1 year ago today, I opened my shop for the first time.

I’d spent the past 2 years working on this craft; learning, experimenting, and (hopefully lol) improving, to the point that I figured maybe some people would be interested in owning my work. I was so anxious about how opening a shop would go, which I came to learn was associated with a crippling case of perfectionism: would they think my work wasn’t good enough? Would people think my prices were too high? Would my friends and family quietly pity me for attempting to do something so ambitious and failing to make a single sale? Would I be a massive failure and should never have tried this in the first place? Would I have to erase any trace of this attempt from the internet so no one else would know I had tried and failed?

(Sidenote, if you struggle with these kinds of thoughts about your own work, it’s likely perfectionism and it’s not helpful. Speak with a therapist about identifying where these high standards come from, what the perceived vs actual outcomes of failure might be, and re-evaluate how catastrophic those actually are or aren’t. Unlearning these mental habits has been difficult, but the improvement has been worth it.)

Opening my shop was a lesson in pushing past my self-imposed doubts to take a chance on something that might fail, and that was ok. But when the restock time came, you all sold my shop out within the first 30 minutes of going live, crashing the site in the process and flooding my phone with “new sale!” notifications from the WooCommerce app. I had to set it to mute because the ka-ching noise was a shot of adrenaline straight to the heart each time, and I spent the next 2 hours playing video games to distract myself from the fact that the course of my life had just changed dramatically.

That was the first time I seriously thought, “maybe one day I could do this fulltime.” And that thought persisted and became louder until 5 months later in May, I took the plunge and quit my office job to grow CatMage Dice as a small business.

Looking back, it’s been an incredibly emotional ride. I had to overcome a lot of self-doubt and pre-conceived notions about who can run a business before I even considered taking the next step. I had to believe 100% that the benefits of working for myself outweighed the anxiety of giving up the safety net of a stable office job. I had to be ok with the idea that failure was a possibility, but that it didn’t mean it wasn’t worth a shot.

And so far, it’s still been worth taking that shot.

New year’s is the perfect time to reflect on what you accomplished in 2022 and identify themes that you want to set for yourself in the coming year. Rather than firm resolutions that have finite deadlines and are thus easier to fail at, themes are over-arching directions that you want to see yourself move in over time, and allow flexibility in how you achieve them. I will be going into 2023 with a theme of continuing self-assurance and growing my confidence to take a shot on opportunities that I might have felt too under-qualified to try otherwise. I think this will set the groundwork for a lot of new creative projects, and I can’t wait to see what I’ll accomplish this year. I’d encourage you to also set a theme to guide yourself this year!

I want to thank you all for following me on this journey. From the very first person to follow me to the newest one, you all have bolstered my optimism and allowed me to pave a way for myself doing something that I love. I’m so appreciative for your support in all its forms, and am looking forward to sharing 2023 with you all. ❤️