Boring. That is what I used to think of business. Just plain boring. It just wasn’t creative enough for the “artist” in me.
What do you want? I was 20 years old. I knew everything there was to know. Don’t most think so at that age?
Well, the day of awakening finally arrived and in a fairly predictable fashion – I found myself out of a job.
I was in my late twenties, newly-married, and had moved to the state of Colorado in the American Rocky Mountains. I had been happily employed with a job in construction. I was wearing the tool belt and swinging a rigging axe. Then, I was suddenly and unceremoniously let go – last to hire/first to fire – during the winter slowdown. Well, with my ego and wallet both diminished, I headed off to the state employment office only to find that I had not the experience, nor the skill-sets that were then in demand. After two weeks of hearing “what’s the alternative,” I knew I had to do something.
There was plenty of work that needed to be done. It was all around me. I just needed to tune my imagination to said environment. I figured that if I could bid on miscellaneous projects that needed crews, I could find the labor to fit the work from the employment office.
Et voila! I founded The Alternative. I first found construction cleaning job sites and bid on the work. I paid more than the minimum wage and had plenty of people available to fit the crew.
I knew I had found something both pleasurable and meaningful. I had created something where there was once nothing. It was clever. It gave me more money than I had been earning. Mostly, it gave me great creative satisfaction.
But, I wasn’t done. I also realized that I hate running a business. That was not my sweet spot. Creating a business was sheer joy. THAT was something that appealed to my inner-artiste. The general business management – not so much.
(Ego firmly intact – check)
I did this for a few months and got bored yet again. I took some cash for my concept and moved on to something else. A seed was planted. The lesson learned? Business and creativity are not mutually exclusive. Not by a long shot.