Thursday, 4 April 2013

thoughts and ramblings

I'm really lucky. I have a lot of friends who have creative jobs where they work freelance or are self-employed, either full-time or part-time. I'm lucky because they understand all the things that come with working from home and working for yourself. things that other people just really don't get. they think they get it, but there are always those moments where they say something and you go "you have no ideas what it's like to be self-employed do you?"

lately I've been having more and more encounters like this. and at first I thought it was funny that people had such a weird idea of what running your own business involves. but now, not so much. now, I find myself biting my tongue when someone expects me to be able to just go out somewhere at short notice because I don't have a real job or a boss. sure I can just drop everything - that is one of the bonuses of working for yourself. if something urgent came up, or I got a once in a lifetime offer, then yeah, I can just go out at a moment's notice. BUT when I do that, it means that the next day I have extra work to get through, so I have to work harder and longer to make up for it. and that is the part that people often don't understand. it's just me (and Freya too now, but still) so if I don't finish a job, it will still be there waiting to be done, along with a million other things.

I work crazy long hours most days. like 9am until midnight most days. but I still try to make time to see my friends. I work long hours when I can, so that I can take evenings off sometimes to see my friends. however for some reason people focus on the time I'm not at work. "oooh you're out AGAIN?" is something I get a lot. 'again' meaning, for the second time in a week. ignoring the fact that although I've gone out for two evenings I've still managed to clock up 80 working hours that week. compared to their 40 hour week.

and yes, I know it's my choice to do this job - and don't get me wrong, I LOVE LOVE LOVE my job. I don't mind working long hours, and being anti-social, and never being able to switch off, because it's my choice. what I do mind is when people act like I'm somehow taking the 'easy road' by working for myself. if this is the easy road, then I wouldn't want to be on the hard road! also, I'm not asking for pity. I don't expect people to feel bad for me working long hours. I'd just like sometimes for people to think about what they're saying before they say it!

there's also the common misconception that what us crafters/handmade business owners do isn't really 'work' as such. a lot of people truly believe I just make some jewellery when someone orders something, pop it in the post to them, and then repeat. oh and take photos of silly stuff for my blog/instagram. when in fact I do EVERYTHING, ALL THE TIME. at any one time I am; designing new products, keeping track of supplies, controlling stock levels, making new stock, updating my blog and other social networking sites, replying to customer emails, networking with bloggers and people on twitter, working on new design elements for my blog and website, booking craft fairs, creating new packaging, posting out orders, doing accounts, photographing products, updating product listings, trialling new designs, liaising with the laser cutters/suppliers, developing ideas for photoshoots, contacting magazines and other press. the list goes on and on and on, and it's every single day. if I had a pound  for every single time someone said to me 'oh wow that sounds so fun, getting to make stuff every day' then I'd be able to buy those chanel half-tone sunglasses I've been eyeing up for like a decade. making stuff is a big part of my business, as I turn over quite a lot of stock, however in comparison with the myriad other tasks I deal with every day, it actually takes up a small percentage of my time (and partly because Freya has taken on a lot of that, bless her!)

does anyone else get this a lot? how do you deal with it without really offending people?

5 comments:

  1. I get this too, but I am currently still a student but spend really long days trying my best to freelance along side and accept any opportunity (worth while anyway) to help build my skills and portfolio, so I struggle to go out much. It's difficult for me to explain to my family why all my friends are able to go home for three weeks over Easter and they only get to see me for four days, and that I won't be able to go and visit them again until possibly Christmas due to work commitments. I worry though sometimes that doing work from 9am until sometimes 4am is a little overboard, but I wouldn't do it or keep doing it if it wasn't something I loved. It can be really difficult though, especailly when I have a break and I get those sorts of comments asking why I think it's fine to spend the night watching films with my boy friend or sleeping in on weekends, as everyone around me expects me to be working 100% of the time and question when I don't. It's demotivating at times, but it helps reading your post that I'm not the only once!! And of course everyone will ALWAYS think that they have a harder time than you, and will belittle your problems, when often they don't see how hard you have it working all the time, as they never see you working all the time (as you are too busy working all the time to see them haha!!) Loose loose hey! But I hope it gets easier for you <3 It was a lovely and inspiring post to read, and I don't really like commenting on blog posts but felt I needed to with this one :)

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  2. It's truly to be admired what you do! I think people just don't realise that being creative means hard work too x

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  3. I loved reading this, because I have this issue ALL the time. And I'm glad you put it into words because sometimes I feel like I'm just being overly bitter about it... But it is so annoying when other people belittle the work you do - in anyway! Especially as most people with "normal" jobs will never understand how much work it takes to be self employed/freelance as they are fixated on the shiny side of it. Of course the benefits are huge, otherwise why would we do it? But it is demoralising when you know you are working a lot harder than most people you know and all they seem to think it's a "doss". I also sometimes struggle with people thinking that my work is frivolous, as if being an artist is selfish somehow, and as it's not that important why should it matter if I take some time off to go out/have a meal/go shopping etc (all of which of course I can't afford anyway haha). But I suppose there has to be a price for doing what we love eh?
    This is an accidental essay that I'm posting now, but I think you have raised a very important subject that is not often raised! Thanks for that! and hope your annoyances get less annoying soon... Take pleasure in knowing yourself how hard you are working and take the breaks and rewards you deserve :) xxx

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  4. It is a lot of work being a crafter and having an online presence.
    I just started following I love your work!!!

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  5. I always found that attitude a bit surprising, if inevitable in some. Personally I've always been in awe of how much graft you put in (although knowing me, that isn't saying TOO much) and in my head you're the best example of how well hard work can pay off xx

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