Candid Thoughts :: The Independent Creative

Personal, Uncategorized

It’s been nearly a year since the first post in my branding series, The Independent Creative. With the start of a new year, I thought I’d do a more informal post, and share a bit of my candid thoughts on being an independent business owner. As much as this blog covers the pretty/the exciting/the successes, there are plenty of aspects of running a business that aren’t always sunshine & rainbows. I know most of my self-employed friends go through this too, and I think it’s important to know and share our journey’s … even the not-so-pretty parts. Oh, and this is a total brain dump of a post … sorry in advance for the major randomness!

Running my own business is the most time consuming adventure I’ve ever been on. It’s amazing the have the flexibility to create my own schedule, and I definitely do not take it for granted … I wish I had known how busy I’d be in 2012, and planned accordingly. My lunches & coffee dates with friends were neglected, and I sat in my studio way more than I thought I would. I planned on taking the entire month of December off, but it didn’t happen. I am a little disappointed in myself, but I am learning that creativity takes time. I could rush through it all, but then I’d be cheating my clients out of a full experience. I am coming to peace with the fact that I worked as hard as I could in 2012, and what didn’t get finished will be done with love & a fresh start in 2013. Onwards & upwards.

Even though my 2013 calendar is 1/2 full (so thankful), I still feel like I’m not at the level I’d like to be … I feel like I compare myself to other designers (even though I really try not to), and I find myself a little jealous of other creatives who find time to complete their projects AND collaborate with their creative friends. Oh, I wish I had more time! I’d like to put more of my personal taste into my design work … really push myself to be a better designer, and challenge my clients to think a bit out of their comfort zone.

Working for myself has been the greatest joy, but I’d by lying if I said it was always fun. Working alone can feel a little isolating, and after a busy, busy December, I was feeling tired. I mentioned that I’m ready to grow in 2013 … We’ve decided that we’re buying our first house in Portland this summer, and we’ll be finding one with a dedicated studio space. After we move, I’ll be hiring my first studio assistant … this makes my heart so happy!!

The block. Ohhhh, the dreaded creative block had started to show it’s ugly face last year. I found that even though I was so inspired by my clients, I wasn’t getting out to be inspired by life & nature. So much of my creativity is sparked by my life outside of the studio. Knowing that, I should have forced myself to get away more often. Lesson learned. I spent the last part of December exploring Oregon & Washington with my husband. Man, I needed that so badly. I am feeling so refreshed!

This is totally a validation type thing, but I always wonder how people perceive my business. I know other creatives/photographers/self-employed friends totally understand that running your own business can be really rewarding & financially fulfilling, but I wonder about friends & family who aren’t in this industry. Sometimes, I think others think I sit at home and play office … or artist. I know it’s crazy, but for some reason, I feel the need to defend my chosen path … to ensure people understand that this is a real job. It pays the real bills. It takes up my real time.

My main goal for 2013 is to work smarter … not harder. I’ve reduced the number of projects I’m taking on in an effort to focus more on each project I do, and to give myself time for collaboration & personal projects. Jim & I talked about the future of my business, and I know that perfecting my workflow & calendar is step number one. I do believe my little studio has the potential to continue growing while keeping me super happy … I just have to make that happen.

With all of that said, I am so happy, and I know how lucky I am to be doing what I love so much. I really just wanted to share a few thoughts in my brain … If you’re running your own business, and don’t always feel like you have it together, that’s totally okay! None of us do!! It’s about learning & evolving. Above all, it’s about being happy. If something isn’t working, change it. Alright 2013 … I’m ready for you!!!