I have a little bit of a confession to make. It’s something I used to be borderline ashamed of, and it wasn’t something I openly shared with my audience.
I don’t print my own work. I work with production partners to print and ship all of my prints, stationery, and mugs. Gasp!
Writing that feels a little silly. You probably thought I was going to say something a whole lot more earth shattering, right? Like, I actually don’t like skiing. Or I don’t enjoy drawing. Or something else off the wall.
I used to try to hide the fact that I outsource my printing and shipping. Sure, if a customer straight up asked about it, I was honest. I just didn’t openly broadcast the whole truth. I was afraid of what people would think of me if they knew the truth.
But the thing is, I hate printing my own work. I despise packaging orders and standing in line at the post office. It took me about 18 months of cussing and yelling at my expensive Epson fine art printer before I finally asked the question, how is doing something I loathe serving my customers? How is bringing negative, heavy energy to my creative work a good idea?
Not to mention, a couple years ago I identified that location independence was one my most important values.
Being able to visit my family any time is super important to me. Having the freedom to ski powder with my husband on a random Wednesday is an incredible gift. And the ability to work out of our camper van in a national forest is just magical.
Printing my own work was absolutely not in alignment with the things that were most important to me. Outsourcing my printing to amazing, talented production partners allows me to deliver a more beautiful, consistent product than I ever could by myself. They’re in their “zone of genius”, and get to be in mine. I get more time to design things people love, and there’s more space for me to gather creative inspiration through travel and adventure.
The Aligned Adventure brand has been evolving over the past several months into something beyond just outdoor adventure inspired artwork and gifts. There’s been something stirring in me to take what I’ve learned through my own life challenges and turn it into inspiration for others.
One thing I’ve learned recently is that running my business or life in a way that’s just to please others, or makes me feel resistance, is not being true to myself. And that’s definitely NOT helping others. I’ve learned that the greatest way I can serve myself and others, is to be authentic to me.
It can be hard to forge your own path. Society teaches us all these rules we are “supposed” to follow. It takes a certain level of self awareness and confidence to break free from the rules and do your own thing. I, for one, have not always had this awareness and self esteem. These are things I’ve had to consciously grow and nurture.
For me, printing my own work is just one example of how I was playing by the rules, despite the fact that it made me unhappy. It’s what other Etsy sellers said I “should” do. And in my head, it’s what I believed my customers wanted. Surely they wouldn’t buy from me if they found me out!
These days however, if a customer decides not to buy from me because I work with partners, so be it. Not everyone is going to love my brand, or love how I run my life or business, and that’s just fine. I’m not here to please everyone.
But if I can inspire one person – whether that’s via my designs or through me sharing my own personal story, then that feels like success. If I can motivate someone to plan their next big adventure – whether that’s just a fun trip to the mountains – or the next big step in building their dream life – I consider my job done.
Lately, “authentic” seems like a buzzword out in internet land, almost to the point of being trite. But for now, that seems like the best word to describe who and what I want to be for you. I want to set an example of how someone can be in love with their life, and show you that you can be in love with yours too. Being true to yourself is such a crucial ingredient in the process of creating your dream life. So trite or not, I’m continuing down my path of authenticity.
What can you let go of right now to be more authentic to yourself and your dreams? Is there something stopping you that you need help with? Let’s chat! Leave a comment or send me a message.
Congratulations, Julia! You’re picking your lane! Don’t ever act out of a “should” mindset. It’s not authentically you. Printing your own stuff isn’t your thing. So what. Your thing is awesome so just keeping doing it. . . . and feel free to remind me of this advice as I step further into my future 🙂
Thanks Elizabeth! I am excited to watch as your entrepreneurial path unfolds! For me taking the leap of leaving my job was the scariest part. But I can 100% say, I am very happy with where I am today, even with all the detours and missteps I took along the way.
One thing I want to point out (that maybe you’ve thought of), is the example you’re setting for your kids by starting your own thing. You’re showing them that it’s ok to try something that feels scary or uncertain, and that is important, IMO!