Back in 2016, the Urban Dictionary added the word "adulting" to their compendium. The verb is defined as "doing grown up things and holding responsibilities like a 9-5 job, paying rent, mortgage, or car payments, etc." Time.com coined it as the new favorite word for Millennials.
Millenials and Gen Zs (post-millennials) are sometimes harshly characterized as being coddled, lazy and narcissistic--as indicated by their aversion to adulting. Their "failure to launch" or take on adult responsibilities and move out of their parent's home has been the butt of many a sit-com.
However, psychologist Rachael Weinstein disagrees, saying she finds young people in her practice who are feeling isolated, overwhelmed and paralyzed by too little skills and too many choices.
So, why am I telling you this? This isn't an essay on the societal implications of generational learning or coping (or lack thereof). Nope.
Rather, it dawned on me the other day that when it comes to running my own creative business there are a lot of tasks that, for me, fall into the adulting category. I may not want to do them! I feel ill-equipped to tackle these chores and wholeheartedly relate to that sense of being overwhelmed. Yes, I would much rather avoid those grown-up things completely, and just have fun doing the work I love to do!
It's a little like the common creative complaint about clients. If we could just do our work without those pesky, demanding, hard-to-please clients, right? Well, business doesn't work that way. We wouldn't have the work if it wasn't for those clients.
I've never had a problem with the client-work relationship though. That's doable and manageable to me. I understand how much I need them and that they, in turn, need me. It's reciprocal and I'm good with that.
No, the adulting aspects of running this business are much more daunting to me. Things like:
Ugh! I'm a creative. I want to create and solve problems. I want to be helpful to others and keep my creative juices flowing with ideas and discovering new ways of doing things. But numbers, processes, business necessities--these are not my strengths.
Don't get me wrong, I'm great at project planning and management. But those are learned skills. It took me time to gather the routines and habits that serve me well in taking on a complex project. I'm just early on the learning curve with these more business adulting skills.
But, I'm an avid reader and eager learner, so I try to tackle one nut at a time on that list. I've learned tons about proposals, contracts and invoicing and found some awesome online tools to help me out. I've taken advice and found an accountant to help me with taxes and bookkeeping to some degree.
Trouble is, life gets in the way and the next thing you know it's tax time again and you're not fully prepared. Or maybe sickness rears an ugly head and you don't have the financial cushion to allow for sick days and extra medical bills.
What about those slump days when the work runs dry and the leads are not there to fill the coffers again. Feast or famine they call it. Ugh! How am I supposed to prepare for that without the money to invest in a better lead funnel?
Risk. I'm still working on this one--coming to grips with the reality of living with uncertainty day in and day out. I keep thinking I'll get this steady flow of clients who can keep the work coming in and the risk will go away. I'm not sure that's realistic.
And networking. Turns out I rather hate the idea of networking. I'm more of an introvert than I realized when I got up and went into an office full of people every day. Take me out of that grind with the luxury of working from own home, and now I can't seem to force my foot out the door for necessary socializing and relationship building.
Guess these are just items on the list yet to be checked off as conquered.
I'm not proposing any solutions here...just musing at the predicament I've created. I smile at myself because the little girl inside doesn't want to act like a big girl and face all these grown-up challenges.
Can't someone do it for me? Oh yeah... that's what I had before I was self-employed.
That was the case when someone else carried the load as the business owner and I just showed up to the office each day and worked for them, not for me.
I remember now....
Hi. I'm Barbara Bogue. The name [double b] came from my initials. Here I share tips and advice on marketing, design and copywriting.
Check out how to write taglines and slogans for your business with this easy, do-it-yourself foolproof formula--yours today. You'll be marketing with zing tomorrow!