This is going to be a subject touched on in two later episodes of Hey Craftepreneur! but, I feel like talking about this right now. I just spent the last hour scrolling through my personal IG account that I've kinda abandoned at this point. The other day, I was on my FB profile also.
I'm quick to answer anyone that one of the big reasons that I started to distance myself from my personal social media was because of the toxicity. In 2020, I went almost completely ghost and I found it funny at one point just how unnoticed that went. Anyhoo, its story time!
I’ve been a craftepreneur for a long time now and everyone I know, knows what I do. There was a large group that specifically would cheer me on when I’d talk about my aspirations. Being kind of naïve at one point, I believed the pretty words that were spoken as I worked my way toward my dream. Last year gave me the time that I needed to invest in my brand and I diligently began working on my brand, making items and advertising like crazy. I went further intro debt while trying to guarantee my success to no avail, I’m in the red here. On its own, this was no big deal, however, I have truly understood why some prominent figures preferred to lose it all in order to see who their friends are.
Again, I had no shortage of people in my face, telling me how they’d support me and because I’d bonded with these people over a few years at least, I assumed that it was a genuine promise. I began promoting my Etsy shop and items not only with paid ads but, I shared my page among friends, I was a little surprised to find that my paid ads would yield more likes than my personal groups. “No big deal”, I thought, because I assumed that I had more reach through those paid ads. I want to add a little context here. I used to share memes like crazy, I have a special sense of humors to say the least and those posts would get reacted to in a heartbeat.
So, I did a little experiment, I shared my business post(s) and then immediately shared a meme. My business post got nothing; the meme, reactions galore… okay. I then decided to withdraw a little bit more to work on my brand. Then the “summer of love” happened and suddenly, supporting black owned businesses was trendy among my timeline. Before I dive into this, I was never really one to rely on race identity for a selling point but, I figured for the sake of this little movement, I’d indulge a bit and test the waters. I marketed my shop and items as a black owned business for a few weeks, not only toward the broader world but, to my personal media. Instead of the overwhelming support and such, what I got was crickets yet again. And an overwhelming number of people sharing and supporting a bunch of other small black owned shops they’d discovered.
I want to say there’s nothing wrong with that either, people can do what they want with their own media. I never once asked any of these people to buy from me, I asked for shares. I was left on read when I’d DM my friends and was over all given a cold shoulder. During the summer of 2020, there were three people who shared my stuff that I didn’t have to ask. And you’ll be shocked to know that all three of them where white ladies, two of them didn’t really know me that well but we were acquainted at the community college. But yes, my life matters…hmm, I digress. I make this point here just to outline the hypocrisy of the situation. As a Christian, we’re not supposed to recognize people after the flesh, I wouldn’t care if these ladies were purple or green, or polka dot. My point is that regardless to any of the race baiting, faux-community love that was spewed toward me or in general was just that, fake.
Amid all that, I started to fall into another round of depression. Not just because of the business thing but, because I’d been a genuine person and in anybody’s corner to this point. Yet all I got in return was deception and a lot of bull, mixed with hurt feelings. I had false promises to purchase and quite a few shots fired at my prices. So, I suddenly dropped off. I stopped sharing memes, I focused on my branded media and even made a business IG in July. This was all step one for me to stop feeling hopeless and frustrated about Infiniti Crafting Co.
I was at a point were I felt like my back was against a wall and that I’d be forced to move back into the regular workforce, juggling two jobs, full-time school load, and probably doing a lot less of what I love (my channel). I also felt like people were mocking me or watching me fail like vultures over prey. This was no place to be in. I knew God gave me the vision for my business long ago, and I knew that I had to make it, and all would come together for good. I KNEW this in my mind, but I was feeling weakness in my heart because somewhere down the line, I started to put my expectation in man and not on God.
I stopped answering my phone as much because people didn’t care about me in earnest, I decided. When I did this, a weight was lifted. I started making a few sales from strangers, other crochet Youtubers started shouting me out, helping me grow my audience, and other things started to fall into line. You all may know that I was able to monetize my content in November 2020 and that took a LOT of stress off my shoulders because I had lost some employment earlier in the year. I started seeing the light at the end of the tunnel and a way to start working myself out of my debts.
I closed my Etsy shop off for physical orders after Christmas which I determined after I realized that I could launch my site this year. This was another form of relief because Etsy was a failure for me, I mean a near dumpster fire. I had two friends of mine to buy from me which gave me hope to go on, on those occasions. Alas, I only made $136 over the year and considering all the other things I didn’t like about being on the platform full-time, it was time to re-evaluate.
The other day, I decided to test the waters again after being MIA for so long and I shared my launch day announcement to my personal social media. I had three people to congratulate me out of all the people who viewed my stories. Three. Everyone else just sorta watched there from the shadows. There were no shares or any additional fanfare, crickets. But you know, this time it didn’t hurt because I already knew.
All this was brought back to the surface in the time I spent scrolling down my personal feeds. It reminded me of all the times last year that I wanted to break down and cry my eyes out over my own failures. While getting lost in the eternal scroll, I started to feel myself getting sad again and at that moment, I started deep thinking (great combination, I know). This is where I realized how toxic it was for me to be so deeply invested in my previous circle. Its not that I just dump people who don’t support me, I know not everyone will. There are, however, people who put up the front of being supportive and that clearly isn’t good for my own mental health.
I currently am very grateful for the community that I’ve built and have continued to grow. I’m grateful for the makers on YouTube who discovered me and decided to feature me on their platforms. I’m grateful for the people who HAVE supported me in some shape, form, or fashion and continue to do so. Right now, I’m enjoying the new leg of my journey and appreciating the slow growth of my brand for what it is. I am aware that I have a blog scheduled in the future that’s similar to this one but, this is a topic that is dear to my heart.
The Moral of the Story:
1. I’m going to keep my distance from my personal social media. I’ve determined that its pretty bad for my mental health.
2. Each era of my life so far has had a scripture as a prevailing theme. In this era it’s Philippians 4:13 – “I can do all things through Christ who strengtheneth me.” 2020 was also the year that I restrengthened my relationship with God after going through different ordeals and now more than ever, I lean on Him heavily in my choices and He always guides me through the storm.
3. To anyone reading this post and is feeling let down and hopeless by your endeavors. Sit down, breathe, pray, and keep going. I was at the end of my wits with tuition, other expenses, and failure. I wanted to quit because my hope was deferred but, right before I quit, things started to improve for me. Now I’m on my toward living my dream. Trust God and his plan for you and don’t let this world grind you into the dirt.
4. Trust what people SHOW you, not what they tell you. I’m very heavy on actions speaking louder than words and I think my story is a good lesson as to why you shouldn’t fall for pretty words.