What am I doing here? I’d been too busy to notice how much time has passed. The children will be leaving home in a few years, and I’m intentionally working myself out of a job. What’s next?
Anyone who’s ever spent time in the Motherhood industry knows that our skill set is impressively diverse, yet rarely financially viable—as if we would ever consider selling our love for money!
So we look to our other loves. What was there before home and family, and how can I contribute my unique, maturing talents to society? In this 22-week blog series, we’ll walk through the steps of bringing an idea to the marketplace. You can find thrilling words of encouragement all over the internet these days. Make a fortune doing what you love! Meanwhile, those among us who’ve been diverted by meal preps, stain removal and coordinating schedules, it doesn’t seem that we have much to show for our valuable time.
Or do we? With all of us talking at the same time these days, how do we know who’s saying what we need to hear, and how can any of us be heard? Let’s learn how to make what we say worth hearing, and what we do worth the respect it truly deserves. You were created to create, and what you do is good, and very good. Let’s give it our best!
Do you know what it is that you want to do with the rest of your life? I want to create great artwork, and be honorably compensated by doing it. I’m going to start by Being Effective…
No one’s watching the clock for you. This is quite freeing, yet at the same time, can result in a paralyzing feeling of overwhelm. There’s so much to do, and so little time to do it! I have to face the fact that I can’t possibly accomplish everything I want to do within a 24-hour period and still have time to breathe. This is going to take some fierce decision-making.
Start by clocking an honest 8-hour per working day, and grant yourself a well-earned day of rest each week. I divide my day into 4 hours of chores (office work and marketing), and 4 hours of creative struggle (legitimate playtime that is the Work you want to do).
Honor your office space by keeping it easy to access and organized.
Manage your In-basket by sorting everything into either
Inventory: artworks, sales records (I use Artist Butler.)
Paper Files: tax receipts & expenses, contracts & legal docs, résumé & artist statement, warranties & owners’ manuals, etc. Keep 1 copy of everything, but no more than you need.
The Idea Bucket: You need a place to store all of your great ideas. This is for everything on your (Want) To-Do list, and anything that you need to get around to one of these days. Dip into the file when you’ve got a free moment (HA!) or if you’re in the midst of a creative block. If it’s within reach, but not in your way, you can be more effective with what will keep you moving in a clear direction of your goal.
…And Manage your Out-basket. It helps to ask, “How can I get rid of this?” with each item on your desk. If I can finish the task in under 2-minutes then I deal with it straightaway. Next, consider the importance: Does it even need to be done at all? Can I delegate it? Am I hanging on to a distraction? How does it relate to achieving my goal?
Expect the occasional cockroach. The French call it “un cafard,” and in English, it’s a case of “the blues.” Whatever label you put on it, know that there will be moments—sometimes days—of discouragement. Live by the rule: No complaining, condemning or criticizing. Write out your frustration on a piece of paper, and then burn it (or shred it, if you’re a hazard), or start a photographic essay or the angry anime. This is a good moment to dip into the Idea Bucket for a brief diversion from internal destruction. You’re the creator, so take positive action—one more step in the right direction!
Don’t sacrifice your relationships! Stay true to your mission statement, and know that others may have conflicting expectations of you; all of us must grow. Grow UP, don’t grow old.
Likewise, don’t expect anything from anyone. Express your needs and be grateful if another person meets you halfway. Starting a business is hard work, and often lonely. Take a hike! It’s all too easy to hole-up in your busy little world, and let life pass you by.
Choose your distractions. 10 minutes per hour are helpful. You need to stand up and stretch, have a drink of water, and shift your focus. Take a moment to assess your progress.
Stay in shape mentally, physically, emotionally and spiritually. Like it or not, this is a competition. Sure, there’s room for everybody, but when it all comes down to it, whom do you want to see become successful? You need to be the one that gets out there, because no one will come knocking on your door. You must be able to go the distance.
Be prepared not to make any profit for at least 2 years. Celebrate the sales along the way, and take plenty of photos to commemorate your progress. There is no elevator to success. You have to take the stairs.
Right! It’s time to get to it! Take a photo of your workspace before and after, and reward yourself for a job accomplished. You’re on your way!
What’s the most unexpected thing you discovered today?