Editor’s Note: Welcome to the fourth post in Erin Duncan’s (wrenbirdarts) monthly Dear Handmade Life column focusing on self-care for creatives. If you didn’t catch Erin’s other posts you can check them out here: 5 tips to analyze your work routine for maximum productivity, Three Reasons to Make a ‘Way-to-go’ List Right Now!, Why Taking Time Out for Self-care Makes your Creative Business Stronger. Now onto Erin. -Nicole S.
When you are hatching your plan for starting up your magnificent craft business everything is exciting and fresh… And a little scary. It can be all consuming and the only thing that you think about and talk about to anyone who will listen. Then one day your little business is ticking along and you remember that there is life outside of this sweet business you’ve created.
I regularly write about self-care as it relates to being a creative business owner, and taking time out to take care for just you, not business owner you but real-live person you. I believe that it’s just as important to set boundaries between your business and yourself. You are NOT your business.
I think, as creatives, this is one of the hardest parts, and I’ll be the first one to admit, that I struggle to separate my life and my business all the time. Here are a few simple truths that I try to remember to keep my business and personal life separate.
1) Not everyone is going to love your what you make. Do not take it personally, this is going to happen for as long as you are in business. It is not an affront to your talent.
2) You will not love working for yourself every single day. This does not mean that you made a terrible decision to start a business. Sometimes even the raddest business is just work at times. There are bound to be tasks that you’d rather not do (for me, it’s bookkeeping), but keep slogging through those grueling tasks, and you’ll get back to the parts that you love.
3) Do not let the financial health of your business determine your happiness. Money is another uncomfortable subject, and it’s stressful, but very much a constant. Whether your business is slow or booming, you are still the same person.
4) Stop comparing yourself to other creatives based on their social media profiles. Part of having that wonderfully creative brain is making everything look seamlessly shiny and witty. At some point everyone posts something onto their Instagram while lying on the couch and eating frozen pizza.
5) Not every idea is brilliant. That’s right, we all have some downright terrible product ideas. Throw those bad ideas into the scrap pile, and focus on the great designs that really take off, and pat yourself on the back.
And here’s the best part, once you are at the point when these are relatable issues, YOU, my friend, have put in the hard work and are officially a creative business owner. I joined these ranks about 3 1/2 years ago. I still worry, and probably work more than I would if I had a “regular” job, but I wouldn’t trade being the owner of my handmade business for the ease of a seperate personal life.
Erin “Wren” Duncan is the owner and handmaker behind wrenbirdarts. She is a former bookseller, barista, grantwriter, event planner, and real estate agent with a Master’s in Social Work. Erin is known for her sometimes cheeky, hand embroidered hankies. Her work has been featured on Buzzfeed, HuffPost, Glamour Magazine, and in several local and international print magazines. Erin lives in Seattle, where you’ll find her walking around exploring farmers markets, the local craft beer scene, and scoping out local businesses. You can follow her on social media @wrenbirdarts.