I was asked...How do I do it??

 As part of a summer series  Kathy of A Delightsome Life is running, I was asked to answer the question, "How do you do it?"  Aimed at bloggers trying to balance life with the blog and other things they might have going on in their lives~that is the question to be answered today.   I started my blog Maison Decor in May 2010 and have passed my two year mark.  The blog has lead me to some great opportunities and the most recent one was opening up a store to sell Annie Sloan Chalk Paint™ and home decor items like furniture and accessories.  So my life has gotten more complicated and full and when I started thinking of the question and the answer, it was clear to me that it doesn't all get done. Maybe those reading my blog might think I have some secret weapons or tricks up my sleeve for getting everything done, I don't know... but as you can see from the flourishing weeds in my garden, some things are just not getting done anymore~
 And its really OK with me~I won't be bothered thinking that I used to be able to have a tidy garden or a neater house, because since April my life took a big turn towards the busy end of the spectrum when I decided to open up a store and sell Annie Sloan products~yup, that famous Chalk Paint® that I love.
It has become the number one focus for me, getting this business off the ground, and I can only do it because I made sure that my husband was on board with this decision.
While this store opening is my number one focus right now, my main priority is my relationship with my number one guy, Mr. Maison Decor.  We have a great relationship and I am mindful of keeping it that way...so one of the tips I can tell you, is that it is important to check in, to make time for dinners out, or goof off together, keep the physical relationship in gear, and always let him know how important he is to me.  That is my number one tip for balance in my life.
 We might still have the unpacked cooler sitting in our dining room from our summer vacation three weeks ago~something that NEVER would have happened last summer...but its alright with us both.  Its not a permanent situation, its a sign of switching gears and paying attention to what NEEDS to be done, and this kind of stuff is on the back burner lately.
My energies are invested in trying to figure out how to operate a retail location, and since I didn't know any better, I guess you could say ignorance is bliss!  If anyone wants to do what I am doing, get your partner on board, and then do it and figure it out as you go~that is my second tip.  JUST DO IT!!! We only get one crack at living our life, no do-overs, no second chances to relive our forties or our thirties...so follow your gut, listen to your instincts and then take action.
This Maison Decor thing is now going to expand to another location~I hope to sign the deal on a Boston store.  Its all in its beginning stages and while it might not seem ideal to get another store up and running while I am just barely set up with the first store, it is a move that I found made sense on several levels for me.....here I am walking the streets of Boston on a  Monday with my son Justin~we looked at our location and then went looking at other potential spots for the next Maison Decor store.  Now when I have meetings or events I need to schedule them on Sundays or Mondays, as those are my days off. So that is an adjustment for me as well, I used to be able to do whatever whenever!! Now I am on a schedule, and it is more important than it used to be to make lists and be organized.  When will I go to the food store? When will I do the laundry?  When can I go anywhere??? It all needs to be scheduled with fore thought.   It can be done, and I will get better at this as I get used to it...I do think that LIST MAKING is a very good technique that everyone can use.  Its great to check off the things on the list~feeling that you have accomplished goals, no matter how small, gives you a pat on the back feeling.  Colin is great at making lists for me in the store.  He will set up a list of things to do for the week~like how many clocks to paint, paint workshop supplies that need to be purchased, store cleaning, painting furniture~it goes on...and on.....
 Of course we will be opening new accounts with different vendors and that means tending to them, checking your inventory and offering them to the public in both the retail and the new online store, www.shopmaisondecor.com
I still love to blog, and although blog hopping is not something I get to do as much anymore, I still love writing my blog and I usually do that in the morning when I get to the shop~I will have things I want to share on the blog, and that is the best time for me to compose a post.  I like to blog 3 times a week, and I love reading the comments I get from my readers...it is a shot in the arm when I get notes and comments!  I really thought that many people would not like reading the blog when I started sharing about opening a store, but it was the opposite! People wrote to me and expressed how wonderful it was to watch this happening.  So I will continue blogging, as it is something I enjoy and I find valuable in many ways.
This all takes time, the store, the blog, the paper work and family life~and now time has become my most valuable asset.  It slips by quickly, and since April my days have gone from leisurely paced to zooming so fast~and then at 8:30 PM I can hardly keep my eyes open!! 
The thing that is taking a lot of my time right now is writing a business plan for the Boston store as I want to secure a loan.   This is NOT my comfort zone, but leads me to the tip, JUST DO IT.  That meant getting advice from a banker and going to an online website Score.org for information on how to do this properly.  I will hopefully finish it this week.  My goal for the store is to get it up and running with Justin fully trained and ready to roll September 1.  I will be doing workshops in both locations and he will take over when proficient in all the skills we learn as stockists and professionals.  In that vein, my training of Jay has begun, and it is done on my days off, so it takes away from my time with hubby and Colin and the life back at home....but this is a temporary period, needed for a startup~
This shot was taken out to dinner recently~we all knew we were going to go for Boston!!
 These guys have my back, and that in a nutshell is HOW I DO IT.
I don't try to be a perfectionist at home, I let things ride where I can, and pay attention to the most pressing issues of the day....so wish me luck, and if you want to follow a dream, get your important people on board and don't look back~!!


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