Lina and Vi: Keeping Inspired When a Hobby Turns into a Business

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Keeping Inspired When a Hobby Turns into a Business

 I've hit the half way point with the large order of burlap bags. This is the single largest order I have ever had, and it has required a lot more planning and structure than I've used with past projects. In the last few weeks, I have spent my nights and weekends sourcing material, cutting out hundreds of pieces, printing hang-tags, and sewing everything together. The prep has been over half the time of total production time. There is burlap scattered around our clothes and home, and I'm starting to wonder if I should be concerned about the amount of interfacing glue I am inhaling at my ironing board.

It's interesting what happens to my mindset when there are deadlines, budgets, and specific requirements on a sewing project. The freedom to choose whatever designs I prefer or even take some time to work on a different project is now bounded by my customer's request and timeline, which is exactly how it should be when my customer is putting their trust in me. I am certain this is a common shift for many of us who have taken a hobby and turned it into a business.

As I enter my third week of this large project, I have begun to think more about what keeps me, and every other maker out there, inspired each day when each day begins to feel like the same.  It seems that a hobby starts to take the shape of work, like something we have to do rather than what we chose to do. Beyond that though, we keep creating. We keep making, even if it means cutting one more piece of burlap or trashing the entire sheet of hang-tags and starting over again. This goes for anything we truly love - when the going gets tough, it's really then that we decide our level of commitment. We might walk away briefly to reset ourselves, but we always come back if we really love or feel called to do something. Or maybe we stop, because we can't remember what we loved about the hobby before it turned into a business.

I just wrapped up the book, Big Magic, and I mentioned in an earlier post that I found some noteworthy quotes that I wanted to share. It seems applicable to share them here as I talk through keeping inspired day in and day out when in the midst of a longer journey. So during the many hours of cutting burlap, I reflect on the messages in this book such as the ones below:

"Perfectionism stops people from completing their work, yes – but even worse, it often stops people from beginning their work. Perfectionists often decide in advance that the end product is never going to be satisfactory, so they don’t even bother trying to be creative in the first place."

"Most individuals have never had enough time, and they’ve never had enough resources, and they’ve never had enough support or patronage or reward, and yet still they persist in creating. They persist because they care. They persist because they are called to be makers, by any means necessary."

"The essential ingredients for creativity remain exactly the same for everybody: courage, enchantment, permission, persistence, trust, and those elements are universally accessible. Which does not mean that creative living is always easy; it merely means that creative living is possible."

For me, these are reminders that we aren't perfect, in our craft and in our humanity. It's okay that we don't have every resources we think we need to do something, and we probably don't need them all anyway.  And, finally, I am reminded that sewing, in my case, is my choice, even if it takes on a flavor of work at times. That's okay, because I still choose it. Despite the occasional boundaries and countless hours, I still care so much about it.

A quick reminder that the last day we are accepting Etsy orders to be shipped in May is Tuesday. All shipping will resume on Monday the 6th.


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