I’ve never loved my job in the way that I love this one. My first job was at a game store. I played, recommended, and sold board and card games for 10 years. I was good at it too. By the time I left, I was training new employees and running a small business as if it were second nature. I had played probably hundreds of different games (or more) and I had a knack for matching people up to games that they would fall in love with. I put high expectations on myself and worked my hardest to meet them. And I really liked it too. But it wasn’t sustainable. Once I became an adult I couldn’t afford to live off of part-time hours and low wages.
So then I took job after job that helped me pay bills. I didn’t love those jobs, although I loved aspects of them. Waking up in the morning slightly (and sometimes completely) dreading going to work was taking a huge toll on me. I lived for my non-working hours so that I could do the things that I was passionate about – painting, writing, and drawing. Those creative parts of life have always been my reason for waking up every day.
And then I couldn’t do it anymore.
The funny thing about doing a job that you love is that, somehow, you find a way to make it work. I’m finding a way to make writing, art, and cartooning financially viable. For example, putting Geekasaurus on GeekMom was a big step for me. I’ve also taken a few commissions and I submit short stories to publications on a regular basis. I’ve taught classes. I sell art prints sometimes. I’ve designed logos and built websites. I’ll be having a booth for the first time at a local maker fest. Each of these things gets me one step closer to my goal.
I still have a part-time job that pulls in a paycheck. I work with adults with developmental disabilities through a local non-profit. Some days that means running art classes and other days it means setting them up for success as they volunteer at a thrift shop or build friendships at bowling club. I get to see my no-filters-necessary mom friend/sister-from-another-mister on a weekly basis, which helps with my sanity and forces me to leave the house once in a while.
It takes time to build a business (because that’s exactly what I am doing) but I keep stumbling across the next perfect opportunity, as if the universe is telling me, “Here’s what you need now. Go ahead. Take it.” I work just as hard as I did at every other job I’ve ever had. I’m harder on myself than any other boss. I push myself more than I have pushed any other employee. And working from home has its own unique challenges now that I have a child to simultaneously look after.
Even my worst days are amazing days. The parts that I hate the most are things that I can do something about. Feeling a little bit isolated working from home? I can take my iPad downtown and meet up with a writing friend who is probably working at a coffee shop somewhere. My website is looking kinda meh? Good thing I have the skills to make it sparkle again. The Dinosaur can only be soothed by mommy today? Well, my hours are flexible so I suppose I can finish up that project after she goes to bed.
My someday dream is to have built my business so that I can support my family on the income. I’m able to pay a few small bills now with my creative endeavors. There’s still hospital bills to pay off and the house needs fixing. Little by little this dream of running my own creative business is taking shape. Everything that I’ve experienced up until this point has prepared me for self-employment. I’m finally on the path that I was meant to be on all along – the path to happiness.
To connect more with Geek Mom Kali, follow her on Instagram (@simply_kali)