I’m sitting here on this chilly, rainy day thinking how grateful I am to be in a position that I don’t have to return to work. For two weeks, I’ve been working for Gnome Hollow exclusively. I have spent my days contacting new customers, completing orders for current customers, applying to markets, making candles and wax melts, updating our mini store and booth, and all the other aspects that go into having my own business. I spend my days with a dog at my feet and a bird on my shoulder. I clean the house, do the laundry, and run errands. My days are long; much longer than before, but far more satisfying. I start at about 7:00 each morning and most days don’t stop until bedtime. However, I do allow myself a sit-down dinner with Gary and maybe an episode of whatever show we are watching at the time.
As much as I liked teaching, the day-to-day aspects of teaching and the craziness that is Gnome Hollow became more than I was able to commit to and I wasn’t enjoying either as much as I should. Having tested positive for COVID in November and being one of the unfortunate long-haulers, I realized that going back to school was not something I wanted to do. I wanted to use what energy I have during the day on Gnome Hollow. The stress of returning to school was weighing heavy on me and was accelerating lingering symptoms. I pushed through the days trying to force myself to get well, but was actually causing more damage. When the decision was made to not continue teaching, the relief I experienced was extraordinary. I immediately felt a huge weight lifted from my chest. The constant panic and labored breathing seemed to just vanish. I was free to devote my time to a company that has become a part of me and a staple in the area.
At this moment, I am working on new products like bath bombs and tapered candles. I am searching for markets all over Louisiana and surrounding states. I am creating private labels for various stores throughout the state. I am completing orders and delivering products within just a couple of days. I am part of artistic projects. I am doing things and being a part of things that I could never have done if I had to go to school every day. I am finding completion and satisfaction in what I’m doing which is something I have not had in a long time.
Local small businesses in town kept telling us that you just have to make the decision and do it, don’t look back, and don’t ever stop. We did not realize how true this was until we did it. Not having to split myself between two jobs has really been advantageous to Gnome Hollow. The company in the last two weeks has started growing. I am able to expand Gnome Hollow beyond the Shreveport/Bossier area. I am able to meet with customers most anytime that is convenient for them. I am able to research items that we do not have and experiment with products that we don’t currently offer. I have time to make orders for others and restock on items we are low on. I am able to do the things that Gary was staying up until 3:00 in the morning doing. Now he goes to bed at a decent time and leaves me a to-do list on sticky notes.
Our life is not perfect and can sometimes be frustrating, but when you are living a dream that you have had since childhood, the hurdles are worth it. I would not suggest to “just jump in there” without having some type of foundation and maybe even a backup plan. I would make sure you have a solid game plan for making the day to day costs of the company plus the monthly costs of personal living. If you are not one to work hard and explore options, having your own business may not be for you. For now, the struggle is real, but the hard work is fruitful.
Come help us grow and let’s have a SUPER FABULOUS 2021!