Grace Draper
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Blog

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Business Update, Life Update.

What is it like being 90? I don’t even know. All the years run together and it’s the same thing, day after day.

This year is almost over and I cannot believe it. They say as you get older the years go by faster, but seriously... it's true. The quote above is from a 90 year old friend of mine. It's a sad thought, living a similar day over and over, but it also inspired me to want to change things up, and keep my hobbies and passions.

2017 was the year of Change for me. It was pretty unstable at times -- but not in that awful, anxiety-inducing way. I never felt like I was in a bad place. I felt like I was in a place of opportunity and, don't hate me for saying this, I was facing a "fork in the road".

Cue the *melodramatic* but effective metaphor:

In May I tried the 'road less traveled' by quitting my job and starting my own business. Robert Frost was on to something, it was calm and serene; something I enjoy about real back-roads. But it was also lonely at times, winding and unpredictable, included some unexpected hills, and I had no idea where it was taking me. 

As a result there was a lot of room for personal improvement and reflection. I was able to go at my own pace and figure out what works for me. There was time to explore my hobbies and talents outside the workplace, and the slower pace gave me the ability to see "Time" in a new way. Before May, I was the type of person to let Time stress me out, control me, and dictate what I could and couldn't do.

Thankfully I have left that behind and feel much more in-sync with Time -- we figured out how to work together.

This summer, I let myself enjoy Time.

I spent an entire afternoon drinking a milkshake and watching the river at City Dock. I walked around Downtown Fredericksburg with no plans. Summers and I got library cards and some days I spent Time reading an entire book *guilt-free*. There was one morning I woke up and drove to the beach for a day just because I could.

I basically lived out the self-journey montage from movies. I learned to take full control of my own happiness, and to seek it out rather than feel helpless when dealing with change. 

That didn't happen overnight -- it took 5 months for me to get there, and there's still no perfect formula for it. However, the montage in the movies does not do it justice. It isn't about doing every spontaneous thing all in a row and coming out magically more enlightened... it was about letting myself live a little spontaneously some days and work or follow plans other days.

I stopped looking at things as a waste of Time and worked with the idea of giving Time for things, whether that Time is active or resting.

It felt good to take a breath and think about what I valued spending Time on.

I hadn't taken that kind of time for myself in so long. Throughout college I was always looking ahead, thinking about what my life would be like at 25, 30, 40. I was concerned with making money so I could be independent, and wanted to find my place in the adult world. I'm so glad I was in that mindset because it got me here! But, I'm equally grateful for my hiatus from centering my life around work.

 
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Eventually that "road less traveled" led me back to a main road. In October I started my new job at Rappahannock United Way. It was refreshing to go into a new job with more awareness of how to align my personal goals with the workplace. I didn't feel as insecure about my place in an office or professional role. 

Once I had spent some time getting oriented in my full-time position I decided it was time to re-evaluate the business. 

Grace, I looked at your website recently. What is it that you do? Are you selling something? I was a little confused.

Hearing those words was a "light bulb" moment for me.

My target audience... a senior... visited my website... and didn't know what I was offering. Grace. This is not good. You need to change something.

I wasn't even upset by this question. I was grateful it came up! I had missed the mark somewhere and it was time to simplify.

Which brings me to the business update portion of this newsletter:

I have (again) redesigned my website. My aim was to clearly state my services, narrow down the services I offer, and make it easier to navigate. Many times before now, I let myself go outside my abilities or comfort zone because I needed to make money. Now that I have a steady source of income I can better stick to the direction I want my business to go. 

Additionally, I had other businesses/services on various platforms so I consolidated it all into my new website "Grace Draper". Now on my homepage you will find an option to view Concierge services, Custom Design services, or my Etsy shop.

Seriously though, I don't believe in a truly finished product. I want your feedback! Is there anything that is still confusing, hard to follow or navigate, difficult to decipher?