My brain hurts like a warehouse

Cathy ZielskeCZ Life, Products & Classes32 Comments
The other night Dan was reminiscing about his love of artists who used similes in their work. One of his all-time faves was from Five Years by David Bowie from Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars.

My brain hurt like a warehouse
it had no room to spare
I had to cram so many things
to store everything in there

As I have been working to relaunch the new and improved CZ Classesas well as preparing to launch two new classes simultaneously, my brain is that warehouse.

I suppose this could be a Women in Business post because I’m going to talk about business stuff. Or maybe just about the emotional stuff that goes with running a business. And correct me if I’m wrong, but that ain’t just a female thing.

Because unless you’re a robot, sometimes business gets emotional.

When I quit my corporate job in 1999, I really didn’t have a grand plan beyond loving on my new baby boy all day long and having a hot meal on the table at the end of the day. The scrapbooking industry was still three years out in my future and even by the time that came into my life, it wasn’t part of my career plans. In fact, it wasn’t until I was a hired and paid employee of Simple Scrapbooks magazine in 2005 that I started to take myself a bit more seriously as a professional scrapbooker.

But when Big Picture changed hands last year and I decided to take a stab at doing my own classes, that was an emotional decision. The company I’d worked with for many years, the company who handled all the back end, all the technical issues, all the everything that fell outside of content creation would no longer be in my back court as part of my support team. Now it was just me, ready to sink or swim.

Now I’m a good swimmer. A very good swimmer. So I got into the water and started to do my thing. But it wasn’t good enough. It wasn’t the experience I envisioned for my students so I knew it was time for a change. And while you’ll learn more about that change experientially when the new platform goes live, I just wanted to talk about how freaking scary and exhilarating it can be to try something new.

Because it is.

I do not have all the money in the world to hire people for every little thing. I have to make really smart choices as to how to spend money on my little CZ Design business. The exhilarating part is seeing something work the way you’d hoped. The scary part is knowing that, regardless of how good a swimmer I might be, there’s no guarantee that people will join me in the pool.

(Man, for a post that started out with a simile, it’s going a bit overboard on the swimming metaphors.)


Most things with online teaching I’ve either had to figure out on my own, or ask really talented and generous people how they do it. I am so grateful for the people who share their knowledge. It made me realize how much I would like to do a class someday teaching others how to put together a successful online course in the craft and hobby niche. Someday.

But the other day, as I realized I had edited a video and made some ridiculously obvious mistakes that had to be re-recorded, I just sat back in my chair and started to cry. I had a very clear, “I cannot do all of this shit alone” moment. I indulged it for a few minutes and then it was time to move on.

A glass of wine later in the day didn’t hurt, but also realizing that the opportunity to work really hard for myself is real gift.

I share this because as a person who is somewhat known in the scrapbooking industry and someone who is striving to make this my business, you should know there are question marks and fears and doubts every step of the way.

Taking the risk, however, makes me feel really alive.

And that’s a pretty sweet tradeoff.

*The new site is live today and a video is coming about the new functionality for my students plus more details on my newest class, Ten Tips for Better Type.

Cathy ZielskeMy brain hurts like a warehouse

32 Comments on “My brain hurts like a warehouse”

  1. #1
    Omayra Ortiz

    Thank you, thank you, thank you for this early morning inspiration. Some praying and then your words… I think I’m ready for my day too! Here we go!

  2. #2

    All good words for every person who is on this path in a personal business. It’s not easy, there are major stumbling blocks but it is so so worth it. One thing that came to mind from an old job of mine when a woman said “But I can’t afford …(an attorney in this case)” and my boss reminded her that there are times when “You can’t afford not to hire ….(whatever professional help you might need at that point). Just throwing that out there because sometimes the $$ are an investment in you.

  3. #3

    thank you Cathy for being real with us…it’s not always rainbows and puppies and that is life. I for one, can’t wait to see your new classes.

  4. #4

    I’ve always used the expression “My brain hurts . . .” Being self employed is difficult but do what you love. There will be ups and downs, just think of the ups you’ll be reaping down the road.

  5. #5

    Cathy, you are a superstar in my book! I will always big a HUGE supporter of whatever your endeavors may be. I can’t wait to see the new classroom roll out. I am a true believer in that what you put out into the universe returns to you. You are a giver of your time and knowledge. You have helped me several times in the past and I believe that is why you find many that are willing to share their knowledge with you as you travel these new waters! It’s going to be a smash hit!!!

  6. #6

    Pretty sure this post deserves one of your “SH&T just got real” flags, (which I just purchased BTW)!

    Have always loved that you are open and honest with us and don’t make having an online business appear super easy (some do).

    Hang in there and we will hang with you! Also, Elizabeth Gilbert’s new book, Big Magic is an outstanding read in lovely short chapters, perfect for the bathroom even. It’s all about taking risk and dealing with your fear within your creativity and inspiration. Highly recommend it.

  7. #7
    Kerri Bradford

    You are not alone, my sweet friend.
    And you do awesome and amazing things.
    You are also loved and supported all the way…
    …especially from the likes of a little girl in Utah. 🙂

  8. #8

    You can do this! And there are lots of people who will “join you in the pool”. No worries. I, for one, cannot wait for your new classes. I’d sign up now, sight unseen, if you’d only let me. 😉

  9. #9
    Lynne Gillis

    As someone with her own business, who is trying so hard to get her own online presence sorted out and up… I have to tell you how much I appreciated reading this! I love that you always keep it real, authentic, and so very meaningful. You’re the bomb, Cathy! I for one, will be joining you in that pool.

  10. #12

    Here I am, sitting on the edge of the pool…in my swimming suit, bathing cap buckled under my chin, nose plugs on an elastic strap around my neck and swim goggles in place. I’m just waiting for the announcement “Everyone in the pool”!

    1. #12.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Okay, that just made me smile. The pool IS technically live. You can take a peek! A video overview of the new classes is coming tomorrow.

      I will also be emailing all current students the access info they need to get registered for the classes they’ve already paid for!

  11. #14
    Helen High

    Oh Cathy. . .this is a happy day for so many aside from yourself. So excited about your classes and the site now being up and running. You should be so very proud of yourself and I know I speak for so many in saying that we are proud of you too.

    You rock and serve a role model for all of us. . .great work!!

  12. #15
    Kim Smith

    Girlfriend, you just keep on keeping it real! So proud of you for putting yourself out there with the good, the bad, the fugly….whatever it is you are going through. This lets us know that we who may be also in the same business zone, or contemplating it, well we aren’t alone.

    Looking forward to the classroom revamp and the new classes!!

  13. #16

    First of all, I quickly read the title as, “My Brain Hurts Like a Whorehouse” and thought , well this will be interesting… Ha!

    Second of all, I can’t wait for the new site! I have recently jumped back into working full-time and have hardly any time for creative projects – but your classes are always my #1 choice. Because you keep it real, they are always worth my time and stretch my thinking. Plus the are fun and I like your humor. And if you ever decided to write about a whorehouse, I’m sure it would be entertaining. 🙂

  14. #17

    You know you have a wordpress savvy friend who will help any time you need it 🙂 Seriously, send me an email next time you’re overwhelmed and I’ll help.

  15. #18

    oh Cathy…you always manage to put into words EXACTLY what i’m feeling/thinking/whatever! i’m looking to reinvent myself after 28 years at the same company – it’s moved out of state and now i’m kinda out of my mind. not sure where i’m gonna begin – but i can do it. thanks for your inspiration!

  16. #19
    Karen C.

    Hi Cathy, I really want to take your “Ten Tips for Better Type” class. I don’t have a PayPal account so I tried to register as a guest. It said my credit card and billing info did not match. This is the card and info I use to shop at Designer Digitals and everywhere else. I tried it several times. Is there another way I could pay to take this class? Thank you, Karen

  17. #20

    I love your design style, your classes and your honesty and look forward to each post. Work and life in general is hard – not all hard for most of us but it does require hard work, some stumbles along the way and the occasional cry. It is only when we are a grown up that we understand this. Than’s for being a part of my ‘virtual’ life.

  18. #22

    So excited to see more from the CZ design house. Your efforts and struggles will pay off. Your social media presence always brightens my day. I cannot wait to see your newest class. Love your use of color, fonts and simple layouts. My pages always look so professional with your design tips. I may have to start posting some of them!

  19. #23

    Hi Cathy, I’m in the pool with you….: i just suscribe your ten tips for better type class and I think I would have a lot pleasure 🙂 thanks in advance. Have a good day

  20. #24

    Kick that self-doubt shit to the curb – you GOT this!! Ready and willing to jump in the deep end with you and all those CZ supporters out there. 😀

  21. #25

    You got this woman! Congrats and I can’t wait to see what you bring and how you bring it!
    Go Cathy Z Go!

  22. #26
    Katie Jones (UK SU! demo)

    In the pool, and playing volleyball (or whatever!). Loving your classes, though I’m not making the most of my time on accessing them just now.
    And I just signed up for Ten Tips – it was the mini subway art that made me cave! And I just ordered a 6×4″ album for 30 days, so I will *have* to get that class when it’s available in a couple of days… you tease 😉
    You have so many more followers than you think out there, these comments are just the very tip of the iceburg. You’re a star, Cathy, keep the fab classes coming!

    1. #26.1
      Cathy Zielske

      Cool! Katie, once you get the process of doing subway art the way I do it… you can apply it to other fonts and designs. It’s all about using the grid and zooming way in!

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