Candid Thoughts :: The Independent Creative

Personal, Uncategorized

January 2, 2013

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!!!

  1. Ashley says:

    I so appreciate you opening up in this post. I feel like I’m in the same boat. I worked too much and missed too many important things. I too intend to work smarter and not harder. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Angela Roy says:

    Love your candidness and completely understand where you are coming from! Some of my biggest challenges are spelled out in this post! You do an incredible job though, so just know that. All of the struggles are worth it, because you are so talented!! And because you feel this way about your clients, your craft, and your work, you are amazing!

  3. Ashley says:

    Thank you for sharing your heart! Your words are refreshing and an excellent reminder. I hope you know that you, and your creativity are appreciated!

  4. Lydia says:

    I know of my friends think that unless you’re out clocking in and clocking out for someone else, you’re not really working. But just know that by doing what you love, you’re making so many other people happy as well!

  5. YES to the working smarter, not harder! I feel like I missed out on so much this year – especially just time with my husband because I spent too many hours working. And I’m glad I’m not the only one who feels the need to explain myself to people outside of the industry about how hard we work…

  6. Amanda says:

    Love this and I’m glad you wrote it! I totally feel you on worrying how people perceive your creative profession! And YES, it takes up your REAL time and pays REAL bills! Here’s to all of us working smarter and not harder in 2013! 🙂

  7. Caroline says:

    You are so inspirational- this post made me feel good bc your words are so relatable. I admire people like you that pursue careers truly doing what they love- I hope one day I am brave enough to focus 100 percent on my business and step away from the corporate world. You rock.

  8. Michelle says:

    I really can’t wait to see what 2013 has in store for you, Jim and Three Fifteen Design. I hear you on the comment about friends and family not in the industry and their perception. If they are not already inspired by what you do, how much you love what you do and how you change lives, I am sure they will be in the near future.

  9. Loved this post–very encouraging & I resonate with a lot of the same stuff (especially family & friends not really taking my “job” seriously). Don’t let it get you down! You’re real & awesome & I can’t wait to see what you do in 2013. 🙂

  10. Vanessa says:

    This was a great post! I find myself having to explain what I do ALL the time and honestly, I think my Dad still thinks of it as being a “starving artist.”

    I know I had emailed you about it but I’d love to know how you made the leap into opening your own business and running it full time. I’m currently work towards that right now but I’m so scared to make the jump!

    Hope to chat with you soon and hoping we can go up there soon and meet! xo

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