The Ups and Downs of Starting a Business

When I filled out my Vendor’s License and dropped my Business Name Registration form in the mail three weeks ago, I had no idea of the roller-coaster ride that was in store. And it’s just getting started ….

The last few weeks have been a whirlwind of activity. First, tearing apart our house to carve out a studio for me from our guest bedroom. Then rushing to get as much inventory stocked up as possible, and crafting until long after I should have made my way meekly to bed. And now, trying to figure out this whole “photo” thing for listing my items online. (Those darn shadows!)

Last weekend, I took my box of “inventory” as I call it (aka the clay ornaments and jewelry I’ve made over the last three weeks) to my best friend S’s house, prepared for some sharp critiques and honest feedback. To my surprise, S loved everything! Her exact comment was, “Jenn, there’s nothing here I wouldn’t buy.”

Then, last Sunday morning, I took the same box of inventory with me to church to show our church family, again prepared for sharp critiques and honest feedback. But again to my shock and delight, I took over $300 of orders!

Success! I’ve made it! My business will be a hit!

Not so fast.

Working full-time and trying to get a new business off the ground is intense. How does anyone do it? I’ve barely been juggling the two pursuits for three weeks, and already I’m fried.

I’ve promised everyone who ordered from me last week that their orders will be ready for them at church this Sunday. But preparing the orders is full of uncharted waters. Crafting I know how to do. Packing and delivering orders – not so much. For example: Where do I buy packaging? What format should I use for the invoice? How will I keep everyone’s orders straight in the heat of the moment as I’m delivering them? What accounting needs to be done to make sure I stay on the right side of the IRS? How does QuickBooks work again?

The minutiae of running a business are 100% overwhelming!

I also posted my first 8 items on Etsy this week ( and have received very few views and no orders. Everything I’ve read so far is adamant: “Growing an Etsy shop takes time. Be patient.” So I’m not worried, but I can honestly say that I’d be freaking out right now had I not sold those items last weekend. After all the time and money I’ve invested and continue to invest, it’s scary to have put my items out there to no result. The sales from last Sunday were a wonderful boost to my self-esteem and determination, which are both running dangerously close to empty.

To say the least, it’s been a stressful week.

But despite the stress, it has also really been a wonderful week. I am so excited about the future ahead of me, perhaps even particularly excited by the unknown nature of it all. I have not a clue where God is going to take me or how this adventure will unfold, and for someone who has spent her entire life with everything mapped out and settled far in advance, this rush of uncertainty is, in a strange way, exhilarating.


About JennJill Designs

JennJill Designs provides the handcrafted goods of Jennifer Jill Araya. Visit to learn more.
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