Ever since I was a young child, I have been trying to create and sell. It was in my blood. I couldn’t quite grasp the whole, “work for someone else doing seemingly pointless things for a paycheck your whole life,” concept. It was an absurd idea to me.
One birthday, when I was 6 or 7 years old, I sold some of my birthday gifts to some of the kids in my Sunday school. It wasn’t like they were old and I was tired of them. I’m talking, right after I received the gifts (I’m pretty sure I waited 24 hours so the parents didn’t get their feelings hurt).
I craved money. I loved how it looked, how it felt, and the power it gave me. I’m grateful that this desire did not create a nasty, greedy mentality in me. It actually did quite the opposite. Because I enjoyed having money so much, I didn’t feel like I needed much of it. Again, I said, I liked having money, not necessarily spending it. Spending cash, at least when I was really young, made me feel unprepared and insecure. I just didn’t feel right wasting it, and most of the time I would give it to my church (I will discuss this topic more at some point), or save it. I know this stems primarily from my parents, as we didn’t have as much of this cash commodity we needed.
When I was 11, back in the beginning of 1998, I begged my mother to ask my dad (he was way too scary to approach personally!) if I could borrow $800. Someone was selling around 200 beanie babies on Ebay, and I just knew that I could break them up and make triple that amount back. I had the basic template I was going to use in order to rapidly post multiple beanie babies for sale. But, according to my parents, that was a terrible idea. (In retrospect, it probably was!) This was the overwhelming theme of my childhood. Lots of desires that were essentially shushed out of me.
At 13, I wanted so badly to make money, but I kept hearing all this negativity from the people around me (“no one will hire you until you are 16″; “there’s no jobs for kids that pay”; etc…). And, although I did yard work and random things to make a few bucks, I let those voices get to me. I believed it. I began to fall into the trap that so many do. The one that convinces us that the only way to make money is to work for someone else, doing things that you most likely won’t care about, or worse, will hate.
Still, deep inside myself, I knew that I was unemployable. I was too strong willed, too bossy, and too different. I tried college for a bit, but I found it to be boring and a waste of time. Why did I need to go through all this misery just for a slip of paper that deemed me “qualified?” I could learn the amount of things I learned from a semester class in a week on Google. I couldn’t stand the slowness of it all (get to the point, already!). I ended up doing odd jobs here and there. Waitressing, nanny-ing, fence building (yes, seriously). Each gave me moments of satisfaction, but the feelings were minimal and fleeting.
Eventually, I landed the stay-at-home mom gig, which was awesome. This caused other problems to surface, though. My husband was unhappy at his job, and I couldn’t stand seeing that. I also hated that he was away from us so much of the time (and still is). We needed to find a way to make our own money, own our time, and help others in some way.
We ended up, through many unrelated events, coming up with our first idea. We would write and illustrate a children’s picture book. Our son’s interest in construction inspired our idea, and we jumped on it right away. But that, my friend, has been in the works for 18 long months.
Why so long? Because of lack of seriousness. We knew we wanted a different life for ourselves, but we were overwhelmed with how to create it, so we dilly dallied. To cut ourselves just a tiny bit of slack, we have been full time providers for our son (no daycare/preschool), and Patrick was working 60-80 hour weeks on average during that time. It’s tough to make things with a kid running around. But what other choice is there? Other successful people make it work with children. We can either make these excuses and continue down this rabbit hole of unhappiness, or we can get stuff DONE and enjoy the ride. The latter sounds much more appealing.
For once, we actually made something, and even though this won’t bring in much money, if any, it will be something that we can look at and say, “hey, we did that together.” And that feels indescribably incredible.
What was the first thing YOU created?