In 2000, after creating a few hundred awesome greeting cards for Paper Moon, my dear friend Steven Rotblatt saw the need for online greetings, and launched one of the first greeting card company’s on the Internet, “Rubberchickencards.com.” Today his small niche business is in fierce competition with all the giant card companies, including American Greetings, Hallmark, Bluemountain, and of course Paper Moon. The fact that these mega-corps can create and develop astounding products, services and apps, seemingly over night, keeps Steven constantly riding a manic merry-go-round, up & down, with doubt and uncertainty all the time. He’s come close to “calling it quits” a few times but he’s managed to hang in there with his own unique creative style of art and humor, along with a ruthless commitment to keep his customers satisfied, and his company relevant.
We were talking the other day about the angst and struggle of being an independent artist/entrepreneur, making your own way, and forging your own path, especially when you’re up against a mountain of uncertainty. I finally asked him, “Why don’t you just go back to the easy, certain life of a greeting card artist and collect a steady paycheck every week?” He scoffed and said, “I could never go back! I love the roller coaster ride too much!”
We both agreed that it’s in your DNA: you’re either a normal, everyday person who prefers to collect a weekly paycheck and travel in comfort by train, or you’re a crazy, creative, independent, genius artist/trep, who prefers to travel by roller coaster.
Truth is, once you’ve traveled by train, it’s almost impossible to risk giving it all up for the uncertain bumpy ride of a coaster. However, once you’ve traveled by coaster, any other mode of transportation seems ordinary and lifeless.
That said, I think at some point you just have to stand tall and face your truth: even though taking the comfy train on the road most traveled is tempting, as an independent, crazy, creative, genius risk-taker, YOU are a born roller coaster person, you always were, and you always will be. And finally coming to terms with that fact makes all the twists & turns in your fragile, unpredictable, creative career, worth it.
Me? I’m ride’n in the car right behind you with my hands in the air!