Jenn and I went to the NY Faerie Festival
yesterday for the day. We'd considered vending this year, but we wanted to visit first to make certain it'd be the right fit for us (insert eight million business reasons here, including how many people they get coming through, and what the other vendors said about it). It's a beautiful little festival, and it's positively wild and charming and awesome--we loved
it. We'll be applying next year to vend. <3
We went as dryads, and even though it was so hot, there were fairies in danger of actually melting
, we still had an awesome time, which really goes to show the happiness and good vibe of the festival. <3Here is a picture of us as VERY WARM dryads. <3
I was laughing about it on the way home, because at festivals and conventions and fairs and markets, this part of me flicks on. It's something that a lot of people don't generally understand, so I kind of keep low about it, but I think those who know me know I have this, and those who don't...well, you're about to learn, I suppose. XD
I love networking. LOVE. NETWORKING. I love marketing. I fucking love
owning my own business, even though--as all hands-on businesses tend to be--it's a LOT of work. I love talking about businesses to people, marketing ideas, sharing the love that is hand-made goods and services and books and creative talent and magic. I'm a little obsessed with it, actually. It's something I think about all the time.
I have a dirty little secret: I read business and marketing and entrepreneur books as fast as they can publish them, devouring them like vegan cupcakes. I've read everything, from Malcolm Gladwell's sublime Outliers
to Chris Guillebeau's stunning $100 Startup
and everything in between
. I consider Derek Halpern
and Marie Forleo
(and many, many other people) to be business saints. Shark Tank is my obsession
. Phrases like "multiple streams of income" and words like "scalability" make me a little weak in the knees, and I could literally talk about SEO (search engine optimization), and all of the theories behind organic and inorganic optimization, for HOURS. HOOOOOURS. DAYS. PROBABLY LONGER.
I believe as many people don't...that:
- Marketing is not slimy. That if you have something fucking wonderful, and people would love to read it/see it/own it, you're doing an extreme disservice to the world if you don't let people know about it. Case in point: people want lesbian YA books. I write them, and then help the people who want them to find them. It does them, and me, absolutely no good to be a fading flower of "well, gosh, I wrote something and I'm not going to tell anyone about it so no one will ever find it." People want, and need, my stories, and I believe that essentially. And that's how I'm capable of making a living from my books.
- Believing that you're good at something, or that people would want what you have, is NOT egotistical or arrogant. It isn't. I'm not egotistical, and I'm not arrogant. I just know what I was meant to do, and then I do it. So many people hide their light under a bushel because they believe that if they went for something or accomplished something or made something of themselves, people would think they're arrogant. It's not true, and brilliant people rob the world of a lot of light for thinking that way.
- Business stuff is NOT for the extremely analytical, super smart or super boring or super geeky or super insert-any-other-word-you-can-think-of. That you do NOT have to be a business guy in a suit and a briefcase, that you do NOT have to be a GUY (WHICH MAKES ME CRY). I hear, over and over and over and over and over: "I'm super creative! I don't have a businessy bone in my body because of that!" SO many people think this way, and it's the farthest thing from the truth, but it's why so many Etsy shops don't thrive, it's why so many super creative people talk themselves out of essentially beautiful and vibrant lives.
People, so many people, find out that I do what I do for a living, and then they grow misty eyed and wistful. "I want to...but I never could..." But here's an essential truth about myself:
I believe, with all of my heart and soul and being, that I am doing exactly what I was meant to do. And it isn't easy! Good GODS, it isn't easy. But I have rock-solid faith in what I'm going to do, what my wife is going to do, and then I move worlds to make it happen. I hustle. I create until I'm a vibrant fire of only-all-that-is-creation. I. Never. Stop. And in that is my vibrant joy of life: I create, and I create again, and I create again.
I tell people: if I can do this, anyone can do this. And it's true. I'm not the best or the brightest or the most creative person in this world. I have talents and I utilize them, and I'm impassioned about my work. I am not more talented than the next person. The only thing that separates me from the next person is that I move heaven and earth to make this possible. That, even when I'm afraid, I keep going
And you know what? There are lots of other people like me. And anyone can believe in themselves and their work and move heaven and earth and get great ideas and create beautiful things and make a living off of their talents.
Here's the extremely subversive thing. Here's the button-pushy thing. Here's the thing that always earns me the sigh, and the faster-breathing, and the oh-no-not-possibly-this-scares-me reactions:
You. Could. Too.
I don't talk about business stuff, because--frankly--I make people uncomfortable. We make a living off of our stories and collaged pendants. We're outliers. We're weird. And maybe it's all fine and good for me, but certainly not other people, right? People nod their heads about business stuff until I start talking about their shop, and how they could grow it, and how they could eventually be a self employed person, too, and it terrifies people. I hate terrifying people. I mean, c'mon...I love people. I give hugs to random strangers. I don't want to randomly TERRIFY them.
But I also believe that a lot of people are comfortable because it's easier. I'm not saying that from a privileged position, or talking about something I know nothing about. Once upon a time, comfortable was safe for me, too. And there are some people who don't give a fig about business, and there are some people who love office jobs or whatever. I'm not talking about those people.
I'm talking about the people I terrify when I start "talking like that."
Here's the thing: I fucking love being an entrepreneur
. And my own freedom and drive and business-love has the tendency to freak people out, because it makes them think about what could be. So I tone it down and don't talk about it, because--really--who enjoys freaking people out?
But I'm going to start talking about it. And, ahead of time, I'm sorry if it upsets you. I'm not talking about any one person in particular when I talk about my own experiences
. I'm not singling anyone out. I'm not asking you to quit your job, take up the guitar, and come live in the woods. I'm talking about my own experiences, what makes me impassioned, and what makes me happy. I hope you'll respect that I'm not a siren song trying to drive you off whatever course you've chosen.
But I also want you to consider that if you think about what I'm saying about my own life and my own decisions, and it's something that makes you salivate, that you want with every fiber of your being, maybe it's possible
I'm going to start talking about business stuff. No one has to comment, but I'm going to leave comments open. I'm asking this here, in big and bold: since I'm not talking to any person directly, please, please, please don't comment saying "it's awesome you're doing this, Sarah, but I never could, because..." That's okay if you feel you couldn't or don't want to. But I don't want to be the one to tell you "it's all right." You have to be comfortable in your own skin with your own decisions, and I don't need to be the one telling you whatever decision you make is or is not the right one. :)
Deal? Deal. <3
Let the impassioned voice begin. <3