I love what I do to make ends meet. I get to design cute things. I get to teach online classes. I get to write a blog. I get to do a lot of stuff that some people would also like to have the luxury of doing.
For this, I am grateful. Nearly every effing day.
While I was doing what I do last week, I rang up my friend Margie on FaceTime and as I was explaining to her what I was working on, I just spontaneously burst into tears and said, “I am so tired of trying to be creative all the time.”
Now there was a lot tied into that statement. First, there was a touch of self-pity. Second, there was a dash of truth. And third, I was going on roughly four hours of sleep from the previous night.
When you work for yourself you wear, as they say, hella many hats. You are the boss. The employee. The marketer. The idea girl. The tech guru. The business manager. The tax minion. The customer service representative. The craft services lady. The stylist (read: chooser of which yoga pants to wear today.) In short, you have to do a lot of things to keep everything moving in the right direction.
But even if you do everything as perfectly as you know how to, it doesn’t automatically translate to income. That is a fact.
I told Dan this, in a separate, less tearful exchange and he told me, “Yeah, but it doesn’t take away from the quality of the work you create” to which I replied, “But quality means nothing if it doesn’t translate to income.”
(cue the sad trombone…)
My income has been of critical importance for the past 10 years. Many of those years have found me in the breadwinner position and yet some days I feel like I don’t have another idea in my pretty little head. And that is usually when the crying starts. That, and the need for sleep.
My point in sharing this today is that creativity isn’t some naturally bestowed gift that some people have and some people don’t. Granted, you probably wouldn’t want to buy journal cards that were designed by my husband, but I believe we all have the opportunity to access our creativity. But even when you do it successfully, you can’t start counting your dollar signs before they’re hatched.
There is a part of me, and its percentage of size varies from day to day, that feels like I’m just a few ideas away from never having another profitable idea again.
Then there is the task of promoting yourself and your wares. Some days, this happens more naturally than others. But lately, I’ve been pimping the shit out of me and my assorted offerings.
Last week, I was getting ready to post one more final link to encourage sign ups for my current class and I sat and stared at the Post button on my business Facebook page for what seemed like, well, at least two minutes. Maybe it was the lack of sleep, but as I raised my forefinger to click my Magic Mouse, all I could think was, “I’m sorry, Facebook friends. Forgive me?”
But click I did, because part of this work includes self promotion. And yes, I agree with the genius quote from David St. Hubbins in the movie Spinal Tap: “It’s a fine line between clever and stupid.”
Because it is also a fine line between acceptable and annoying.
There are days when, however unrealistic, I wish for a winning lottery ticket or to discover that a long lost Canadian relative who happened to be both rich and completely enamored of me has bequeathed all of her earthly possessions to me in her will. When that day comes, I will no longer work for money.
You know how you’ll hear people like Oprah say, “Find what you love and do that and the success will follow”? You know, the idea of “Follow your bliss?” Well the reality that I know is that your bliss had better find a way to pay the mortgage. Trust me, when my bliss can’t pay the bills, it will be relegated back to the Hobby category.
There are days when I wish I didn’t have to hustle for a living. Because that is how it feels sometimes. One big hustle.
I share this with you because I don’t think people talk about the hustle of this crafty business enough and how tricky it can be, or how scary it can be when your income comes with zero guarantees. But especially the hustle for creativity.
Or maybe just the hustle, period. I mean, we’re all kind of hustling, right?
Sometimes being an entrepreneur overwhelms you and you cry. Then you remember that you’re responsible for your emotions and you get back to the business at hand.
Or you open a bottle of cheap red wine and call it a day.
Or you remind yourself that every day of self employment is Bra Optional Day.
And sometimes that’s all the encouragement you need to keep moving forward.
Note: as I write about my experiences in business, I’m going to keep these posts link-free, save for the sad trombone. That said, if you wonder what types of ways I hustle for extra income, read my disclosure page which lists the affiliate programs I am a member of. Keep in mind, no one I know is getting rich on affiliate links, but every little bit helps.