Love Your Business: Guest Post #6

All month long join me here as I welcome amazing contributors with one thing in common
we love our business {blog/shop/etc} and we want you to love yours too!
To keep up to date with this series view all posts here.

Waddup Just Lovely readers! My name is Leonora and I blog over at Yellow Heart Art, The blog and I make pretty swag over at Yellow Heart Art, the shop. I also sometimes go by Leo2theNora when I'm feeling fancy. When I feel super fancy I'll sport a sweet stache.

First I need to thank Heather for having me be a part of this awesome series. I hope you guys are able to learn something from all of these amazing posts! Heather is one of the top 10 sweetest people I have ever encountered and I need to hug her face in fo'-reals life soon. Now onto this balancing act shall we?

We've all been there, the dreaded "balancing act". For most of us when we start out our side business is just that, "on the side" as in you still have a bunch of other stuff going on as well!  Maybe you started your business because you're a stay at home mom who during naptimes would run to the nearest over sized Tupperware container in your house, dump out all your craft supplies, and "get yo art on". You enjoyed having a creative outlet and wanted to share it with others while still being a mommy & a entrepreneur.  Or maybe you're like me and you already have a full time gig and wanted to do *something* on the side that allowed YOU to be the boss.

In any event its rare for someone to dedicate *all* their time to their new (or growing) business because life will always come up.

I started Yellow Heart Art back in January of 2011. I have been prepping for my business for a solid 4 months before opening up shop. I work full time as a graphic designer and even though I am doing what I went to college for I still wasn't "happy". I found myself being "someone else's mouse" (ya know, the mouse you use on the computer, not the cute furry friend) (although I wouldn't mind being a mouse) (No scratch that I'm pretty sure they're life span is, like 5 years) (Plus people would always scream whenever they saw me and that would suck). Basically the people at my job would tell me what to design, I would show it to them, and they would tell me what to change. There is little to no creative freedom at all. I was scared I was loosing myself in my 9-5er that I started my shop as a creative outlet for me. I was my own boss and I was frekkin lovin' it (McDonalds jingle anybody? ba ba ba baaa baaa I'm loving it) (McDonalds did not pay me for this blurb) (but imagine if they did?) (sorry, I tend do this a lot) (you'll get used to it)

At first I didn't worry about Yellow Heart Art "taking over my life". I sold a print here and there and didn't really need to think about much. I would be all like "weeee I got a sale!" then another week would go by "Awww sookie sookie another sale!" and bust out into my baddest rendition of Michael Jackson's moon walk in my kitchen. But once my shop picked up momentum I found myself getting overwhelmed (and slacking in my moon walk skills, which is very tragic). The thing you don't realize when you open up shop is that you need to be on top of EVERYTHING. You need to be on top of your supplies, your shipping time frames, custom orders, when you can make it to the post office etc.

Basically, the best thing I did for myself was make a list of things I *wanted* and *needed* to do for my business and then make a list of things that can *go on the back burner*. I work 5 days a week from 8:30-5:00. On top of working I also do freelance graphic design work. Let's not also forget about "life", ya know cooking, cleaning, dishes, laundry, working out, date night, cleaning up all your boyfriend's nurf gun amo around the apartment...


[and breathe.]

I have finally reached that "awkward point" where my shop is eating up A TON of my time, but I can't totally jump ship from my corporate job juuuust yet.

To keep me from going completely IN to the SANE here is my " balancing act cheat sheet"

[Enjoy the weekends!] This has been HUGE for me. Everyone else works 5 days a week (ok, cept for you moms out there, BIG PROPS to that!) (re-SPEK) (I'm so hood) (fist pound to the chest) so why do I need to work on the weekends too? I try to do as much as I can during the week, even answering customer emails. I make sure to tell all my clients and customers that their items will ship in 2-5 BUSINESS days, or that they will hear back from me via email with in 2-3 BUSINESS days. Having my weekends has been a GOD SEND. The best way to do this is to create realistic timelines in your product listings. If you have "Made to order" items make sure to give yourself enough time to make it and ship it. Do not "rush" your timeline because you are worried that someone might not want to wait. In the handmade world people are generally understanding for the most part and are willing to wait for a quality product. If you find that you are working on your shop at all hours of the day then your work ethic, relationships and products will soon start to crumble down. Life is short, don't spend ALL of it on your business. If you start to resent your shop for not letting you have "free time" you will soon stop doing what you love.

• [Try To Do "Shop Stuff" When Your Significant Other is Doing "Smelly Boy Stuff"] Now I don't have any kids BUT I do have a Bub that I live with, so maybe you can apply my techniques to your kids as well. I try my best to do "shop stuff" when Bub is either working late nights, out with the boys, fixing his car or sleeping. He has been a HUGE supporter of my shop and would never ever ask me to *not* do anything shop related while he is around, but *I* don't  want to get into the habit of *always* doing shop stuff in front of him because I don't want to put our relationship on the back burner. But on the rare occasion when I do "shop stuff" in front of him (whether it be literally making my items, listing them online or answering client emails) I try to do it while we are watching TV together so at least we are still doing something together even if I'm partially checked out or not fully paying attention to the show. Its a good compromise.

• [Chill with your homies] Ok, I am 100% guilty of this and I need to stop pronto. When out with your girlfriends please don't do the following: Check your phone a bagillion and one times every time you hear that lil "ping". ENJOY being with friends. You can answer your customer's emails in a few hours, trust me they'll understand. The only time I give you permission to be on top of your shop out in public is if you are on the etsy front page. If you are on the front page and the item that is currently on the front page sells then it no longer appears on the home page anymore. You can renew your listing for that next hour (since that is how long you are featured) to help increase traffic to your site. But after that hour YOU SIT ON YOUR HANDS AND DO NOT TOUCH YOUR PHONE. Pinky promise me this.

• [Get A Routine] Like I said earlier I work full time on top of having Yellow Heart Art, and on top of that I also need to do life's little errands like cooking, doing laundry and maintaining the apartment so it doesn't totally look like MTV's spring break just invaded my living room. I try to "set days" to do chores, so that on the days I dont do chores I can do my handmade stuff. Every Wednesday and Saturday are "Laundry" days. I also try to work out on those days too. That leaves Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday left to work on Yellow Heart Art. For me knowing that I have a set schedule keeps me from getting overwhelmed and stops me from letting my chores run away from me. If I didn't have a set day for laundry I would push it back and push it back because in my mind the shop is the priority right now, not the laundry.

What has helped me A TON with finding time to cook is investing in a crock pot. Throw a bunch of shizznat in a pot, let it sit for 8 hours and BOOM you're frekkin Paula Dean. I have to admit though, Bub helps a lot with the cooking, but the crock pot has been a HUGE time saver for us. Besides who wants to cook after working all day? Right. Nobody.

[Sometimes Something's Gotta Give] Right now I am balancing everything pretty well for the most part, but if I have one more wrench thrown in the gears I think I might spontaneously combust. For example, if Bub and I ever get married and I have to plan a wedding ON TOP of all of this I think I might bang my head against the floor (twice). If that were to happen to me I think I would prioritize my business goals and re-work them for the time I would be planning my fictitious wedding. For someone like me I think I would have to do less "freelance design work" to give me more free time to "plan my wedding". So make sure to have a Plan B in place in case life throws you a curve ball. You *cant* do everything, you are only human. Don't worry, curve balls are NOT permanent, you can get back to being super woman soon enough. I actually had a curve ball recently, the Bubs and I were moving into a new place and I had to put the shop on vacation mode for 3 months. It was the best decision I ever made. There was no way I could get orders out and talk to customers with my lap top packed away. Yeah it was hard to do but I knew in the long run it was the best thing at the moment for me and my shop.

Don't be discouraged if you find yourself overwhelmed. If you truly want to make your side business a passion then DO IT. Make a list, prioritize, and find time to be social and I'm sure you will be a success!

:About the Author:


  1. Oh my goodness!! This is by far my favorite love your business post!! Not just because of the great pointers, but because of Leonora's great personality. Youu have a new fan! <3

  2. I am loving this series...I really need to work on the balancing thing, I man REALLY! I am definetly going to take at least one of these tips and work it in somewhere!!!

  3. Loving these tips. I keep saying I want to start a business after high school/college, but this series is making me want to start NOW!
    xo Heather

  4. Great series, great post and fantastic tips! Between the business, the part-time job, the wedding planning, the fundraising events AND life, I have definitely been dropping some balls. Now to just practice what you are preaching ...

  5. This is the most entertaining blog post I have read in a loooonnnngggg time! And what great advice. Visiting via TAG!

  6. This is the most entertaining blog post I have read in a loooonnnngggg time! And what great advice. Visiting via TAG!

  7. What I find most interesting about all these posts is that the tips people give are almost completely logical, as in the 'why didn't I think of that already' kind of way. Until someone tells it to your face, you just don't realize that's how things should be done.

    So thank you for slapping us all (relatively gently) in the face and giving us a wake-up call. I'm sure a number of shops are getting organizational makeovers after each one of these Love Your Business updates.

  8. that made up bio cracked me up!
    I think it was nice to hear how other people balance...And you know what!? I was overwhelmed and started taking weekends pretty much off and now I am breathing again. {and as in off, I mean off from the shop because dude, I am a mom. We don't get days off }
    Thanks for the fun post girls!!

  9. A great post full of great tips..

  10. Thanks for the great advice! I'm trying to work on the balance right now.

  11. This is an awesome series!! I'm looking for balance too, especially where my blog is concerned!

  12. Excellent advice -- especially enjoying the weekends. Right now, I am a stay-at-home mom, but I will be going back to work at the beginning of April -- boo hoo -- and it's going to be tricky for me to balance life and my little shop. I'm really enjoying this series! Keep it up :)

  13. This was a great guest post! Thank you!

  14. Ha, I just loved this! I love how you write, Leonora! It cracks me up. I'm always working on "balance" so your tips were super helpful and encouraging! Thank you ma'am!

  15. Such a great read! And Leonora's items are so pretty! I love the "make more forts" print! Tempted..

  16. brilliant tipss!! i have my own art business

    make me smile too

    definitely visiting her..

    xo katrina

  17. great advice! thank you so much!