Hobby or Business: Should you Take your Creative Pursuits to the Next Level?

Creative-Hobby-or-Business-Which-Way-To-Go-Tips

 

My experience of running a business has been rewarding in many ways but, it’s no walk in the park. If you’re creatively inclined like myself, you may have had the thought: “how can I design my life so that I get to do more of this making stuff?” It’s no secret that I’m a big advocate of this – I’m often encouraging people to go for it. However, if you’re planning on making a living from it, it’s important to really think about whether you want to create a business of it, or if you’re better off with a creative hobby. 

Here are some questions to help you decide:

Passion
a). Do you have an unwavering love for what you do? Do you eat, sleep, breathe and think about it all the time?
OR 
b). Do you just like it a lot right now?

Focus
a). Do you have a relatively clear vision of the career and lifestyle you want to have?
OR
b). Does your vision change fundamentally, with every day, every encounter and every new experience?

Drive
a). Are you a self-starter?
OR
b). Do you prefer to have things all planned out for you?

Multi-tasking ability
a). Are you adept at juggling several different tasks and responsibilities?
OR 
b). Do you prefer to work exclusively on one thing at a time?

Confidence and fearlessness
a). Are you proud to show and tell the world about what you’re doing?
OR
b). Do you hate talking about yourself?

Resilience
a). Do you have a thick skin when it comes to what others think and say about you and your work?
OR
b). Would you rather not put yourself out there for scrutiny?

If you responded ‘yes’ to most of the ‘a’ questions – welcome to the wonderful and challenging world of enterprise!

If you responded ‘yes’ to most of the ‘b’ questions – why ruin a good thing? Why not nurture your creativity without the pressures of business, for now?

If I had to sum up the qualities I think it takes to make a living from your craft, I’d say that these are up there: passion, focus, drive, multi-tasking ability, confidence (at least enough to fake it well), fearlessness and resilience.

At the end of the day, running a creative business is about so much more than just making (see my post on non-creative business priorities for creative professionals). Some people welcome this as a necessary part of the lifestyle they want to lead but, for others, these demands destroy their enjoyment of their craft. With a creative project, you can change your mind, change the plan at a whim or quit at any point. You can do so with a creative business too but, the consequences of this kind of spontaneity could be more significant.

Let me know if this post has been useful to your decision-making. 

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Related:

Continue reading “Hobby or Business: Should you Take your Creative Pursuits to the Next Level?”

Buy African: The South Is Blooming – an Online “Mixstore” for Cosmopolitans

Oftentimes the desire to support African design – and production in general – is there but, the products aren't always very accessible. In this "Buy African" series, I'll be highlighting various outlets to help you turn your intentions into action. 
 

Cushion-Covers-Embroidered-The-South-Is-Blooming-Online-Shop-Keiskamma
Trilby-Hat-Clutch-Bag-Wax-Print-The-South-Is-Blooming-Online-Shop
Songs-and-Stories-of-Africa-Lullabies-from-Mama-Africa-Book-The-South-Is-Blooming-Online-Shop

The South is Blooming shares the creative talent of contemporary makers in southern Africa with the world. The online boutique showcases an eclectic range of craft and design including fashion accessories, books, music, toys and more. 

Continue reading “Buy African: The South Is Blooming – an Online “Mixstore” for Cosmopolitans”

Interview with Erika Freund of Mikuti

Model-w-bracelets

Banana bracelets CU

I was recently ogling, as I do, some bracelets made from banana trees (a true Chagga girl am I!). It was then that I discovered Mikuti, a socially active company that creates unique pieces of jewelry, as well as an income for people living in the Meru District of Tanzania. I had the opportunity to interview the project's founder, Erika Freund.

Continue reading “Interview with Erika Freund of Mikuti”

Week in review

Lesley-of-Ododo-Originals wir

Khadambi-Asalache-wir

Afrocubism-photo-wir

Ghadames wall design wir

Amani-ya-Juu-quilts-wir

I am fortunate to have spent Christmas with family and friends, eating good home-cooked food and sharing laughter. I hope that all of you who celebrate the holiday had a good one and that all of you who don't and had the opportunity to take a break, had a refreshing day. With just one week until we step into 2011, I find myself putting myself under pressure to properly take stock of the year and plan ahead for the next one. I'm making it a point to keep dragging myself back to the present moment and not stress toooooo much about all the expectations that come with the New Year milestone. We'll see what happens over this coming week though!

Here is a round-up of all of last week's posts, in case you missed anything:

A huge thanks to you for taking the time to read and share comments, facebook appreciation and tweet love. Remember, you can also get updates via facebooktwitter and by subscribing to the Afri-love feed.

Feedback is incredibly useful to me so, please drop me a line with any comments, suggestions, ideas etc.

Next week, look out for:

  • Quote of the year
  • A round-up on the 9 most popular posts of the year
  • What satisfies you? I want to know…
  • Sudan Independence Day
  • An end of the year TGIF! special

Have a fantastic final week of 2010. Be proud of all you've learned, discovered and achieved and let it inspire the year ahead!

 :)

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Images from top: Lesley of Ododo Originals, Khadambi Asalache's house, AfroCubism artists, Ghadames wall art from Libya and Amani ya Juu quilts

 

Afri-love on Etsy – Seeing Red

Afri-love-on-Etsy-seeing-Red

For those who aren't familiar with Etsy, it's an international online community and marketplace that promotes all things handmade. With the aim of creating an alternative economy, Etsy enables people to make a living from making things (and doing what they love!) and allows direct access between buyers and sellers.

Here is the first of a series of posts, featuring items found on Etsy's vast directory, that celebrate Africa in some way. Today's theme is red!

From top: Pretoria Portland Cement laptop bag by thewren. Silver Fulani earrings by MusoMasiri. Zulu red bead necklace by HazelsHouse. Reversible snood by Rajulparis. Vintage beaded collar by jerushad. Belt buckle by MnMTreasures.

Inspired by Swahili Imports

Swahili-Imports

I recently discovered Swahili Imports via tweeter, Papa Awori. Having built a network of artisans from across Africa, Swahili showcases their work to the wider world. Swahili's partnerships center on fair and sustainable profit generation, artisan advancement and modern, earth-friendly product development.

Above are just a few of pieces that I absolutely fell in love with. 

Week in review

 5-steps-to-creative-independence-wir

Wafrica-wir

Doodle for Google Kenya

Zanzibar-4

Kenya-Independence-Day-Mutua-Matheka-wir

Having a parent from Tanzania and a parent from Kenya, I had two reasons to celebrate this week with both countries commemorating independence. The celebrations on the blog were visual – with photos taken by myself, in various parts of Tanzania and, beautiful visions of Nairobi from Mutua Matheka.

I would love to hear how all of you in, and from, Tanzania and Kenya marked your Uhuru and Jamhuri Days. I hope that they were opportunities for remembering, gratefulness, unity, solidarity and significantly, optimism. Mama Lucy, an inspiring change-maker in Tanzania, asks a poignant question: "What have we done within those years [since independence] for change?" 

It's so easy for us, as individuals, to reiterate this question and look towards our leaders for answers (that will probably not be very forthcoming!). But the question I would like to ask is: what are we each doing for ourselves, our communities and our countries? Individuals like Mama Lucy are proof that we each have the power to effect positive change in our communities. Let's start by imagining it …

Here is a round-up of all of last week's posts, in case you missed anything:

A huge thanks to you for taking the time to read and share comments, facebook appreciation and tweet love. Remember, you can also get updates via facebooktwitter and by subscribing to the Afri-love feed.

Feedback is incredibly useful to me so, please drop me a line with any comments, suggestions, ideas etc.

Next week, look out for:

  • Quote of the week
  • Inspiration from Senegalese artistic techniques
  • Afri-love on Etsy
  • Inspiration from South Africa with a Greek twist
  • More album art (There's so much inspiration to draw from that I'm making this a monthly installment)
  • TGIF! Mali meets Cuba
  • and more!

Have a fantastic week! Be proud, be inspired and be thankful.

 :)

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Images, starting 2nd from top: Illustration by Lulu Kitololo, from "5 Steps to Creative Independence"; Serge Mouange's Wafrica project; Chief Nyamweya doodling for Google Kenya; Zanzibar, Tanzania – photos by Lulu Kitololo; Nairobi, Kenya – photo by Mutua Matheka 

 

 

5 steps to creative independence (my guest post on the African Digital Art network)

5-Steps-towards-creative-independence

Earlier this week, a post I wrote and illustrated, especially for African Digital Art (ADA), was published. "5 Steps towards Creative Independence" shares some of the things I've learned during my one and a half years of self employment.

Check it out if you haven't already and don't forget to join the ADA District – an online community designed and created for African creative professionals, designers and artists. 

Inspired fabrics from Proud Mary

Proud Mary cushions

I just discovered Proud Mary (via Design*Sponge), a company that believes in the power of design to solve problems. Working with artisan cooperatives in developing nations, in the spirit of beneficial exchange of ideas and resources, Proud Mary markets unique handcrafted patterned goods. They're ticking all the sustainability boxes (people, planet, profit)!

Image from their South Africa collection.