Books, burnout, and bigger dreams!

Jan 30, 2019 | Conscious Lab, Entrepreneur, Make It, Make It Happen



You haven’t heard from me in a while because I experienced symptoms of burnout after the last quarter of 2018. I feel a lot better now, but at the time it was really scary. If you’ve been following me on social, you probably know I recently launched my first book baby into the world! It took me almost 2 years to complete Make It Happen, and it feels surreal that it has now manifested into physical form.


We also celebrated our 10thyear of Make It last holiday season. To think I’ve been organizing craft fair for over a decade also feels insane. When my brother Chandler and I launched the show in a tiny community centre in Edmonton with 25 makers, never in my wildest dreams did I think it would become what it is. Honestly, I don’t think I will ever fully grasp and understand how it happened. It makes total sense, and it doesn’t all at the same time.


I sometimes feel the term manifestation gets shoved down our throats. It seems like there are so many infographics and posts that promote “living the dream, following your heart, and making it happen.” As an “elder millennial” I sometimes find the positivity too much.


As much as over positivity feels fake and unnatural, I still do believe the fake it to you make it is a useful life strategy. When I’m in “Make It Mode” I’m an elevated version of myself. My personality is on point, my energy it up, and I have a permi-smile across my face! When you’re running a company, you have to be high vibe and enthusiastic in order for others to connect to your idea. If you don’t believe in what you’re doing, no one else will.


The pace of my life during the last 3 months of 2018 was intense! We were gearing up for the 10thyear of Make It, our Calgary show was in a brand-new venue, I had some staff turnover, AND I was launching my first book. Throw in some personal drama, moving out of my condo, and health issues to complete an overflowing plate of life. It seems like all of our lives are becoming fuller so you probably understand how it feels to have things coming at you from all different directions at the same time.


Even though it felt overwhelming in a scary way at times, there were also countless moments of incredible highs. I had the privilege of going to Toronto for a press tour for my book. The highlights were doing a 9-interview syndication on CBC radio. I spoke to hosts from coast to coast (it rhymes!) about the journey of Make It and also my ideas on what it takes to make it happen. I also got to appear on the Global morning show to talk about my book. I do lots of TV interviews for Make It, and this was the first I got to talk about my own story which felt really exciting.


The energy I received while I was in Toronto, helped to propel me through show season. While I was there, I reflected on my entrepreneurial journey that has led me to TO several times in the past. I foundly remembered my One of a Kind days when I sold my Booty Beltz and Bootyfly Bags. I was in my mid-20s and if you think I’m high energy now, you should have seen what I was like back then! The OOAK show helped me understand how a craft fair should be run, and has been a brand model for Make It ever since.


In 2015, Chandler and I also sold Make It to a company based in Toronto. After months of audits and due diligence, I made the decision not to sell because I felt like there was more work for me to do. Before this decision was made, we took a whirlwind trip to Toronto for meetings about the deal. Even though I had many feelings of uncertainty, it was still pretty damn cool to see what this company’s plans were for Make It 2.0!


As soon as I got back from my press tour, we had Make It Edmonton to kick off the season. Because my book had just been released, I decided I would have a booth at all 3 shows. I was super excited to be a Makie again, but there was a lot of work required to design and setup a booth, and I only had 1 day to do it. Luckily for me, I have an incredible boyfriend who seems to magically makes things happen.


My booth at the show actually looked really great considering how little time we had. I had a clear idea in my head of what I wanted it to look like, so it was easy to shop for everything. It felt absolutely incredible to be behind the booth again! I forgot how much I missed being able to sell my own creations at the show and connect with the amazing customers who come to the show. The whole reason I started Make It was because I wanted a show to sell my Booty Beltz that was fun, played good music, and had a beer garden. That was my big “why”…keep in mind I was 25 years old 😉


The reason I stopped selling Booty Beltz/Bootyfly Bags was because my booth looked like shit because I wasn’t able to devote enough time of effort to it. Also, as Make It grew I needed to oversee more of it. I have to say as stressful as it was, it felt prettttty damn good to have created a full circle moment so that I would be able to sell a book about my story growing the biz at a booth at the show 10 years later.


There were times it felt almost too much and I felt like I was drinking out of a fire hose. The Georgia Straight featured me on the front cover the week before the Vancouver show. I was in Calgary at the time so I wasn’t in town to see my face everywhere, but it was hilarious to see all my crazy friends interacting with my face in Instagram stories!


I got back from YYC, after a killer show at Deerfoot City (our new venue) on the last day my cover was out. The first time I saw it in real life it felt almost as surreal as when I held my book for the first time. I knew it was real, but it was challenging to take it ALL in at once.


Vancouver was our last show of the season, and we had decided to have it be 5 days instead of the usual 4. Set up was also right after Calgary so at this point I was feeling exhausted. I think what kept me going was all the attention Make It and my book was receiving in the media. My PR team hit it out of the park, and I was featured on more TV shows, magazine, newspapers, and radio shows than ever before.


The flip side of running off momentum is it’s not sustainable, and it’s hard on your body. Even though Make It Vancouver was a rockstar show – complete with attracting Kate Winslet as a shopper, I felt spent. From the outside looking in, I don’t know if anyone by my staff and close friends knew how exhausting it was to run my booth AND the show.


But I did it, and I’m happy and proud that I made it happen. For the last few weeks I’ve been trying to take it easy and recover before the next round of shows starting in just under 2 months. My boyfriend Orson and I went to Mexico for a week, and I’ve been making a conscious effort to connect with friends I haven’t seen in a while. Slowing down isn’t easy for me, but I know how important it is to recover after strenuous work.


After Make It wrapped, I haven’t put much effort into promotion Make It Happen. It sometimes feels weird to have my book out in the world because I have fears and insecurities around what people will think of it. So far I’ve gotten really positive feedback, but I know there are people out there who won’t enjoy it and that’s ok. I guess I’m extra sensitive because my book is so personal and close to my heart.


I recently felt the nudge to express myself again. I think because I had to do so much writing for the book, I’ve been resistant to writing for pleasure. It can be a painful, raw, and vulnerable experience for me to reveal layers of myself to the world like this. What keeps me coming back to the keyboard is the deep need for more connection. Self expression also feels damn good.


Being an entrepreneur is a lonely journey. When you are bringing ideas to life, it’s hard for other people to understand what you’re going through. I was able to validate this while selling copies of my book at all the Make It shows. The best part about now having a book is I get to have conversations I wouldn’t have otherwise. It serves as an invitation to deepen and open the dialog.


Staying quiet and holding back your ideas feels safe and secure. I struggle with this everyday. On one hand, I know I have so much I want to share, and on the other there is so much fear to stay small because I’m familiar with how the story unfolds. The more the uncertainty, the stronger the resistance can be.


A friend of mine posted an Instagram story of my book at the YVR bookstore. I had no idea it was being sold in airport bookstores so I was overjoyed to see it there! What’s crazy is that while I was in Toronto for my press tour, I took a fun photo of the airport bookshelves with my book placed in the #1 Bestsellers spot. Seeing my book with all the other “real books” gave me an excited feeling inside. I had no idea how that was going to happen, but I trusted that the Universe would somehow let it be.


Coincidently, I happened to be flying to Phoenix today to see my parents the day after I say the IG story. I made a mental note to stop by the first bookstore I saw to see if Make It Happen was on the shelf. It was excitifying (exciting + terrifying) to walk towards my book that was prominently placed next to other books. A burst of joy came over me as I realized that I planted the seeds for this exact moment months before.


When I started the journey of writing over 2 years ago I had no idea what would come of it. I’m kinda lazy in ways, and find it hard to stick to things when they become difficult…this is especially true when it comes to working out! I thought that if I wrote a book it would teach me discipline and focus. It definitely did that, although I still constantly feel that there are too many open tabs in my head.


Since I feel a little braver than I did at the beginning of the year, I have a favour to ask you. If you bought my book, it would be a huge help if you would kindly review it here. Since I’m a newb author, it’s important for my street cred to get some yellow stars up on Amazon. Sending deep thanks and gratitude for doing me this special favour.


If you haven’t read the book, and are interested in my candid story of growing Make It you can check it out here. My intention for writing it is to help creative entrepreneurs earn a living doing what they love. It not only shares my story, but the story of several other Makies who have remarkable advice on how they have been able to make it happen.


Any Makies out there who want to be part of our spring shows, our application for Edmonton: March 22-24, Calgary: April 5-7, and Vancouver: April 22-24 are online now. The team and I are super pumped for season 11 and have some really fun, exciting plans to ensure the shows are extra amazing!


I know this post is crazy long and likely broke a ton of rule on “how to write content people actually read.” I’ll try to be braver in the future and write more frequently (with brevity), because it feels really great to connect and share some of myself with you. I’m also doing a lot of brainstorming for Conscious Lab and figuring out the best way to turn it into a sacred space for creative entrepreneurs to gather for the purpose of self + biz growth. If you’re interested in any of these ideas please follow Conscious Lab and myself on Instagram so you’ll be in the know of future events.


You deserve a massive high-5 for reading this far. If we cross paths in real life soon I will give you a BIG hug…if you’re open to it of course 😉


Thank you for your ongoing love and support. Whenever I find out people read my stuff I feel a ton of gratitude as well as mild embarrassment…but I’m working on growing my capacity of accept more acknowledgement!



Meet Jenna

Hello, I’m Jenna and I want to help make your life more magical! Not just in a glossy, filtered, perfectly Instagramed way, but in a way that feels amazing to you. I want to show you how you can serve the world by just being your gorgeous, perfectly imperfect self.

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