Realizing Retirement

What to do?

Michelle A Bijou Life, Art is Life, Life is Art , , ,

My husband will have been officially retired a year ago September 1st. I retired right along with him. (Not hard to do as I was a self-employed tax preparer.) I had people warn me that it might be an adjustment for my husband and I to be around each other 24/7. It wasn’t; we love it. I had people ask my husband if he might have trouble giving up the identity he had connected to his former career. Not a problem! Retirement is going exceedingly well. And if we aren’t careful, we can fill up everyday with something to do – and then need to schedule a vacation from retirement!

What I hadn’t realized is how much being self-employed, and the connected underlying anxiety, (some call it drive) had affected my psyche. There has been a rather constant mantra in my head of, “I need to…..” or “I have to….,” fill in the blank. And the reality is there is very little that I have to do relatively speaking.

For example, I started learning to make jewelry because I could never find pieces I liked in the mass market, and I just like making things. However, with retirement looming, the mantra of, “I need to…,” began. I felt that I at least needed to recoup the costs of my hobby. I tried Etsy (it was a bust), sold some things on Poshmark, worked with a boutique that bought pieces and hired me to make others, and set up my own online shop. I’ve learned a lot through this process, and got some much needed validation. I don’t regret it. But mostly what I’ve learned is that I don’t like selling. It has taken me awhile to admit that, and even longer to have it sink in that I don’t have to. That requirement was totally self-imposed – motivated by the drive I had when self-employed. It’s taken me the better part of a year to make these realizations.

What led me to this awareness, was the reality that selling was negatively impacting my creativity. Selling is a black hole. It’s an activity you can do 24/7. Selling was taking time away from creating. It can also affect what you create as you try to guess what someone else may like.

What to do?

Now I am reviewing the mechanisms I put in place for selling. There are the above mentioned selling venues, and then there is the related social media. What do I truly enjoy? And what needs to go?

My Etsy has been gone for a long time. It was never much help to me. I still enjoy purchasing some items from other Etsy sellers. Poshmark? Gone. I did enjoy it for awhile, and managed to clear out my closets of some clothes I no longer wear in addition to healthy jewelry sales. I’m looking at my own shop. I have sold absolutely nothing through the shop – except for one item purchased by a supportive friend. As such, the shop is not much bother. But this blog is sitting on a WordPress platform, and I really prefer Blogger. I may be wrong, but I’ve been under the impression that there is no platform for selling on Blogger. My thinking is if I dumped my shop, I could move this blog to Blogger. Thoughts? Or maybe a different WP theme….

Then there is the social media aspect. I love interacting with other bloggers and that is how I spend most of my online time. Facebook business page? Useless. It may work well if one is buying a lot of ads – I just bought some sea glass via a Facebook ad. But as for building an organic following? I am being followed by sweet, supportive friends and other business owners who hope to convert me into a sale for them.

Instagram. I don’t hate it. There are some wonderfully creative people showing their work. I will probably keep visiting it and posting my creative endeavors.

Twitter was something that I didn’t do for long. I don’t enjoy it. So except for a brief trial period, I’ve spent little time there.

And I never got the hang of trying to utilize Pinterest as a selling venue. Don’t get me wrong, I love it! But I love it as a convenience for storing all the fabulous ideas I’ve found.

This is what has been crowding my mind lately. So if you’ve made through my ramblings here. I would love to hear your thoughts on this topic. Other perspectives can be so helpful.

frustration

BijouBeadBoutique

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9 Comments

  1. I hear you Michelle – my husband retired early and then about 10 years ago started to contract work six months of the year – I had always just worked off and on and had quit years ago. Last year year when he turned 66 contract work was done – he called it quits and retired full time — I had always just worked when I wanted to so did not have a career to retire from – I was selling a quilt now and then through a shop in a large city near by and they usually have one of my large quilts on consignment but when she started to ask for more I had to stop and think – did I really want to keep trying to make my quilts perfect enough to sell, could I get enough to recoup the cost of making them and try to get enough for the actual time spent making them which can be hours and hours – no I could not charge enough for that actually. And although I was getting a good price I don’t really send her many quilts to sell anymore. It takes too much of my time and although so many tell me to try selling them on line I know I won’t get enough to make it worth while – and it takes a lot of work and frustrating time I think. So now at almost 67 I still sell a quilt occasionally but I know I can not charge by the hour or what a quilt is actually worth – because people just do not understand how many hours it actually takes to make a quilt and I refuse to be paid a dollar an hour.
    I would say if you want to make money from your jewelry then see if there is a local gift shop that would work with you but most do it on consignment and will not pay outright. And if it is consignment they mark the work up so much that it is harder to sell. Otherwise stick with trying on line.

    1. I really appreciate your perspective, Karen. I have given away three of my wire-wrapped pendants and that was far more satisfying than worrying about recouping my supply costs (or time). I like the idea of offering them to a gift shop or boutique. Also, I am considering maybe joining a vendor event once per year as a possibility. But honestly, I am not that fast at it. I work slowly, take breaks to do other things, and travel. None of this is conducive to putting selling as any kind of a priority.

      Thanks for your thoughtful response!

  2. Your story is very similar to my own. My husband and I are retired but this blogging adventure is something I love. It’s much more fun to create things I love and share them on a blog, inspiring others. Friends have suggested I make and sell things but then, you have to cater to your buyers. It’s much more fun to come up with new ideas and hopefully, inspire someone else to use their talents to create something unique, beautiful, or interesting. Google ads and affiliate marketing more than pay for the costs of this adventure now, but it has definitely been a learning process along the way.

    1. Thanks so much for your insight, Debra! Yes sharing ideas, inspiring others, and being inspired by others is much more fulfilling.

    1. It’s odd isn’t it? I guess some people do have trouble with retirement. I don’t pretend to understand it.

  3. We are a while off retirement yet, but I would always want to have a hobby or creative endeavour on the go. My husband and I definitely enjoy spending time together, so we look forward to it! Thank you for being a part of the Hearth and Soul Link Party and sharing this with us!

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