Opening a business has been a scary prospect for me. Fibromyalgia took my life years ago, right when I was finishing a degree in accounting. Within two years, I couldn’t retain a job, no matter how hard I tried. My illness made me too unreliable. I lost all faith in myself, and it took me years to pick myself up and realize that there could still be something out there for me – I just had to work *with* my illness and not against it. I started a blog at Netjera.com so I could share my journey with others. I started a Facebook page for Netjera, for the same reason. I was searching, I knew others had to be as well. When I was diagnosed, there were no resources and even less understanding. I wanted people to understand, and I wanted to keep moving forward. It took me more years of searching to find something I loved, that fit my needs.
Even so, it took me years longer to feel comfortable enough to take the first step – an Etsy store last November – only to have it taken away from me. (I’ll be posting about some of the things you should know about Etsy later. I learned the hard way, and would hate for you to learn that way, as well.) Losing the store almost crushed me, but I defiantly moved the store to Aftcra.com and then watched, demoralized, as the store sat for six months without a single sale.
What encouraged me to keep going was love. I LOVE what I’m doing. For the first time in my life, I feel as if I’m truly “home”. I also have faith. Faith in my product, faith in myself, faith in the goodness of mankind, and faith in a higher power. That faith enabled me to see opportunities where others may not. It also placed people in my path whose hearts were filled with kindness – like the lady who paid my Garden Club membership, feeling that it would be critical to my networking. It was. I booked two events because of the garden club, and when people think of pendants, they think of me and contact me about them. There are many people who have taught me, who have reached out to me and helped me up when I’ve fallen, whose faith in me was unshakable, even when my own was not. I keep going as much to repay them, as for myself. The hope they provided could not be repaid by giving up.
A couple of months ago, my ISP informed me that Netjera.com was destroyed when they tried to move it to a new server. Nothing is recoverable. I still have the Netjera Facebook page, but the loss of the website was like a physical blow. I put my heart and soul into that blog for several years, hoping to ease the way for others. The entire database was destroyed. Every post is gone. I will never recover from it.
The last year has been full of things – including broken relationships, forced moves and deaths in the family – which have hit me in the soul. Oddly enough, though, I’m in really good spirits. I feel as if I’m on the right track. I’m making beautiful pendants and earrings that people seem to love. I’m learning new skills and experimenting with incorporating old ones into my jewelry making. I have no right, based on past history, to feel so optimistic; but for some reason I do. I feel that the future is incredibly bright.
I am finally ready to put my fear aside. I’ve jumped into this start-up with both feet. Business plan, grant applications, crowd funding, doing odd jobs to buy materials, joining trade groups, business cards, packaging, and finally a website. Scary stuff, but I’ve never come this far before and I know I’m on to something.
“Tangles, Twists and Treasures” – most people say “I love your name!”, which is flattering. I love it, too. I picked it because it picked me. It’s what I do – I make tangled drawings, crocheted fiber creations and all sorts of treasures. It reflects my life, and all the things in it – as well as all the things I hope to put out into the world. It’s been quite a journey. It promises to continue to be better and better. I hope you’ll join me for it.