Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Defining Success

One of the things that self-employed people must do on a regular basis is define 'success'.

Is this show successful enough to continue doing, or do I drop it?  Is this line of scarves selling, or do I need to stop making it?  Bottom line, am I making enough money to keep on doing what I'm doing or do I need to change my focus?

So with no little regret, I will no longer be doing the Seattle Weaver's Guild show in October.  Sales there have been dwindling, for a number of reasons, for the past few years.  I will miss very much visiting with the people I've gotten to know there, but c'est la vie.

There are all sorts of ways to define success.  I remember once at a party talking to someone who was not an artist, who was moaning about how he could reduce the amount of tax he was paying to the government.

After listening to him complain (or was that brag?) for several minutes I finally interrupted and said that I was hoping to one day earn enough money that I would have to pay taxes.

Taxes are the contribution citizens of a country make in order to keep said country running smoothly and - I most fervently hope - compassionately.

I have benefited from some of the services to low income people in the past and feel honoured to be a fully participating citizen of this country.  Yes, including paying taxes.

While I would like to be more financially solvent, by choosing to be a self-employed weaver I have had a life that I could not have dreamed of - travelled to places, met people and had experiences that never would have happened if I'd stayed in an office type job.

So in many ways I can say that my career has succeeded in bringing me a lot of satisfaction.  I have learned many lessons, some of them painful, some of them pleasant.  But financially?  In any other trade/profession, someone who has devoted this many years to perfecting her skills and knowledge would be making a whole lot more money.

But I didn't go into this for the money.  I wanted a life filled with creativity.  I wanted to be able to set my own goals and schedule, including saying no to other's expectations - which is probably the hardest thing to learn.

How I define success changes from month to month, day to day, sometimes moment to moment.  It's my life.  And life is a process.  Any definition of success must take that into account.  


Daryl said...

Well said Laura! Thank you.

marie said...

<3 ! yes!

Sarah Nopp said...

Ah, the others at the Seattle sale will miss you for sure. But you are right, you have to position yourself where your buyers are.
By the way, it was nice to meet you in person finally, even if only for a moment.