Every worthwhile accomplishment, big or small, has its states of drudgery and triumph; a beginning, a struggle, and a victory.
Now, running a business is certainly not on the same level as liberating a country, but Ghandi’s statement still rings true for me in the context of my creative business journey.
If you’ve been in business for any length of time, you will have discovered that there is a WHOLE lot more ‘drudgery’ involved that you first thought. Drudgery being endless email, admin, stocktaking, organizing, packing… and even, perhaps, the actual making of your products. Now, I get a lot of satisfaction out of the business side of what I do – learning new skills and techniques, etc. – so it’s not the business ‘stuff’ per se that is drudgery, it’s more the repetitive tasks that hold no challenge. I’m a bit Gen Y like that – I like being challenged to learn new things constantly, and get bored if that’s not happening.
I designed my Epheriell range so that almost every piece I sell is remakeable. On one hand, this saves me an immense amount of drudgery – the photographing, editing, writing descriptions, tagging – because when something sells, all I have to do is hit the ‘relist’ button (or, nothing at all on my own site).
However, when you’re making the same pair of earrings for the 234th time, a certain sense of drudgery is certainly present.
I’m going to make a pretty solid assumption here: You got into your business because you loved creating things.
You love working with your materials to create something new and challenging. That’s where we feel the buzz, the satisfaction of creation, when it all works out and voila, we’ve brought something new into being.
However, the day-to-day business of, well, business involves an awful lot of non-creative tasks that are unavoidable. Sometimes, it gets to the point where we feel that we are doing nothing BUT these unavoidable non-creative tasks. And that just sucks the joy out of it all, doesn’t it?
The only way around this that I have found is to deliberately carve out ‘creative time.’
This is time where we set aside those ever-present ‘to-dos’ and just allow ourselves the space to create. The way I do this with my jewellery business is to release collections twice a year – kinda like the fashion houses do. This means I am forced to be creative! I have to come up with a coherent range of pieces, make them, perfect them, and then share them with the world.
This process satisfies my creative needs, and reminds me why I started my business in the first place: because I loved creating!
Do you find it a struggle to balance drudgery & creativity in your business? How do you deal with it?