenge is over, it’s back to life as usual, right? Yeah… No. I’m not sure I would go back even if I could. I feel so much better about the path I am on now. And it’s a path I had been meaning to take for a while. The challenge was really just that final push to really go for it.

So… what did I learn and take away from the whole thing?

The actual concept of what we were doing with this challenge made sense to me. I wasn’t surprised by the expectations or even what Brenda meant by creating a line. Don’t get me wrong… I still learned a lot about creating a line. I definitely am not saying I knew everything about it. I just understood the concept. This class really got down to the nitty and the gritty with it all. I had already decided before this challenge that I needed to narrow down the scope of what I make, and be more focused and consistent. This just gave me the push to actually DO it. I’ve really had to rein in pretty much everything I do, from buying supplies to how I photograph the final products.

What I DID learn about was the rest of it. The stuff I don’t want to have as part of my reality, but it’s really a bigger part than the actual jewelry making itself. It’s the marketing stuff. And really, I kinda knew about that, too, but I was in denial about how important it was. Right now, that part takes as much time as the making side. It drives me crazy. But it’s necessary. Really necessary. So we talked about SEO, photography, packaging, and about a million other topics.

I asked a LOT of questions in our private forums. I’m nosy. I can’t help it. I consider it one of my special gifts. 😉 I figure other people are probably wondering the same things. And I also figure it makes more sense to learn from other people’s mistakes/successes/experiences. Maybe that’s the lazy way? I don’t know, but it makes sense to me to ask. If no one answers, then you move on. If they do, you apply what they tell you, and determine how to use the info (or not, depending) for your own gig.

Probably the biggest thing I learned in the three months of really trying to focus more was that I need to be more intentional when it comes to jewelry making. I need to schedule times for making, photographing, promoting, listing, etc. It’s not easy to find time consistently as a stay-at-home mom. And I’m still at a stage that my kids, husband, and home are still my main focus. That’s just where I’m at in life. But I’m feeling more like I can make Jewelry Making come up a little higher on the list. Now that I’m more focused on what I make, sticking more to one style, it helps simplify the creative process, which makes me more productive. And a whole lot more confident in what I am making, and how likely it is to sell.

So really… I learned a lot in this challenge, but I still have a LONG way to go. One thing I know for sure is that I wouldn’t trade this experience for the world. Brenda, the BALC instructor and owner of B’Sue Boutiques, is so full of knowledge and experience, and it blows me away how generously she shared all of that with us.

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2 thoughts on “BALC: What Did I Learn?”

  1. Don’t feel bad, Lori….I’m tired too. And you are surely right. Making jewelry for self and gifts and maybe to sell a piece here and there…..just rambling along the jewelry making trail enjoying new ideas and taking time to whiff the flowers so to speak…..well that’s a LOVELY thing. But if you want to be successful as a maker or designer ya gotta do all the other crappy work: record keeping, taking great photos (actually I am getting to the place where I like taking pix, it’s sort of artsy, too!) writing copy, uploading, packaging, building a site, keeping inventory straight…..egad are we sick yet? No, it’s not the fun part. But as time goes on and your stuff takes off, you can hire some help and in time, concentrate on the makering and learning. It’s all good. The groundwork must be laid, however…..starts out with the learning and the doing, and then yep for awhile, you have to wear all the hats. It’s a real education. It’s okay to be tired….for awhile. Then you have to get on your horse and ride. Speakin’ of which….time for me to go and do….ugh ugh ugh….Quickbooks entries. After that? Yeah, maybe I will get to have some fun at the workbench.

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