Guest Blog: Getting Off the Merry-Go-Round

By Guest Blogger, Marian Parsons, AKA “Miss Mustard Seed”

This post originally appeared on missmustardseed.com on December 30,2012, and caught our attention!  Marian is a youth pastor’s wife, mother of two little boys and a lover of all things home. In addition to running her own business, Mustard Seed Interiors LLC, and authoring her blog, she is a freelance writer for HGTV.com, CountryLiving.com and a contributor to Cottages and Bungalows magazine (DIY Essentials Column). Her DIY projects have appeared in numerous additional publications and her first book Inspired You is currently #2 on Amazon’s Best-Selling Decorating Books. We are honored to republish “Getting Off the Merry-Go-Round” with her permission:

Miss-Mustard-SeedIn my business I’ve had to make some tough decisions.  The hardest thing for me is to say no and to set limits.  I want to fly as high as my wings can carry me and I don’t want to be limited by things like sleep and time to crash on the sofa to watch a movie.  I love my work and I love being productive, so it’s hard for me to sit, be still and rest.  It’s hard for me to see the great potential in something and then say no to it and make a clear decision to not pursue it.

Well, after about a year of going back and forth about it in my mind, I have made the difficult decision to leave The Old Lucketts Store as a vendor.  I know, I know.  It’s Lucketts!  How could I leave Lucketts?!  I know I don’t need to justify myself to all of you, but I thought I would lay out how I came to that decision in the hopes that it might help others who are thinking through some tough business (or maybe even personal) decisions.

1.)  It’s a matter of money.  When I looked at my year end profit and loss statement, I was pretty amazed to see that 2/3 of my gross income came from my blog and freelance writing jobs, leaving only 1/3 from merchandise.  Of that 1/3, about 1/3 was made in just two events (the May fair and the Christmas open house.)  Then when I looked at my investments, I saw that I spent almost twice as much on pieces to resell than I did on supplies for photo shoots and materials for projects.  Now, I know there is a lot more earning potential at Lucketts and I simply haven’t had the time to put into it to get more out of it.  From a business perspective, I had to look at my income and make the decision to put more time and money into the area that’s getting the highest return – blogging and writing.

2.) It’s a matter of time.  I am regularly asked how I do all I do.  Well, the simple answer is that I’m often hanging-on-by-a-thread and flying-by-the-seat-of-my-pants and holding on-for-dear-life, which is fun, but it can be exhausting and overwhelming, too.  Over the past year, I have known that I needed to cut some things out.  I spend the majority of my time shopping for Lucketts, painting pieces for Lucketts, pricing for Lucketts, driving to Lucketts…you get the idea.  It’s a good 3-4 days of my week spent on Lucketts, which would be fine if that was my primary source of income, but since it’s not, it’s not a good return on my time.  What has kept me there for so long is all of the intangibles.  It’s great exposure.  I LOVE it.  I love working with the people there.  I love the interaction with my customer and readers.  All of those things made it tough to leave.

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3.) It’s a matter of goals.  There is a lot more that I want to do.  I have ideas for new colors and products to go along with the milk paint line.  There is so much more I want to do with my blog to make it informative, functional, inviting, etc.  I have a list of house projects a mile long that have been put on the back burner for a couple of years.  I’m really excited about having the time to pursue those ideas.

4.) It’s a matter of reality.  I’m often called a machine, but the truth is that I’m not.  I have periods of burnout and I just had a long stretch of it.  I just wanted to lay on the couch and watch old episodes of ER.  I love all that I’m doing, but I can’t continue at this pace.  As much as I like to think I can keep piling exciting projects on, I can’t and it’s time I recognize that and make changes accordingly.

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So, what does this mean for you, the reader?

Will I still write this blog?  YES!  That’s one reason I’m leaving Lucketts.  I want to be able to give more of my professional time to my blog.  I’m actually hoping to increase the number of posts I write each week and that slowing down in other areas will give me time to increase the content on my blog.  You see, I have had to work at such a rapid pace to keep my space filled at Lucketts that I can only show you a small percentage of what I do.  I rarely have time to film a video tutorial or take step-by-step pictures and I would love to do more of that.  I also want to give more attention to my house and blog all about that.  I have other ideas, too, about maybe expanding into sharing some foodie posts (Miss Mustard Seed’s Kitchen) and starting a companion blog with my husband (The Mustard Seed Workshop.)

Will I still refinish furniture to share on my blog and to sell?  Of course.  It’s what I do.  I don’t think I could handle NOT doing furniture!  I’m still going to be a vendor at the Lucketts Fair in May and I’ll probably do smaller pieces that I can make available for sale online.  I’m excited about setting my own pace and not having to worry about filling a physical space.  And would you believe I have furniture in my house that needs to be refinished and/or painted and I just haven’t had time to do it?  I’m also going to finally make some other things available for sale online like t-shirts, German Glass Glitter, some handmade items and vintage finds.  If my house starts to look like a storage unit, I’ll have a tag sale in my yard!

Like I said, it was a tough decision and I felt a little panicked after I gave my notice.  My business has been retail-driven for a long time, but now that I have a blog, product line and a book, it’s time to focus on those things and I think my business will be the better for it in the long run.  Thank you so much to Suzanne and all of the vendors at Lucketts for taking me under your wing, fluffing and filling my space when I was writing my book, and for being so encouraging and inspiring.  It’s an amazing store and I’m so honored I had a chance to be a part of it.

Enjoy a photo gallery of Miss Mustard Seed’s work, below, and be sure to check out her blog.  We wish her much continued success–congrats on having the faith to cut back and step off the merry-go-round!

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