Someone shared this with me recently and I can't tell you how relevant it was this past week.
When I made the decision to leave my corporate cubicle job, it was an easy one. Don't get me wrong- I'd been thinking about THE STUDIO as a business idea for about a year, consulted friends and family, and reviewed and prepared my finances to be able to make this a reality. I'd been working on the side to get to the point where I was ready to kick off on my own and I don't look back or regret that choice in the least.
In my experience thus far, I can say there are many benefits and a few tales of caution that come with the journey that is entrepreneurship. I tend to be a good news first type of person, so let me share those with you. The biggest benefit to going out on my own has been the enormous weight that's been lifted off my spirit. Let me explain - I wasn't happy in corporate life and hadn't been for a while. Every day I woke up, I felt this sense of dread spread over my entire body as I forced myself into the office each day. You may be thinking - it's work, it's not meant to be fun. While I can't justify my sense of entitlement in having a job that I love, I can say that I knew I was wasting my talent and losing myself in that environment. I had this feeling that I could be doing so much more towards making my dreams come true and I wanted to at least try. That first Monday on my own left me with the feeling that I could accomplish anything, but here's the thing - something else happens that you don't understand until you're in the same situation.
That weight off your spirit is replaced with another equally enormous weight of responsibility and anxiety. You suddenly realize the safety net of a corporate job no longer exists and you are entirely responsible for your success and failure. And I'll admit, for someone who's a bit of a flake, this is a large undertaking. It's true that when you own your own business, that's all you think about from the moment you wake up until the moment you go to sleep. The interesting part to me is that I enjoy it - because I enjoy what I'm doing, it really doesn't feel like work. I want to caveat this by saying that I'm still in business building mode, so within this stage - it's easy to ideate since I'm not working against hard deadlines and looming monthly sales goals.
In the past few weeks, my goals have been to focus on building a community. As you may have seen, I started up a Meetup group where artists and creatives can come together with like-minded individuals and engage in art events or simply meet and network with others in their industry. It's been a huge learning opportunity for me not only in better understanding what the artists may need in a workspace, but in how to activate individuals with common interests.
Here's an example of the highs and lows that come with this business. We've had a few meetings thus far that I felt were quite successful, and the feedback from the attendees is positive, but I fear that isn't enough. This past weekend, I had an event setup for members to see a Dali exhibition and was disappointed when only a few people who'd RSVP'd actually showed.
I'm having a difficult time figuring out how to get people to engage. It's an elusive action that has to be sincere and even when you create activities around similar interests - it's all too easy to flake out. I'm starting to better understand the saying: Showing up is 80% of life. I am genuine in my hope that people are looking for the community that I see so clearly in my mind, and from all of the conversations I've had - it sounds like artists are looking for it too. How do we get the commitment and engagement that we need to make it a reality?
If anyone reads this blog, I'd love to hear from you with any thoughts you may have. This is a riddle I won't be able to solve on my own.