In August I started a creative business: Creativity Coaching Canada. Over the last couple decades, the ideas for this work came to me in pieces. One afternoon this summer the pieces fit together and the vision was clear. I decided to jump in with what I had and to learn and grow alongside the business.
Some mornings everything makes sense. Other mornings I wonder if I may have taken on too much, too soon. When is the right time to start a business and follow a vision? How prepared does one need to be?
Impulsively starting a business has happened to me before. I opened a small press the same way: with a whoosh and a swish. I loved running Sunshine in a Jar Press. It’s still quietly alive publishing eChapbooks as part of my work as Poet Laureate. For the bigger projects, I learned that it would be much more enjoyable if I had the resources to hire staff.
The main benefit to starting a side business when you already have a full time job is that nearly every decision can be made from a place of joy. Since my days are already so full, I want my ‘downtime’ to be free, to only include the tasks and activities I enjoy. I don’t have time in my evenings and on weekends to spare and working as a principal in a large 900-student elementary school is more than a full workload. My side business needs to feel like play.
Learning in My Creative Business
It’s not where this work started yet it’s always on my mind. I want to minimally attract enough business that I can break even on the costs of running the business. After four months I’m just over a quarter of the way there in terms of covering the start-up and running costs (which doesn’t include any of my time or energy). It looks likely that I may break even on the money I invested by next August if the business continues to grow at the same rate. Phew.
The money part of the business is a source of stress for me so that is likely why it came up first. It isn’t easy asking people to pay for services. It’s the psychological challenge of accepting fees for a service rendered that I’m not used to navigating. By day I work in a salaried job that doesn’t provide compensation based on effort or time or me.
Working in education, the salary magically appears in my account every two weeks. It doesn’t feel connected to me or the value I offer the school board. My motivation to work hard comes from the impact on the lives of students and staff. I feel grateful for this privilege and stability.
Working for myself, every dollar earned feels like I’ve pulled it through an old ringer washer and felt the strain of it moving through me as I move it into my business account. The value I offer through the work seems vital to the honour of accepting payment. Payment is necessary as an energy exchange–this is a mantra I remind myself of a few times a week!
One thing I want to continue to learn is how to work through the feelings connected to money.
Time is precious for everyone. In this business I want to value my time and your time. The work we do together needs to be meaningful for both of us. It’s connected to the energy exchange too. Input and output. Time is a sacred exchange.
Being smart about my time is important to me. I want ensure that I have enough time and focus for my day job working in a school, scheduling Creativity Coaching business only on evenings, weekends, or vacation time.
Often I dream about more time for this work or how it would grow if I were able to give this work my full-time energy. For now, it’s like I have a greenhouse out back where I can play on evenings and weekends in between relaxing, connecting with friends and family, engaging in my community projects, or writing poetry. The biggest challenge: How can I share this new ‘greenhouse’ that I’m excited about with others?
Over the next few months I want to continue to learn how to balance my time so it is helping more people while maintaining a healthy energy exchange. I want to learn how to continue to attract more of the right people to attend the classes and learn with us. So far I’ve been so blessed by the talented group of nearly 60 creatives who’ve joined us.
The mission of Creativity Coaching Canada is to bring creative abundance and prosperity into the lives of others. I love the freedom that having my own business gives me and even though it is many hours of hard work, it is a greenhouse I’m willing to build and nurture through every season.