Like a lot of people, I had several creative ideas before having children but I never acted on them.
- Maybe I thought I had all the time in the world?
- Maybe I’d been burned before and grown cynical?
- Maybe I was busy with safer pursuits?
- Maybe I was afraid of my own potential (and the potential stress it could cause)?
Whatever my excuse, I listened to entrepreneurial podcasts endlessly while pregnant and waddling up and down the street with my dog.
I dreamed up ideas, held them close, and only discussed them with my husband.
Focused Creativity - What An Idea!
Throughout all the dreaming mentioned above, I never made a concrete plan to bring focused creativity into our lives. The ideas would build around dinner conversations (but without a plan). I never made a website, never wrote (except in private journals or as songs), and had zero social media presence.
I became a safe hermit with an imaginary audience. However, I play unrecorded songs at live shows once in a while. And I receive positive feedback... from real audiences.
Now I’ve decided - if I can’t invest time and money into my creativity as someone with verified positive feedback, I’m just procrastinating. Or timid.
Either way, people have done really cool things throughout history while others literally booed them. Or shunned them. Or outright hated them for no good reason. (Let’s take a moment to praise Jesse Owens for collecting four gold medals at the 1936 Olympics in front of Hitler. True grit! True guts, my friend!)
Starting a business doesn’t need to be a big event (and it will never be as dramatic as the 1936 Olympics). But let’s take a moment to acknowledge we all have private battles no one ever sees. And judgemental quackery in our minds. And embarrassing past ideas.
However, no one is waiting for us to fail. Focused creativity may sound like a contradiction, but it’s worth playing around with if you want your creative ideas to eventually generate income. In addition, focused creativity is essential after having children.
After Having Children - Why the Distinction?
Taking on parenting while also trying to lead a creative life is a battle. It’s a battle my husband and I chose on purpose. With this blog, we don’t mind sharing the process. In fact, sharing gets me writing at least once a week (and it keeps me interested in my husband's carpentry projects that are VERY different from mine).
Aside from possibly breaking things and being clumsy, new parents face some other specific challenges while launching side-hustles and creative endeavors.
Here Are a Few
- Lack of sleep (In the first twelve months you can expect to lose 50 total nights of sleep).
- Lack of time (You can expect to change between 2,500 - 3,000 diapers in the first year depending on the egalitarian nature of your relationship).
- Time management can be a struggle between two work alcoholic parents. (Especially if their identity is rooted in self-directed projects. Here’s a great podcast about it).
Despite these challenges, many people start stellar creative businesses.
Seeking some inspiration, I asked for some examples of parents who started businesses or side-hustles after having children. Here are some of the responses I received on Twitter:
Below are other people who responded and brands brought to my attention:
All of this positive feedback makes me think there is an audience for what I am doing. I don’t know where they are, but I think they are out there.
As I recently said in a podcast interview, I hope to put one hour a day into Savvy History and see what it becomes in seven years (the writing, the songs, the history stories - the whole works). I'm simply curious.