7 Things I want my Boys to Learn About Running a Creative Business

I've been indulging in Blueberry Park fabrics when I can sew, and yet, sewing far too little to meet my liking. My kiddos are at the point where none of them nap anymore, but they are a bit young to entertain themselves well on demand. I'm still figuring out how to fit in sewing time between all of the snuggles, reading practice, ninja skill sharpening sessions, and toddler whining. While I do think parenting is easier than it used to be, and life in general, I don't have those guaranteed 2 hour daily stretches that I used to when all three of them napped sruimultaneously. But c'mon, y'all don't come here to hear me pine away!

This phase will pass, at some point, and I don't want to wish it away, but I do want to find a way to make sure I can create. Not just for me, but because I think it's important for my boys to learn through watching (and sometimes helping). I grew up watching my mother work diligently on increasing her artistic skills, start (and quite successfully run) a small business, and work her way up to a Master Pastel Artist. Likewise, there is so much along the journey of my quilting (and photography) that I want my boys to see & learn about:

7 things learn about running a creative business amy garro


{1} The rollercoaster ride of creativity & the dreamer mentality:

Everyone sees the ups. But I want my boys to know that the ups are only a fraction of the creative journey. Yes, the ups are worth it, so don't give up in the midst of a long slump.

{2} Grunt work is a large percentage of business:

So many people fail because they had an idealized view of running a creative business. I still had a somewhat idealized view, even with watching my mom! Yes, there are glamorous parts, and wonderful stretches to enjoy creating art. But the majority of the time is spent on the business side of things - which many of us creatives deplore. I get it. And I want my boys to get it, too.  I want their eyes to be wide open to what running a creative business is really like. I don't want to make it seem un-fun, or to turn them away unnecessarily from this path, but I do want to give them an honest portrayal. This home is where they will learn the most about what it means to work - and I want it to be a full picture.

{3} The grand importance of putting in the time & preparation:

I want them to realize, when they look at a cool product, or a fascinating invention on Instagram or Pinterest, that it took a crazy number of hours of prep work (and failing and reinventing and collaboration and mistakes and the list goes on....). Not because I'm trying to scare them - but because I want them to know what they are getting into. I want them to realize that they can't make the same cool invention in one hour - and I want them to be excited to put in the ten hours they need to, and still succeed. I don't want them to give up because 30 minutes into their creation, it still isn't done. I want them to spend all day on legos, pretend play, and engineering now, so that as adults, they realize there is a beauty in that amount of work. I want them the have a vision, and be fully equipped to actually tackle it. I want to set them up for success by teaching them reasonable expectations.

{4} Sometimes the final destination wasn't the planned destination:

This one speaks for itself - but every day, I'm astonished at where I am now, and never would have guessed this is what my life would be like now. I got a degree in Theology, and now I'm a professional photographer & quilter. Ha :)

{5} Work-life balance - and how work can be joyfully woven into the fabric of a family's daily life:

Being a workaholic is a bad thing. But working hard is not. And I want my boys to see that work is a part of life, and something that we can work into the day in a way that fits our family. My husband is very strict with his work about his working hours to respect our family. I find ways to balance working while my kids play by themselves (or destroy my house), working alongside them or with them in my lap, or setting my work completely aside to give them my undivided attention.

{6} The importance of being so good they can't ignore you:

This book. It says it all. Buy it, read it, do it. I talk about this concept and this book more in this post. In a nutshell, I want my boys to learn that success isn't about following your passion; it's about being damn good about something. Becoming a master at a chosen craft/skill will allow you control and flexibility in your career – all of which will lead to high levels of job satisfaction.

{7} Find mentors and revere quality education:

This isn't a four year verses two year verses no years verses online college comment - this is just education. Any quality education that can get you to your destination is worth it. Only by standing on the shoulders of giants can we reach the heights. I've had comments about how "fast" I learn things - but what the onlookers haven't seen is that I spend more time and money taking classes and learning than I do actually working on my own projects. It's crazy how much faster a good mentor or good educator can push your work. Yes, practice is paramount, but only quality practice. Learning from the best will show you how to best practice. Education will also help you bypass mistakes - yes, mistakes help you learn, but there are some mistakes that a mentor can quickly show you, and then quickly help you to a solution - so that you don't become stuck, with zero growth, while struggling under a rock. Let education be the lever that moves that rock. Cherish it. Soak it up. I listen to classes & educational podcasts nearly every day for several hours. I fit it in while I'm cooking dinner, folding the laundry, holding a sick kiddo, sewing, or editing images.

*** So boys, I want you to see the complete picture of running a creative business. I want you to learn from my lap through the years. I want you to be courageous and brave enough to do the work, face failure and adversity head-on, and move toward success. I want you to be creative, in whatever way you are best creative, without neglecting the rest of the work that comes with innovation. I want you to be excited, to feel supported, and to know that I will be your biggest cheerleader, all while helping you critically analyze the flaws in your project. Today, this looks like engineering a new structure with Legos and talking about how to improve its structural integrity. And in the future, it will look like something far different. But most of all, I want you to know that we did this all together.