Burnout and Success

I am going to be really honest with you today. I hope you wont mind if I think out loud for a while.

The last two months have been completely overwhelming and it’s only now I’ve had a few days to reflect, that I realised I suffered from burnout in December (despite it being a good month for my migraine condition). Organisation is my jam, but a few things hit me in the face this month that I really wasn’t expecting (good and bad/personal and business). People in my life have often said to me “I don’t know how you do it all”, but I never really felt as though it was too much until now.

If you’re a new reader, you might not know that I work full-time as a PA as well as running Claireabellemakes. Almost 3 years ago I finished a masters in Arts Management and quit my job in London to work in Cambridge where I live. I opened an Etsy store and started to write this blog for fun. Now, I make money selling handmade goods, writing for craft books, running craft parties and working with brands for blog posts. I always knew I wanted to chase a ‘portfolio’ career for Claireabellemakes, but I am starting to think more and more about what that means and how it will come to be.

Maybe I’m already there. The thing is, my idea of success is never ending and money isn’t the primary motivation. I don’t feel the need to compare myself to others, but I do want to constantly learn, grow and challenge myself. There isn’t an end point, just a series of goals to push towards. Sometimes it is hard to focus on all the things at once and to give all areas of the business enough attention.


Moving towards year 3, I feel reflective and overwhelmed all at once. I was told it takes 2 years to make a business work and I feel that this past year has tested me and rewarded me in equal measures. I stood for 8 hours in 1 degree temperatures to sell my wares and experienced my busiest market ever. I questioned my blog topics and whether they were relevant or interesting. I had multiple projects published in actual books. During the December rush I stayed up until 2am working for two weeks solid. The Christmas break had so many plans I don’t feel recharged at all. However, both the positive and negative experiences have ignited a drive and ambition in me.

Apart from giving me epic dark circles, the burnout of 2014 (as it shall now be known) has left me feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and a little shaky about what step to take next. It’s a case of so much to do, so little time. I touched a little on my goals for 2015 at the end of this post, but I really want to be more proactive and productive. I guess I should work smarter and not harder. A cliché, but a wise one.

This post may feel as though I’m a little lost. Right my goals just need a little prioritising and I am sure clarity will ensue. A planning session is in order and some good sleep required to clear my fuzzy (and now migrainey) head. Once I have it figured out I will be sure to share the journey with you.

Despite the burnout, I do feel 2014 was a successful year. I’ve learnt that being surrounded by physical clutter and a lack of planning/goal setting in my life leads me to feel overwhelmed. I have seen the potential my little business has and the growth that could come from putting time into it. Recognising these things gives me the push I need to get things back in order.

Luckily my lovely lovely sister has treated me to a spa weekend as a Christmas gift, so I shall be relaxing this weekend and having a social media detox.

Now, where’s my Filofax? Normal, positive blogging will now resume!



P.S. I am sure I read the draft of this post at least 50 times! For some reason it was a bit scary to hit publish. EEK!

Handmade Success Feature

Hello lovely followers! I hope you are all having a super week so far. I am very excited to share with you another feature for claireabellemakes in 100 DIY Holiday Crafts by Handmade Success!

100 DIY Holiday Crafts Handmade Success

I’m so chuffed to be included in this fantastic e-book which includes seasonal DIYs and tons of ideas for handmade gifts. There are some amazing projects in here!

Look out for my Maple Cinnamon Cupcakes under Thanksgiving and Fall and 3 Washi Tape DIYs under Holiday Packaging!

Handmade Success is a great site for anyone with a small business, specifically those with an Etsy store. Be sure to stop by and check out their latest advice!

Do you have any favourite holiday crafts to share?