Being a creative entrepreneur is a very weird job.
Let me walk you through the scenario that drove this particular point home. It’s Tuesday morning at approximately 9:15. I’ve been up since 6:30, but am still in my pj pants (which are about 4 inches too long because they are made for regular sized girls – not ones that tap out at 5’3″). Haven’t brushed my teeth or put in my contacts, so I’m sporting slightly peanut butter-scented breath and geeky, thick librarian glasses. But, because I’m a morning person, the second I finished breakfast at 6:45, I’ve been working.
Back to 9:15. I’m standing in the kitchen putting one of my Messenger Bags into an over-sized colander that is sitting on a food scale trying to determine how much the handbag weighs. I have a table runner waiting in the wings to be weighed next.
At this point, I simply start giggling at how ridiculous this must look! My goal was to put together a shipping chart for the new website, clearly by utilizing wildly unconventional methods. I’m obliviously disheveled as I stack my beautiful handwoven things into a holey kitchen bowl on a tiny little scale while standing at the butcher block island. I’m thinking that only someone who is forging their own path, figuring it out any bizarre method they can, would appreciate this moment.
Growing your own business is a strange and awesome journey, no doubt! So many hours of the job take place in ratty clothes, sitting at my floor loom, hot tea on the side table and Big Bang reruns playing as background noise. (Usually our fierce 16-year old miniature Daschund, Pete, is close by guarding me from… well, nothing really. He can’t see or hear worth a damn these days. But, he’ll happily lick an intruder to death if they get close enough!)
It’s years of weekly conference calls with Laura talking about our individual businesses and sorting through a plethora of business books, mining for nuggets that will give us a leg up. It’s meeting with SCORE advisers and laying out my meager sales numbers from previous years in an effort to devise a smart course of action for the future. (Talk about an exercise in bravery!)
It’s (what seems like) a million different occasions when I simply don’t know an answer and I have to muster up the energy to go track it down. It’s researching the best place to buy wholesale bra strap material for the wristlet of the Clutch. (Yep, that’s me! I would imagine not many folks have spent as much quality time as I have hunting that item down!)
It’s practicing/muttering my elevator speech at random moments to get more comfortable saying it. “Hi, my name’s Chris Acton, with Acton Creative. I celebrate weaving through handbags and homegoods!” It’s funny how different it is to speak it versus type it. Whole different ballgame! And speaking of practicing, I can’t even tell you how long it took before I could tell you the price of a Messenger Bag and not flinch. I had a lot of work to do with my perception of money & value before I could confidently relay my prices.
It’s learning and becoming proficient at a thousand different skills that aren’t weaving-related. I had no idea what I was signing up for ten years ago when I left the corporate gig to be an artist full time! I only knew I wanted to weave.
At the very core, being an artist and entrepreneur is one of the least glamorous job out there. And that is okay! Personally, I’m not much of a glamour girl anyway. I’m much more comfortable in my drag-the-floor pajamas using kitchen tools for abnormal uses. Like I said – it’s a very weird job!