February – a round up

Oh man I sat down today to start writing on what I thought was quite a good idea. I wanted to do a little summary of what had taken place on my blog in the last month, taking a little peek at what I enjoyed writing and what you seemed to like reading. Seemed like it would help me with feeling my way through what I want my blog to be and what direction or focus I wanted to take with it. Good idea yes?

Well so I thought until I sat down to write…and then sat some more. I had made a little note of the posts I had written and how many likes each one had received expecting, well I don’t know what exactly but I certainly didn’t imagine I would simply sit there with my head in a jumble not knowing what to make of it all or what to say.

Maybe that is indicative in itself, maybe my blog is a little bit of a jumble. And if it is, well that is okay. When I dusted off my blog and restarted it, I spoke about opening up my blog to new topics and parts of my life in my post Starting Anew.  I made a decision to write about all sorts of things until I found what worked for me and I suppose this is what I have done.

If you missed any of my posts this month, here is a quick little summary for you and me:

Time to Talk – ‘Time to Talk Day’ and the importance of talking when it comes to mental health.

In Defence of Winter – many people seem to wish winter away in their longing for spring and summer, this was my look at why I love the season.

What next for Mr B’s Button Jamboree? – a look at why my button jewellery business hasn’t quite gone to plan and what I have learnt from the experience.

My Veganuary Experience – my experiences of taking part in Veganuary (asking people to go vegan for the month of January – see what they did there!) as well as some of the recipes I made.

A Need for Control – a little look at how I could turn my anxious need for control into a positive force to move me forward.

Discovering a Love of Urban Photography – how I began to fall into love with urban photography whilst on our travels.

Seeking a Feeling of Achievement – my new approach to getting things done and achieving what I want to with my work and life.

So yep quite a jumble of topics there and honestly I am no clearer in what is my thing or things to write about. I enjoyed writing about winter, my photography and my new approaches.  Popular ones were the posts about Veganuary, urban photography and my button jewellery business.  A quick glance at January shows my travel posts on Hadrian’s Wall and our Big Adventure seemed to go down well as did my Anxiety, Harry Potter and Me on Facebook.  All as clear as something very unclear to me (complete brain fail there on what a good ‘unclear’ thing would be!). For now then I will continue as I am until I find it is no longer working for me or I settle into a groove of what is me.

Am going to give myself a small pat on the back for writing 8 articles in February – working out at 2 a week!  I didn’t want to put myself under pressure with writing this blog and give up before it had really got started simply because I had set my goals too high. So I thought aim for 1 a week, try for 2 if you can….I not only can, I did! So 2 a week is now the aim, try for 3 if I can (note to self, the week before you go away for 3 weeks is possibly not the best time to aim for writing more…).

I am wondering if this post may seem a little self-indulgent, I hope not and that you will find it of interest even if you have already read all the posts mentioned. So what do you think? A good idea to do this at the end of each month?

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What next for Mr B’s Button Jamboree?

Buttons on wooden table

Initially I started this blog because I was starting my own little business up (see my very 1st post ‘And so it begins….’!).  At the time I had big dreams of creative enjoyment and success, expanding from my simple button earrings into more elaborate pieces as my business took off and I became more confident.  The blog was to follow this journey and yet instead it became a reflection of how things stalled and stopped.

My plan was to start small and as sales grew, so would my range and my ability. However a year after opening my Etsy store Mr B’s Button Jamboree, I realised that I had stopped developing and growing.  Yes I had added a few new things like my hemp bracelets, felt brooches and fabric buttons, when I looked at my range though I could see that I had not reached the potential I had hoped to.

So what was behind this stagnation and lack of progress in my plans?  One reason is that very word – ‘plans’.  I spent so much time reading and planning, drawing up new plans all the time, constantly changing things. Too much time.  Hours were invested working out social media, SEO keywords, listings, business plans….and not making or experimenting with new products.  I sabotaged myself.  I feared failing and people thinking my button jewellery was rubbish.  So I over-planned, trying to be the most prepared I could be and drew back from pushing myself to try making new products because I was afraid of not being good enough.

Things then became more complicated as I took on work preparing photos for our microstock portfolio..  This is incredibly time consuming yet something so important if we are to achieve our plans of mobile working. I have since also started writing freelance for blogs.  This does not leave much time for my button business and the combination of it all leaves my brain somewhat frazzled and exhausted.

Setting up my little business has not been without its positives though and when I remember to stop and take stock of these, I am grateful for what it has bought me. Without it I am not sure I would be here now talking to you. Not only did it introduce me to the world of blogging, it has given me a community of friends and support on Instagram (why not pop over and say hello!) that has made so much difference to little old introverted, solitary me. My confidence is still shaky and yet it has also grown. I have learnt the joy and comfort of sharing my thoughts and feelings with others…and that there are some truly awesome cats out there!

@buttonjamboree Mr B's Button Jamboree Instagram

My favourite Instagram photos from 2016

So where does this leave me and Mr B’s Button Jamboree? To be truthful, I am not quite sure. I am not quite ready to say goodbye to it and still want to get more creative with what I make.  Whether it fits in to how my life is going is a different matter.  Whatever happens though I am glad that I tried it…it has given me confidence, bought me friends and taught me valuable lessons.  Watch this space for what happens next I suppose!