You know the song Changes by David Bowie?  It's been stuck in my head for over a week now.  Honestly, I don't even really like the song, I've just been thinking about all the changes my business has gone through recently and the song seemed pretty appropriate.  

*Note: this is probably going to end up being a long, gushy blog post so if that's not your thing, check out the cute new illustration I posted above instead :)

It's been just a bit over three years since I left my day job for good, to pursue this crazy dream of drawing cute stuff for a living.  Seriously, has it really been that long?  I can hardly believe it!  It seems like yesterday I was sitting in my studio in my old apartment on the first day of freedom from my day job, feeling sort of overcome with lots of happiness and lots of fear as well.  Leaving the wonderful world of the steady paycheck was a scary step.  Obviously, I'm pretty happy that I took that first scary step anyway!

I'm amazed at how my business and my talent have grown in just these last three years.  Starting out, my Etsy shop was the cornerstone of my business but as time has passed, my focus has definitely changed.  While my Etsy shop will probably always be part of what I'm doing, it's no longer my main focus.  For a long time, until about a year ago, I really let myself be defined by my shop and the kind of work I wanted to sell there, the kind of artist I wanted to be for my awesome customers.  

Over the last year especially, I've turned my focus outward, considering the work that I want to create for the wider world, outside the tiny sphere of Etsy awesomeness.  And as I've turned my focus outward, I've grown as an artist and my business has expanded along with me.  I've got wholesale clients sharing my work in their shops all around the world.  I've licensed my work for some lovely products.  I've had the opportunity to work with some amazing freelance clients who have challenged me to become a better artist.  And most recently, I've been given the opportunity to illustrate a picture book for the first time!  

So yeah, there are amazing things happening in my studio right now, most of which I can't even share yet.  But it feels like even after three years of running this business, I'm still just in the beginning phases and I know there are so many more amazing things to come.  

Naturally, along with all the amazing things that are happening, comes the realization that time is not really my friend and unless I want to risk my sanity I need to make a few changes. *cue David Bowie song.

So first and foremost, I'm really not going to be accepting custom orders through my Etsy shop any longer.  You're always welcome to make requests and suggestions, but other than offering custom print sizes, I will generally not accept any other custom requests.  With so much freelance work to focus on, it's become increasing difficult for me to make time for custom requests so I've decided it's best to do away with them for the most part.  

I'm also not going to be working on any new personal commissions until after the New Year, but you can still check out the pricing info here and contact me if you want to reserve a spot for the beginning of 2012.  

And sadly, although I so very much love teaching online workshops, I'll be cutting back on those in the coming months/year as well.  I'm toying around with the idea of canceling the 2011/2012 Crash Courses but I haven't made up my mind yet.  If I do cancel them, those who have registered will receive a full refund and more information via email.  The good news is that I will still be teaching my Inspired Doodles Online Workshop in February 2012 and you'll be able to start signing up for that soon!

Other good news?  I'm working--very slowly, but still, working--on my own little online shop!  As I mentioned, I think Etsy will always be part of my business plan but I'm moving ahead with creating my own little shopping nook in the vast expanse that is the internet.  My goal is to be able to offer you a place where you can register for my workshops, purchase ebooks and purchase prints & stationery products, all in one place.  You'll have the option to order prints in a variety sizes and you'll be able to purchase multiple quantities of products that are in stock.  And the new shop will have a few other bells and whistles that I'm not ready to share yet, but I promise it will all be lovely and simple to use.  

See, I told you this post was going to be a long one!  Thanks for hanging in so far.  

Most importantly, after all this rambling, I just want to send out a heartfelt thanks to you, lovely readers.  Thanks so much for supporting my work, reading this blog and just generally being awesome.  You are always much appreciated!  

PS-the Buy 2 Get 1 Free Sale in my Etsy shop ends today!