While we’re learning and practicing all we can to turn our passion into profit — there could be something critical we’re overlooking.
See, we all have a tendency to compare ourselves with other people, especially if we’re intentionally focused on what they’re doing in an effort to learn from them. We begin patterning our business practices after their example without taking our differences into account. We’ll find ourselves on a path that doesn’t truly reflect us and we won’t make progress.
Case in point
I make signs, so I connected to other sign-makers to learn from them. They are full-time makers — people much further down the road with websites, online stores and hired help. Some are attempting to grow far beyond what I’d consider to be a creative small business.
Even so, since I was following them — what did I do? I created a website with an online store, got educated about packaging and shipping and listened to podcasts on how to grow, grow, grow my business. This is all helpful information, but I have to remember to keep all the factors of my own life at the forefront of my mind when I’m taking steps for my own business.
Time for a meeting with me, myself & I
I’m not a full-time painter. When I consider my other responsibilities (wife, Mama, home-schooler, home-manager, cleaning service owner…) I don’t have time for packaging and shipping!
What am I thinking? I don’t even want to be that busy!!
Sure, I see people killin’ it in their creative small business and it looks so exciting, but then I remember the behind-the-scenes-chaos that can come along with that. If that’s your jam – more power to ya. But me? No thanks. I’m a slow, steady, simple kinda girl. I don’t want to grow so overwhelmed that I resent what I’m doing. I want to continue enjoying what I do. Don’t get me wrong — I love to paint and I’m thankful for opportunities, but I don’t like monotony and need time to explore other interests like gardening and writing.
Wasn’t this supposed to be a creative small business? Just how much can I grow, grow, grow and remain true to that model? Small and simple is what appealed to me in the first place.
What I really like is selling at local craft markets. I like making a connection with people — especially other makers. I love working at my own pace year-round, only taking on the number of events I feel prepared for. I get easily stressed out and don’t work well under pressure — so it’s not a good idea to EVER plan on having my family become dependent on art sales. That’s just me.
So, there you have it… an example of a wrong turn and how to got back on track. It’s going to happen, but the following two habits will help us better stay on track.
1. Become the best student of ourselves
- What are my spiritual, family and financial responsibilities?
- What are my strengths and weaknesses? (Ask those closest to you if you aren’t sure and take this free assessment.)
- What are my likes?
- What are my dislikes?
- What are my needs for this business?
- What are my desires for this business?
2. Regroup often
Even if we are well-acquainted with our own needs, limits and desires — it’s SO easy to lose sight of them. We’re bombarded with images to compare ourselves to. It’s no wonder we get confused and wander away from who WE are. Also, circumstances and seasons change, so we need to re-assess our path regularly in light of those changes.
By staying true to ourselves and our own priorities, we’ll enjoy the creative small business journey, and that’s progress.
“It’s not how much we have, but how much we enjoy, that makes happiness.” -Charles Spurgeon
God has used this experience to help me better understand what it means to reflect Him with our lives. He doesn’t erase our individuality, but helps us grow into all that He created each of us to be.
We’re in this together, friends. I’d love to hear what solutions you’ve found for making progress in your creative journey.
In life, faith & art ~ Jamie = )