This week is National Small Business Week (#dreamsmallbiz). And what a whirlwind of lessons I have to share, from our first six to seven months operating and establishing ourselves as an (official) LLC.
This week, in particular, I have found myself knee-deep in legal jargon surrounding Very Important Things like business insurance, worker’s compensation, and seller’s permits.
Because it isn’t all sonnets and romance. And even when you are a creative entrepreneur with a penchant for the imaginative side, dreaming up ideas and spinning words, you better believe you will spend many a dusk wandering through the wild west of entrepreneurship, no matter what you may tell yourself.
There are no shortcuts. Ever.
Here are a few resources I have found incredibly helpful, for anyone looking to start a business (especially for the creatives of the world):
-Skillshare. If you sign up for a new account, you can get access to their premium classes for $0.99. I have taken classes on topics ranging from business legality to Instagram to my personal favorite, as of late, how to strategically storytell my way through a Kickstarter campaign (stay posted soon, for more on this!)
-Creative Live. More free classes here, too! Next week I’m headed to participate in the live studio audience for a class on mastering the pitch. As an introvert who prefers penning my feelings, ideas, and thoughts, I am excited for another opportunity to continue working toward overcoming my shy tendencies, by presenting my ideas concretely (in a way that makes sense, to other humans)!
-Cooley GO. This site provides awesome (&free) templates for legal documentation. We used it as a framework for drafting our own docs.
-Squarespace. Our current website platform of choice. Their customer service team rocks my world! Every time I send them an email, they are quick to response and super helpful. My favorite aspect was how one representative taught me how to make a change using a video created from my actual site. Genius! (Shout-out to all the other 'hands-on' learners!)
-LegalZoom. The service we used to file and become a legitimate business. They make starting a company as straightforward as possible.
Please note: none of the above paid me for the recognition. That being said, I will gladly take endorsements.
I simply want to share these resources, because in my experience as a rather unstructured thinker, the first time I sat down with Grace to discuss starting a business and the necessary steps, my mind swam through some very dark places. Google searches resulted in a pure muck of jibberish, and I spent many an overwhelmed moment wondering just how worth it this all was.
Truth be told, I still wonder that. I do not think the wondering stops, even as the to-do list grows longer. The more you check off, the more appears, looming, ahead.
Last weekend, on my way to a poetry-writing event, I stumbled down every one of the concrete stairs in front of my house, with my typewriter in hand. The typewriter, which I had placed in a suitcase that could not close (due to the rather beastly Royal Antique number’s size), somersaulted, landing, still in case, and miraculously unbroken. As did I. We were both very fortunate. I have no doubt in my mind that an angel was present.
The incident, and ensuing soreness, gave me a bit of a dose of reality. Glass pens can shatter, and fairy wings can break. And there is no room, here, for carelessness.
Hence all of the legal work I have treaded through this week. As well as the purchase of a smaller, more portable, typewriter. She’s a cutie! I cannot wait to show you pictures.
I guess the point of all this rambling (and the true lesson, I have thus far learned) is being a creative entrepreneur is not glamorous, nor is it a fairy tale. It is nitty-gritty and will make you feel like you are swimming in the depths of a dark pool, with no break or light in sight. Just pure strokes ahead.
You will give your entire being to event after event, pouring your heart into every single word and working largely for free, accumulating all sorts of debt, in the hopes that someone, one day, will recognize your value.
And then, one day, they do. And it all becomes worth it. Because the smile on someone's face as she reads her poem, aloud, and then tells you, “I love it!” is like the feeling on Christmas morning, when the children run to the tree and turn back to stare at you, wide-eyed and bright-smiled, exclaiming, “He came!”
And you, with your words, have the ability to stir up that feeling, if only for a fleeting moment. And so you hold on to these moments, one by one, each giving you just the push you need, to make the last stroke necessary, to meet the air of day.
Once above water, you gulp in a deep breath, preparing yourself to dive, once more.