Wednesday, May 31, 2017

FAQ // Craftrepreneur 101 // part 1

A little while back a friend asked me to coffee to ask some questions as she set out on her own creative business journey.  She knows I do a lot, lots of creative community work, and she was curious about my time, my experience and what advice I might have for her.  It was actually really interesting to see what she had in mind and what I learned about myself, I asked her to send the questions over so I could type out a more thoughtful response after our coffee date, because I felt like I actually might have left a lot out.  So here's a look at some of my frequently asked questions about my business(es)...

What kind of projects are you working on? What all do you do?
Currently, I'm working on henna, photography, apparel, food blog and essential oils.  I'm also trying to be a functioning wife and mother.  The latter is definitely more difficult.  As far as henna goes, that's been my best business to date, people are excited about it and it's a fun creative process that's extremely therapeutic and I might enjoy this the most of my endeavours.  Photography is challenging creatively because it can be so easy to compare yourself to someone else and what they're creating.  I'm still trying to find my voice with my photography, I think I know what it looks like, just a matter of mastering lightroom to ensure the images do what I want them to! (does anyone have tutorial links for lightroom? I learned photoshop first so lightroom is frustrating sometimes).  My apparel is slowly shifting to more designing, while I love silk screening this is the business I'm stepping back from the most, it's really challenging to carry an inventory and predict what people are going to buy, I still love making witty tees for me and my friends but I don't have the desire to turn it into a big company so it will probably just remain a side project.  The oils are one of the easiest business I've ever been involved in because I already use the product and when friends and family are interested I help them order theirs and make a commission off that, and when it comes to running a blog and affiliate and residual income I can create to reinvest into this space is really exciting.

Which are your most successful projects/businesses?
Henna.  For sure this one is the one that has been most successful.  I'd say photography is probably second.  which totally makes sense when you think about these are the two I'm most invested in emotionally, they're the things that I've personally created and curated.

How do you maintain the work/family balance?
Sometimes I don't.  or at least it doesn't feel like it.  My house is usually a mess.  Right now, I have a sink of dishes and my floors need to be swept but it will be waiting for me when I'm done with everything else.  My kids are definitely the most challenging to accommodate, I have to step back and remind myself that the reason I chose to be a community creative and craftrepreneur was so I could be available for them, to pick them up from school and stay home with them during the summer.  I really have to plan time for my husband, and make lots of lists to stay on track, I've found bullet journaling to be the most helpful aspect of my time management, and google calendars which I share with everyone, I have calendars color coded for kids, each business and family activities.

What does a typical day/week look like for you?
Monday is actually one of my favorite days because it's my catch up day after the weekend, I don't work a conventional job on Mondays so I'm able to catch up on laundry, dishes, housework and home projects.  I also ship my henna on Mondays, so I make a fresh batch every Monday morning.
Tuesday, I work an office job in the mornings and teach in the afternoons.  It's a long day of working for other people but both jobs bring in a consistent paycheck which helps cover bills that inconsistent income can make really stressful.
Wednesday, is my Bitches Food Club meeting day. I take time on Wednesdays to meet with contributors and collaborators. I actually schedule all meetings on Wednesday and have mom obligations in the afternoons.  Wednesday is also my silk screening an apparel day, I will often make tees or new designs on Wednesday, it's probably one of my most business oriented days. I've also noticed lots of media dinners are hosted on Wednesdays so I rarely plan anything personal for Wednesday nights.
Thursday, is another conventional day spent in an office setting.  I get nothing done around the house on Thursdays and often find myself at media events or taking naps in the evening.
Friday, I teach art and Friday mornings I share a quick facebook life tutorial on my Natural Living group so people can learn quick tips and tricks for natural health and lifestyles.
Saturday, is usually a wedding day, I second shoot for PMA Photography and if we're not at a wedding, I'm booking family sessions or camping with the fam.
Sunday, is my yoga day, a day for me to relax and rest and restore.  I try not to plan anything for Sundays, but usually end up doing henna in the afternoons or meeting up with family.
I have to keep my weeks flexible and organized. I book out most of my life months in advance, which is really hard for family and friends, but you can ask me what I'm doing in 6 months and I'll usually have an answer, but on the contrary I have to be able to go with the flow and move around my life to accommodate last minute work and scheduling conflicts. I always write in my planner in pencil until the event passes and its another reason I love google calendar because I can move events around so easily.

Whew. That was more than I remember answering the first time around but that's what my world looks like and for those out there trying to figure out how to fit in their creative work, the answer is well... you need to be creative.  As in create time to do the things you want, in between the jobs and housework, you find the energy and flow to make things happen.  And as your business grows so does you income, meaning you can cut back hours at a job your're not passionate about and focus on your goals.  

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