your relationship with your other ball and chain (at least if you are a jewelry maker) ...

Being a professional maker - which means making things that you sell -

no matter how many of those things you are actually selling

is kind of like having another marriage -

(or a first marriage for you singletons or another civil union for those who are unjustly unable to even get married in the first place)

a marriage - that hopefully started with the falling in love part -

maybe love at first sight

(which I am pretty sure I have never experienced with man or makings)

or maybe the love that grows on you over time until you are thinking "hey, I think I've got something here"

(which I find to be true of both man and makings ... *winks at hubs*)

And that marriage started out with passion with a capital P - it was red hot - you could have fried an egg on your brain it was working so hard

(or maybe that was when you were on drugs, I forget, but there was some egg frying at some point, I'm sure).

I mean we were up all night with this stuff - our heads and hands full of ideas. We couldn't sleep. We couldn't eat (well, except for me, I can always eat, actually). We were creating.

This is what we will call the "falling in love" part of building a business, the fun part, the part where dreams are made flesh in the form of ingenious and original little whoseewhatsees (yes, I said whoseewhatsee).

But, alas just like any marriage this honeymoon phase is destined to give way eventually to the "you must work at it - this stuff is work, did you think you were going to get to party like it's 1999 forever" part of building our business -

the part that separates the men from the boys, the one night stands from the relationships, the divorce lawyers from the 25 year anniversary dinners.

And this working part of our business is just as important as the working part of a marriage until ... well, until it just isn't working anymore ...

which is the reason you need a brand and not a business, a brand and not a product, a brand that is all about you - so when the working part isn't working for you anymore

(this is not a death til us part kind of marriage after all)

you can saunter off (yes, I said saunter) in a new direction and take your people (ie cohorts, friends, customers) with you while still staying true to your brand because you are your brand.

You are your brand, right? That is a kind of important part of my theory here because when the working part is just not working for you, you need to be able to make changes. A creative without that passionate honeymoon phase to fire 'em up once in a while (this is an open marriage after all) will find the work to be well ... work. And when your makings become just work to you, well, people can tell and most importantly you can tell.

When artists become business people who are left to be artists?

(disclaimer - I stole borrowed this line from an HBO mini series about doctors, but I think it applies equally to creatives)

Passion must come first or we are just business people who make things.

(and that sounds like an awful thing to be and would look just crappy on your business card)

And, keeping that passionate spark lit in the midst of production and business thinking can be a challenge; maybe the biggest challenge of your business.

Part II later this week - Being a Candle in the Wind

* just because I love you card by TheWallaroo


Viktoria said...

You are so right with this!!!!!
looking forward to reading part2

Julie Boyles said...

I've had quite a bit of extra time on my hands these days (ahem...) and have been doing a lot of thinking about this.

Early in the summer it became clear to me that how I was doing things wasn't working for me anymore. The journals and cases I made had become very much like work, and it got to the point if I had to color and antique ONE more piece of leather I might fall apart. So I made a big change. I upgraded the leathers I'm working with, and have my passion and excitement back again. Whew. Every new piece I do is a thrill. I hope the customers will see it!

I'm looking forward to Part 2 of this discussion!

DancingMooney said...

Thank you for starting this topic, exactly NOW. It's taken me a long time to realize, what because I've learned everything the feet-first hard way... but building a brand IS almost more important than the items within it... the beauty of that, is that we can ebb and flow however we please, because it's all still created by that branding power of our passion... Love it. Dig it. Ready to read the candle in the wind bit. :)

p.s. thanks for your comments on my blog last week, much appreciated. ♥

DancingMooney said...

oh, that and... the part about "hey, I think I've got something here"... makes me giggle, because that too, I seem to have found in myself, so late in the game. But I've found it! How I ended up where I am, I have no idea, but I've finally gotten to a point that I am excited to embrace it. You might say I was once a variety girl, but I have settled on something, finally settled...

Catherine Ivins said...

Thanks Viktoria! Yes, Julie it is exactly those kind of changes that can bring back our passion, or maybe I should say unearth it, because I truly think the gunk in our lives and business just buries it and us - Janell- it was your post that inspired mine! xo