March. Stuff. Truth Tees. “Hand drawn t-shirts with meaning, with a % of the money given to charity”. All that sounds rad, right? Well, not enough people thought so. Chalk up the first “failure” in the 12MOS canon. 

As the end of March approached, I knew I had a long way to go. With two t-shirts sold, I needed 8 more to print so I kicked it into high gear. I took out Facebook ads, pinged bloggers, and tweaked the ads to get as many clicks as possible. But it wasn’t enough. I felt a little defeated, which explains the beginning-of-April hangover that will see me launching April’s project not on April Fool’s day (worst day of the year), but tomorrow instead.

A combination of work, personal, and extra-curricular hiccups lead me to trudge across the March finish line with my head down. But looking back, as I mentioned in my previous post, this may not be a failure at all.

Sure, I didn’t reach the goal I set for the project – “Sell enough t-shirts to print the Teespring campaign”. But 12 Months Of Stuff, at its core, is about doing stuff. And that, I did. So maybe this month wasn’t such a failure. 

I learned how to better manage a Facebook Ad Campaign on short notice. (Did I mention starting and finishing a project in 30 days is hard?)
I learned how to better market a Teespring campaign for optimum success.
I learned how to turn a scan of a drawing into a Photoshop file into an Illustrator file into a t-shirt. 
When I spin it that way, I got a lot done. 

“Comparison is the thief of joy” says Teddy Roosevelt, a quote I’ve heard before and have never been able to internalize. I’m constantly looking at super-successful people and comparing myself to them. “Why can’t I do that?” “What’s the real difference between me and them?” 

Then I listened to this episode of “Invisible Office Hours”, a podcast by Jason Zook and Paul Jarvis. In it, they explore how comparing yourself to others can sometimes be motivating, or hold you back. For me, it usually does the latter. After listening to this podcast, it finally clicked. Zook and Jarvis talk about what we all see—the results of hard work—as well as what it takes to get there—the process. When comparison is truly the thief of joy, we are comparing result to result. I didn’t print any t-shirts while sites like the Yetee and Threadless sell and print tons of shirts per day. But what about the process? How did they become so successful? I have no idea. 

But I realized, looking at my own process, I’m comfortable with where I’m at. The “result” of March’s tee campaign wasn’t just to sell shirts, it was to attempt to sell shirts. To do something. My process of weekly tasks, inspecting and adapting, and soaking up all of the knowledge I can gives me solace. A successful “12 Months of Stuff” isn’t twelve successful projects. It’s twelve attempts. Twelve times refining the process. Twelve chances to figure things out. Twelve blank slates to create whatever type of world I want. And so far, trusting in the process has been very fulfilling and worthwhile. So I’m going to keep it up and push on. The small psuedo-failures will be outweighed by the bigger picture. By the end of this year I’ll be closer to the person I want to be, even if it’s only twelve tiny steps closer.

Check back tomorrow for April’s stuff announcement. Thanks for the motivation, kind words of encouragement and support. 

In love & stuff,