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An unrelated blog post today. Sort of. Well, it’s only partially related to cycling – it’s more about ‘business’ and creativity. So, if that’s not your thing, scroll on by and check out something else. Maybe this post about not riding the local.

Creating stuff is a passion of mine. You probably know by now that I’m into photography and that I like a good doodle. For a long time, I was interested in graphic design, then web design, then logo design. A lot of design. I think I might be a creative person at heart. I just enjoy making things. A few years ago I sketched this 7idp helmet and fell in love with the idea of sharpie helmets. It crossed my mind to take on commissions and maybe earn a little bike money on the side. There were even a few people who requested just that. In the end, I put it off.

Part of the problem was that I was looking at everyone else doing similar things. Doing similar things and doing them well. I very much felt that my own skills weren’t up to par and that I couldn’t justify charging for my stuff. It’s still a battle that I have with myself now, even with a full portfolio of product photography for some amazing brands like Cyclorise and Elliot Brown. Today, I sit here and still think that my own work isn’t up to scratch – whether that’s photography, sketching or anything else. A lot of people are their own worse critic and that’s very much a way of summing me up.

Not that I’m moaning. I know it’s also an advantage. When others have long been satiated with their accomplishments, I’ve pushed on to learn more and more. It’s about self-betterment for me as much as it is the end goal. And every time I seem to reach a target, another one has already presented itself and the hunt goes on. It’s a positive cycle which can sometimes seem a little draining, but ultimately has beneficial outcomes.

The only real major problem with my own personal battle with my own head is that I devalue my time. I enjoy creating and when it comes to putting a value on that, I find it hard to do so. I’ve given away more photos than I’ve sold… by a long way. I’ve also spent time working for other people, on projects that haven’t always been the pinnacle of enjoyment, and not charged because it’s creative. Something I can’t continue doing is stuff for free – my time is on a tight enough schedule already without giving it away. A full time job, a family life and all the other things I’m involved in all take away from my bank of time. It’s time to start valuing my time, and being brave enough to have a go with the skills I’ve got.

So, yesterday I asked some folk to be brave enough to put their trust into my skills to prove to myself that I’ve got what it takes. Five people volunteered their lids for me to customise. It’s that same idea I had before, resurrected. The first of the set should start arriving next week and I’ve got some time to get used to the idea that I can charge and be creative at the same time. I’ve got plenty of ideas, enough time to make it work, and I’ve already made the first step by putting a custom helmet in my online shop. It’s a way of forcing me to make the next step.

Over the next few months, I’ll be updating my online shop with some more creative things – new stickers, a little dream bike project, and some more mudguards. And, although it’s creative, I’ll be charging.

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