I am a content writer, editor, social media savvy communicator, super mother and Hills enthusiast, but, when I was small, I wanted to be a lawyer, a musical theatre star and an internationally based roller skating waitress.
Preferably all at once.
As young people, we are inherent innovators. We morph from dream to desire to reality and back again. We find it easier to get unstuck, and out of our own way. We fully embrace our own capacity to find we are on the wrong avenue, hit a dead-end, and turn around and change our path.
As adults, this innovative ability seems to dissipate into the ether along with our plans to conquer the world, travel the seas or world domination in netball.
Until recently, I was a classic case of ‘stuck’.
For over a decade, I’d worked in a job I have always loved, but could never really grow in. I’d lost sight of who I’d wanted to be and what star I’d planned on following, especially when my life plan took a side street with the arrival of three of the most divine children to ever grace the earth. Children were never part of my plans, at seven or seventeen, when I had my sights set on Musical Theatre stardom (and Hugh Jackman, let’s be honest), but the costume of Motherhood, that old cardigan I’d never been keen on, happened to be the very best fit. Becoming a parent settled and made me content in a way I never dreamed possible.
It also scared me into submission. Relying on me are glorious young people and all that comes with them; private school fees, orthodontic appointments, school camps, new bikes, dance class, endless sporting commitments, limitless discussion about skateboard parts. You all know the drill. All my old dreams were stored in a dirty bucket somewhere under the sink. Does this all sound familiar?
The trajectory of my journey from office worker to small business owner can be summarised quite quickly: a friend is struggling with the demands of her online business presence, I take what I’ve been doing as an employee for years and help. She smacks me around a bit with the understanding that I may just be sitting on something akin to talent, and I reach out to see if anyone else is interested. A business is born.
It seemed to happen all in the span that it took you to read that sentence too, and the impact of the speed of these changes after twelve years of doing the same thing every day may have left me with a little whiplash.
Just like that, our lives change. I don’t know everything, but I know small business, how to market it and I know how to write. Thanks to a three year old that didn’t sleep for two years, I am also incredibly adept at social media. I know how to make small business look good, and for an incredibly realistic budget. I morph my days into a blend of all the things I love and am decent at – creativity, writing, helping other people, problem solving, and family. I am exhausted, but content. My children are inspired: one edits my client videos and has the beginnings of his own brand, the other starts her own blog. They begin to use words like ‘entrepreneurial’, ‘monetise’ and ‘philanthropic’ in conversation. My husband is fairly exploding with pride.
I’m not suggesting running a small business is simple, or even entirely manageable, some days. I am a mean boss, I give no sick days, there’s no ‘clock out’ time and I am 100% going to hand my laptop over to a toddler who asks to see “sharks biting that camera” at any time of the day. But, at the upcoming one year anniversary of my own small business, I can honestly say it’s been a thousand percent worth it.
This evolution took me twelve years.
Honestly, why didn’t I do it sooner?
If you are a closet creative, I urge you; get a move on. Make a plan, sketch a bridge between where you are a where you want to be, learn everything you can, connect with the right people, start taking some steps already.
And, like all good creatives, be prepared to innovate. You must evolve in this market to stay current. For although you may begin this journey planning to be a childless roller skating waitress, just imagine what you would have missed out on if you’d never considered a life full of family delight and writing.
At nearly 40, plump, messy, and parenting by the seat of my pants, building a business my family and I can be proud of might just be even better.
This piece originally appeared in the Swan Magazine in my regular column. It has been reprinted here with the kind permission of the Editor.
Jay Crisp Crow
Yep, really my name