Bittersweet biz news: When it’s time to let go.

June 10, 2015

Be Kind Work Hard Give Thanks

” Success is not the key to happiness, Happiness is the key to success.”
– Albert Schweitzer

In November, I finished up a whirlwind year of hosting workshops across the country for creative entrepreneurs. The Brand Market was exhilarating to help so many people with their businesses, and I felt very thankful to see a small vision I had come to life. I didn’t take for granted that I was able to teach, create, encourage, and travel as my line of work. I couldn’t have felt more grateful.

But as I sprinted through 2014 with a torch in hand I arrived to the end panting, out of breath, and my head spinning. How did the year fly by? I couldn’t seem to find my motivation anywhere, and I took it as a cue to REST.  A  few weeks later I found out I was expecting. It confirmed to me that God knew I needed that rest, and it was time to take a good look at the next few years.

Studio DIY + IHODFlorals via In Honor of Designb54f1322de1252cb-H00A6645611d0c0f536b7fbd-2014_BrandMarket-46via In Honor of Designbrand-market-cin-100via In Honor of Designtbm atlanta-42tbm atlanta-4via In Honor of DesignWorkshop34

The past year I learned what it really meant to be an entrepreneur. It’s a passionate dedication to an end vision that involves a big investment of yourself. You have to be willing to sacrifice time, energy, and finances to make that vision a reality. Gabe and I continued to say yes to this pursuit and The Brand Market started to flourish. However, when I arrived to the end of the year, the motivation was no where to be found. It had vanished, and I realized a tired and worn thin version of myself was begging me to take another real look at the WHY. Why did I start this business?, Where was it headed?, What is the end goal?, etc.  I knew at the heart of it all, I wanted to create a business that would give me more freedom of time with my children in the future,  financial freedom (from student loans, medical bills), and the ability to do something I loved in the process. 

As the weeks went by I continued to pray for direction. When you have your grasp on something so tightly, it isn’t easy to see clearly. I knew I had to loosen my grip to step back and see all the pieces to the puzzle and how to reassemble it in a way that would fit. I tried to fit every darn piece into my life, but it wasn’t fitting well. All I knew was that you cannot force an engine to run without gasoline, and my tank was empty. 

The reality became that in order for me to run this business well, it would require, more employees, more investment of time. Time that I wasn’t willing to give up. I already feel the precious moments of my children’s childhood slipping through my fingers before my eyes waaayyy faster than I like. I don’t want to miss any more than I have to, and I want to be FULLY present to them. A mother who isn’t here and there and everywhere mentally and physically. When I started to loosen my grip and tease the idea of letting  The Brand Market go, I slowly saw the peace return to my every day life. A mother has that beautiful role in her family that can set a pace and tone for everyone else in the family. With Gabe working full time, I knew it was important for me to be that steady beating heart my kids could rely on draw strength from. Even though everything I was doing was for them, and it was all very good things, it was very difficult to hold onto a steady day to day pace that I felt was healthy for them.

I talked every emotion, fear, hope, and angle through with Gabe. He has been an incredible pillar for me from the very start when The Brand Market was just a small seed of an idea. His constant encouragement is the only reason it thrived in the first place. His eagerness to be with our little ones while I traveled was the only reason I could ever swallow leaving them for a few days at a time. His ability to pick up the slack during the week when I needed help even after his long work days were the only reason I could keep both the business and the blog going. It was a strong team, even if his work was unseen on the forefront. And just as we make every decision together  that affects our family, he supported and encouraged my decision to step away.  In the meantime, my blog has continued to be something I really enjoyed and was also growing in all the right ways. Suddenly I realized I am at a point where I can just focus on IHOD for the first time ever. After juggling two to three creative jobs at a time for the last 6 years, this is a novelty I am more than excited about. With a fourth little one on the way, I am so happy to know I will be able to soak that baby up, and when nap times allow, I can tackle all the other creative ideas I have for IHOD.

I am seeing a million and two workshops pop up in the last year, by people who have more time, more creativity, and surely more energy than I ever will. I am happy to see so much offered to entrepreneurs, and I know there will not be a gap in the field! In fact, I am going to leave a list of recs at the end of this post for you to find some great learning resources for some of you. I will continue to share much content here as well through the biz tips column, and mayyyy even finally release some of the online videos I had ready to share. 

I am extremely grateful for each person that trusted their business with me, and my gracious co-hosts. I am thankful to Jenny and Savannah who originally started the journey with me, Suzy my event co-ordinator who helped make the workshops run smoothly, and each person who helped me carry it afterwards. I learned so much from each workshop, and I am taking many of those tips with me into my continued journey as a business owner.  If you supported The Brand Market in any way this year, I sincerely thank you from the bottom of my heart.

Thanks for reading all the way through! 

Much love,
Anna 

“Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you. Show me the way I should go, for to you I lift up my soul.” – Psalms 143:8

*Tote by Off Switch Shop, Photography by Esther Lee, Kathryn McCrary, Diane Hu, and Sterling Graves

Business learning:
Be-Freelance
Marie Forleo
Design Love Fest
Atly Grams
Skillshare
A Beautiful Mess

Leave a Comment

  • Good for you for knowing when to loosen the grip and eventually step back. You have been an inspiration to me the last year or so as I’ve started my new floral business in Atlanta. Unfortunately I was never able to attend any of your classes, and I wish I had! I would love your recommendations on creative resources,classes, and workshops for just starting a business. 🙂 Thanks! I look forward to keeping up with you here on your blog. 🙂

    • Jenna, thank you so much for the kind comment! I am excited for you! I am sure you will love the process, and learn from every milestone you hit. Keep in touch!

  • Congratulations for putting you and your family first! And congratulations for being able to make IHOD a full time gig! I’ve recently “let go” of art making for a bit as I too was feeling uninspired. (Wrote about it here http://www.jenniferjohansson.com/blog/enniferjohansson.com/2015/05/is-it-time-to-quit.html ) I was feeling constant pressure to make money on my art and was missing the joy! I’m itching to get back to making, but I’m so glad I let myself take a break for a time. In order to do your best work, you have to feed your soul.

    Wishing all the best to you and your family Anna. I have enjoyed your blog for years!

    • I remember discovering your art for the first time! What is so great about the creative gifts you put out there is that they will continue to ripple in different ways. It blesses both the artist and the receiver of the art. I know you will always have the talent you do! Thanks for your support over the years!

  • Anna! I am so so proud of you for taking a step back and realizing the path you needed to take, and not being afraid to let go. You dedicated a year of your life to helping entrepreneurs everywhere and changed a lot of lives in the process! What an amazing ride you’ve had, and I know all of your readers here at IHOD can’t wait to follow along with you wherever you end up. I feel so lucky to have participated in The Brand Market and I’m excited to see where this next chapter takes you 🙂

    All my love,

    Jess

  • It’s so amazing that you realized this and took the steps necessary before it’s too late. The worst thing is looking back on life and wishing you had done something differently, especially when it comes to the time spent with our families. You have accomplished so much and should be so proud! Focusing on your blog and kids will make you happier in the long-run, I’m sure. Congratulations on such a huge (and I’m sure scary/bittersweet) step!

  • An empty cup quenches no one’s thirst. A wise friend told me that years ago and I never forgot it.

    Be well beautiful friend.

  • Sue leahy

    Good for you, Anna! My Dad and I were talking about this and he told me, “At the end of life you will regret not living it for someone not something.” My husband ,a RN, agrees as he is with people in their last moments quite a bit.

  • Sarah E.

    So long as the blog stays 😉 j/k I am happy for you! I find you super inspiring and I look forward to reading your posts. I wish you peace and balance always!

  • Sharyn Busick

    Thoughtful and well-written, as always. When you rely on the Lord for direction there can be no mistakes for He is faithful to listen, direct and provide. We have seen this in our family big time lately, and it is so comforting. Very excited to see the blog go forward and dish out more wonderfully creative suggestions/ideas! Best always! ?

    • Sharyn, you said it! When I just allow God the room to guide, my path unfolds in a much better way than I could have designed. Thanks for your kind note!

  • Good stuff Anna!! I’m glad you chose the better thing!!
    Blessings to you!!

    Rachel x
    thehappybits.blogspot.com

  • it’s clear that you’re making the right decision for yourself, and your family. It’s importantly to realise when something just can’t work, and there are more important things.

    Buckets & Spades

  • Anna, thank you so much for sharing this and for being so open and honest about your journey! I have followed you as you launched The Brand Market and whilst I’m not a regular commenter on here, I have always really admired you for your vision and the beautiful way you brought it to life – in fact, whilst my style retreats here in London cover a very different topic, the look and feel has been heavily influenced by The Brand Market. I love that you made a business workshop into something gorgeous with creativity at its heart!

    Having said that, some things no longer suit us for numerous reasons and I think that we too often hold onto something that is no longer right for us and it takes courage to admit that – I think a lot more people would be happier if they would just try something and if it doesn’t work – say so and move on, but we are far too frightened of failure of being judged. You are sending such a powerful message out into the world; that living well is about priorities – and despite not being a mother myself – I think your decision to spend time with your little ones is the best decision a mother could make!

    I wish you and your family well and am looking forward to being inspired further by you and your blog – thank you for creating such a beautiful, authentic place and congratulations that you’ve reached a point when you can focus on it as your main project outside of family life.

    Esther xx

  • I had a similar realization about a job I had (co-editor for a local marketing blog, part time) for the last year and a half. It was SUCH a relief to let it go when the motivation left me, just a few months ago.

    Life is too short! especially with sweet little babies who just won’t stay little. In my 26 years of life, I have seen time and again how a woman’s life is allllll about the seasons (physically, emotionally, professionally and otherwise). We never know how long they will last or how rapidly they will change. I think the happiest women I know were simply women who had mastered the art of recognizing and adapting to each different season with flexibility and grace. I hope I can become a woman like that.

  • anna- never an easy choice, but you’ll be so glad you focused in on what matters now. you’re such a smart woman, both when it comes to business, blogging and LIFE. love you! xo

  • Maggie Broderick

    When I saw the blog title I was worried IHOD was going away. Thank goodness it’s here to stay. Thank you for always being so authentic. You share your struggles and triumphs, which make me want to continue reading your work. I think it’s extremely hard to say “no” when we are successful, but it’s crucial to think about how all aspects of our life are impacted by commitments. Congrats on making the right choice!

    • Maggie you always leave the kindest comments, and I appreciate that so much. I know that peace is a good indicator you are in the right place, so I am taking that as a good sign:) I can’t wait for the coming year. x

  • Thank you so much for sharing Anna! Sometimes letting go is the hardest thing to do but knowing when to do it is even more important. Hope you enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and have easy labor. We need to learn to enjoy the simple moments of motherhood while our children are still little because they do grow so fast

    Happy Medley

  • Sometimes it’s hard to let go but when you do you feel so much better. Wishing you nothing but the best with the new baby and the next adventure. xxxx

  • Wow! I’m excited for your newfound sense of peace and the direction the Lord is taking you in! I am now disappointed that I’ll never be able to attend one of your workshops, though, but who knows, maybe in the future you’ll have the time to host a workshop here and there. 🙂 Many Blessings, Anna! I can’t wait to witness the ideas you have for IHOD!

  • Hi Anna, I stumbled upon your blog recently and you are doing such a great job I love it! I’m going trough some rough transitions myself, so I can relate to your story, thank you for sharing it with us! And now I’m going to read the rest of your archives ;)x

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