I was having a conversation in a forum the other day and someone said:
The key in MY opinion to being successfully self employed is to really know about what you are selling/making etc.
Yes and no.
It’s all about money. And if your business is a non-essential product or service, well, it takes a lot of hard work to keep momentum.
I know my shiz – I mean, I KNOW MY SHIZ. It’s very hard to get people to part with money for non-essentials at the moment. Not only that, it’s also very hard to get people to focus; children are raised to be instantly gratified these days, so a lot of them are not cut out for the dedication of learning classical discipline. And then with the clothes website, again, people just don’t have money to splash out – and they don’t need to when there are sweatshop high street stores.
There’s a dance school in my road started offering music lessons at half my rate. I checked it out; the tutors are still students with little teaching experience and no true musical qualifications. Half my price for half my skill, sounds about right. But parents don’t know that. The lessons are held in fancy dance studios and they get a discount if their kids take ballet. Before that, the other two music teachers and I rubbed along nicely in this road. They’re true tutors, too. All of us have lost custom since the dance studio threw their expensive banners up.
Live work – Pubs can’t afford us, period. Knowing our game doesn’t change that fact. Smoking ban killed it off and it will never recover.
That being said, I agree with you generally; long-term it’s the entrepreneur who knows his product/service that survives. If I worked in another creative field – not music, dance or art – something such as woodwork, metalwork etc, I imagine knowing my skill would suffice to keep regular income, as I could work with household furniture etc.
But disposable income players such as myself – musicians, painters etc – we get by on luck and the wind turning mainly. That’s why I diversify as much as possible. When one pot’s empty, by the grace of God, another one gets some pennies thrown in. I get no gigs, a royalty check for my book shows up. No book sales, a new student calls etc. People view me as flaky – us musicians have no choice but to diversify. It’s not flaky.
I’m broke, but I’m happier being broke than being in an office. Not that I could get an interview anyway
I’ll probably always tutor, but I don’t want to do it exclusively; I need my other creative outlets. However, when teaching, I live for the rare gem who has a gift. They come along now and again, but mainly it’s kids whose parents want to put extracurricular activities on the school application. I only hope to help others find their passion as I have mine.
I have no clue how my talents can possibly serve me in this life, or rather, this asinine, soulless society. I just want to write and play.
As things stand, there is little room for us, the creative hearts. And so I retire. Withdraw from the stage to create some more. Maybe I’ll share it with an audience, maybe not. I find the current public climate toxic, draining, counterproductive.
And so I step outside the arena altogether in order to plan my finest performance.