Thursday, August 2, 2012

I was asked...How do I do it??

 As part of a summer series  Kathy of A Delightsome Life is running, I was asked to answer the question, "How do you do it?"  Aimed at bloggers trying to balance life with the blog and other things they might have going on in their lives~that is the question to be answered today.   I started my blog Maison Decor in May 2010 and have passed my two year mark.  The blog has lead me to some great opportunities and the most recent one was opening up a store to sell Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ and home decor items like furniture and accessories.  So my life has gotten more complicated and full and when I started thinking of the question and the answer, it was clear to me that it doesn't all get done. Maybe those reading my blog might think I have some secret weapons or tricks up my sleeve for getting everything done, I don't know... but as you can see from the flourishing weeds in my garden, some things are just not getting done anymore~
 And its really OK with me~I won't be bothered thinking that I used to be able to have a tidy garden or a neater house, because since April my life took a big turn towards the busy end of the spectrum when I decided to open up a store and sell Annie Sloan products~yup, that famous Chalk Paint® that I love.
It has become the number one focus for me, getting this business off the ground, and I can only do it because I made sure that my husband was on board with this decision.
While this store opening is my number one focus right now, my main priority is my relationship with my number one guy, Mr. Maison Decor.  We have a great relationship and I am mindful of keeping it that way...so one of the tips I can tell you, is that it is important to check in, to make time for dinners out, or goof off together, keep the physical relationship in gear, and always let him know how important he is to me.  That is my number one tip for balance in my life.
 We might still have the unpacked cooler sitting in our dining room from our summer vacation three weeks ago~something that NEVER would have happened last summer...but its alright with us both.  Its not a permanent situation, its a sign of switching gears and paying attention to what NEEDS to be done, and this kind of stuff is on the back burner lately.
My energies are invested in trying to figure out how to operate a retail location, and since I didn't know any better, I guess you could say ignorance is bliss!  If anyone wants to do what I am doing, get your partner on board, and then do it and figure it out as you go~that is my second tip.  JUST DO IT!!! We only get one crack at living our life, no do-overs, no second chances to relive our forties or our thirties...so follow your gut, listen to your instincts and then take action.
This Maison Decor thing is now going to expand to another location~I hope to sign the deal on a Boston store.  Its all in its beginning stages and while it might not seem ideal to get another store up and running while I am just barely set up with the first store, it is a move that I found made sense on several levels for me.....here I am walking the streets of Boston on a  Monday with my son Justin~we looked at our location and then went looking at other potential spots for the next Maison Decor store.  Now when I have meetings or events I need to schedule them on Sundays or Mondays, as those are my days off. So that is an adjustment for me as well, I used to be able to do whatever whenever!! Now I am on a schedule, and it is more important than it used to be to make lists and be organized.  When will I go to the food store? When will I do the laundry?  When can I go anywhere??? It all needs to be scheduled with fore thought.   It can be done, and I will get better at this as I get used to it...I do think that LIST MAKING is a very good technique that everyone can use.  Its great to check off the things on the list~feeling that you have accomplished goals, no matter how small, gives you a pat on the back feeling.  Colin is great at making lists for me in the store.  He will set up a list of things to do for the week~like how many clocks to paint, paint workshop supplies that need to be purchased, store cleaning, painting furniture~it goes on...and on.....
 Of course we will be opening new accounts with different vendors and that means tending to them, checking your inventory and offering them to the public in both the retail and the new online store, www.shopmaisondecor.com
I still love to blog, and although blog hopping is not something I get to do as much anymore, I still love writing my blog and I usually do that in the morning when I get to the shop~I will have things I want to share on the blog, and that is the best time for me to compose a post.  I like to blog 3 times a week, and I love reading the comments I get from my readers...it is a shot in the arm when I get notes and comments!  I really thought that many people would not like reading the blog when I started sharing about opening a store, but it was the opposite! People wrote to me and expressed how wonderful it was to watch this happening.  So I will continue blogging, as it is something I enjoy and I find valuable in many ways.
This all takes time, the store, the blog, the paper work and family life~and now time has become my most valuable asset.  It slips by quickly, and since April my days have gone from leisurely paced to zooming so fast~and then at 8:30 PM I can hardly keep my eyes open!! 
The thing that is taking a lot of my time right now is writing a business plan for the Boston store as I want to secure a loan.   This is NOT my comfort zone, but leads me to the tip, JUST DO IT.  That meant getting advice from a banker and going to an online website Score.org for information on how to do this properly.  I will hopefully finish it this week.  My goal for the store is to get it up and running with Justin fully trained and ready to roll September 1.  I will be doing workshops in both locations and he will take over when proficient in all the skills we learn as stockists and professionals.  In that vein, my training of Jay has begun, and it is done on my days off, so it takes away from my time with hubby and Colin and the life back at home....but this is a temporary period, needed for a startup~
This shot was taken out to dinner recently~we all knew we were going to go for Boston!!
 These guys have my back, and that in a nutshell is HOW I DO IT.
I don't try to be a perfectionist at home, I let things ride where I can, and pay attention to the most pressing issues of the day....so wish me luck, and if you want to follow a dream, get your important people on board and don't look back~!!


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25 comments:

  1. Love everything you have written Amy!
    Such a great honest post and i agree the right people by your side make all the difference...so happy all your dreams have come true you deserve success and much happiness.
    So happy to hear you are going to keep blogging too!
    xxx

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  2. Amy, this is like the bible on how to get it all and balance it all. You are proving you can do it and are a role model to many. I am astounded at your energy and all you have accomplished in such a short time and more than anything really really happy for you. You DO deserve it all. Love the relationship you have with your husband who seems like a keeper, and your son, another gem. Its a beautiful thing to see how this has evolved as a family affair.
    Your recipe is spot on...keep it up! You have a lot of fans enjoying the journey with you.

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  3. Thank you so much for this post Amy. My Daughter and I just opened up a store front. We are quickly learning that everything will not get done as it has in the past. I agree with everything you wrote and I would add that a 'schedule' will help too. I love reading your blog about your beautiful shop. I wish you lots of success with both of them and can't wait to learn more about your new one:)

    ~Debra xxx
    Capers of the vintage vixens

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  4. Thank you so much for this post Amy. My Daughter and I just opened up a store front. We are quickly learning that everything will not get done as it has in the past. I agree with everything you wrote and I would add that a 'schedule' will help too. I love reading your blog about your beautiful shop. I wish you lots of success with both of them and can't wait to learn more about your new one:)

    ~Debra xxx
    Capers of the vintage vixens

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  5. Amy, good for you! You have to grab a great opportunity when it shows itself. And you have. It sounds to me like you know your priorities and have wonderful support all around you.

    xo
    Claudia

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  6. I've often wondered the same thing, how you do it all. Your wisdom and perspective are really helpful to hear. I find it so frustrating when i'm working and trying to keep up with my blog, and wanting to paint... and helping support my kids, and feel so out of balance. So cool how you have your family's support, i'm sure that is a huge part of how you can do all this stuff that makes you excited and creative and high on life.

    Cindy

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  7. Wow you can have it all

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  8. I wait for you to post and have my morning coffee with you :)
    I am in awe of your energy! Thank you for keeping the blog going!!

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  9. What I like most about your new venture is that it is a family event. That should help you the most. What I worry most about your new venture is that you'll burn-out. So, delegating, hiring extra help etc may need to be done. You're at a time in your life that your kids are grown and you can devote all your time to this venture which is good. I would not be so lucky. I am looking forward to sharing in this with you through the land of blog. Ha! I think you're very ambitious and smart to be able to do what you've been doing in such a short time. I'm not a risk taker, so I guess I'm living vicariously through you now.

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  10. Amy, Your thoughts are definately right on. My sister and i opened our quilt store 9 years ago and the first thing you have to realize is that you must prioritize. Having family support is tantamount to enjoying your business. I wish you more success as you open your new storefront.

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  11. Amy you should be proud of everything you have accomplished it came true because you worked hard doing something you love and it shines through in every post. I was happy to see that you have a few weeds in your garden I was thinking the same whilst looking out into the garden today. I enjoyed this post I am also glad you are sticking around. Tracy x

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  12. Great post, Amy! Love it!
    :-)
    shaunna

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  13. Love this Amy!!

    Janet xox
    The Empty Nest

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  14. Thank you for being so open about your experiences. I am amazed at your courage to just go for it. You are such an encouragement and inspiration! :)

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  15. This is my first opportunity to visit this website. I found some interesting things and I will apply to the development of my blog. Thanks for sharing useful information.

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  16. I agree with so many things in this post. I have been a list-maker most of my life! Can't do without them and both our kids and hubby use them too.

    And oh yes! If you're going to live your dream, get your family on board and get their support too! You "can" do it without their help, but it's so much nicer if they support you.

    Prioritize! I ask myself this when it literally feels like I'm spinning around in circles. "OK..if I stop right now and don't get this thing done, what will happen?" Usually nothing :-) The world will not stop spinning, people will not roll over dead; the sun will not cease to shine. In other words, things that I perceive to be "big"things usually aren't. Figure out what truly is a "big thing", get it done and the rest usually falls into place :-)

    Keep up the great work Amy! Can't wait to see your new store!

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  17. I have so enjoyed reading about your adventures and have been in awe, wondering how you do it all! Thanks for sharing your secrets. I love that you put your relationship with your husband first, and how your family has come along side you, and not only likes helping, but seems to thrive on it! Who would imagine a college guy painting furniture??? Wishing you all the best on your newest endeavor! And, as far as ASCP goes, thanks for introducing me to it! I just found out that there is a new stockist in Fort Myers. Can't wait for the class!

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  18. You forgot to mention the most important part of starting a new venture!
    BEING FRIENDS WITH BETSY SPEERT!!!
    because, as you know.....
    I'm really enjoying watching your new life unfold from the sidelines, and it's all about ME!!!

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  19. You look so beautiful in that first pic with Dave!

    I am a big believer in making lists, It keeps my mind organized even though I feel like I am being torn in so many different directions, especially starting this new adventure and blog with my BFF Caroline and my partner in The Dirty Girls!

    I am sure life will become a little more chaotic after Colin goes back to school, it seems he is your right hand man and a huge asset, you are very blessed to have such a wonderful family!

    XOXOXO I wish you all the best!

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  20. Loved this post, Amy! I like what you said about going for your dreams...that you can't get lost time back. So true! I need to remember that myself sometimes. Colin seems like such a blessing to your shop right now...look at him go with the painting and list making! I am so proud of you!!! And I am just as excited about you opening a Boston shop as I was when you decided to open your first. I remember our car ride & discussion when I was down for a visit. Two days later, you had the beginnings of a shop! I am so impressed. If you need anything, let me know. Happy to hop in the car for a two-day visit to help set up the new shop if needed (not sure when Colin goes back). LOVE Boston and you're a great hostess...would be fun!

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  21. Loved this post, Amy! I like what you said about going for your dreams...that you can't get lost time back. So true! I need to remember that myself sometimes. Colin seems like such a blessing to your shop right now...look at him go with the painting and list making! I am so proud of you!!! And I am just as excited about you opening a Boston shop as I was when you decided to open your first. I remember our car ride & discussion when I was down for a visit. Two days later, you had the beginnings of a shop! I am so impressed. If you need anything, let me know. Happy to hop in the car for a two-day visit to help set up the new shop if needed (not sure when Colin goes back). LOVE Boston and you're a great hostess...would be fun!

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  22. Amy...do not know how I missed this post....You are incredible...your attitude is what is your key to success!...You have set your goals and priorities and everything has fallen into place....Congrats on the future storefront...It is just amazing that you have accomplished so much in so little time!....Kudos to you! You deserve all the great things coming your way!

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