This past year has truly been an amazing one for me, my family, and my thriving small business. In January my husband lost his job of 13 years. This was a big hit financially and emotionally to husband and I, I was always the “free spirit” the person that jumped from project to project, worked part-time to have a little play money, but never really took anything seriously when it came to working. My husband was always the unmoving rock so to speak, I just fluttered around him 🙂 Luckily, we had a little savings for a rainy day (it was pouring) so we cashed it out and decided that Orlando, FL wasn’t where we wanted to raise our children. We wanted to be in an area that we could slow down and enjoy the scenery… and by scenery, I of course meant beach. So what better place than Jacksonville Beach, my mother had lived here for a few years and had nothing but good things to say about it.
So in March, I quit my full-time job, yes I said full-time. It was supposed to be a part-time job that I could just be Jessica, not mom, or maid, or doormat… just Jessica. I wanted a simple job that by the time I walked out of the door, I forgot I worked that day. After 4.5 years, I had moved into quasi management, took on full-time hours, and a super stressful workload. So when opportunity hit (and the frustration of getting a 7 cent raise) I “went to lunch” and never looked back! This past Black Friday was the first Black Friday I haven’t worked in a looong time! It felt fantabulous to sleep in.
After we moved, my husband and I had the discussion. This year was going to be the year that Bella Lina Bath was either going to sink or swim. I had gone to farmers markets and selling online for a little over year, but I never put everything I had into it. After my two kids, college, husband, and a full-time job there wasn’t much left. In May I started at the Riverside Arts Market (RAM). After looking far and wide RAM seemed to be the only market that people talked about.
This place was AMAZING! There’s so many vendors selling all kinds of things. My first thought after going a couple of weeks and then touring with the newbie group was “I don’t belong here”. I thought about how I’m only one person with two hands. But what really stuck was the sinking feeling that “I’m not good enough”. I was shaking out of my flip-flops terrified.
When I got home, I sat in my soap studio and said to myself “this is it”. I come from a long line of business women, I’m strong I can do this too. I was still scared the first show, but I was on fake it to make it status! Although it was raining the first day, I met wonderful customers that have stuck with me and really helped me build my business confidence.
After a couple of months of just really putting myself out there, I had a following! People who came back telling me about how their skin had changed and how I had miracle products!! I knew that my products had always worked for me and my family, but that leap of faith when it comes to sharing something so close to your heart with others really puts you in a vulnerable place. I can’t even begin to explain the joy and contentment I feel when people come back with a clear face when they had acne, or eczema before.
Not only has my business grown this past year in a new town that has embraced me in a way that I could never have imagined, but I have grown as a person because of it. By putting my dream out there, without holding anything back and getting all the positive feedback… really just makes me teary eyed every time I think about it.
As I sit here writing this balling my eyes out (with joy), I think about where I was last year. I was sad, frustrated, cluttered, claustrophobic, 20 lbs heavier, aggravated, unfulfilled, and so much more. This time last year I wanted to just walk away from life with whatever fit in my car.
Well I did! One year later, I’m happy, ecstatic, fulfilled, in love, organized (for the most part), living greener, actually making good friends, and just basically enjoying living. I’m no longer existing… and it really took writing this to see how far I’ve come in just one year.
If my husband never lost his job, I don’t know if I’d be sitting here as happy and content as I am now. I might still be at a dead-end job, making money but losing my humanity (I know it sounds dramatic, I’m dramatic), living in a small cluttered space, without real human interaction. One door closes, and the world opens up I guess. 🙂