Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Lessons I Learned from 26 to 27. Always Learning, Working, Dreaming...

I've been joking that October 16th  (today!) is "the day my life ends" because it's the due date for an overly ambitious to-do list (read here). And today is my 27th birthday. I'm in my late twenties now,  I'm "old", but I'm enjoying reflecting on where I've come since my early twenties. Here's what I've learned about myself this year:

Quick First-Day-Being-27 Webcam Shot. Me doing what I do most mornings, drink a fruit/spinach smoothie and edit blog posts/item listings! I take so few shots of myself some still believe Thrift Core is run by (A) a man and (B) A writing team.

1.) I've been too nice for too long with my business.

For years I've been told that I need raise my prices and stop being generous with favors; I ignored. I wanted to be accessible, but it was killing my wallet. Even with lowered living expenses I was just breaking even some months and had to use savings for a couple of others. It required a mindset change. Now I'm not afraid to raise prices (accounting for hours spent hunting, cleaning, photographing, editing, designing and listing) and telling people I can't go down on a price when asked. With increased prices I feel satisfied and not pained with every single sale. I'll never go back!

I learned many indie business owners have to aim for a target demographic that earns more than they do to stay afloat. You're not shunning the proletariat for doing this, you're just realistically making a living.

2.)  I'm a spacey dreamer...and that's why everything's always lost. That's gotta change.

Keys vanish once per day, I can lose my pencil while I'm drawing or writing with it! If you have this habit you're likely a fellow space cadet, lost in thoughts and not consciously watching what you're doing! I'm done searching for misplaced things for hours, I'm kicking this habit and keeping things in their "home" this year!

3.) I'm not looking at the big picture. I've stagnated. Time to Innovate!

I'm not happy with my creative progress. I want to produce better content for the web and beyond, make more photos, art lines, so much! This year I feel like I was complacent again, but that's over!

4.) I am not exactly sure what I "Want to Be When I Grow up" but now I know I am a Entrepreneur and Artist.

I've been through many career phases in life, first stuck on being an astronomer, biologist, or conservationist. I had a long obsession with studying cell organelle function and looked through many a telescope and microscope during Science and Astronomy clubs after school. It didn't suit my creative always-needing-stimulation lizard-like artist brain the more I dug into the equations side of it. Over the years I tried out dozens of activities and hobbies and now I at least know what I am, and that's a huge help even without a clear-cut vision for the future.

5.) Don't rush a project. Do it right. Do life right. There's plenty of time.

Working on my 26 before 27 list reminded me the importance of taking my time on projects and not rushing. You're never to old to try new things, reach for new goals or make new ones. And it's better to take your time and produce something you're proud of rather than hit a deadline. Always.

See, life is all figured out! Ha! I Kid. I'm still working daily and discovering myself, and I'm grateful the hard work, saving, and scrimping in the past has afforded me the ability to do this now. This year has been a stimulating journey, I've purged life of excess mental and physical clutter. I'm excited to keep creating and growing this year!

What do you want to be when you grow up? It's never to late...
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32 comments:

  1. Happy Birthday!! The older my kids get,the younger people in their 20's seem to be (my oldest is 17).Congratulations-you're old enough to be an adult and young enough to enjoy it.I hope this year is great!!

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    1. Aw, thank you. That makes me feel better about hitting my late twenties. Feeling a little of the old/young, gotta enjoy it. Likewise the later I get in my twenties the younger the teenagers seem now, I see them as "children" now and not young adults. Those little whipper snappers. ;D

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  2. Happy Birthday, 'bot gal! You're still so young - lucky you. At 27 I didn't know myself and wasn't as organised/ structured as you. I'm only just getting to grips with myself (does that sound so wrong?! lol). Enjoy and keep up the good work!

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    1. Thanks for the kind words, if we had it all figured out I life would be boring, that's the only consolation for us creative scatter brains!

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  3. Have yourself a very happy Birthday! You are already successful in your goal of being an entrepreneur and artist - keep up the good work!

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    1. Thank you! I'm going to keep at it!

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  4. Happy Birthday, Van - I enjoy your blog and your 27 year old energy. Big changes start happening at 27 and it sounds like you are ready. Wish I had it as together back then. As for your business; don't be afraid to raise prices, it is important to pay for your time finding, cleaning, photographing, listing and shipping items. A friend of mine always says "start higher, you can always come down, but it is much harder to go up once you've named a price."

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    1. Very good saying, I think pricing way low is one of the most common indie business mistakes. Luckily the internet has a short memory and it's easy to raise 'em and keep moving forward or change your brand as need be. :) Thanks for the kind words!

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  5. Happy Birthday, Van, I continue to enjoy following your blog, seeing the changings and improvements you are always striving to make, and the fun and crazy things you find. Enjoy your day. You are still young. Karen

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    1. Thanks for following along Karen, I really appreciate it!

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  6. Happy Birthday Van.
    First up you are not old, you are a talented and innovative women in business and life. At 35 years old I've only really started to feel that now in life I'm happy with the balance of everything in life. I'm living my passion.

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    1. Thanks Trudie, I'll stop whining about being old, I know age ain't nothing but a number and I will play with toys 'til my dying day ;)

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  7. HAPPY BIRTHDAY! Hope you are going to celebrate in some way. And it's all relative as the saying goes-- wait till you hit 35, 40... 27 will seem very young. I think a lot of us never really grow up. We change, ideals change, the world changes-- so you are constantly growing in some way. Have a great day!!

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    1. Thanks Diane! I agree, we're never done growing up, every day you learn something new. I think I'll schedule something fun after my kitchen shift somewhere, a birthday cocktail ;)

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  8. Have a wonderful day & year. I continue to find inspiration in your blog! thank you and hope you get to celebrate!

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    1. Thank you! Eating a vegan cupcake, life is good ;)

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  9. Happy Birthday! Great post. I think trying to figure out who you are and what you really enjoy doing is one of the hardest things to do. No one can tell you what to do in that regard and sometimes you just feel lost, I struggle with it all the time. It's great you've found some ground work there. Your blog is always inspiring to read, keep up the good work and enjoy your day!

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  10. I missed your birthday post and now I'm late in wishing you a happy birthday! I hope you had a wonderful day yesterday!
    And as someone who will be turning 28 in a couple of weeks, no calling the late 20s old!! :)

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    1. Haha, will do ;) Thanks for the sweet birthday wishes.

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  11. Happy birthday! You look just lovely in your webcam shot!

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  12. Happy birthday, Vanessa! And BTW, 27 is *not* old.

    Katy

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    1. Thanks Katy! Will enjoy the last of youth *sniff* crying into my margarita to make it saltier *sobb*. Just kidding, I just say that to be dramatic. :D

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  13. Happy Belated Birthday, Van. It's hard but it's just an age. You're a beautiful person, inside and out, and an inspiration to many of us, myself included. Just keep on doing what you're doing, and being you. We appreciate you just the way you are and wouldn't have it any other way.

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    1. Glad my words are reaching and helping people, thank you so much for the kind words! I always appreciate knowing they do!

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  14. Well, a Happy Belated Birthday to you, Van! I hope you got to at least enjoy part of the day and not have to work like a mad woman :) I understand not knowing what you want to be when you grow up, but who said you have to pick just one thing and be stuck with it for most of your working life? Love your quote, "...it's better to take your time and produce something you're proud of rather than hit a deadline. Always." So true. Like you, sometimes - all right, a lot of times - I find myself rushing around just to cross things off my to-do list instead of stopping to take a breather and appreciating the day or what I'm doing. I guess this is a consequence of working in corporate America for so long and trying to meet deadlines and squeeze in an extra thing to do. Continue enjoying what you do, and you will get there, wherever "there" is :0)

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    1. Aw, thanks for the belated b-day wish! Same here with the rush-rush-rush mentality, it's hard to get out of it. I do need it for things like getting Etsy listings up by a deadline but I learned not to rush production for an art/product line. Quality shows and people can see when you put your heart/care into something and when you didn't.

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  15. Oh, and I agree with your first point. I used to price my items way too low. I have since started to raise my prices. Another thing that helped me was to buy more easy to pack and ship items. If I buy a breakable item that needs extra packaging, it has to sell for quite a bit of money for the extra time it takes to pack. Time is money, and a $15 item that you can just toss into a mailer is a better deal than a $15 item you need to bubble wrap and pad with packing peanuts in a box.

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    1. I forgot to throw in a bit about pricing SERVICES too low too but that may be a rant for another post. Nearly everything I sell is highly breakable so that's another reason prices HAD to go up, and I am looking to decrease the amount of breakable/hard to ship bits I buy into the future, too. I still could not be happier with the increased prices, so much more satisfying to actually be paid for my work!

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  16. I'm turning 50 this year and reading this post has helped me deal with that. Thank you. And yes, I agree. Raise Your Prices. What we do is valuable.

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    1. Aw, glad it helped you Nancy! Thanks for the comment. I am soooo enjoying the raised prices, I won't go back! With one sale I can make a good daily wage rather than several adding up.

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