It's a GIRL(y, arty, thinky, talky, shoppy website)!
Amanda Billing is pleased to announce the arrival of her first website after a long and slightly painful labour, ably assisted by family & friends. Both doing well. No flowers please but feel free to buy something in the Shop.
It has been a VERY long journey to (quietly) launching amandabilling dot com. I had my first meeting about a website at least three years ago. It’s been an odyssey of procrastination, crises of confidence, more procrastination, blinding insight, last minute technical difficulties, and finally success.
From the start, I wanted my website to reflect the diversity of my creative and professional interests. What my web developer, Lee Jacobz, initially did for me looked lovely and would have done the trick. I wanted the website to be fun to explore, so an early draft of this thing had an animated landing page. However, it took me so long to work up the guts to actually get into the back end that, by the time I did, I wasn’t even sure what I wanted amandabilling.co.nz to DO anymore, let alone work out how to use Shopify.
Friends and family tried all sorts of things to get me doing something, anything: persistent inquiry (“So, how’s that website going?”), confrontation (“Just do it. It’s not that hard”), sarcasm/irony/guilt trips/threats, psychotherapy (“So why do you think it’s taking you so long, Amanda?”). People who bought things from me via Instagram would ask where they could send their mates. Still no action. The longer the website lay gathering dust, the harder it seemed to actually do anything with it.
Cut to: INTERIOR/EXTERIOR, TODAY.
Clearly, I’ve launched it because you’re reading this. I’m super into getting to the heart of any matter, so why DID it take me so long? I put it down to the usual cocktail of various types of fear, stirred and then shaken ferociously: fear that I will struggle with the technology and am therefore stupid and old, fear that no-one will visit it or buy anything anyway so I will be a failure, fear that it won’t accurately reflect who I am (isn’t perfect) so it shouldn’t be done at all, and the sneaky one that’s often lurking in the shadows of something Good and Powerful: fear that it’ll actually work and be successful and THEN what will happen to me?
It took my sister asking me What’s the minimum viable content you need?, and my friend Belinda saying Come over and we can have a look at it together to help me turn a corner a few months ago. The Covid put some things in perspective, too; I'd been alone in Level 4 lockdown, with a lot of time to THINK. I knew part of the solution to the procrastination problem was that this needed to be far simpler. I needed to decide what I wanted the website to stand for and what it meant to me. I needed it to reflect what I’m focused on now, which has changed a bit since that first website brainstorm, years ago. I needed to take it one step at a time.
I decided it would be part Gallery, part Studio, part Writing Desk, part Broadcast Service. It needed to be my tūrangawaewae, a place from which I can extend myself, in the all the directions I want to go. It needed to be a place where I could share things with people, for love and money.
So, figuring that the worst things that could happen aren't actually the end of world, I chose the simplest website template. I wrote a To Do list and shared it with my friend. I asked my graphic designer and IT expert Terrease (more on her later) for help with tech-y stuff that I didn't (and didn't want to) understand.
Finally, I enlisted the help of the Cyberworkshop team, who specialise in Shopify. This last action had the unexpected effect of empowering me to get into this e-commerce platform and understand it better. Turns out you CAN teach an early-middle-aged dog new tricks (or, rather, she can teach herself if she knows there's someone there just in case).
I had been labouring under my common misapprehensions: that I don’t have what it takes to do it properly, and that I have to do it all alone. In the procrastination process, I’ve been learning the value of “good enough” and “I need help”. I've been refining my preferences and declaring what I want. And it turns out that “success” is actually not a huge neon flashing Las Vegas style thing, it's solving problems myself and just getting it live, in some semblance of order, with at least SOMETHING you can buy.
So here we are: it’s a website and you’re LOOKING AT IT.
And here we go: one Shopify YouTube video at a time. One product at a time. One “Collection” at a time.
One step at a time. Baby steps. One little, brand-new baby-website step at a time.
P.S. I'd like to know what you'd like to see here, so tell me in the Comment section, below.