I was on the phone this afternoon with a potential artist roster addition, talking about where things are, where I want them to be with the business. I can't remember the context exactly now, nor my exact words but I about a nano second after I said it, I heard it. I heard the words that came out of my mouth.
Over the last 3-7 months folks have congratulated me on my new business endeavors, made comparisons (and contrasts) between me and other colleagues, and many have mentored me and helped me work through a lot of business issues and insecurities. So many have had to remind me not to compare myself to others. And then followed it up with, "Is that what you want? What is that you want?" I didn't know.
But maybe I did. Maybe all that "comparison" was just my inner self really truly wanting and aspiring to that. Yes, there is no way to be where others are right now - that is/was certainly a lesson to learn. Everyone moves at their own pace and sets their own goals...moreover, my mentors have 15+ years on me. I physically cannot be there. But what about the rest? Have I really just been squashing what I want because I was looking at it through the wrong lens? Have I been afraid to admit or acknowledge it? Is it the sort of thing that everyone else sees (and you know deep down) but can't face yet?
But today it just came out. Like some gate opened and out poured the water of hope and aspiration. Whatever I was holding back, afraid to admit either because I was afraid of wanting too much or afraid my dream would look too similar, whatever had me pondering for so long and/or second guessing myself was overrun today by my subconscious.
I want an office. A real office. I don't want to work out of my house anymore. I want space. And frankly, to me, it feels more legit. Sorry, my home address has never boded well for a business address. "2nd floor" or "Suite 3" is more my style, coupled with some charm in the decor. It's been two years. I'm over it.
I want a staff. Maybe not a staff of 5 or 7 or 10. But about 3-4 people. Someone else in sales, someone to handle contracts and servicing, someone to handle marketing and social media with the presenter, and someone to handle AIE and crafting curriculum guides.
I want a roster of about 15 artists. I was cautious at first. I thought 5 sounded manageable because I wasn't really living it. Now I'm living it and it's not so bad. Moreover, having the right marketing mix can work in one's favor. The key is to grow organically and in due time.
I want a salary. I want a salary because I'm an independent soul at heart. I can go back to not feeling guilty over buying hand crafted jewelry...I can put my kid in private school...I can return to Greece in two years. Yes, I love to travel. A lot. Day trips, weekend trips, conferences, vacations, whatever. I'm a creature of change. I have no doubt I was a nomad in a previous life. I don't feel guilty about it...in fact, I lose a bit of myself when I can't travel and I'm a miserable person because of it. People don't get it but screw it, it's who I am.
I'm my own person, that is for sure. Maybe I look like a few of my mentors all rolled into one. Maybe I do look strangely similar to the places I've been, the people I've worked for. We are what we live. I don't care anymore. On the surface the ambition might look the same, and maybe deep down, it is similar, but we are all our own selves and we bring that sense of self to what we do. That's what differentiates us.
So yes, that is what I want. An office, a staff, a slightly bigger, more evolved roster, a salary and the ability to travel. To Greece. I did more than say it in conversation. I wrote it down. And now it's mine.