So far in this wholehearted creative business series, we've talked about
- our God-given purpose,
- dreaming big,
- coming up with a mission statement,
- creating a vision board and
- writing out some goals.
It's important to start out thinking big and being dreamy about what is possible for your creative business. And then we need to bring it in a bit and think about actual steps we can take to get there. Yesterday we talked about writing some long term and short term goals. Today, my advice to you is
As in, do what you can with what you have in this moment. I've had times when my dreams were so lofty that when I got realistic about actually achieving them, they just felt way too far off, and I got a little discouraged, thinking those dreams can't ever really become reality.
Take that large property with a big barn dream I shared with you on day 3. I don't actually have the means to go out and purchase a place like that. If I look at my current circumstances (six kids at home, huge grocery budget, sports to pay for, braces coming up for at least two kids, etc., etc.) we barely have anything left at the end of the month where we currently live. How can I even let myself dream about living/ working in a place like that? Shouldn't I just give up and surrender to the fact that I'll have to work full time outside the home at least until they've all graduated college?
NO!!! I know it's overwhelming sometimes when we think about our current circumstances and realize how far away we are from what we hope for. I have no idea where this old saying came from, and I don't actually like the imagery of it, but it's fitting here: How does a lion eat an elephant? One bite at a time. It's true! Looking at the big picture, sometimes it seems impossible to get where we want to be.
But what we can do is begin.
With the big picture (purpose, dreams, mission statement, vision and goals) in mind, think about where you are right now, and what you can do with what you have to make tiny steps. Because tiny steps add up. Not taking any steps at all because you're overwhelmed will keep you exactly where you are year after year (ask me how I know). But taking tiny steps every day makes a huge difference over time. If I had taken daily tiny steps since I first dreamt of starting a creative business, I'm confident that I would be a lot closer to that barn dream than I am now.
For a while, I kind of beat myself up about it and fell into a spiral of negative thoughts: Who do I think I am to pursue something like this? I'm not good enough. I don't have what it takes. Sound familiar? Honestly, I hope not. But if it does, I want to lovingly encourage you, as one of my pastors used to always say, "Stop that stinkin' thinkin'!!!" If you have a dream deep inside that doesn't go away, it was probably put there by Divine design. Your spirit probably won't rest until you pursue it and in doing so, walk in your calling. Don't give up because of your current circumstances. Keep believing. Keep pressing on. Keep fighting if that's what you have to do. But don't give up. You were made for this.
So what can you do now? Make a list of things that you can do that will take you tiny steps closer to your dreams. Take the list of goals we talked about yesterday and break them down into action items. Here's an example: One of my goals is to have a website full of resources and encouragement in three main areas: creativity, faith and creative business. But I hated my website. I've learned a lot over the years about building websites, and I love the design process. I found a platform that's just right for me (hello Squarespace!). So my first step was to rebrand and create a site that I love (you're looking at it!). Next, I needed content. I pulled what I had from my previous site, and came up with a plan to add to it consistently. This #write31days challenge came at the perfect time, since I launched my new site on September 30, and the challenge is for the month of October. I can't have a website full of authentic, focused content overnight, but taking steps each day is building it up, a little at a time.
Here's another example: One way I make money in my creative business is by selling my handmade products. I love to work with my hands to create things from mixed media art to things I created with fabric and a sewing machine. I also love to be out meeting people in the handmade community. Craft fairs are my jam! So there are two that I'm participating in next month, plus possibly a couple of pop up shows locally. I'm not marketing to thousands online right now, shipping hundreds of packages daily (honestly, that's not even appealing to me), and by doing these in person events, I'm not going to make enough for a down payment on my dream property by the end of the year or anything, but I'm putting myself out there (which isn't easy for my introverted, fear of vulnerability self), I'll make a little, and I'm taking tiny steps.
Your turn! What can you do? Without losing sight of the big dreams, what are some tiny steps you can begin taking now, using what you have?