In July I will have been running my business for two years. But until this January I wasn’t doing it full time. Short term contracts and part time work have helped to keep the pressure off periodically and ensure some level of sanity but it was time to take the plunge.
And even though it’s only been three months since I took the leap I am already doubting that I’ll ever be able to make this work enough to call it a full time job that feels successful. I am feeling financially vulnerable even though I love everything that I am doing right now. And that makes it bitter sweet because financially I am in no position to make any financial mistakes. And that in turn overshadows the enjoyment I get from what I do.
Whilst I may be churning out plenty of work of the standard I wanted to reach by now I am not making enough to support myself on even a basic level. I realise I am far from alone in this.
One of the problems with being a creative is that unless you have a commercial client base you are probably not making enough to live on. There are several reasons for this.
– Constantly battling against the competition offering the same services for nothing;
– Customers who seem to think that creative means they can haggle at any cost;
– Creativity is undermined as an industry despite it being an intrinsic part of our every day lives;
– It is an over saturated market (see my first point).
It’s these things that make me doubt the financial expectations of what I am doing. If top American brands can struggle to keep their heads above water (look at the recent case of L’Wren Scott) then what chance have I of building an empire of my own?
I am currently at a turning point where the next few months are going to be the deciding factor in the longevity of my current plan of action. Enough freelance contracts will govern whether I can tick over whilst I continue to build on what I already have or if I have to take drastic measures in order to keep a roof over my head and food in my fridge. I am rapidly approaching those crossroads.
I read an interesting blog called ‘10 Questions To Ask Yourself Before Giving Up On Your Dream‘. All my responses suggest I should not give up. Tailoring my plan may be my only option but a part of me wants to self punish for not being better at it by giving up completely. The only problem is that the world looks very bleak without the goal because it’s been the focus of my entire life and it’s what I do.
I never expected to be running a multi million pound empire, a string of shops or be taking over the runway at Fashion Week but I thought I could put my flag in one corner of this industry and say ‘This is mine. This is my success’.
A part of me doubts this now. Another part of me says, just another corner to turn.