It has been 17 months since being laid off from my day job. For the past year and a half (minus one month), I’ve been surviving as an artist and educator.
It hasn’t been easy.
It is a struggle that is stressful, exhausting, and heartbreaking. I’ve had to strategically cash checks to avoid banking fees, call creditors asking to adjust my repayment amounts (school loans specifically), and use credit cards in creative ways to keep up on the mortgage.
Having a steady income is nice, but working for myself gives me a joy that is hard to describe. Flexible hours and not having a boss is great, but not why I love this lifestyle. For me, being self-employed is all about increasing my narcissism.
By nature (or nurture), I have low self-esteem. Why? Not being hugged enough as a child, being abandoned by my biological parents as a toddler, or it could be growing up feeling like an outcast…. Take your pick.
The longer I play the game of solopreneur, the more confidence I gain in myself. It allows me to determine my value and worth based off of the connections I make and how much fun I am having.
My biggest source of narcissism is in knowing the thousand of people whose lives I’ve touched in a small way. Each person who takes my animation course, sees my art, watches my shows, or who comment on my blog posts is a win for me. Every email of gratitude I receive keeps me on an emotional high for weeks.
I have slowly realized people want to hear what I have to say, see things I create, and hear my story. For an introvert like myself, it has changed the way I view the world.
My goal for 2016 is to explore what entrepreneurship means for those like me. Those who just want to tell stories and create art (hopefully this is you).
To do this, I need to share more through my blog. I plan to explore new strategies to connect with creators, test ways to fund projects, and sharing myself fully while documenting it all on this blog. In other words, not fearing that I might seem narcissistic.
Being a self-employed artist makes me feel “special”.
I am the center of my business.
It sounds narcissistic.
And this is okay.