What do you need to say “No” to?

Yesterday I browsed Crafting an MBA, one of my favorite blogs that promotes business thinking for designers and makers. In this thought provoking articleMegan Aumann talks about “selling your soul” and making a “stop doing” list. Her main points are:

  • What do you need to say NO to in order to focus on the work that you really need to be doing?
  • What is holding you back from doing the real work that gets you hot (and/or makes you money)?

For me, her article is not only about stopping things that you hate doing. But also about streamlining your life, purging unnecessary things, removing junk that doesn’t move your xxx (business, skills, soul, inner wellbeing, body of work etc.) forward.

I found these ideas really hit a point with me, as there are several things in my life (not only as a beadmaker and business owner, but also in my personal life) that I should “stop doing” and say “no” to.

As a result, I wrote a “stop doing” list for myself. And decided to right away start with the points that are fast & easy to implement, yet have a fairly high priority. First thing on my list: Stop making made-to-order beads.

Maybe you’re a bead maker or jewelry maker yourself, and you know exactly why this is important to me. But maybe you’re one of my customers and you’re disappointed to read this and wonder why I would do this.

First and foremost, I feel that making made-to-order beads sucks the creativity out of my work. It takes away my love for torching, because I use the torch to express my creativity, follow my mood, to forget about bad things happening and just dive into colors and designs to let my imagination take me where it wants to go.

If I can’t do this, if I can’t be creative and work with whatever comes to my mind, and I’m unhappy. Every custom order miraculously scares away the Muse and I start procrastinating. Which makes me feel really bad about my business skills & time management.

That’s why I removed today all of the products from my website that are made to order (except for spacers). And would you believe it, deep inside of me I feel already the positive effect!

Of course I’m still open for requests to redo some of my designs. But instead of accepting a paid custom order, I would rather love to add the requested designs to my idea journal – which means it might take a couple of days or even a week until I start making them. And there will be no obligation for my customer to take the beads, which will reduce the pressure for me to make them look exactly like the original designs.

How about you?
Do you have things that hold you back or take the joy out of your business/life that should be on a “stop doing” list?

At the end of this post a bit of eye candy, a new set called “Glazed Mist”:


7 responses to “What do you need to say “No” to?

  1. Judith, I totally understand. One of the things I love about buying artisan lampwork beads is that they are unique, and I always feel a little let down when I realise that a beautiful set of beads is made-to-order. I applaud your choice, and I think that the beads you do make will be much better (if that is actually possible!) for the enjoyment you get out of making them.

  2. Thanks NexusMaille. That's a point of view that I appreciate a lot, that you prefer unique, one-of-a-kind designs rather than made-to-order. Quite a few customers fall in love with an older bead design just to be disappointed that it's no longer available. That's why I started to offer the “made-to-order” beads in the first place. But now that I got rid of these items, I can feel free to revisit & re-interpret older designs, whenever the muse tells me to do so. That's a much more positive approach than having to do it because of an order deadline 🙂

  3. Judith.. I am really excited for you.. and appreciate your reminder for me. Even though I am just launching my own enterprise, this is all important food for thought.Thank you SO much!~Rachel

  4. Wow Judith, that sounds very freeing! 🙂 I know exactly what you mean, and applaud you for taking this step to safeguard your creativity and enjoyment of an art you got into for fun in the first place. 🙂

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