Recently, a few conversations, both positive and negative, caused me to pause and ask myself the above question in regard to venturing into weaving as more than just a passtime. I began to really think about what I want to do versus what I can do. So I decided to write four lists: ‘what do I want?’ ‘what do I not want?’ ‘what can I do?’ ‘what can’t I do?’.
The overlap between can and want whittled possibilities down to this: teaching beginner and intermediate rigid heddle weaving part time, self employed, to adults, perhaps organising more workshops with advanced weavers, and possibly collaborate with other creative people.
Since I was being all business plannery, I then did a SWOT (strengths/weaknesses/opportunities/threads), which was … enlightening. If I seriously needed to make money I’d probably back away at this point. Fortunately that’s not my primary aim (though my ‘don’t want’ list did include “overcommitting financially”). I will proceed with caution. Bleeding money is undesirable, making a profit would be surprising. I’d settle with breaking even.
Where to go from here? Well, I am in no rush. I want to finish the 4 shaft and 8 shaft weaving classes before I take on too many other commitments. That means I have a year and a half to go before making any big moves. In the meantime I can do some planning and information gathering.
And I’m sure I’ll ask myself the question above, and feel the doubt, again. 25 years ago, when I quit full time work and started a design and illustration business so I could write books, I felt the same. I turned that fear into focus and motivation rather than paralysis and procrastination. That’s a lot easier when you have the energy of youth, but there’s got to be advantages in being older, too. Wisdom? Experience?
Maybe just being not afraid to say ‘no’.