It's a marathon not a sprint!

March 26, 2017 3 Comments

It's a marathon not a sprint!

It seems like a lifetime has passed since I was scrambling to get my idealistic thoughts out in the form of my first blog. I wrote “What is Country Charm?” one night in late October after I had been to see my principal to request some leave. I hadn’t mentioned my pursuit of Wattle & Twine because it was, but a dream. Sure, it was an idea that excited me greatly and caused great distraction, consuming both my conscious and unconscious thoughts, but zero energy had been expended in consideration of logistics. Instead, I explained that I was going to take some time to attack the long list of farm jobs that were rapidly accumulating (where does one even start?) and endeavour to create a little more “life balance” (is there such a thing?) for a pair of workaholics.

lifetime

Backhoe

With leave granted, I wasted no time and raced home to write my first blog. The words danced onto the page. I felt unstoppable. Upon completion, I was overjoyed and had an overwhelming sense of accomplishment because, at the time, I thought, “I’m really doing this.” It was the first step, a giant leap of faith, but, the truth is launching the website 3 ½ months later was more akin to running a marathon.

Six weeks to the day since the website launched, there was another significant milestone for Wattle & Twine with an article published in Western Downs Farmer, a little leaflet in the local rag. I thought it was about time that I stopped and took stock of things. I certainly haven’t crossed the finish line yet, but the dream is slowly but surely turning into a reality.

Milestone

So, what have I learnt? And, in no particular order:

  • You don’t know what you don’t know.
I was well aware that technology was not my friend on a good day. If I was going to get the website off the ground, I would need to enlist the help of some professionals. Without a doubt, this was the best decision I made! As a result, I quickly learned of a growing number of specifics that I would have given zero consideration to. There were domain names to register for, privacy policies to read and understand and then there were the decisions around branding which involved looking at far too many font choices and colour selections. While there were a lot of decisions to make (humorous for anyone who has ever gone shopping with me and knows my level of indecision), I learnt to ask questions. I wasn’t about to bluff my way through this and trusting in the professionals made my job so much easier. Unfortunately, the professionals couldn’t help me with undeniably the hardest task - writing the information for the ‘About Me’ page. This took days and I’m not even a complex person. Kudos to the people out there who can market themselves. 
  • If you’re going to run a marathon you need a damn good support crew, especially if you haven’t trained.

With no formal business qualifications and a reputation for being terrible at maths, I was hoping a whole lot of heart would make up for my deficiencies when I signed up to run this race. Fuelled entirely by passion, my dream kept evolving, but the truth is it wouldn’t have eventuated without my support crew cheering me on. Have I questioned the logic behind giving up a secure job to invest in my dream while we continue to service our farm mortgage? More times than I could count. Have I questioned my ability to bring to life the technicolour vision in my head? Absolutely! I am well aware of my shortcomings and when you’re toiling away on your own, even your strengths start to look like weaknesses. But my support crew were there to combat my self-doubt and reinvigorate my spirit every step of the way. And, boy oh boy do they have patience in spades. These legends tolerate text messages asking for their opinion on the most minuscule details. I am embarrassed to say that I actually asked whether I should go with all lowercase letters or the more conventional capital letter followed by lowercase when deciding on headings for my webpage. I’m not sure whether that’s indecision or my perfectionist complex rearing its head. Nevertheless, at any hour of the day, they have been there and always ready to lend a supportive ear. Their ability to listen and offer advice is surpassed only by their constant encouragement. My support crew gave me the push I needed to take the leap of faith and they’re the invaluable piece of the puzzle keeping me on the race track.

More times

  • I got my license for product styling and associated photography in a cereal box.

Such a realisation could quite possibly be covered by the aforementioned point number one. However, in the interest of keeping it real, I thought I would paint a picture for you. They do say a picture is worth a thousand words. Trying to achieve the all important natural lighting, I thought it would be a good idea to venture outside in the middle of the day to minimise the shadows (failing to consider the increased UV exposure) and take the photos. Wanting a background other than grass, I was prepared to move my dining room table outside. Instead, I settled on an ironed (yes, you read correctly) white sheet - much lighter to carry – and a whole heap of random objects for styling purposes. I then spent far too long trying to make said objects appear as if they naturally “belonged.” This was short lived; a solid gust of wind blew it all away, leaving me to try and stop the corners of the sheet from madly flapping while looking like I was playing a solo game of Twister. Armed with a stack of heavy books, I attempted round two. With everything set up and now protected from Mother Nature’s disdain at my attempts, taking the photo should have been easy. Wrong! An enraged colony of ants then decided that white was their colour and were overcome with an urge to crawl over everything, prolonging my time in the sun and leading to rosy pink shoulders. I’d much rather play in the sun. Perhaps it’s time to call in the professionals. The verdict – I’m comfortable with the fact that stacklay and flatlay will remain little known words in my vocabulary.

realisation

  • Country hospitality is second to none!

The driving factor in wanting to create an online space celebrating country charm was my desire to pay homage to the amazing individuals of rural, regional and remote Australia. I wanted Wattle & Twine to be unlike any other online space. I wanted to create a space that was warm and inviting. A space that you would feel drawn to and could be guaranteed to leave feeling warm and fuzzy. Wattle & Twine was to be the cup of sugar you needed to borrow from your neighbour. Why? Because the people of the bush will stop at nothing to help. They’ll pull over and help you change your flat tyre because even though you’re capable, it’s nice to lend a hand. They’ll leave unnamed home cooking on your doorstep in times of need and bring a comforting smile to your face when you thought it impossible. They’ll appear at a moment’s notice to frantically help you pack your precious belongings when flood waters are rising, and they’ll be back again the next day to scrub the mud from your unrecognisable home. Country people are top notch! I knew this but over the last three months I’ve felt it every single day. It’s a daunting experience putting a project out there that you’ve invested your blood, sweat and tears (nervous ones only) into. But I needn’t have worried. Once total strangers, these women haven’t just agreed to be a part of the journey, they’ve embraced it. I have been inundated with offers to lend a hand and the encouragement I take from your lovely words of support has meant I haven’t stopped happy dancing. Fittingly, Josie Weller of Beauty in the Woods, one of my first interviews, published these words on her Instagram today:

“Girls compete, women empower.”

I feel so incredibly lucky to be surrounded by an amazing tribe of empowered Wattle Women.

Girls compete, women empower

I can’t wait to continue learning and growing with you.

Wattle & Twine x

 




3 Responses

Daisy
Daisy

March 27, 2017

How beautiful are your words Amy, love reading what you write – feels like listening to a good friend. So nice x

Kellie
Kellie

March 26, 2017

And that’s another winner. Go you good thing!

Debbie Jackson
Debbie Jackson

March 26, 2017

Your beautifully written words of inspiration envelop like a warm hug and allowed me some much needed reflection time. Thank you xxxx

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