I saw this quote and just had to use it. I have a feeling the Mr. Franklin meant for it to be a pretty straighforward statement. Or maybe not?
Isn’t it true that many handmakers started off as hobbyist and then something changed? I believe that change you begin to feel is hunger. It’s a hunger that starts to grow when you see your handmade work start to move from your hands into the hands of those who love it. A hunger that grows the first time you see a sale pop up in PayPal. That grumble in your creative tummy when you see the first SOLD in your shop. After the 2nd, 8th and 20th sale, the hunger grows larger and grander. Then the internal dilemma begins.
You have a ‘day job’, or as I like to call it the ‘feeds-my-face’ job. What was once a so-called side project is now playing a full on game of tug-of-war with your primary means of maintenance. Oh, and the ground is muddy and you are on both sides of the rope. Help me Rhonda! That’s when the fun begins, ya’ll! What I’ve learned from talking to the many handmakers that I’ve met (and this definitely applies to bloggers too) is that there is a moment where you become fully aware of a decision that you have to make:
Is this hobby going to become more? Can I make the leap from part-time handmaker to full time creative tour de force? Will I be able to do this without cutting off my food supply? Should I just scale back and keep this growing beast, cute and fuzzy beast that it is, in a confined space? Am I ready to take the leap across the valley of fear into the unknown world of full-time artist?
How do you know when it’s time to make the jump? Here are 5 questions to ask yourself:
- Am I ready to dedicate my time and energy to move this forward?
- Have I prepared myself for the ebb and flow, the ups and downs, of running my own creative business?
- Do I have the resources (financial, emotional & mental) to sustain myself as I grow?
- Have I built a support network to help me to stay focused and authentic?
- Have I set reachable and reasonable goals for myself?
The truth is that you can make the leap, but it can’t just be an emotional one. Nor can it just be a financial one. It takes a combination of both plus the ability to not loose focus on why you started to create in the first place. Like many of you noted and is mentioned in the Handmaker Manifesto, “We live to create and we create with joy.”
Develop success from failures. Discouragement and failure are two of the surest stepping stones to success. - Dale Carnegie
When we push aside our fears, plan as best we can, keep our passion aflame and make the leap to full-time artists, there is joy in the making. This doesn’t take away the stress and the hard work. I’m reminded of the end of the ‘She’s Making Jewelry Now’ skit on Portlandia. I love that bit where Fred is totally dealing with the reality of his idealistic pursuit of jewelry selling. Don’t despair. Just remember this: The journey has its bumps, its hills, its gray days. However, the joy of making makes the journey worth every minute.
So, here’s your assignment: Have you made the leap from hobby to full-time creator? What helped you make the leap? If you are contemplating making the transition, what is your biggest fear? Let us know in the comments below. As always, feel free to reply, encourage and connect.