Do you see yourself more as an educator or entrepreneur? Not that they are mutually exclusive but let me share about my journey to answer this question. Once I even figured out it was a question that I needed to answer.
A few years back when I started to keep bees and sell honey and other products a lot of people suggested that I start a business. And I thought about it. Then I envisioned what it would mean to have an Etsy shop or to shlep things to markets and festivals around town.
I knew I didn't want that.
Don't get me wrong, I love making things and getting paid for the things I make but I don't want to have to get up every day and make 50 hand creams or bars of soap. I also didn't want to have to keep expanding my honey operation to more hives than were fun for me to keep.
So what the heck was I doing? I knew I loved the branding, marketing, writing the blog posts. Aren't I supposed to want to be an entrepreneur? The idea that someone could order three hundred of something didn't excite me.
Read my post on the Value of Living a Creative Life.
It filled me with dread. All I could think of was that episode of Big Bang Theory where Penny starts selling hair barrettes called Penny Blossoms and she has a giant order that everyone stays up all night to help her fill.
Your girl cannot stay up all night. Period. Also buying honey from me probably feels more like the Soup Nazi episode of Seinfeld.
I literally thought about this for an entire year. Should I start a business? Everyone thought I should. People raved about the things I made and told their friends. Everywhere I went people it seemed like everyone said, "You should make this a real business!"
I responded eloquently. "Um..."
In this post, you can read about how this question finally got settled.
After I came to the conclusion I wasn't supposed to be just selling things, I spent some time trying to figure out what it was I did want if I didn't want what it looked to everyone else like I was trying to build.
Why did I have a blog? Why was I trying to build an Instagram following?
Read my post about why documenting is now creating.
When I dug deep I realized I was happiest when I was writing. Taking pictures. Sharing what I had learned with people. I realized in a moment that I didn't want to make things.
I was the thing.
Okay, that sounds weird.
I just knew could serve people best with what I could teach and share, not by what I could make and sell. So I made my first vision board and I put a picture of a female speaker on it.
But I didn't tell anyone.
I mean what was I going to speak about? How not to start a business? How to keep your thing small. How to be an anti-preneur? Nothing about it made sense but something about the idea of speaking drew me.
It was scary but in a good way-- not in a 300 tins of hand cream by tomorrow way.
I didn't promote myself or tell anyone about this idea of becoming a speaker. All I did was continue to listen to speakers and podcasters who inspire me and cut out a picture of a female speaker and put it on my vision board. But it was 2017 and my motto for that year was "let the opportunity reveal the path". In April I received a call inviting me to speak at a church to a women's ministry group.
Could I come and talk about whatever I wanted relating to bees and gardening? Could I be fun and entertaining? I hadn't given a talk since a book report in high school and I spent hours writing it out and rehearsing down to the tiniest detail. Everyone said they loved it, had tons of questions, and they've since had me back again. I've spoken to garden clubs and at other events.
Since then it's become so apparent to me that it's the speaking and writing as well as giving advice and answering questions on social media platforms that fill me with joy. I still make things because I love that and selling my products pays for my beekeeping and gardening addictions.
It truly is the teaching and sharing of information that I love the most. That's why educator and not entrepreneur was the right path for me. It's the ability to serve people by answering the questions beyond "is honey really good for your allergies?"
What path are you on? Does it make sense only to you? Are your friends kind of perplexed because you don't fit neatly into the should box?
Just keep doing your thing the way that makes sense for you and eventually you'll find a way to put it together in a way that works.
If you are in the midst of this kind of decision making yourself, hit me up in the comments and let's talk it out.