Whilst it has some merit, if I was to finish the sentence, it would go something like this instead…
“Do what you love, and you’ll never work a day in your life, but every single day other people will question every aspect of your job, making you question how much you love what you do in the first place…”
As a creative who has chosen to pursue the path of payment aka a creative business owner, there’s a good chance at least one of these rings true for you.
You’ve had a time you felt your worth as a creative was tied to your hourly rate, productivity or skills
You’ve felt like you needed to justify this creative path isn’t just a hobby and you deserve to be paid for it.
You’ve had the massive highs and heartbreaking lows of building a business based on doing what you love, and you have the battle scars on your mental health to prove it.
I actually remember a family member way back when tell me that I had wasted my time learning design because she had tried to make a career of it and it wasn’t working out. I’m sure there was a part of her that meant well? But that was buried deep within the rudeness of her proclamation. I was crushed.
It wasn’t the first time this had happened either.
A year after I went freelance full time and was building up my confidence and client list as a creative, I had a past art director accidentally call me instead of calling my replacement. We chatted for a bit and then he said the words that have never left my memory.
“From the outside it looks like you’re doing well. It’s proving a lot of people wrong who didn’t think you could.”
Even typing that sentence makes my blood boil. Because I’m sure he would have justified it saying no no I meant it as a compliment.
In the moment I joked “yeah that’s the point”, but inside I was fuming.
This particular person had made my life hell working for him. His methods and practices made me so much more fearful of mistakes, it took a while to recover from that damage.
And even in the last year, a past employer went to hire me to help with overflow.
It had been years since I had worked for them and my hourly rate had grown 5-6x since I worked for them. I remember the response I was left with from her;
“if that’s really what you are making, good for you.”
Like I was lying or something.
This comment cut, even though I knew I had confidence in my rates.
14 years into my career and I can tell you right now, it has had its moments of pure doubt, confusion and frustration.
Days when I want to quit, that I want to give up, to say I can’t do this anymore.
But those moments are followed by reframing, understanding and clarity, because every knockdown, set back and comment is a lesson to learn (you can read those lessons here).
If I was to go back to the designer I was when I was having those low moment and knockdowns, when I felt like giving up, I would tell her that it is worth it, that the opinions of others are just that, opinions.
And as long as you are doing the best with what you have when you have it, you will succeed. That I can guarantee.