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What To Do… {part two}

I’ve been dying to sit down all week to continue our discussion, “What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do“, about how to find your calling as a creative type. I’m so pleased to know that you’re following along because I’m confident that you’ll walk away inspired no matter where you stand on your current path. Thank you for making time to read this.


I’m a believer in the power of many voices, which is why I’ve gathered opinions from artists, designers, bloggers, and other creative types over the past week, voices I find motivating and genuine, people I respect and look to as good examples because let’s face it, good examples are not always as easy to find as bad ones. What To Do… offers ideas and tips on how to find your calling from people who applied their own advice and found success. I’m sure their personal experiences will be of value and perhaps one of their voices will connect with you on a personal level and if so, I encourage you to comment and get involved in the discussion because your comments are as important as the blog posts themselves.

Before we get started I’d like to make a few things clear…

This series isn’t about bashing corporate America or to say that working for others in general isn’t a good choice. Often you can find your calling within corporate America and be quite happy there. Just because someone left their job to work for themselves doesn’t make them better or more enlightened than the person who decided to stay in their job. Even when you are your own boss you work for others. A freelance writer has obligations to their editors. An artist to their vendors. A designer to their clients. And when it comes to corporate America let’s face it, if larger companies didn’t exist here in America then smaller ones couldn’t function the same because we’re all part of a larger wheel, one economics class will teach you all you need to know about that. The canvas you buy to paint was born in a factory. I’m willing to bet that your paints came from a large corporate supplier as well. Those brushes too. We ultimately rely on the large and the small as a society. It’s not depressing, it’s just how things work.

I don’t believe that everyone needs to leave their job to pursue their own business. In fact I think that the freelance bubble will eventually burst just as the dot com era ended. Many who currently leave good jobs to freelance will not find success for one reason or another. In time the market in their new field will become saturated because the current, “there’s enough for everyone” mentality will ultimately, and unfortunately, prove flawed. Look at how graphic designers and even writers and photographers are starting to struggle due to all the newcomers soaking up current and potential clients. Some markets can only take so much. I didn’t see this a year ago but it’s crystal clear to me now that I have a few years of freelancing under my belt. There is enough if you are pursuing something as a hobby though so if you find you can’t earn a living doing what you love it doesn’t mean to throw away your passion. Make time to pursue it alongside of your day job.

I’m not a therapist nor am I a career counselor. Neither are any of the friends that I’ve invited to join us with their thoughts. This series is simply meant to encourage you and get those wheels turning, nothing more.

What To Do…
is meant to encourage and support everyone, especially if you’re looking to find your calling. Only you can decide whether or not to turn your passion into profits or to pursue them as a hobby to balance and fulfill you. I don’t encourage anyone to tell the boss to stick it and run off with passion to join the circus or be the next big thing in the design world. That choice can only be made by you. Just promise me that you won’t become a bearded lady or a clown because I’ve always been quite afraid of both. :)

It’s smart to explore all the options before taking the leap and to hear how others found success doing what they love for a living. It’s a delicate balance. One point to ponder is that perhaps you’re a great painter but if you were to quit your job to become one full-time you may fall flat. Sometimes the moment money mixes with something we love we can lose our passion, of course it depends on personality type. The stress of earning a living can negatively impact our work or how we view the very thing we once found comfort and joy in. Now when we sit down to paint, we’re not thinking of translating our feelings and ideas onto a canvas for the sheer fun of it, instead we may paint in a certain way using the more popular motifs for instance, to gain recognition and customers, to earn more money, or to see how our competition may react. For this reason and more, you have to consider all things before you embark on a career that involves earning a living from doing what you love.

If you’re just jumping in on this conversation and are a bit confused please read these two posts below so you can catch up. What To Do When You Don’t Know What To Do and What To Do {part 1}.

So with that, let’s start with our first guest to speak on the topic… Stay tuned.

(image from ez at creature comforts gussied up by holly becker)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, inspiration, small business, what to do on April 11, 2008
decor8 great.ly shop

The Boss of You {book of the week}

The Boss of You: Everything A Woman Needs to Know to Start, Run, and Maintain Her Own Business just released and it looks like a very promising read. I think this book is a perfect tie-in to our What To Do… series this week!

Authors Lauren Bacon and Emira Mears are best friends and business partners based in Vancouver, Canada who founded Raised Eyebrow Web Studio Inc., a business that primarily serves women-run small businesses, arts groups, and not-for-profit organizations. For more information please check out their fabulous blog.

Congratulations lady, you go girls!

(image from bacon and mears)

Posted in Books + Magazines, inspiration, small business on April 11, 2008

Too Much Inspiration?

Is there such a thing as having too much inspiration? I was reading a fashion design book over the weekend and learned a new perspective that I found extremely beneficial for my own work and perhaps you’ll have a few comments to leave here with thoughts on this topic as well.

While it’s important that designers always have a finger on the pulse of trends from music to art, street culture, films, fine art movements, and beyond it’s also important to avoid absorbing too much at once. The key according to what I read is to be selective with your research and disciplined in developing only a couple of well-chosen themes so that you can produce designs that are cohesive but also from the heart.

I’d like to ask you, as you click through tons of blogs, read interiors magazines, search through Flickr — can their sometimes be too much inspiration? Does it overwhelm you? Do you sometimes stand still because your choices are a bit daunting? I’d love to hear more from readers on this topic. Also, how do you stay disciplined in allowing in only what you want to inspire your creations — whether it’s your living room redesign or a painting that you’re working on?

(image from living etc)

Posted in real talk, small business on April 07, 2008

All Things Original

With a shop called All Things Original it must be quite a challenge to curate, as the name alone gives hope that you will not only be exposed to designs not seen already a thousand times over, but that everything is handmade by the maker and very, very special. All Things Original does a fantastic job at living up to it’s name…


As I click through their gorgeous product offerings, I’m reminded of how much exists out there that we still have yet to discover and it excites me because I think many worry that all this instant gratification on the web will leave us high and dry at some point with nothing left to blog about. Many readers ask me about this and my reply is always the same, I think we’ll always have plenty of new designs to be exposed to as long as these designers are supported and products are being purchased. Schools are releasing thousands of design-hungry motivated grads each year so as long as they have a place to show their work and others pushing them along to succeed, we’ll continue to have designs to drool for. In addition to the grads, we see growing numbers of men and women who may have missed their earlier calling in the arts to pursue an unrelated field only to return to art and design later in life. The massive following that the indie craft culture has right now is exciting and though I believe it will continue to gain popularity, I think that at some point it will level out a little and growth won’t be quite as aggressive as it is now. But despite all that, there is enough to go around so don’t worry. The well isn’t drying up anytime soon!


The curated collection of wares found over at All Things Original exposes us to some amazing work from homewares to furniture all from independent British designers. Ceramics by Hanna Melin, lighting by Rose Cobb, and Jo Heckett ceramics are a few of my favorites all shown above. Thanks Beverly for writing in about your unique shop!

(images from all things original)

Posted in Arts + Crafts, ceramics, designers, small business on April 07, 2008

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