Been doing a lot of reflecting lately, and involved in lots of interesting discussions… I find myself between two worlds.Â One world is filled with artists and entrepreneurs.Â As I made the move to self-employment, along the way I made a lot of entrepreneurial friends and mentors, and newsletter writers who felt like companions even if we’d never met.Â Before I knew these people I had a mental stereotype of what self-employment like– and how many people could possibly be enjoying it.Â There was a certain “fairy tale” aspect to the whole thing.Â I didn’t think I could really do it, so I didn’t quite believe many others could either.
The other world is filled with people who don’t believe in the fairy tale.Â Or believe it is a fairy tale.Â That you can’t exist without a “proper” job, or at least a spouse or trust fund to support your crazy dreams.Â I mean, I get it.Â I used to be in this camp, or at least close enough to understand it.Â It’s like when your mom wishes you’d have a child just like you.Â You learn from it.Â Or at least you get to experience the same crap that somebody before you did.
So my day job went away, and the sky didn’t fall in, and I’m making a living and paying my bills and feeding my child.Â And I love love what I do.Â And I try to explain that that to people who think it’s a fairy tale.Â And do you know, I get the craziest responses.Â A few people have not so subtly suggested that I am lying, which is kind of an interesting thing… I tend to speak from personal experience, so it’s hard to fit dishonesty into that equation.Â But interesting that the “fairy tale” response can be so strong.
Lisa Call wrote an interesting blog post discussing her decisions surrounding her day job.Â The sentence that caught my eye was this:
We must trade our time and talents in exchange for money.
Yup.Â That’s it in a nutshell.Â The difference between a “job” and a “career” is whether we primarily trade time or talents.Â And the difference with a satisfying career is how much those talents are appreciated.
So if that’s the whole equation, what difference does it make whether the money comes from individual customers or a corporate paystub?Â It’s all good as green.Â It’s interesting that the process of earning money is so distinct from our work experience –not only does the average worker not handle cash, but with direct deposit doesn’t even have to ever see or sign a check.Â It’s similar to how much of our food comes to us in sanitary packages with little connection to the earth it came from.Â (Mind, I’m a huge fan — if I had to kill a chicken or make my own pasta for dinner, I’d have starved as soon as the cereal ran out.)
Still, it is a foreign system once you no longer take it for granted.Â There’s something very authentic about earning your income directly from your customers.Â There’s an accountability and an integrity present — things that should be a part of every business, but often get lost in the scale. And there’s a deeper connection to the process of spending the money, which is quite lovely. (Truly I’ve never felt so excited to pay my mortgage as the first time I did so completely from my art sales.)
So trade your time and talents for money. And sprinkle in your dreams, and your visions, and your ideals. Because it all tastes a little sweeter when it is seasoned with all of the things authentically you.
with love and reflection………………..C.