I saw this picture and instantly realised that this should be my new motto. A new outlook on my creative career. I can’t even count the amount of times that people have said to me: “when are you going back to work?” or “when are you going to get a proper job then?” (Yes, believe it or not, I have actually been asked those questions!).
I guess, to an outsider, it may seem that I don’t do a lot. I sit at home, in my comfy house, with my children, and I play with string and pretty sparkly beady-things all day long. I don’t have to go out if I don’t want to; if the weather is bad, or I’m not feeling too great… Hey, I don’t even have to get dressed if I don’t want to! Wrong. So wrong. Well actually the getting dressed part would probably be true IF doing the school run in your PJ’s was acceptable! But that’s besides the point… Just because I don’t have to physically GO to work doesn’t mean I don’t have to ‘work’. In fact, it’s a lot more work to start your own business than even I anticipated!
Yes, I do get to sit and make pretty things. One of the best things about my job is that I get to create something beautiful with my own two hands. But then, I have to sell my creations. I have to advertise. I have to make myself known. I have to compete with all of those other wonderfully talented, creative minds out there that are fighting to just do what we love to do. And then, you have the other side of the business - the bit no one seems to remember! The admin side. Keeping records and receipts, writing up accounts, typing invoices, completing tax returns, organising insurance, organising and booking events, dealing with enquiries, product photography, marketing, managing various social media profiles, updating and managing a website, dealing with suppliers and stock, packaging, post runs, keeping up with orders as well as finding time to actually come up with new designs and probably fifty more little jobs that I can’t even think to type right now! And a great many of us, myself included, do all of these jobs, solo, whilst managing a family and maintaining a house – just like someone in a full-time ‘normal’ job.
In fact, in some ways, working from home is worse than a ‘normal’ job. Now, don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love what I do. Starting my own business has to be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made BUT there are some things about being self-employed that are very hard to like! Firstly, you never stop. When you have a job that actually involves physically leaving the house then there is a definitive start and end to the day. You get up and go to work at a certain time and then you stop work and come home at a certain time. Working from home, there is no end. You are always ‘at work’. Even if you schedule your work hours there’s always an “oh I’ll just answer this one last message” or “I’ll just quickly post this picture to my Facebook page” and before you know it you realise it’s the middle of the night and you should’ve given up hours ago! The worst thing though, I think, about being self-employed is that it’s ALL you. If things don’t get done, it’s on you. If something goes wrong, it’s on you. There’s a lot of pressure to deal with alone and sometimes it’s tough.
So, after all that, what would make you think that what I do isn’t a ‘real’ job? Perhaps it’s purely a lack of understanding? Or maybe it’s just a simple difference of opinion! Whatever the reason, people choose to judge. Always. Yes, I choose to stay at home and work around my family so I can take care of them. I also choose to build and run my own business. So what? I want something to build, something that I enjoy that still allows me to contribute to my family; something that I have achieved that I can be proud of. This is what I do. I don’t make for fun (although it is fun to do!) - I am not a hobbyist. I am a self-employed jewellery maker. I am professional crafter. I craft. Get over it.