This past weekend I attended my brothers wedding, and had the privilege to meet the extended family of my new sister in law for the first time. It was a beautiful and magical weekend on so many levels, but in a very direct way it also forced me to think about my intentions for my new creative business. How do I communicate what I am planning to do next year now that I've left my full time job - to focus on building Creatively Sustained into a legitimate online business?
Last night, as always, I watched the most recent episode of Marie TV where she interviewed Seth Godin. I will admit I have NOT read any of his books (I promptly told my partner he would never have to worry about what to buy me as a gift again if he just remembered that bald guy with funky glasses.) I have, however, followed his blog and seen many videos and things online to know that he's amazing and just overflowing with interesting insights.
Well this interview really helped me start to articulate why growing my own creative online business is so important to me and how I can explain to my family and friends what exactly it is I am doing - because they just don't know!
This weekend I found myself in a room full of people who knew a little bit about me, based on what my brother had told them. My brother is a sports obsessed accountant, so he has never really understood my creative work because it's just not the way his brain is wired and it doesn't overlap with his own interests. That's fine because I love him just the way he is - even if the song he chose to play during his wedding ceremony (something by The Arkelles) he first experienced as the soundtrack to a motivational Blue Jays playoff montage on TV.
However, at the rehearsal gathering my brother was introducing me as a successful manager of a cafe (my old job) and that I was now going to 'start a blog or something.' My mom overheard his comment and then added that I was aspiring to be a "...telemarketer! Isn't that right honey!?!"
So we all laughed, and I felt slightly caught off guard - and I clarified to those next to me what it was I actually wanted to do online. But I stuttered, and it was hard, and I think they understood but I can't be sure. So I'm going to go into a bit of discussion about this Seth Godin interview because there are some really good points that made me feel better about learning how to talk about my new creative business in a way that people might actually understand:
- This is our REVOLUTION - we live in a time and place where we have the ability to reach more people with our voice than any other time in HISTORY. The internet is where I want my creative business to live for a very practical reason: I can take it with me (Paul and I are moving very shortly to another city.) The other reason this is important to me and I really had to learn it first hand through managing a business - is that the internet is SCALE-ABLE. I've spent endless hours preparing for art markets hoping to have enough product available so that I can make some money. I do not want to be a one women sweatshop. I want to create classes that people can purchase from me online - anytime of day without me having to be there in front of them - so that they can learn how to work creatively for themselves. So essentially I want to be a teacher - and to come full circle - that was ALWAYS my answer when people asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.
Find your PASSION - it's all bullshit! I so believe this! There is no right answer about what you should be doing with your life! You cannot wait for the time to be right or for the perfect idea to hit you in the head. "There are challenges we can sign up for and emotions we can experience." There are ways we can engage with the world, and there are other ways we can say no to the things we don't want to make time for. The challenges I am signing up for by starting an online business include learning how to use technology to talk about the issues that are important to me. The way I want to engage with people is by encouraging them to explore creative play as a process, not as a way to make a product that can be bought or sold. I really do feel like I can make a difference in the world by sharing the unique perspective that my life experience has offered me: where art & design, sustainability, creativity and mindfulness all intersect. This is just me being me - exploring my interests and my place in THIS world.
On BLOGGING - it's a page on the internet where your opinions can live. Seth mentions that blogging has been one of his top 5 career decisions he ever made and I found this to be a really interesting perspective on putting your ideas out in the world. It's hard to explain to people why a blog exists, but the discussion on this topic in the interview really helped me realize why one of my intentions going forward is to blog more. "If you know that tomorrow you have to say something about: something you noticed, about something that might help someone else, about an opinion you have that might stand the test of time - you will form those opinions - you will notice those things - you will invent that idea. It's about leaving a trail behind of thoughtful examination of your world - you can't help but get better at whatever you seek to do." I feel like this articulates exactly what I am trying to do by wanting to write a blog - it's a way to examine the world I live in, and express how I feel about it in writing - in the hopes that it will help me make sense of my story and the impact I want to have. I feel really strongly that we should be vocal and talk about what we is important to us - and be brave enough to stand for the things we believe in, whatever they are. This is how we create change - by caring enough about our own place in the world and realizing that we do have the power to make it better. By sharing our voices.
On FAILURE and FEAR - "Failure occurs when we try to solve interesting problems" It's unavoidable. And if you never fail you never find out anything truly interesting. By starting my first art business four years ago and failing at it - I learned incredible things about creating art objects for profit and about creative productivity by working as an artist. I learned that if I want to make a certain amount of money doing things by hand I was never going to have enough time - ever. And by also being at home all by myself just creating - I wasn't interacting with the world in the ways that I found fulfilling. These are just two things I learned to be true for me, they might be different for you. But I really want to connect with people in a bigger way than just selling them an item. I love to see people try new things, challenge themselves, and realize they can do something they never thought possible for themselves. How many times have you heard someone say "I'm just not creative"? It is really incredible to see someone prove themselves wrong and experience the freedom and joy of changing just one small story they may have been telling themselves for years. So yes it is scary for me to start something as new and confusing as an online creative business - But I can't wait to see the kind of person I'll grow into by taking this new challenge on!
So if you are interested in staying in touch as I develop my business - sign up for my email list! There are lots of exciting things on the way:
I will be updating my website (I have photos from my recent photoshoot coming soon!) and
I will also be teaching live carving & stamping workshop at Whole Wheat & Honey Cafe before I move. And even if you don't live near me (especially!) still sign up to the list because I do plan on launching an online course where I teach you how to draw, carve and create fun prints on paper and fabric - in time for the new year!
And if you'd like to see the video interview with Seth Godin there is some great conversation about board games and education and schooling - so here is a link if you'd like to see it in full.