Wanted: Juggling Teacher

I’m looking for help and advice. I didn’t start this blog to gain followers. I began the blog as a way to publicly blackmail myself into moving ahead with my art. (Don’t get me wrong, it is nice when you learn that someone cares to read your ramblings. In my case way too personal ramblings, but there’s no looking back, only moving forward) It worked for a year, and then I fell back into old habits and worse yet the land of self-doubt.  So here I sit getting older by the second (I think I can actually feel a wrinkle forming), and still trying to gain the confidence to succeed. Here’s where you come in, the person who has decided to take five minutes to read my thoughts. I’ve been a stay at home mom for a good portion of my life. Now the kids are gone, but I’ve spent twenty plus years living by their schedule. From school to after school activities, vacations, and bowing to (almost) their every need and whim, I think I’ve forgotten how to schedule myself. I need to structure my day, which when you work at home can be difficult. There is always a bathroom to clean, laundry to do, meals to prepare, etc. I make lists of things I want to accomplish artistically in a date book. A date book that I purchased last December that quite frankly has very little written in it. Does anyone out there work at home? How do you manage your time? How do you ignore the dirty socks and paint instead? How do you fit in time for friends, grocery shopping, and doctor’s appointments? Despite my best intentions I can’t seem to walk though my house back to my studio without stopping to clean. It isn’t that there’s a lot to do, and there are only two of us here, (well, five if you count the three cats, needless to say cat hair tumbleweeds abound). With no clock to punch, or school bell to answer I’m at a loss. I’d appreciate any advice.FullSizeRender(13)

 

Now that I’m done with my plea for advice, I’d like a little help. The help is with social media. I’m not so old that I’m computer brain dead. I have of course my blog here on WordPress, but I also have two Facebook accounts, a Twitter account, an Instagram account, a Pinterest account, and an Etsy shop. Everyone tells me that I need social media to move my art business ahead. I am a one woman glitter factory making fairies to sell, I am also a fine artist working on three pieces at the moment, and I just don’t know how to get to all of the posting, descriptive tagging, tweeting, and hash tagging required. I currently have three thousand one hundred and fifty five emails, and that’s in only two of my four email accounts. Clever me, I thought having one for business, one for personal, one for the house, and one Hotmail account (that’s from the dawn of the internet, I can’t seem to shut it down!) was a good idea. It’s not, it’s a nightmare. Facebook sends me “You haven’t posted this week and your followers want to hear from you” emails. Not to mention (but I will) all my friends and loved ones who post on Facebook that I feel obligated to “like”, and then those same people who post the same photos on Instagram. I feel a surge of Catholic guilt wash over me and must “like” again. Daily notifications from Instagram on who is now following me, and the new posts from the people I “follow”. From Etsy Success and Etsy there’s the “Here’s what you need to do in order to succeed in your shop”, or “remember you looked at this” emails, and Twitter notifications. New posts from the people here on WordPress whose work I enjoy reading, but again don’t know where to find the time. (Insert screams here) It’s never ending. I have no staff, or management, it’s me doing everything. I currently have only sixty pieces listed on Etsy. I have more than two hundred and fifty created. Why aren’t they in my shop yet? It’s because I have to write a description for each piece to try to help buyers understand my vision, and I have to tag each fairy or print with the recommended and allotted thirteen tags. I have more than two hundred pieces to list, that’s more than twenty six hundred descriptive words to come up with. Yes, I could use the same tags again and again, but I must vary them so that when potential customers search with certain key words I might be “found”. It has in fact become a dreaded chore, like the homework I once hated. To say I’m feeling overwhelmed is an understatement. HELP! How do you manage all of this? Are you scheduling time for each? I would really love to hear from anyone who can help me in this juggling act. And now the tags for this post….sigh….

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Blowing Off Steam!!!

The weekend open house is over. We heave a big sigh of disappointment. We had a grand total of two people, or one couple, so technically one viewing. They seemed to like the house, we weren’t really sure. What I found particularly interesting was a comment made by one of them about our home being “staged”. Just a few weeks ago I had another couple here in the house. Before I begin my rant, let me say that I have a couple of very dear friends who are realtors, and my dad actually had his license at one point in his life. They are lovely, honest, and hard-working people. My rant has to do with particular people rather than the profession as a whole. My tale of woe has to do with one couple, and an individual realtor who called me last week. The couple are, “the most successful realtors in Temecula”, or so they said. The woman commented that they would supply their staging team. I told her I wouldn’t need them. I mentioned to her that I had gone to interior design school in Chicago, to which she relied, “There’s a difference between interior design and staging.”, and then she turned her back on me. (BIG MISTAKE) If you have seen the video of our home on YouTube, you will see a lovely home. I know what staging is, but the difference between me and the average client is that I live and breathe design. I have a passion for it. I don’t need my house to be set up for someone to dream about living in it, it already looks that way. My favorite class in design school was called “Sourcing”. The entire class consisted of going to the Merchandise Mart in Chicago and visiting showrooms. Furniture, tile, carpet, textiles, etc….I loved it, I obsessed over it. I have a subscription to nearly every decorating magazine on the market. The comment from the possible buyer of yesterday gave me mixed feelings. Yes, there are rooms in this home that have been recently staged for the purposes of selling. Those would be the kids rooms, because I no longer have “kids”, I have adults. The rest of my house is the way it looks all the time. (Of course not quite as tidy.)  Maybe it looks staged to someone who doesn’t live the way I do. I have a need to create in every part of my life, whether it be in the kitchen by baking or cooking, or working on a painting, or even in the way I arrange the pillows on my couch, and don’t get me started on how the bed needs to be made. There isn’t an undecorated inch in all 3036 square feet of this home, or in the garden either. One of the few bright spots in having to sell this home is that I get a new place to get my hands on.  Even as a renter I never left a place in the same way I found it. I put my heart and soul into all I do, including loving my family, and in creating a beautiful environment for them to live in. I don’t take offense to the lady of yesterday, she doesn’t know me or what I’m all about. What I do take offense to is the presumption of someone who walks through my door, and by the way, wants me to hire them, who treats me like I don’t know anything. She also corrected me because I repeated something twice about working from home. When all is said and done I believe I will be dropping this woman a note, something like this…

Dear Realtor (whose name I won’t use),  You came into my home because you wanted my business. If you want my business, don’t treat me like I’m less than you. Don’t treat me like I don’t have a brain in my head, and don’t EVER turn your back on me. Don’t correct me in a dismissive manner when I repeat something. You wanted my business, so if I want to say it ten times you need to listen. By the way, you and your spouse repeated yourselves several times, but my mother raised me right. I don’t embarrass people by correcting them, it’s in bad taste. You were in my home. You need to be gracious, you need to listen, and you need not to insult me. In other words you need to learn some manners.  Your interest in me was only monetary, and I spotted your phoniness two minutes after you walked through my door. I hope you will heed this advice in your future business transactions. Signed,  Not In A Million Years.

Now on to the phone call. We listed the house ourselves, and as expected have been inundated with phone calls from realtors who want us to use their services. Most have been gracious when informed that we are selling it ourselves, and that if we do indeed list with a realtor it would be our friend. Most wish us well, and offer their services if we change our minds. Nice people, respectful people, people who treat me like I have a brain and am not recently recovering from a lobotomy. The morning after we listed I received a call from a man who said he was a realtor, he then asked roughly twenty fairly personal questions about why we were selling our own home. I was honest and gave him several reasons, including that we had a bad experience with a realtor in Chicago. His reply to that was that he wasn’t going to apologize for it since he had nothing to do with it.

A. I didn’t ask for an apology.

B. If I was trying to garner business, and my potential client had a bad experience with a person who happened to share my profession, I would say, “I’m sorry that happened to you. Please don’t feel that it is representative of my entire profession.”

He then proceeded to point out the reasons he felt that my husband and I didn’t know what we were doing. He was rude, and quite frankly the ruder he was the more bitchy I got. He called my home. He wanted my business. It is therefore in my mind his “job” to make me want to work with him. This one would be signed, On A Cold Day In Hell. In the end he said that it was obvious I wasn’t ready to work with people who could help me, and my response? “It certainly wouldn’t be with you.”

Side track alert notice!!!… Makes me think about a phone call several years ago from a certain well-known on-line university. I sent for information for Dan. When I got a phone call from the school they of course assumed it was I that wanted to further my education. I said no and explained it was for my husband, but in the end he didn’t think he would have the time to do the classes due to an extensive travel schedule. The young man on the other end of the phone very abruptly said, “Well, how does your husband expect to do anything in life if he can’t make the time to get an education?” (Oh if they only knew me before they called…) “Young man, my husband is a vice-president at a multimillion dollar company, and you make phone calls for a living. Don’t make assumptions.” Then I hung up.

Think I have an issue? Yes I admittedly do. There have been plenty of times in this life when I didn’t feel so great about myself, but one thing I have always known is that I am smart, really smart. Thanks to my parents and some good genes, my sisters and I are very intelligent women, throw in the finest Catholic education available (that my parents worked their behinds off in order to pay for ), and we are forces to be reckoned with. Of course we all come with the standard fit rod of self-righteous steel in our spines, in other words, don’t piss us off.

Words from my gravestone (If I have one. I believe I will be cremated, because knowing me I’ll have claustrophobia in the afterlife.), “You can call me fat, you can call me ugly, but you can never call me stupid.”

I think that says it all.