Wednesday, September 7, 2011

:: as drawn in and through me ::

i drew this up quickly this morning, in a mad rush of gotta-get-this-down, and i'll grant that it's a bit hard to read and that the photo (iphone) is a bit blurred and dark, but i had to share it. it's my lightbulb-moment flash-of-genius understanding of my business. as drawn in and through me. click to see the image larger.

it's september, which for the eternal student here means it's time for reflecting on where i've been and where i'm going. and usually i sort of keep the reflection to the recent past -- no more than the last year -- but today i'm extra thinky about the further-back past.

this past year has been such a weird one. it was just about exactly this time last year that i found out i was going to be featured in brides magazine, and in the time since then i've done all kinds of stuff with an eye towards building my business.

i don't use a lot of capitals around here, not really sure why other than honest-to-god aesthetics, but that really ought to be capital-b building my capital-b-business, or at least that's how it has felt.

as i've suggested a bunch lately, it has felt a little bit wrong, the building.

and as a result of the wrong-feelingness, the growth of the biz has actually slowed.

which has me thinking about the beginning. the first decision to start up up creative, the first impulses that drove me, the first things i did, the first time i got awesome feedback, the first time i put something out into the word that i really loved and was excited to share.

here are the things i sold on my first day open for business. november 2, 2008.

and i was so so so beyond so excited. and now here i am. still creating other things that just make me want to put them out into the world. to get them into someone else's hands and then to hear their giddy exclamations.

that's the part i live for. it's the center of my business and the center of me.

for a creative biz with a name that isn't the artist's name (i.e. this business is called up up creative, not julie green), i'm discovering that this is a business that works best when i am true to the me-ness of it. when i make decisions driven by my gut. when i create things that make me feel so good and then i pass that good-feeling thing along to someone else to feel good.

i've spent a lot of time trying to come up with a manifesto of sorts. i've been craving a manifesto, actually, which is a big part of what drove the great name-your-price experiment (which is going well, by the way. go check it out). i've been trying to think about what i believe and what my business's core principles are.

and i always get stuck. i easily come up with my own core principles, but i always struggle to come up with my business's core principles.

because right? doesn't it seem like they're not really supposed to be the same? or at least that the business ones shouldn't be so, i don't know, personal?

but i don't know how to come up with principles that don't start from inside my own gut. all i really know is that i started this thing because i needed to make things and i needed those things to make me feel awesome and i needed them to make other people feel awesome. and sometimes i feel like doing one thing and sometimes i feel like doing something else. i am changeable. i like to try new things. i sold a quilt and two necklaces and a calendar on my first day in business forgodssake. i like to challenge the status quo and break the rules. i like to do things my way. if something isn't making me downright-dreadfully-happy (and here dreadfully is a good thing, i believe), i don't want to do it anymore.

which is kind of a weird way to run a business.

but so what. it's how i run mine. and business plans and industry conventions and shoulds be damned, it's how i'm going to keep running it.

so whaddaya think about that? (no, really. tell me. leave comments. email me. sky write a message. i want to hear from you today, please.)