This is a guest post by Brooke Shaden. She is well known for her portraits that show fantastic realities. She combines painterly techniques as well as the square format. She also takes traditional photographic properties are replaces things with otherworldly elements.

If you’re self-employed, or you have a creative passion, it is very likely that you have had a conversation with yourself about running your own business. It is also very likely that you have had the same concerns pop into your head that I have, those being: Am I motivated enough to create work for myself? Can I make enough money? Will I stay on schedule with no one to boss me around? Can I take the pressure?

headshot_smallThose questions ran through my mind like a high speed train when I was considering becoming a full time artist. To be honest, they never stopped rolling around in there, no matter how much “success” came my way. They are the questions that we, as entrepreneurs (or as those making the leap) ask ourselves when we don’t want to ask the real question. It all boils down to this: Am I good enough?
About once a year I find myself wrestling with that question, all too direct and foreboding to be brought out of the closet any more than that. And when I stare it down and see what it really means, I cower. I am afraid to answer the question of if I am good enough in fear of the answer being that I am not. The other questions go into this one: the money, the schedule, the pressure, the creating. But they are all parts to the whole – the bigger picture.

And so, once a year, when I ask myself that most pivotal question, I fire myself. Or at least, as much as a self-employed person can fire him or herself without actually losing their business. I, quite literally, tell myself that I’m fired. For doubting myself, for refusing to take responsibility, for hiding from the questions that must be answered.

the_gift_of_time

For any self-employed person, there needs to be an evaluation system. To judge oneself is the greatest way of understanding who we are as individuals and artists. Let’s say that you are working a 9-5 job and your boss calls you into his or her office for a quarterly review. This is normal and often necessary, yet nevertheless causes fear and grief where there is often no need. Your boss tells you what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong, and you go about your day fixing those things and beaming about the praise. This is how most humans work. We live for the positive feedback and we learn from the negative.

Yet in running your own business, how often do you review yourself? How often do you openly tell yourself what you’ve done right and just as openly say what you’ve done wrong. It is all too easy to fall into the trap of blaming others when your business doesn’t succeed. It is simple to blame social media or other creatives in your area or whatever the case may be. But when it comes down to that age old question, “Am I good enough?” there is only one person who can answer. There is only one person to blame. There is only one person to praise.

Review yourself. Fire yourself if you have been blaming others for your mistakes. Fire yourself if you haven’t been living up to your expectations. Fire yourself if you’ve been making too many excuses. But then re-evaluate yourself. Ask yourself, if you were hiring someone to be the CEO of your company, what attributes would you want? What type of person should be in that position? And most importantly, how can you embody those qualities?

And then, after you’ve acknowledged your weaknesses and written out your strengths, after you have figured out what qualities the ideal person should possess and you’ve made a game plan to work them into who you are: hire yourself. Reinstate your position as head of the office. Because at the end of the day you are the best person to run your business. You are the best person to be in charge of your life. It may take some re-arranging from time to time. You might have to tear the pieces down to put them back together. But here is the good thing about being honest with yourself: You know that your life is growing richer for it.

Questions Every Creative Business Owner Should Ask:

  • If you were hiring someone to be the CEO of your company, what attributes would you want them to possess?
  • How can you embody those attributes?

headshot_smallAbout the Author: Brooke Shaden is a fine art photographer and motivational speaker. She is hosting her first Promoting Passion Convention in October which is geared toward creatives who want to write a better story for themselves.

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David Goorevitch

Brooke, thank you for firing yourself, it’s clearly working. Double-thank you for re-hiring yourself, you are absolutely the best person to do what you do. Your work is wonderful. And thank you for sharing this approach with us.

Note to self: Fire self asap. I am reblogging this excellent post far and wide!!

D

David Goorevitch

Reblogged this on AWE & then SOME PHOTOGRAPHY and commented:
This wonderful post is from Brooke Shaden, whose portraits are a revelation… please read on….

dogear6

I love Brooke’s work and creative process. This was a whole different side of her and I enjoyed it – thanks for taking time to share it with us! When you read how she sets up her ideas and photo shoots, then read something like this, I can understand why she’s so successful.

Nancy

David Goorevitch

Reblogged this on AWE & then SOME PHOTOGRAPHY and commented:
This wonderful post is from Brooke Shaden, whose portraits are a revelation… please read on….

dogear6

I love Brooke’s work and creative process. This was a whole different side of her and I enjoyed it – thanks for taking time to share it with us! When you read how she sets up her ideas and photo shoots, then read something like this, I can understand why she’s so successful.

Nancy

David Goorevitch

Brooke, thank you for firing yourself, it’s clearly working. Double-thank you for re-hiring yourself, you are absolutely the best person to do what you do. Your work is wonderful. And thank you for sharing this approach with us.

Note to self: Fire self asap. I am reblogging this excellent post far and wide!!

D

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