Life, Business and Bad News

In the last few weeks it seems my world has gotten smaller in almost every sense. It started when my wife’s health took a hit and she was diagnosed with not one, but two serious conditions, one of which was cancer. This kind of news will make everything else seem unimportant, all of a sudden. The fact that I lost my mom to cancer in May is probably not helping any.

The good news is that they caught it super early, and that the doctors are expecting a full recovery from the cancer part. There’s still the other issue of course, which will require surgery and several weeks of recovery. The ugly kind, where they give you hardcore meds just to deal with it. Right now, we are both mentally and physically preparing for what’s ahead.

Since we are both independent businesses owners, this situation has another effect on us – neither one is working much, while the bills keep piling up. This is added stress that we really don’t need. We are not on the brink of starvation or anything like that, but we are definitely feeling the crunch. Which is what led me to write this post.

If you are a freelancer or a one-man band, do yourself this favor: cover your bases in case of an emergency. Get health insurance. Let me repeat that. Get. Health. Insurance. As an independent, insurance is expensive and if you’re bootstrapping it is easy to tell yourself you’ll add it later. Don’t. Bite the bullet and pay the man. Cancer doesn’t wait until you’re ready.

You’ll want a support network. We have had daily messages from friends and family, checking in and offering help and encouragement. This support is crucial, especially if you’d like to try and stay positive.

Anybody working for themselves will be used to being immersed in the work, and powering through to get the job done. You may even enjoy it. But when illness hits the household, that is taken away. Focus shifts, and staying on top of business quickly fades into the background. It has to. If you can, put a little aside for a rainy day. You might even look into getting a backup in place, if you have clients who need regular pampering or can’t be rescheduled.

Whatever you do, don’t just sit there thinking it will happen to someone else. It’s not a gamble worth taking.

Jack of all Trades…

Jack of all Trades
King of None

That’s pretty much me, right there. At least if I’m to say so myself. If you ask me what I can do, I will say that I am a decent writer, a decent musician and a decent photographer. I can draw a little, too. But if you ask me what I’m a master of, I’ll look at you and shake my head.

In retrospect, maybe I should have stayed with just one thing. If I had specialized in, say, music, I could have been an awesome songwriter. I’m sure of it. But most of my energy went elsewhere. If I had concentrated on photography only, I would have been amazing. But my interests have been spread out.

One could argue that I am better at what I do, because of my dabbling in many similar or at least somewhat related things, and I would tend to agree. But still, part of me wonders what if.

However, I would like it to be known, that I have no regrets. I am proud to be a multi-artist. Yes, I realize that there will be others who are better than me at everything, but if I can create something that other people will take pleasure in, whether that be a song, a book or a photograph, then my mission is done. I did not set out to be the best in the world at what I do, but I did set out to make some kind of impact. That’s all.

Later, I’ll talk about managing all of these creative impulses.