Lots of folks think that owning a creative business would be the perfect job. They imagine days sitting in a cafe updating their blogs or online shops. They just know that hours and hours of creating things they love and selling them to other people who will love them too is going to be “the best thing EVER!”
And it can be. Most days.
But there are days when things don’t go right. The printer dies, the internet is down, the sewing machine is on the fritz and the cat got sick on your new shipment of fabric. You know, THOSE days.
Working from home (or a studio or office) can be fabulous, it can be just the kind of work you have always dreamed of but it won’t be sunshine and unicorns every day. So what do you do on THOSE days? How do you keep going when there are several of THOSE days all strung together in a row?
Here are some tips:
Create routines. When you first start up your business be sure get some routines set up. You’ll create from 7-2 with a break for lunch, you’ll always pay the bills on the 2nd of the month, you’ll make sure to take one afternoon a week to go on a little “field trip” in order to get out and get inspired. Your whole day doesn’t need to be scheduled down to the quarter hour but having routines will give you something to fall back on when things get tough. When your nerves are frazzled, you are feeling uninspired or just having a bad run of luck. When you can’t remember what needs doing because your brain is on 100 other things turn to your routine to get you moving again.
Push yourself. Sometimes it’s a good idea to have some down time when things aren’t going as planned. But I wonder if, often times, a big old PUSH is what you really need. Sure, we need to rest, eat, sleep and take care of families but other times we are simply procrastinating. Imagine this scenario – You get an order for some custom work. You’ve cranked out these things a hundred times but your latest customer wants one in a color combo that you just can’t get behind. You HATE the idea of those colors together and you’re pretty darn sure she won’t like it when she sees it in person either. So you procrastinate. You just don’t want to do the job. This is when you have to PUSH. Do it even though you hate the idea, do it even though you know you won’t like the finished product. Just push.
Remember the “Glory Days”. Ever have one of those weeks where you kind of don’t like just about everything you make? You start to wonder if maybe you’ve lost your touch. Maybe it’s time to get a J.O.B. Stop yourself from this downward spiral and write down a quick list of things you’ve made that you’ve LOVED. Go through your photos of finished projects and SEE your success. Cruise through your Etsy feedback and read all of the nice things folks had to say about your work. Stop and take a moment to relive your successes and then start again.
Call a friend, or email, or direct message or skype. Get in touch with another handmade friend either IRL (in real life) or online. Gripe, grouse and complain your frustration away. Sometimes we just need to vent and having someone else nearby that “gets it” is a great way to blow off some steam so you can get back to work. If you don’t have any such connections be sure to join some groups where handmade creators gather and make yourself known. If all else fails, write it all down and burn it. Sometimes we just need to get it out of our system.
Do something else. For just a few minutes crank up the music, take the dog for a walk, make a cup of tea, sweep the patio, the deck or the kitchen floor. Just put your mind on something else for a minute.
Be grateful. Not everyone gets to work on their own business. Not everyone has as many blessings as you do. Be sure to take some time each and every day to write down a short list of all that you have to be grateful for. When you are having a hard time turn to your gratitude list to remind yourself just how good things really are.
No, working for yourself isn’t all puppies and cupcakes, there will be some bad days, but hopefully with these tips you can see your way through when the going gets tough and you’ll be felling great again.
Do you have any tips and tricks for keeping yourself moving when you are having a tough day or week? Please share in the comments.
By: Vicki O’Dell, The Creative Goddess
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