So, if you haven’t already seen the announcement on my social media or newsletter… I have decided to close down Blue Jay of Happiness, and my podcast Seedling. In today’s final episode I share my reasons behind this, answer some questions from my community and share some lovely parting words.
You can listen wherever you get your podcasts or here:
Links and further reading
- Ko-fi shop to buy previous products
- Josephine Brooks on moving away from social media
- Pancakes podcast episode
- Stay in touch: subscribe to my mailing list
Today I’m going to be sharing the decision I’ve made to close down my business Blue Jay of Happiness and this podcast, answer your questions and share some lovely comments. So for the last time, get yourself comfy, grab a coffee, and let’s get into it.
Hello everyone, how are you doing? I’m OK, when I last recorded I was getting over a cold and sadly right after that I caught covid for the third time and this time it hit me quite hard and I’m still getting over it, so if my voice is a little scratchy, that’s why.
But I really didn’t want to postpone this episode, because it’s actually going to be the last episode of Seedling. After mulling it over for a few months now, I’ve made the decision to close down my business, Blue Jay of Happiness. And in this episode I want to talk a bit more about that, so I’m going to share the newsletter I wrote because I think that explains everything quite well, and then I’m going to be answering some questions I’ve had sent over and some lovely parting words from this brilliant community.
OK, so here is the newsletter, and if you’ve already read this, feel free to skip ahead to the questions and comments!
I’m writing this from what I’ve lovingly named my ‘covid nest’ (our sofa bed, surrounded by blankets and tissues). I’ve come down with covid for the third time during the pandemic and, honestly, it feels like quite a fitting place to share this announcement from.
I’ve decided to close down my side-business, Blue Jay of Happiness, and I wanted to take a minute (or 10, apologies if this gets long) to explain why.
For a bit of context, I started Blue Jay of Happiness as a blog back in 2017, after being a blogger for 8 years previously at To Limbo and Beyond. I wanted to be a happiness blogger, writing about health, happiness and hope.
After being inspired by Emma Gannon’s keynote speech at Blogtacular (a blogging conference) about the blog being a platform for business, I decided I wanted to become a coach.
I did the training, got my qualification and launched myself as a self-worth coach in 2018. To give it the space it needed, I stepped down as a manager at my day-job and reduced my hours. For two years I marketed my services, created content, launched a podcast, and did all the things I thought I was supposed to, to make my coaching business a success.
But the reality is, I only worked with one paying client (who I will forever be grateful for). By the summer of 2020, the pandemic had hit and I was burnt out. I wanted to quit Blue Jay there and then, but found myself wrapped up in grief about the decision, crying at the idea of letting go but knowing I couldn’t keep going the way I was.
So, I took a break. I realised coaching wasn’t the right path for me, though I was keen to make use of the skills I’d learnt. When I came back, I decided to focus on what I loved – creating content. I rebranded as a self-worth educator and had a year of experimentation, making e-books, audio courses and workshops. It was fun and I feel like I had a pretty good mindset around it all, despite never selling what I’d hoped… I just remember feeling exhausted by the constant launch cycles, especially when the money I was making felt insignificant compared to the time and effort going into them.
At the end of 2021 I got covid for the second time (first time was in August 2021) and while it was a very mild case, my body struggled to recover and I was left with ongoing fatigue and joint pain. I made another Blue Jay pivot at the beginning of 2022, honing in on supporting creatives (I started drawing during my break in 2020 and realised how important creativity was for me and I wanted to bring that into my work more).
But my ongoing health stuff was making everything feel hard. I ran a workshop at the start of 2022 and only sold a couple of tickets. Instagram engagement was plummeting. I was seeing more and more people taking breaks, burning out, opting out. I started working on a course but every time I came to work on it, I felt resistance. This resistance could have been around the fear of failure for sure, but in all honesty the overwhelming feeling I was having was “I can’t be bothered”.
I took another break in May, going on a family holiday to Sedona and taking a month off of Blue Jay. This put some things into perspective and started a bit of a cascade of changes that have led to my decision. It helped me realise how important leisure time is and that fulfilment outside of the workplace is just as important as the fulfilment I was seeking from work.
I started a new volunteering role at Beat (an eating disorder charity) and realised fulfilment lives here too. At my day-job my role had become more attuned to my strengths and I recognised that I was doing what I loved here as well (writing about subjects I’m passionate about).
I looked at my why, that I wanted to take the lessons I’d learnt during recovery from an eating disorder to help people feel worthy, confident and fulfilled and realised… I could do that without Blue Jay.
The other crucial piece of the puzzle was finances. I took a pay cut when I reduced my hours at my day-job and Blue Jay has never come close to making up for what I was losing. Recently Dan and I bought a new bed, and I couldn’t contribute. I’ve been dipping into my overdraft each month, unable to contribute to our life together today… let alone saving for the future. With the cost of living crisis announcing itself in bills and spreadsheets, it was the final nudge I needed to make the decision. I need to be making a full-time salary again and I need to let go of Blue Jay.
And this time, there was no grief. No tears. Just a sense of relief, of weight being lifted. A deep knowing that I need to prioritise my health, my joy, and my future.
So, when I have the time and energy, I’ll be closing down my website. I’ll likely keep my Ko-fi shop up for a while so you can still buy previous products if you’d like to.
The one thing I’d like to continue is this. Writing to you, sharing my journey, being a little more personal than I can at work. So I’m planning on starting a Substack (mainly because I love the idea that you can record little voice memos and I can keep a kind-of podcast going!). My hope was to have this all set up and ready to go today, but alas, covid had other plans so I’ll get to that when I’m feeling better. I’ll likely move my mailing list there so you just need to sit tight and you’ll get it straight to your inbox.
And there we have it. It would be so easy to see this as a failure. As ‘stepping back’. But I truly don’t see it that way. I see it as letting go. Blue Jay has served me so well, it’s helped me find an incredible community. It’s taught me about my passions and my strengths, it’s opened the door to a lot of opportunities. But I’ve changed. My priorities have shifted. And it feels really good to acknowledge that and to do what’s right for me, even if it doesn’t fit other people’s expectations of success.
And, as always, I encourage you to do the same. Shut out the noise of what other people think and tune into yourself. For some, it may be that starting a business is your way of doing this. For others, like me, it’ll be realising that you want something different.
Whatever it is, trust yourself. Know that nothing is set in stone, you can let go of something and return to it later if you want. You are the writer of your own story.
So yeah, that was the newsletter I shared. I had some really lovely responses and I’ve gathered some questions and comments about the decision, so let’s go through those, shall we?
The first was anonymous and they asked: “Intrigued about podcast shift to substack.”
So the podcast itself isn’t moving to substack, my mailing list is, so the plan will be to use it as a platform to continue writing to my community. But the thing that drew me in to the platform was the fact that you can record voice memos and videos to go with the writing, so I feel like I can keep talking to you in this way. I love making this podcast and if I could keep it going, I would, but it takes a lot of time and energy to do, and it does cost money to make. So for now, it is going, but I’m excited to explore substack, readers can leave comments and join threads too, making feel a bit more like a community which I’m excited about.
Anonymous also said: “A brave decision to let go. Good luck for the future.” thank you, it does feel like quite a brave decision. It can feel at times that running your business is the only way to get a sense of freedom or fulfilment, so it feels almost rebellious to say that’s not the case for me. I so admire those who run their own business, if it works for you then that is amazing, I just think it’s also good to acknowledge that it isn’t the right path for everyone.
OK, next we have a question from Mia: “Blue jay has felt like a nurturing place, what do you feel the time spent on it has nurtured in you?”
I love this question. I think Blue Jay has helped me really practice what I preach. I like to lead by example with what I share when it comes to self-care, confidence, creativity, and running this business has helped me do that. It’s also led me to my passions, realising what fulfilment means to me and what I truly value. In the end, it’s helped me make this decision, knowing it’s OK to put my needs first.
Mia also left a comment saying: “What you have shared over the years has mattered to me and helped me. I’m glad continuing with the newsletter is right for you.” Thank you Mia, that means so much. I’m so excited about continuing the newsletter because I think the idea of just not sharing anything wouldn’t feel right for me, I’ve been sharing online for nearly 15 years now, and I’m sure I’ll stop one day, but not quite yet!
Next we have a few questions from @krien89, so I’ll do my best to answer them one at a time. The first question was: “What are you going to do now for full-time work?” and the answer is, hopefully, Happiful. I currently work there part-time, four days a week and I’m in conversations with them about going back to full-time, but hopefully with compressed hours, so I can still have a four-day work week, which just means I’ll be doing longer days Monday – Thursday and then I can keep my Friday’s free for volunteering work and self-care. I will keep you posted, but that is hopefully the plan!
The next question from Krien was “How can you create little pieces of joy in your work day?” which is an excellent question. For me it’s about taking regular breaks to get up, go look outside, make a coffee, I go and chat to Dan sometimes, always taking a decent lunch break and getting outside if I can. I also love listening to uplifting music while I work and have little dance parties in my chair now and then.
Krien also asked “How to let go of the business? Do you feel it when it is right?” and yes, to be honest, I think that’s exactly it, you feel when it’s right. As I mentioned in the newsletter, I had a moment of wanting to quit back in 2020 and just cried all the time thinking about it because deep down I wasn’t ready to let it go. This time, I was. I haven’t cried, I haven’t been sad, if anything I’ve felt a weight lift and a sense of relief, which tells me it’s the right choice. I also have a brilliant friend who reminded me that I can always come back to it one day, nothing is set in stone, and that has helped me make the decision too.
Krien also asked about the podcast and whether or not I would be deleting previous episodes. So this is a good question and prompted me to do a little research, because I don’t want to remove them. But, it does cost money to host a podcast, so I won’t be keeping them up forever… I think if I’m not uploading new episodes, I can pay less money to keep them up, so I’ll do that for now and then one day I’ll get around to removing them.
Finally Krien said: “I am very happy you did the podcast when I was lonely back in 2019. I believe it was the seedling episode that felt like a friend was talking to me. It was the episode about pancakes. It is still my favourite food as I can eat it for breakfast or lunch or even dinner.” Ahh thank you Krien, the pancake episode was my favourite too I think, which was episode 12.
OK, moving onto another question, this one is from Steph: “Do you think this change will affect your relationship with social media? I’m also experiencing the need to prioritise earning/saving over pursuing old dreams that are no longer serving my future, and I’ve found that shift has come with a sudden *total* lack of interest in showing up online. It feels like I’m focusing on myself for once instead of what life looks like to other people, but part of me worries that I’m ‘hiding’! Would be interested to hear your thoughts.”
LOVE this question and the simple answer is yes – I do think this change is going to affect my relationship with social media. If you’re a content creator and you have been doing that to support your business, I think it’s really easy to burn out from creating and sharing so much. I’ve started taking more regular breaks because of this which really helps. I do think I’ll continue sharing, but what feels amazing is the complete absence of pressure.
I no longer need to share content that will prove my authority on a subject so it will help me sell something down the line. I don’t have to worry about showing up consistently so I can take longer breaks. I can share what I want to, when I want to and I honestly do not care about follower numbers any more. Since I announced closing Blue Jay, I’ve been losing followers daily and for the first time in years, I honestly could not care less and my God, that is freeing.
So I would say, if you’re feeling a lack of interest in showing up online and want to focus on your offline life, do that. It isn’t hiding, it’s exactly what you said, focusing on yourself instead of what life looks like to other people. The urge to share may come back, or it may not, but right now it sounds like you need the break, so enjoy it.
(I would also recommend following Josephine Brooks, @josephinepbrooks on Instagram, for more information on moving away from social media when running a business)
Steph also very kindly said: “I’ve really loved listening to Seedling and found your calming style perfect for banishing that morning dread of starting the day when working from home.” Thank you Steph, I’m so pleased it could be a bit of calm for you.
OK, the next question is from the brilliant Emma who is @thechroniccraicwithem on Instagram: “How are you feeling now that you’ve made the decision to close Blue Jay? What was your favourite part of running Blue Jay?”
I am feeling really good. I feel kinda exhausted, this has been a rough year health-wise, so I feel very ready for a break. But yeah, overall it’s a sense of relief knowing I‘m making a decision that prioritises my health and my happiness. And my favourite part of running Blue Jay has been connecting with the community, whether through a podcast, Instagram DMs, sharing a video, my newsletter, having that sense of connection and solidarity has been the best and I hope that part continues through my newsletter and social media.
Emmas also said: “Thank you for being so honest and for providing a safe, empowering and calming space on the wild ride that is social media and email marketing. Your newsletters were a regular part of my Sunday morning coffee <3” Thank you so much Em, that’s so kind of you. And the newsletters will be continuing after a brief break, so hopefully they can continue to keep you company on Sunday mornings!
OK, the final question is from Sarah who is @sazzhog on Instagram and Sarah asks: “What are you looking forward to in this next part of life?”
And I would have to say… the headspace. Working a day-job, volunteering and running a business has been a lot and the business especially takes up a lot of headspace as I’m sure many others will relate to. So I’m really looking forward to simplifying down to a day-job and volunteering. At my job at Happiful, we all have pretty good boundaries, I personally very rarely work overtime and I almost never stress or think about work once the day is over, so that is a definite plus.
Sarah also left a comment to say: “It’s rare to find somebody whose way of working and being in the world, as well as the content they produce, is in tune with stuff my brain thinks about; but I’ve always found this to be the case with Seedling – and Blue Jay more generally. Even if I don’t always agree or there’s a challenge behind it, Kat’s creative work is always thought-inspiring, confidence-boosting and a ray of sunshine in what can be dark days. Thank you for putting yourself out there, Kat. I pray that whatever comes next is fulfilling and restful in equal measure!”
Thank you Sarah, that honestly makes all of the work poured into Blue Jay over the years worth it to know it’s been that for you. That’s all I’ve ever wanted for Blue Jay.
OK, a couple of people left some parting words so I’ll share those now too:
Bex said: “Thank you so much for your wonderful email updates, and good luck on your next adventure!” Thank you so much Bex.
Libby said: “Kat, your words and outlook helped me feel lighter when life was getting heavy! I was starting my own business and feeling pressure to sell products as well, while juggling my own financial and personal needs. It’s tough! Stepping away was best for me at that time, but who knows what life may have in store in the future. I wish you the best and want you to know your gifts for growing happiness and helping others are outstanding.” Thank you Libby, that is incredibly kind of you and I so appreciate all the support you’ve shown me over the years.
And finally, lovely Debbie said: “Kat, I have enjoyed reading Blue Jay over the years. I don’t read every post, I tend to dip in when I’m in need of some soothing and sensible words. You are an inspiration. There are so many times where I have read your posts when I think, I feel like that and that’s me!
Go where your heart takes you ♥️, I wish you good luck in whatever is next for you.” Thank you Debbie, honestly you are all being so incredibly kind and I’m so pleased that I don’t have to let go of this community fully.
So with that in mind, let me end by saying please, please, if you want to stay in touch, sign up to my mailing list and I’ll be moving it over to Substack in the next few weeks so we can keep talking. I’m also going to stick around on Instagram and TikTok so I’m not disappearing.
Thank you doesn’t feel big enough to express what I mean, but it’s all I can say. Thank you for listening to the podcast, for any support you’ve shown Blue Jay of Happiness or Seedling and for being a huge part of my growth journey. This seeding is growing into something different and I’m excited about it. So, as always, please take care of yourselves and keep growing.
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