Creative Doesn’t Mean Being an Entrepreneur

Being creative and making Art is one of the most satisfying feelings that I experience.

However, having to create or own a business, draft up the perfect plan, and all, just before you can get started” can be putting the cart before the horse. You don’t need to be an entrepreneur to be a maker.

Enjoy making jewelry by hand? Great. Make it for you. Don’t feel as if you have to set up shop on Etsy just because you are good at it. But my friends all suggest I should!”

Make it for you. No pressure. Just make it.

Over time, if you find that it’s right, a business will grow around your Art. It will shift from being something you do in your free time to something that can sustain you.

However, if you try to start something a business for the sake of starting a business, it won’t grow. It’s like trying to chase love. You have to be a whole person first. As with finding your niche, you have to scratch your own itch first.

Businesses give structure to something bigger than you. Once your Art grows bigger than you, then it is time to give it the means to grow; the framework.

In the mean time, enjoy creating.

January 25, 2016 inspire

A Sure Bet

Most artists are gamblers; they are impulsive people who don’t plan ahead.” This concept has been in the forefront of my mind for months now. The discovery was made in a conversation with my brother. We’ve seen this first hand in a few serial entrepreneurs” that we’ve known. Start an idea, run with it for a little bit, and then let it drop or die off. Repeat.

I’ve done this myself.

I used to think this was a negative trait.

It’s not having an unfinished idea” that is negative. It’s not risk that is negative. It’s not the notion of gambling that is negative.

In her book Big Magic, Elizabeth Gilbert speaks of a painter friend who also pointed out that most artists are gamblers. He made note of this on why art students get degrees. However, this can apply to any project or endeavour. He says,

Gambling is a dangerous habit. But whenever you make art, you’re always gambling. You’re rolling the dice on the slim odds that your investment of time, energy, and resources now might pay off later in a big way— that somebody might buy your work, and that you might become successful.

Elizabeth Gilbert continues this thought by saying…

You must be willing to take risks if you want to live a creative existence. But if you’re going to gamble, know that you are gambling.

…and finally…

And make certain that you can actually cover your bets (both emotionally and financially).

…and that was the missing piece of the puzzle.

Yes, it is gambling. That’s okay. Just make sure it is a sure bet. One that you can cover both emotionally and financially. If you are going to risk it all make sure that it is a thoughtful conscious decision to do so. Just don’t bet more than you’re willing to lose.

Better yet, create Art with calculated risk.
Do boring work, so that you can create Art for yourself.
Devote your free time to creating your Art.

January 22, 2016 inspire

Tribes or the Inspiration of Life

The Internet has made it so much easier to find people just like us. The slightly odd, wonderful, and a taste that is as unique as our fingerprint.

Before, media dictated the standard in preferences: music, fashion, culture, food, etc; People followed in step. There was an illusion of choice, but it was dictated by a few.

That world tries to hang on to its heritage. The shadow of it still exists.

We live in truly special time.

Create. Share your art. Express yourself. Find others that spark your interest. Collaborate. Be inspired. Inspire others. It is a beautiful cycle.

Holding a firm grip onto information, your ideas, and insights only hurt you. Set them free. Share. Only by letting go, can something grow.

Many times it will grow bigger than yourself.

June 10, 2015 inspire

Creating New Mental Pathways

Early On

When I was young, my parents bought me a book about Abraham Lincoln. The intended audience was geared towards kids. I remember being impressed that Abraham Lincoln taught himself how to read and write. He had a love of reading and read whatever he could get his hands on.

This impressed me so much. I thought to myself, If he can teach himself how to read then I can teach myself to do anything.”

That started my love of reading. I’ve been self-educated my entire life. Any interest that crossed my mind would have me burrowed at the local library in a mound of books. Many memories of my childhood were spent in libraries. I love it.

Once the Internet became mainstream, I was amazed at the amount of information one could absorb. At age 13, I taught myself HTML. At age 15, I was working on learning CSS and Javascript. By age 16, I had created my first e-commerce client website. It was for a local trophy shop.

Mental Fatigue

There are times that I feel worn out after a long day’s work. Why? It is emotional labor. When you boil down what I do for a living to it’s simplest form, it is problem-solving”. When crafting a user experience, you take the business goal and provide the simplest way possible for the user to achieve said goal.

That takes a lot of iteration, refining, and thoughtful consideration.

After Age 25

If you don’t spend a lifetime of learning, you’ll start to set your worldview in stone.

By the time we get to the age of 25, we just have so many existing pathways that our brain relies on, it’s hard to break free of them.

Source: What it takes to change your brain’s patterns after age 25 via Fast Company

Thankfully, I work in technology. The industry is always changing and always evolving. Processes, frameworks, and tools change every 2 years and the pace only seems to continue to march faster.

I have to stay up to date. I’m always reading. I make an effort to be constantly learning.

In the past, I’ve worked with some folks who got their education, started working on the day-to-day tasks, and forgot to stay current. It can be tempting to wear down a rut and continue doing what feels safe. However, the danger lies in that you blink and the world has changed around you.

I never want this to happen to me.

Repetition and Practice

Learning and making new connections don’t last for long–unless you practice them. You have to make them into new habits for it to stick. Practicing builds muscle memory.

Do we want to be better at sketching our designs and how our users might use them? We need to practice our sketching. Drawing the same design elements or scenes repeatedly teaches our muscles to sketch quicker.

Source: Developing a UX Practice of Practicing (mirror)

Focus on learning something new.

Spend your extra time in a book, try a new experience, learn a craft, and expand your worldview. Then keep it up, practice, and master it.

Once you feel it has been mastered, move on to the next adventure, or try something that compliments what you’ve just learned, and learn again. And again. It never stops.

That alone is so fulfilling.

June 8, 2015 inspire

Create Art, Happiness Follows

When reading Stumbling on Happiness, by Dan Gilbert, while waiting on the bus, the thought hit me:

If you seek happiness, you’ll find despair. If you chase after money, it will never show up. If you obsess to be successful, life will be average. If searching for your true love, loneliness is found.

For some reason, universally, the things that we chase the most are often what eludes us. We seek the end result of the effort, not the underlining motivator. To make a million dollars” is a bad reason to start a business. There is no focus and you will spin in a thousand directions to make money. To make the best socks on the planet” is a perfect reason. Create it, refine it, find your audience and the money will take care of itself.

Lisa Frank has a poster in her corporate offices Arizona:

Our Company was built on a passion. Not to make money, but to make art and share it with the world. If you create something of value, the sales will come.”

After having reading Seth Godin’s Linchpin, finally, on September 3rd of 2012, I had an aha moment of what it means to be happy:

Happiness is sustained fulfillment.
Fulfillment is born out of creating art.

An artist isn’t someone who puts paint on paper. Someone who creates art, is one who puts their everything into their craft, skill, work, etc. Constantly refining, refusing to settle, and standing out above the crowd. It is scary to put yourself out there. But it must be done. The world needs your art.

Creating art happens in a cycle. Work allows us to be able to fund our art until our art becomes self-sustaining, which in turn allows you to create more art.

Work becomes a job” when the time needed creeps into one’s ability to create art. A job isn’t something that you love but something you do to sustain yourself. It enables your art. If you do what you love, make your art, and that happens to be your place of employment then congratulations that is the sweet spot of all three.

Now go make some art. The world needs it. You need it.

Bonus Material

The video shown below is a short film that Urban Outfitters put together after a visit with Lisa Frank herself.

Dan Gilbert’s Ted Talk:

Happiness is like a butterfly; the more you chase it, the more it will elude you, but if you turn your attention to other things, it will come and sit softly on your shoulder.”– Henry David Thoreau

September 11, 2013 inspire