YEAR 1: being a self-employed artist

An anniversary of sorts came and went this past Sunday. I thought about it a little bit and celebrated by taking a solitary drive around San Juan Island, Washington... watching the ocean and imagining all the adventures one can have in a life.

Then today I decided to tell you that it had passed.

One year ago Sunday was the last day I worked as an occupational therapist. After 17 years, I was out. (You're thinking that I'm WAY too young to have been a therapist for seventeen years, right? Thanks for that.) I'm still hedging my bets, doing my continuing education, and paying for my licenses. But I haven't treated a client in a year. I do sometimes miss working with those little squirts though--pediatrics was full of laughter and sticky fingers.

Since I started this tapestry business, I have learned more things than I ever imagined I would need to know. Sure I know how to weave tapestries, but to actually make a living weaving and teaching tapestry, I have to know a few other things. All those little details I have picked up on the fly. I take classes wherever I can, I ask questions, I use Dr. Google a lot. I look at what other people have done and every day I tell myself that I CAN do it. Even when it seems impossible. Even when it seems scary.

The parts about tapestry aren't scary. I love weaving it and I am a solid teacher. Begin a therapist taught me how to teach but also gave me the skills to interact with a wide variety of people in many situations. It can be challenging to figure out how to meet each individual student where they are. Learning styles vary greatly between individuals and that has to be taken into account when designing curriculum. I thrive on this challenge and I think I'm doing a great job with it.

Nope, the stuff that is the most difficult is all the other stuff. Moving an extensive curriculum online and then running a business...

New software programs with constant updates.
Taxes in so many different jurisdictions.
Video! Equipment. Lighting. Shooting. Editing. Sound.
Social media.
Writing. It is important.
Time management (oy vey).
My email inbox. It is the one thing that could bring me down.

Self employment means:
  • dress code is yoga pants*
  • I can tell the little voice in my head that says I can do my own year-end taxes to shove it and bring the whole mess to an accountant.
  • endless cups of tea (sometimes I worry I'll turn my teeth brown. Is that a thing?)
  • remembering to brush my teeth about 11 am (it is a lot about dental hygiene it seems)
  • winding a few balls of yarn when you just can't stand one more minute on the computer
  • a loom available at any moment 
  • the ability to attend events in the middle of a weekday, and the fortitude to mostly say no because I am working
  • the opportunity to work all the time
  • the lessons that opportunity forces about creating balance in life

 *Though I do actually go to yoga classes wearing these pants, Emily reminds me that this just means I get to work in pajamas.