The Struggle is Real

Being a creative person comes with its many challenges. People not taking what we do as a serious job or career choice – that they think it’s just a passing phase or something we’ll “grow out of” or that we’re more interested in living a life reminiscent of Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, one where we prefer to hide behind our craft or skill, not wanting to grow up and shirk away from adult responsibility. While in theory and on paper that all sounds great and like a fantastic life plan, us creative folk are often battling it tough. It’s not all late afternoon sleep in’s and partying every night of the week. If you are one of those that are living the life filled with penthouse party launch events or is spending a summer in the Maldives casually writing your memoir, well shit I’ve seriously doing something wrong and I want your insight! If you’re creative in mind, spirit and soul, then you know that the challenge is real. You likely identified from a young age you were different to others, your passions and interests lay elsewhere and were never driven by money or greed. You were just always happy doing what it was you did. Enter life, the cost of living and the starving artist stereotype which is all too real.

As someone that has always been a writer and creative, my soul was always happiest when it was creating. I held jobs in a variety of different industries from 5 star hotels and hospitality, as the money was always decent. Like everyone else, having a solid and secure income was important but I was always bored. I’d get itchy feet and job hop as something was always missing. I later found out that not only was my eccentric self being stifled by having to conform to a corporate dialect and regime, but I wanted more, I needed more and I had to be doing something. As much as I had a great job and a yearly salary with bonuses that allowed me to eat like the King of Siam, the stress was doing me no favours. Having been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis 18 months ago (which has now lead to permanent vision loss in my right eye) I had to take a good hard look at what was important to me and those around me, or the person I knew and loved about myself would fast deteriorate.

Rewind about 2 and a half years ago. I had a steady and solid income and my day job was easy (for what I did they were paying me way too well). I decided that rather than look for change in that environment I’d invest my time and energy into getting my own business set up and started. Having a full time job to bank roll some of the start – up costs associated with new business was a life saver. Rather than a large outlay for things like a website, registering my business name, getting business cards and brochures all printed at once. I wasn’t under any pressure or demand to start earning and could pick and choose the jobs I liked. I essentially took projects that I was interested in and to make some extra money to pay for my best friend’s upcoming wedding.

While working full time also allowed me to network and have access and exposure to a range of people I would not have come into contact with either. I knew that I would leave eventually but I used my full time job at the time line up all the integral pieces I needed to then take the big jump and leap. I was always a hard worker and an excellent communicator. I saw the value in interacting with others, getting my name out there and also forming and forging beneficial business relationships which I might be able to call on later. I strongly suggest you look at all and any interaction you have with the approach of “what and how can we compliment or work together”. Gone of the days of High School, we’re you’re looking for a bestie to braid your hair or a boyfriend to make you mix tapes. Make your relationships and interactions count. If they bring nothing but drama or bullshit to your life, get rid of them. I was fortunate enough to tap into what was a forever widening network of people, who knew what my capabilities as a businessperson were. My transition would have been much harder without them, but their support allows me to now support others as well as myself.

When I resigned from my full time bread and butter job was I scared? Shitless! Was I worried about how I’d be able to pay my bills and cover my rent? But of course, these are all natural feelings to have. But I was empowered, I felt relief and the happiest I had in years. Yes it might be seen as risk taking or “bold” “brave” or brazen but not for a minute was this why I did it. I didn’t care for the praise of my peers of friends. Yes, it was nice that they could offer support and say nice things. If anything, I think they were secretly envious that I had the balls to quit my job and to pursue my passions and dreams. In life how many of us can actually say we’re doing and making a living from what we’ve always wanted to do?

The thing is, there is no reason why we can’t all do it. I’m not saying go quit your life and sell all your material possessions, but if you love what you do, that it’s the one thing that is all consuming of your time, energies and efforts then wouldn’t you rather be living a life of fulfilment than worrying about the man? Something pretty special happens when your purpose, motivation and direction change. Your outlook changes, what you see to be important shifts and you start attracting and meeting likeminded people that compliment you. This isn’t some cosmic or karmic garbage, but more it stems from an inner happiness fulfilling what you were born to do and that you’re happy and confident in yourself.

Planning is the key, as is having some structure and strategies in place. Creatives are great at creating and doing, but too often a lot of us don’t have the skills, knowledge or confidence to take things to the next level. I’m not going to lie to you and say it’s easy, but when was anything you ever wanted easy and proved to be rewarding? I have days where I worry about getting things done. I have days where I think I probably bit off more than I can chew. It gets better though I can assure you, you learn what works and what doesn’t, you learn to outsource and put structures and strategies in place, to believe and have confidence in yourself and then others start to buy in and believe it too.

When we look at things and life as a million tasks all together, that’s when we get overwhelmed and we start to doubt ourselves. Our inner workings and subconscious are setting us up for failure; failure isn’t an option for me, nor it should be for you. If people offer to help you, take it. If someone can teach you something, put your phone down and listen. If you really want something enough then go after it. Because when you have days like I do sometimes when you can’t get out of bed or walk, not having to call someone to say you’re not coming in today is the most exhilarating feeling.

That you get to choose the clients you work with and on your terms and that if you were to get hit by a truck tomorrow you would know that you’ve truly had the opportunity to do what you love, help and connect with those that need it and share you creative light and spark with others. Well that my friends can’t be measured in any monetary currency.

Creative Little Soul is the love child of Sydney based creative; Chrissy Symeonakis. She has over 15 years experience in marketing, events, hospitality, media and entertainment industries and is now helping other passionate people take their creative business to the next level.