It's Not All Happy Dances...But It's SO Worth It.

Lucy Gray Small business behind the scenes

I actually started this blog post last year, when I wasn't so happy. When things all seemed pretty doom and gloom. I've found it again in my drafts, and decided to adapt it a bit to how I'm feeling now. A lot of it remains the same and I felt like now is a good time to publish it!

I sit here typing this on a Friday morning in Toronto, Canada - yep I' m back travelling again and I couldn't be happier about it. As I look outside the snow is falling onto a garden already full of snow, I have a cup of tea by myside (I had to make sure my friend had English breakfast at her home!) and I can see squirrels (I had no idea there are such things as black squirrels?!) running around. 

Doodling Lucy in toronto surrounded by snow

I'm currently in very cold Toronto!

Sounds like life is pretty good right? Who else gets to take holiday whenever the like, who else gets to stay in bed because they don't want to get up just yet? Who else can put off starting work till you feel like it? Unless, like me, you're running your own business, not many! 

And yet, even with all these perks, even with being able to follow my passion last year I really struggled with it all. I knew when I went full time with my small business it wouldn't always be plain sailing but it still takes me by surprise every time I resent my life choices. 

I shouldn't, well not really. I love my job. I love being able to take holiday whenever I like, work whatever hours I like. I love being able to say to people I meet for the first time that I'm an illustrator/calligrapher. That I run my own stationery business. That I have done this all by myself. With no business training, no tech training just with my paint brushes, watercolours and a hell of a lot of Googling. 

Lucy wearing female founder tshirt

I am proud of my job.

But, It's hard and It's lonely, it's expensive and when life admin gets in the way it can be frustrating. Last year I really got stuck in the cycle of wanting to move out and expand my business, but wasn't able to rent by myself because it is so darn expensive. I watched as my friends moved out, as they bought their own homes and I felt that horrible comparison feeling. That I was failing, that I wasn't doing what a 27 year old should be doing. 

Now in hindsight (what a beautiful thing) it wasn't that bad, I am so lucky to have two parents who are and were so tolerant of my business, who put up with having their living space taken up by all my stock boxes. Whenever I have/have had thoughts like this I think of Kourtney saying "Kim people are dying". It's true, there are bigger problems in the world, even writing it down makes me feel ungrateful. But you know how it is. It gets in your head. You spiral with it: "If I had a 9-5 I could afford to rent by myself", "If I had a 9-5 I wouldn't be sleeping in my childhood bedroom", "If I had a 9-5 my life wouldn't be so uncertain".

All those statements are true, however when I get these thoughts I try to counter them "If I had a 9-5 I wouldn't be able to travel whenever I like", "If I had a 9-5 I wouldn't get the excited feeling of being able to tell people what I do" "If I had a 9-5 I wouldn't get to connect with so many amazing people through my Instagram". It brings some rationality to those spiraling thoughts. 

I'm not sure how to round this up, or what to call this blog post. I don't really know it's purpose. Maybe it's to help me get my thoughts out, maybe it's to help others to see its not always sunshine and rainbows, happy dances and post office trips (ooo there's my title!).

As I grow up, gain more life experience and meet new people from all sorts of backgrounds - I am quickly realising that there is no perfect life, no perfect job. Everything comes with the downsides. Everyone thinks that they're life could be better, and if everyone is thinking this isn't it just best to accept it? To accept where we are at the moment. To enjoy where we are, be excited about where we are going rather than resenting our current situation.

Wow this has turned into Doodling Lucy's TED talk hasn't it! Well I'll round up my ramblings, I have Toronto to explore and a fully-loaded bagel to chase down!  

Lucy x

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  • Amy on

    Thank you for your honest words Lucy, you truly aren’t alone (from one small business owner to another…) x

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