When we were engaged, I bought my wife a large canvas for her birthday. She had been an avid painter through high school and college, but when I gave her that canvas, she was deep in the throes of student teaching, so she was too busy to do anything with it.
After we got married, she taught middle school English for four years.
During that time, the canvas remained untouched.
For her entire life, painting had been a respite for my wife. But while she was teaching, she was too busy to give it any time.
And for years, it wore on her.
So when I lost my job and started working for myself, she was inspired to do the same. She turned in her letter of resignation, took that canvas out of the closet, and painted it.
Five years later, she’s now running a makerspace. Not only is she constantly creating, she’s teaching others to do the same thing.
It’s what she’s always wanted to do.
But that doesn’t mean it’s all fun all the time.
A lot of people think that running a creative business is like having a party every day. And while it’s true that it’s much more fun than any of our old jobs, we have to do some things that aren’t very fun at all.
Because when you get down to it, a creative business is still a business.
If we were to spend all of our times screenprinting or painting or making jewelry, we might make some really great artwork, but we wouldn’t be making much money.
The creative parts might be more fun, but without the boring businessy parts, we wouldn’t be able to actually make a living doing what we love.
We never wanted to spend as much time fixing our bookkeeping or poring over the backend of our SEO. And ever since quitting our jobs, we’ve worked longer and harder than we ever did working in another job.
But living off of what you love isn’t an easy lifestyle.
If it was, everyone would do it.
No, it demands a high price. It demands more sweat and discipline than anything else. But if you can pay that price, it will reward you richly.
Over the four years we’ve been running our business, nearly every day has required more of us than the four years we spent teaching.
But it has all been worth it.
We work harder, we get paid less, and far more is at stake. But in the end, that hard work is what allows us to do what we love.
And there’s no substitute for that.