There's a lot I want to do as an artist, there's a lot I want to be better at as not only an artist, but business person. I have a hit a lot of walls in just the short time I've been making a go of this. Three years already, I find it hard to believe some days, even harder to believe when I think about the wrong turns I've made along the way. 2017 is on its way and while i'm not setting a resolution for the year, I will say that I'm currently developing a set of goals that I want to achieve, and believe it or not as a business owner first and not some tortured artist or whatever, I feel like I'm done with that phase of this now, haha.
Being brutally honest. Here are some major things I've realized about myself currently:
1. I often bite off more than I can chew. I'm afraid to say to say no to opportunities because I am low man on the totem pole. This directly leads into my second issue-->2. Though not always, I frequently fall short of goals or drop the ball entirely. I would say that overall my success rate of meeting goals both for myself and my clients is about 75%. That's HUGE. A 25% dissatisfaction, usually in that I've become overwhelmed and dropped the ball entirely. It's not fair to folks who trust me to do work for them, it's not fair to Laura for letting me try to build this as a business and not treat it like one at times because ---> (On to issue 3) 3. I'm pretty awful at organization and time management. I always have been and though I've done some of my best work under the gun, again, it's not a good way to run a business, and when I think about what I really want out of doing all this, of course I want to share my creativity and I have jokes and stories and things I want to put out in the world, but I want to it to take care of me and Laura some day, I'd like it to support my family some day, and right now, with the way I've been it's not cutting it.
I've hit some major pitfalls this year, Laura and I have had a lot of health related stuff that has sapped patience and energy almost entirely. I've let it defeat me a little more often than I'd previously had liked to admit, but I've been talking about it not only with Laura but some dear friends here and there and I'm ready to step up to the next level. I told Laura just this evening, before sitting down to write this, that there are times I feel years under my age. I don't feel like I'm a 30 year old man for whatever that means. I've not taken myself seriously when I've needed to, I've never felt hugely confident in what I'm doing as an artist, as a business owner, or even as just a human adult. I need almost constant reassurance and hand holding in a lot of ways. I'm ready to make some real, meaningful changes, and I'm ready to really take myself seriously, in that I am going to trust my gut and be comfortable with being confident in this. I hope articulated that in a clear manner, I do feel like I'm rambling a bit, heheh.
Recently I've subscribed to a channel on YouTube by a man named Philip DeFranco. He's a news blogger, he founded the site SourceFed, he's been on YouTube from almost the beginning, growing a small current events commentary show into a self made mutli-channel network. On his personal blog channel he often talks about the struggles of work/life balance; his business self vs. his actual self, and so on in that manner. He's built a full company with a double digit staff, built a home for his wife and two year old son, and all because of what he calls 'The Hustle'. He puts in the time AND the dedication. And HE is 30. We're the same age. I don't want to it to seem like I feel envy for him, by no means is that what I'm getting at here. I do look at him though and ask myself why I've not taken 'The Hustle' seriously. I told La that watching his show, how he talks about his life, his work, his family; until it came up that he's only 30, I'd thought he was year my senior. It's part of what's made me realize I may be in a state of arrested development in a lot of ways. I want be better, and seeing someone my age who's built a small legacy for himself or whatever you'd call it, while I DO want that some day, what I want more is the maturity to really look at the business end of it, to trouble shoot what's not working and figure out how to make it work, hit deadlines, achieve actual goals that grow and change the way I do things in my work in meaningful, positive ways. Sure I want to keep making silly things to entertain and share thoughts and ideas, but I want it to have been for something and not let part-time burger boy who arts on the side be who I've turned into.
My dad died 10 years ago, I was 20, I stepped up a bit then and tried to keep my family together, but then I left home for a year, I was a dumb kid and I wasted a lot of great opportunities in Los Angeles. I sometimes wish I'd applied myself more, but I was a kid and hindsight is 20 20. Three years later I'd meet Laura and reconnect with an old friend. We'd opened a comic shop together (Fortress of Holding) with money I borrowed from my mom that would basically amount to my inheritance from dad's work-related death. I opened this shop in his memory, and then several months we found out friendo was embezzling from us to pay his child support. We let him go, cut ties, and tried to pick ourselves up, with even more financial help from my mom, but 10 day's short of a year open, we were closed. It's all so surreal now, and it caused a lot of problems in our lives for a while. Wedges driven. I look back and go, what the fuck was I thinking?! And lately, I've realized I think I've been 20 for the past 10 years. But I'm tired of being 20 and I want to be 30 now, soon 31.
I quit Dragon's Lair because I was tired of being treated like garbage, using my creative energy on someone else's half cocked plans and using the rest of my energy bracing for the next day. I didn't quit that sweet managerial salary of $11/hour, 45 hours a week so that I could just serve burgers and do art when I could get to it. I've grown comfortable and complacent at the burger stand, and I like it and I like my co-workers and my boss is very accommodating to my needs, the only obstacle this year has been myself. However, for the first time in months I'm finally picking myself up and dusting myself off.
****Here's where you all come in as friends who've also been gracious enough to take on the roles of patrons.
I want to more with this place, I our patreon page to be more somehow, but ya know what? I don't have any fucking clue what I'm doing. That actually feels pretty good to admit.
Please tell me what work you like the most, what you'd like to see more of. What you are less interested in, good, bad, and everything in between! What can I produce and what can I provide here for you all? Not just in regards to the almost completely non-existent patron rewards, but just as a creator, as a member of a small community. You guys are so gracious and I know I've taken it for granted, and it kills me to admit this, but, OFTEN.
I'm making a lot of changes, and plotting a lot of personal and professional goals for myself for 2017. I want to know what I can truly provide to you all to let you know how much I truly appreciate everything each of you has given me.
I've tried several times to figure out my goals for this page and things I could do on a consistent basis as a thank you, but I'm out of ideas and looking back I'm not sure I even really had one. Three years into all this and I'm only just now forming a five year plan.
Well, I warned you, this was long winded. That's where I'm at right now, so I will end it here with a final thank you for the night.
John, Cris, Mandy, Debbie, Nikki, Steven, and Rick I love you all very much, thank you truly and deeply for your love and patronage.
Onto the next chapter!-Zach