Updated: Jul 18
I’ve been all over the map in the last seven months. From the highest highs, to the lowest lows. One minute I’m conquering the world, the next minute I’m heading back to the safe route. Transitioning from Corporate to Entrepreneurship is not easy. It’s a major shift. Especially as a Creative. It’s filled with ebb and flow and if you’re not careful you can get lost quick. Lately, I felt like I was missing something, something was off. After hitting a low point I realized what it was - my mindset was off. I got lost in my head. Lost in my intention. I let the fear of the unknown guide me down paths I’ve not known. At times I felt like an imposter. Who am I to be selling my art for money? What makes my work that special?
I have no shortage of work to do, between my carving backlog and the barn restoration, my days are filled and often chaotic. Anxiety would flood my mind. How the hell was I going to get all of this shit done? I need to automate, simplify and carve quicker I determined!
And just like that I was willing to ditch my creativity, my uniqueness, what makes my work me – for what? Ease of “manufacturing” instead of creating? Produce a “product” not Art faster? Just to feel like I was getting ahead of the curve?
I then took a step back and hit pause. I was at a crossroads. I was either getting off this train and heading back to what was comfortable or I was going to truly dig in, get really uncomfortable and change my mindset. Truly allow myself to set myself apart from the artists that I’ve admired. Allow my creative mindset to take over. Use fear as an accelerator, not a detractor. Expect success, while knowing there will be major bumps and rejections along the way.
Here’s 3 things that have made a difference for me:
1. Truly Tap into the Creative Mindset
Stopped overthinking and started doing. Stopped planning and started executing. Started listening to my gut. Allowed my Creativity to flow unencumbered, not measured against others. Not making Art based on what I thought would sell. But making Art that moved me, interested me, challenged me. Through this I would gain authenticity in my work. My voice would start to be exposed in my work and this stamp would make the piece unique to me. To do this my Creative Mindset had to change. Stop caring what others would think and set my own course. Determined to let my voice come through in each piece that I completed. A shift in mindset, indeed.
2. Business is Business
Transitioning from Corporate to running your own business may sound somewhat simple on paper. Especially if you’ve been in Operations, Finance, Marketing or Sales. You have a broad understanding of what it takes. But let me tell you there’s so much more. Even for a simple Art Business. You’re it. You’re the entire company. You can’t kick off an email and send things over the wall. They just land right back in your lap. I underestimated the amount of work it would take to stand up my little LLC and grow it. When things got tough I allowed it to be an excuse, another reason to go back to what felt safe and comfortable. Didn’t want my Art to feel “like work” is what I would say. That’s just being lazy. Business is business. You’re the only one that knows what you can deliver and produce. In order to get this out to the world you need to run your business, like a business. Take the reins, understand what’s needed. Know it will be tough. Know the end or the beginning of each day YOU will be ensuring your business is up to date. Plans are in place. Weekly and Quarterly goals are set and that you’re tracking to them. Just like you did in the Corporate World. When you were thinking about how cool it would be to own your own business, these things seemed shinier, more romantic. You got your product or service, just need to print some business cards, pull together a cool looking website, get IG and LI going and then wham-o. Magically you’re in business. Doesn’t even come close to that. Business is business. You know it. Your mindset, once again, needs to shift and drive this home.
3. Fear as an Accelerator, Not a Detractor
We’ve all felt fear before. We’ve all allowed fear to take us into dark places and cause us to make decisions we would later regret. But fear can also be a guide. It can drive us and propel us if we treat it right. Fear can wipe your grand ideas right off the proverbial table in seconds. You can spend days and hours working on an idea and just seconds or minutes to just throw it away if you allow fear to control the next move. When I now feel fear creeping in I explore it. Try to understand exactly what I’m fearing, what’s making me feel unsettled, then I take those things and break them down. If there’s real concerns I mitigate any risks. Getting that down on paper and feeling like I completely understand the concerns and have a risk mitigation plan in place, allows me to move forward, not backward. The rest is just noise. Just your brain doing it’s thing. Going through this filtering exercise builds muscle, so the filtering can get easier over time. You can quickly hone in on what’s really driving your worries, if any. Taking fear from being a detractor and slowing you down, to being an accelerator is key. By elevating legit concerns and allowing yourself to attack them head-on allows you to move quickly and more importantly stay confident and positive about what you’ve got planned.
If you’re going through a career transition or you're someone who is creative and is ready to explore your talents further, I hope this helps you. It’s a journey. Would love to hear what you’ve done to get yourself unstuck and moving forward.