So here's the thing:
I love to make things and I have a seriously long list of potential makes in my head. The list is like a living thing, in motion, ever changing, and I do not dare to try to write it down in detail. The list includes wedding presents, new baby presents, birthday presents, christmas presents, clothes for me, alterations, repurposings, upcyclings, curtains, re-upholstery of our furniture, experiments, techniques to try, pictures in my head.......
Often when I make things and give them as presents, or use them myself, people tell me that 'I should sell those'. And when people ask me to teach them to crochet or knit they say 'you should teach classes'. I love both of those ideas, but. But but but...
When you make something and sell it you have to put a value on it. The maths is easy:
cost of materials + cost of labour + cost of overheads = value of item
This is where we encounter the first hurdle. If you want to pay yourself a half decent hourly rate, and as far as I am concerned, not to do this undervalues your skill and creative energy, the answer to that sum, even with careful sourcing of materials, turns out to be 'quite a lot'. The quite a lot comes from the fact that to sell things costs money. You need an outlet: a shop will want to buy from you at a wholesale price and mark up the item so they make a profit too. A market stall costs money to hire and time to man (remember the decent hourly rate), etsy or similar, charge a listing fee, plus you have to factor in postage...
The trouble is, there is another, very important way to calculate the value of an item:
what a customer is prepared to pay for item = value of item
It is very very hard to make the two add up.
Let us turn to the other idea: teaching classes... The actual process of planning a workshop or programme of classes, organising the materials and doing the teaching appeals to me very very much. But as soon as I think about the idea properly my head is filled with: venue? advertising? evening vs daytime vs weekend? are there enough people around here who would like to learn? what is a customer willing to pay for the service? am I really skilled enough?
And then, there is all that other stuff, the presents and the experiments and the ideas, where do they fit in? What happens when a Small is poorly? Can I commit to working at the weekend or evenings without destroying family life? Will there be time to do up the house? do the shopping? the washing? cleaning? gardening? help with homework?
I am trying very hard not to be pessimistic, but to be realistic. Why burden myself with a bigger work-load if I am not going to make some pennies, when I could concentrate on the things I love doing for my own pleasure, and the pleasure they can bring to others if I share them.
So you see, working out What I Want To Be When I Grow Up is hugely tricky. Should I attempt to sell the things I make? Should I have a go at teaching classes? Or not?
The thing about the thing:
The thing about the thing is that indecision and uncertainty are not good for me. They make me worry, make me grumpy and make me hide from life behind social media, tv, radio, audio books, magazines, books... I keep the input up so high that I don't have to listen to my own thoughts. So I can block out the worry.
It is ridiculous to be worrying about an idea, worrying about something that exists only in potential. I know I should get my act together and worry about only the really important things, but that does not help in the wee small hours.
That my dear bloggy friends is the thing. I would very much value your thoughts on the thing.
And now the bin-men have been and I have been so busy self-indulgently worrying about the thing that I forgot to put the bin out. Bother.