With a new year comes a fresh, new perspective. Almost four years ago, most people that I knew worked a 9 to 5 and were relatively content with their lives. Who would have ever expected that we would all one day be forced into a new normal; if normal is even a realistic expectation. I will never forget the twilight zone experience of standing in a line that wrapped around our local grocery store, just to buy a pack of toilet paper. I was with my sister, and I picked up a pack of toilet paper and she picked up a pack of paper towels. Immediately, a store worker told us that we could only choose one paper product, not two. I felt like I was in a bad movie.
"This can't be happening?" I thought to myself. As I looked at the store worker in disbelief.
Just the year before, I was able to walk into this very store and stock up on my normal monthly essentials. I wasn't being watched or followed up and down the aisles to make sure I wasn't hoarding products. The land of buy-one-get-one-free, suddenly felt like a third world country where abundance had quickly been replaced by lack.
Now, here we are in 2023, and the long lines, and rationing have now been replaced with mandates that have affected several of my friends and coworkers. Being told to get vaccinated or loose your job had inflicted people I know with a deep seeded fear that seemed worse than the virus itself. Even writing this blog has me feeling very emotional. Seeing what this fear did to people close to me has been so heartbreaking.
Several of my friends currently work from home, while others have been forced to reinvent themselves and enter the ring of entrepreneurship. Truthfully, with the increase in the cost of living, many people need to work at least two jobs just to make ends meet. Now don't get me wrong. I have always loved the idea of entrepreneurship. Working for myself always had a certain appeal. I'm sure it has for many people. However, that same appeal can dwindle quickly when the reality of sink or swim enters the picture. Yes, you're your own boss. Whether or not you make enough money to cover your monthly bills and still show a profit, depends on how hard you are willing to work for yourself. Being an entrepreneur is not easy. It's not impossible either.
Although I still work a full time job, my passion is my design business and this blog. I currently give a portion of my day to a job that pays me a steady check. When I clock out I pour everything that I have into working harder for myself. Why, you might ask. Why don't I just keep grinding at my 9 to 5 until retirement? Well, here's my reason in a nutshell. I want to create a life for myself and for my family that is meaningful to me. My 'Why' or my 'meaningful,' is having the freedom to spend quality time with my parents who are now in their 80's; both of them healthy and strong, praise God! I want to travel with them and be there for them in this precious season of life, which is why I am working hard now so that I can leave my 9 to 5. I have always wanted to work for myself, but have gained a whole new perspective of my entrepreneurship since 2022. Being told by my employer, that vaccinations were now 'strongly recommended', or that I would have to test myself once a week to keep my job, caused me to do what's innate in all of us when backed against a wall; pivot.
My little, entrepreneurial flame became a roaring fire! I became a student of knowledge and dove into webinars and how-to books on building a business. My dad has always said that the smartest man in a room is not the man who has all the answers, but the man who knows where to find the answers. If you want to know how to start a drop-ship business. Research it. If you want to know how to turn your talent to draw into a financially thriving career, Google can be your best friend; it can lead you to articles about commercial licensing, to successful artists whose stories can help direct you to the right niche for your particular artistic talent. My research lead me to the world of art licensing.
These days, I am happily growing my business and even curating beautiful artwork that helps other artists worldwide to get much needed exposure for their incredible talents. One such company that has helped me to do this is Creative Market. I joined this wonderful community of artists and have not only licensed some stellar artwork, like logos and mockups, from artists on this platform, but I also share their talented work through my website, this blog, and through social media platforms. Artists supporting artists! If you are in need of a logo, template, 3D illustrations, or even photo enhancements for your business, I encourage you to take a look at this amazing community of artists.
Whatever these last four years have brought into your life, whether or not you have felt like you have been knocked off your course, I hope you pivot in a way that brings out the fight in you to never give up! You are stronger my friend, than what has tried to bring you down. I'm not saying this because it's easy. I'm saying it because I know how hard it is. I've lost friends and family to COVID. I've been angry. I've even allowed bitterness to creep in at times. But I realized that such bitterness, if left to it's own devices, would be to my detriment, and not to that of the people or society that has tried to force me into doing something that I don't feel comfortable doing. This is not a blog piece about politics. It's about encouraging people to rise above very difficult circumstances and find the strength to create, thrive, adjust your sail when need be, and live with great intention. I'm preaching to the choir! I'm an artist and I am an advocate at heart, for embracing one's authenticity and sharing it with the world.
Live well my friends,