It's been about 8 or 9 months since I have done any "work", which means having parlayed any of my creative pursuits into dollars. At first the shift was simply out of necessity, then it became more of a choice as things slowed down to a crawl for the last quarter of 2012. Since I have been in this new space and writing and creating again I have been thinking a lot about my place and relationship with business.
I can remember as a kid making baskets out of brown construction paper and selling them to very kind neighbors at the end of our driveway, and growing up I have always had ideas for small (and sometimes big) entrepreneurial endeavors. Sometimes it was because it was just fun, other times it was because the idea had me completely inspired and captivated, and for others it was mostly a happy way to make a bit of an income - the best ideas were a little of each. Here's a list of all the businesses I've dabbled in over the years:
* selling my art and crafty things as a kid.
* helping run various lemonade stands and family yard sales.
* made friendship pins, and negotiating sticker trades - which wasn't selling but, I learned the value of a trade.
* running a juice shop in the school "market".
* teaching art classes to kids.
* making handmade invitations.
* creating keepsakes and making one of a kind personal memorabilia.
* started a non-profit to help underserved mothers and kids.
* designing children's clothing for a manufacturing company.
* hosting and facilitating creative workshops for adults.
* creating Wishstudio, with multiple revenue streams (classes, online workshops, sponsorships)
* starting a brick and mortar studio.
* selling my art and photography.
I have always loved the idea of being self employed as it allows me the greatest creative and personal freedom which I definitely need. It's that fluttery feeling I get as well when thinking about having a certain level of autonomy and success, like the girls in our community who we all admire and want to be. There is something in that notion that is just so powerful for me.
Admittedly, it has felt really good in a lot of ways to not have to be advertising, promoting, or marketing anything over these last months. I've had more unfettered and decadent time to spend with my husband and kids, the availability to chase other adventures and sultry interests, as well as the open space to really sit with and feel my bare creative drive again. My life has fallen into a sweet new rhythm, but my brain is always churning up ideas for making money. It's engrained in me somehow.
So I am thinking a lot about what it means to work on my own and how that best fits into my life. A lot of it has been trial and error, and looking at this list I can see where I succeeded and what was lacking, but most importantly what worked for me and what really didn't. I also can see all the valuable skills and experiences I've picked up along the way. The rhythm of my days is changing as well with my youngest poised to fly off to school. This means the eventual transition from being a stay-at-home mom, which for the better part of the last 9(!) years I have been committed to, on to something else.
Ultimately, the desire to be at the helm of a business is not always the same as the reality and finding the place where they comfortably overlap is one of my goals for this year. It means looking at things up close with a more critical and honest eye and not diving into anything too fast, which I am not terribly good at but have maintained fairly well these first couple of months not wanting to let go of this pace and perspective so easily. After having spent the last year in creative limbo and waiting for my muse to resurface while also peeling back the layers to the bare necessities and feeling the passion seep back into gaps, I feel ready and excited for what's next. The long metamorphosis has finally happened and I'm just waiting to see what it looks like when my new wings are completely unfurled. For now, I am gently tossing out a few lines here and there to see what stirs and tending to the creative fire, and I'm sensing that the answers are somewhere right around the corner.