Escaping the rut as a creative entrepreneur

I am incredibly honored to have the lovely & ever-so-talented Bethany, of Love Grows Design, over here guest writing. She is such an incredible inspiration to me — as a human being, a creative and a lady entrepreneur. She is like a wonder woman — she does it all! And she’s here sharing her insight + tips on how to escape the rut that we, as creatives, often get bogged down from.

Love Grows Designs on Of Trees and Hues

I thoroughly love my job. After years of working in jobs that I always grew to hate, I quit the nine to five life to pursue a job that I created for myself. No more crazy boss to deal with, no more coworkers to tolerate, no more work I didn’t enjoy. I was creating and living my dream.

I’d followed the path of many other creatives that I’d followed for years, itching to live the life they lived and do the work they did. But no matter how many books and articles and blog posts I read from these creatives that had “made it,” there was one thing I was not prepared for — That moment when you wake up and the last thing you want to do is work on your dream job.

While yes, I am doing what I love, it is still hard work and it is not always enjoyable. Some people are hard to work with. Some days I don’t have it in me to be creative and innovative. Some times my inbox is full of emails I dread answering. Some months I just don’t make as much money as I would like. And no one had prepared me for what to do when the dream job just wasn’t dreamy.

The first time I felt like this, I felt so lost and confused. Had I picked the wrong job? Was this not really my dream? Did I make a mistake in quitting my stable job? Had I completely failed? Wasn’t every day supposed to be wonderful and magical and filled with rainbows and butterflies? After all, I was doing what I loved.

Thanks mostly to my stubborn pride, but also to my husband and friends who encouraged me, I kept waking up and working through it. Those days were hard. And sometimes they lasted weeks. But I had to keep working through it, until I learned how to avoid those days completely.

I would be chugging a Mtn. Dew, hoping the caffeine would keep me energized and motivated, and counting down the minutes until my husband came home and I would quit working. Then I would receive an email from an ecstatic client. “You read my mind! This is exactly what I wanted! I’m so happy I got to work with you. This design is absolutely perfect!” Day flipped upside down. I was charged with more energy and motivation than I’d seen in a long time! Suddenly I loved my job! My clients loved me! I was doing great work! I’m helping people! This was my dream job!

Until a month or two later when once again, I would have a tough client or a giant looming project and I would hate my job and question everything I was doing. Then a friend would email to let me know I inspired her. And then a little while later, I was stuck in that same rut, until I booked an awesome new project. It was a cycle that kept moving on and on, until I realized these feelings and lack of motivation were completely curable. I was too quick to forget the great things about my work, the reason I started, the talent I possessed, the amazing people I had come to work with, the overall WHY of what I was doing. I was being ungrateful and pessimistic, something I’ve always struggled with.

Love Grows Designs on Of Trees and Hues

I have…
∙ kept track every day of all the things I should be grateful for, particularly about my business.
∙ kept cards and letters from grateful clients and some I’ve put up around my desk to remind me.
∙ found a great support system through friends I’ve met both online and off, that see my value and encourage me.
∙ read books on design and creativity that inspire me.
∙ journaled and made sure to only write down positive things so I’m looking back on my day in a positive light.
∙ made time to work on passion projects that make me excited.
∙ kept track of my frustrations and how I can learn from them to improve my work.

And still some days are hard. There are errors and tough clients and uninspiring projects. But I don’t get stuck and question my work. I move forward, knowing that those days will pass. Each day is a new opportunity to do amazing things and that I am so lucky to be able to do what I love. And that is too special to take for granted.


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So many thanks to Bethany for sharing her insight with us! I can not even begin to express how many of these ruts I have found myself in. And dreaming of someday living a full-time creative life, Bethany definitely inspired and encouraged me… It’s always nice to hear such advice from people who are already living the dream you hope to someday live. Thanks so much, Bethany!

In similar regards, you can also find me guest writing for Love Grows Design today! I’m sharing some of my insight of being a great host in the sponsorship world. How to marry both professionalism and kindness.

13 comments on “Escaping the rut as a creative entrepreneur”

  1. Natasha says:

    This is a fantastic post, one I am going to file away to my bookmarks for future reference. As someone who has just (as in 2 days ago) handed in her notice from her stable job to pursue my dream, this is a reality check I’m sure I will come up against at some point!

  2. PInk Ronnie says:

    Thank you so much for your honesty, Bethany!
    Ronnie xo

  3. I’m definitely going to refer back to this in future moments of discouragement. Thanks Bethany!

  4. Diana says:

    Yes! I’ve been finding myself on an emotional roller coaster lately, and feeling that my overall mood is way too vulnerable to little positive or negatives things that happen throughout my day. I love the idea of keeping track of the things I’m proud of, and surrounding myself with a little more encouragement — thanks so much for sharing these ideas!

  5. Corina says:

    Hey Bethany!! So nice to have you here :) love all the things you changed. i’m working on most of those as well, as to keep myself calm and meditated all the time

  6. katie says:

    Such fantastic advice!! I’m still working my 9-5 job, but yesterday I had a freak-out moment with a freelance project (which, in theory, is my dream job). I was so frustrated and discouraged that I definitely questioned, “is this what I’m supposed to be doing?!”. It’s super reassuring to hear that so many other people experience this type of thing, and you’ve come up with some legit ways to combat the roller coaster. Thank you for sharing!!

  7. Cadence says:

    This is a fantastic post, and very timely for me! It’s so reassuring to be reminded that the occasional existential crises aren’t unique to me.

  8. Marlen says:

    It’s always encouraging to hear that not every day is roses and sunshine, especially from someone who made it and is living her dream! I’m trying to write my first book now and some days I just wake up and I’m like “I seriously hate this. I have no talent, this is all crap.” And I fall into a dark mood where I’m pretty sure I’ll never have a career or like it. But then just like Bethany said, the next day it all turns around and you feel silly. It’s still nice to hear others go through it, though :)

    xo marlen
    Messages on a Napkin

  9. Tori says:

    I’m with Marlen on this one – I think it’s SO important that everyone is honest and open about dream jobs and the problems people face when working them; it can’t all be sweetest and light, but we rarely see the other sides to such – those that are tough, and frustrating, and hard to deal with. It is so incredibly refreshing to hear, Bethany, how you deal with those struggles; I very much appreciate your honesty!

  10. Miranti says:

    I’m such a fan of Bethany’s writing and this post is just wonderful – helpful, honest and inspiring. I think it’s so important that creatives understand that sometimes, yes, your dream job is not always so dreamy. But that it’s a very normal and common experience. Loved Bethany’s tips!

  11. Sarah Rose says:

    You both are such great examples, and inspirations to me! Thanks to Bethany for the candidness, it’s always great to know you’re not alone in your struggles.

  12. You are both so inspiring to me, and I love hearing how you deal with those struggles, Bethany ! I get stuck in a rut every now and then, especially over the past few weeks. I’m still studying at uni, but have been questioning a lot lately if I am making the right decisions and moving in the right direction. And definitely have days of feeling unmotivated but I’ve just got to try and remember to look at the bigger picture and keep working towards my future goals :) So thank you for this post !

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