Let's talk business. Now before we get into it let me be clear. This is not a "How to Start a Successful Business Guide". This is merely a reflection over my own business faux pas' and how I hope to do better in the future. Like many people during the pandemic, I started my business. There was just one issue. I didn't have a plan. I didn't even have revenue that could successfully run the business or money to really invest into it or a clue as to what I was doing. I knew enough to get started but it had no sustainability. Now that's bad business.
I've wanted my own business for years. I used to surprise people with my interest in starting a non-profit that uplift artist and to hopefully open it up to others who wanted to teach or do art therapy. It would be for the community. Does this at all sound familiar? UrbArts now Urbstetiks, Inc was the non-profit that I could get behind because it was so much like my own vision. Which is why I'll probably go hard for Urbstetiks until I am old.
I put the cart before the horse. I saw marginal success with my artist career, my fitness videos, and my contract work so why not just put it under the LLC. Let me just start by saying that I walked away for more than just a new career. Making money as a artist is complicated and I wanted to be legit. The more success you see the more you need to prepare for taxes. The bigger the show or venue means the more you need to pay a crew. The vision of not just paying yourself but other artist or workers means that you need to fund a payroll. One thing became clear as crystal to me. I could slack on my own dollar, but when it came to how I wanted to also see others succeed I needed to go back to the drawing board of how to truly fund what I could see.
Taking my time in coming back to it all has given me clarity. I could easily write a grant or fellowship application now knowing what I know to go where I need to. It just took time. I had to do my research. I'm still learning a lot but I know that when I go full force I'll be prepared. I'm developing the plan because I started a business and "failed". The truth is I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by how fast it all can happen. It's weird to think that in just 3 years I've learned so much. It doesn't make me want to do it all over, but it does make me want to use more wisdom in the present and in the future.
I look forward to sharing my business endeavors as they flesh themselves out and become fully formed. I have more of a business mind than I ever thought I would. The best thing about the world today is you can learn almost anything at any age.
I excitedly refresh my screen to see my grades for the semester in our dim office. A satisfied smile creeps onto my lips as the screen shows my transcript grades. Halleluiah! I am officially done with my first year of grad school and chile' let me tell you... I am so proud of myself! I know they say GPA doesn't matter, but ya girl got three A's this past semester. That is something undergrad me didn't do until senior year.
A big part of it is that I love my program. I love that I get to nerd out and learn some things that I never thought I'd want to know like UX and UI. A part of me sometimes questions if I've moved on from the artist phase in my life, but actually I've been able to be more in tune now with my creative side. Moving into my other loves of videography and photography. I also am enjoying the process of writing just for me. Since I'm not JUST in a library school, I attend a Information Science program that means that I can learn things other than library information. I can also tickle the foot of my coding digital side.
I decided that I want to take my time and do my full two years of Grad school. This means that this time next year I'll be a graduate! But before I celebrate. One step at a time. For now I am going to relish in this moment. I don't know if you still read this, whoever you are. But here's the update.
Leaving my stuffy cubicle for a life of artistry was a great decision. It gave me the freedom to explore my options creatively instead of doing the norm. Now I can live, work, and create on my own dime. However, I still work a 9-5 because a full time artist life is hard with no funding.
I came up with the title "Getting fired was the best" a little over a year ago. (Horrible title) But 2015 wasn't a great year. I think at the time I was actually proud of my mistake because it gave me the freedom to explore career options and gain some confidence in ways I hadn't yet. However, this statement was dripping in sarcasm, Getting fired was NOT the best. It was beyond stressful, BUT through that I learned to take those lemons and throw them out the window. (Safely of course).
We have to stop putting ourselves in jobs we hate. I'm not saying don't work, but be smarter about your choices because we do have a choice in all of this. Of course life makes us feel backed into this corner with only one real option out, but look for the gap. The way of escape and decide. Is that path better than this one? If the answer is yes then run for it. If not then stay exactly where you are and be happy with it because YOU CHOSE.
Now here are a few things I've learned career wise so far.
Interviews are just as much for you as your employer
They want to get to know you, to see how your set of skills mesh with their company, and guess what so are you. You want to know if you can see yourself in this place a year from now, five, ten, or more. Is this the right fit for you? Don't be afraid to ask them questions. Prepare a list of a few things you actually want to know. I've been there. With the whole I just want to be hired mentality willing to SETTLE for ANYTHING... Now this will sound good in practice actually doing it will be a whole other practice. This is where you have to be confident about who you are, know what your strengths are so you can sell that to your employer, and know when to walk away. Now I'm over here cringing because to me this is silly. I don't want to SELL myself to the man. To Uncle Sam. Or any big corporations out there. But I also know that in order to gain the experience I need work has to be done.
This leads to my second point...
Do Not Settle
One of the worst things you could do is settle for whatever job comes along that will have you working paycheck to paycheck, but you know you can't stand it. If you can't deal with retail. Do not take the retail job. That seems simple, but when your options are slime you have got to get resourceful. Develop the HUSTLE. Cause baby let me tell you without a hustling spirit your bags will be packed faster than you can say independence and you'll be right back in your momma's house thinking of all the ways ish has definitely hit the fan.
Speaking of hustle...
Get to Know Your Work Ethic
For me this meant learning the hard way I am not an entrepreneur, yet. The business side of life eludes me. My creative eye though, my imaginative spirit, and my drive work extremely hard. Yet I know I can't use skills I haven't developed and business is not something I've spent a lot of time grooming. I've done A LOT for my business so far, but my work ethic tells me that I've got the plan, design, hours spent in rehearsal/studio/journal BUT not a stable business plan, That's cool though cause I have a job I actually like. I've spent years doing things just to make the money. It wasn't until I lost my job, tried to do my own thing, failed to hustle, and found myself back at a desk while working on my stuff after (and during, let's get real) work hours, I do in fact have a nine to nine. As my early twenties fade into the background so does that horrible work ethic. It really takes you to sit with yourself and develop that muscle. I still have a ways to go, but I've got this!
Losing my job ultimately gave me a hard lesson. That though in your early twenties you think you know it all. You don't know anything, You're are still figuring out this adulting thing.
Fitness. Life. Art. Travel.