As a self-employed woman, I have these days every so often. Days where I’m fairly certain there isn’t a drop of creativity left in this middle-aged body of mine. Days where I’m predicting the great CZ Design Economic Collapse of [insert year here]. Days where I wonder if someone will once and for all discover that I am a fraud.
(Okay, that last line? Just thrown in for dramatic measure. I used to say shit like that when I was younger and less developed. Today, I know for a fact that I’ve got crazy mad skillz. #forreals)
But there are days.
There are days when I think: here I go, promoting this blog post on Facebook again. On Twitter, again. On Pinterest, again.
Here I go with the Pimping Out of the Product. Again.
If you want to make your living online in a creative field, this is par for the course. You have to find ways to let people know who you are, what you do and how they can be a part of it. That’s life. That’s business.
And if you pay attention you can adapt as needed to the ever-shifting landscape of how people obtain their internet information.
I’m not telling you anything you can’t find from a Google search on How to Run a Business Online.
But the part I do want to tell you is that it’s not all creativity and roses.
I work a lot and I love to do what I do. But the tricky part is that I can sink a zillion hours into a project, idea or class with zero guarantee of a financial return. Ideas are king in this crafty, creative little corner of the internet and the better yours are the better chance you have of a) getting noticed and b) getting paid for getting noticed.
But you have to work hard to get there.
Working hard means doing a lot of things that are so much less sexy than just coming up with a killer idea. Working hard means figuring out the hours to actually complete the project. Figuring out how to correctly promote the project without coming off as too self-promoting and annoying. Timing your social media campaign to have the strongest impact. Crafting your posts about the project to inspire people to say, “Hey! I wanna do that!”
Working hard means spending hours doing what you love and not seeing your blog hits rise. Or you sales spike. Or your reader base grow.
Working hard means figuring out other ways to make ends meet while still pursuing your passion projects.
I look at my business as a 15-year-long passion project. I look at it with incredible gratitude and sometimes true awe at the fact that I have managed to be self-employed while married to a man who makes a modest salary. I say that because it’s important to know there are people out there who are not rolling in the dough who still find ways to make self-employment work.
That said, there’ve been many good years for mama.
And many shitty ones.
At the end of the day, I’m still grateful for the fact that I’m sitting in an office of my own and that a bra is optional.
And regardless of the success or failures I’ve had, I still stare at the screen some days and think, “Great. Now what?”