I am Big Joe the Storyteller. That is who I have been now for 20 years. Since my marriage back in 2008 I have been a storyteller with no other job than this. I have been my own boss for all this time which is equal parts blessing and curse. The blessing part is I get to call the shots, don’t have to answer to anyone (other than my clients and my other boss which is my wife lol) and control where I go and what I do. The curse part is I have no one to answer to, and control where I go and what I do.
I am very talented when it comes to the creative side of my job. I love reading stories, writing stories, and of course telling stories. When I am in front of an audience telling tales and I have them in the palm of my hand, there is no greater feeling in the world. I love making people (especially very young people) happy and entertaining them with tales. Getting laughs and seeing smiles feeds my soul. I am not in all this for the ego and the “look at me” aspect of things, I am in it to serve the audience and entertain them with the tales I tell. My goal is to reach as many people as possible and share my stories with them.
That fact, is why the being your own boss part is a curse. While I am great at “being” a storyteller, I have had a rough time “managing” a storyteller. I came into this career with zero business skills. I was a preschool teacher before this and while that experience helped me in a creative sense (I knew how to entertain young children), it did not prepare me for running a business. Marketing, record keeping, invoicing, contracts, and all the other aspects that are involved in business were beyond my frame of knowledge. I didn’t know what I didn’t know, and it was a struggle to learn what I needed to learn.
I had help along the way, including my mom, my wife and various people who assisted me in different ways. There was one woman who for a very brief period was my manager. She ran my schedule, took a cut of the revenue and all I had to do was perform. That to me is a dream scenario. I tell people all the time with my business I am both organ grinder and monkey (I turn the crank and I dance) and I would much prefer to just be the monkey. If someone could run the business part and I could just focus on the storytelling part that would be amazing.
However unless I find someone like that, the burden is on me as it has been for a long time. Despite my lack of knowledge and skill, I have done pretty okay with dealing with the burden. I have been learning on the job and have gotten better as I have gone forward. I am at the point now where I am regularly reaching and exceeding my financial goals for the year (and truth be told the goals are way more than a man with stories and puppets should be reaching), and I am able to market myself and deal with all the paperwork etc, pretty well. Basically I can what I am doing now at the level I am doing it and be fine. However it is the future that concerns me!
There are lots of goals I want to reach, and projects I want to do in the future that have so far gone unreached and undone. As I said earlier, my intention is to share my stories with as many people as possible. I have a lot of thoughts on how to make that happen. The problem is there is still only one of me. I am able to keep my current situation running well, but I don’t have the time nor the knowledge to make all my thoughts into realities.
So as 2018 arrives and I am 2 years away from hitting the round numbered age of 50, I have decided to go on a quest to reach my goals. I have spent far too long grousing and complaining about my problems (as evidenced by the preceding paragraphs) and far too little time solving them. I have let my successful current situation lull me into a state of complacency and a lack of urgency. Now with time ticking by (and as the saying goes I’m not getting any younger), I need to snap myself out of my lull, quit whining about things and start doing something! To help me along, I have purchased a countdown clock to count down to January 1, 2020 when I will be in my 50th year (will turn 50 that November but I wanted to give this a round number). It will be a constant reminder of the time passing, which will keep me motivated and keep me on course.
As for that course, I don’t know where it will take me or how I will get there. I know the thoughts and plans I have, but for some of them I have no clue how to usher them into reality. I do know however that sitting here complaining about that fact will not get the problem solved. So I need to work, sacrifice, take chances, think outside the cliched box and be all I can be. I don’t know if in two years I will reach all or even some (or even one) of my goals, but I won’t know unless I try.
At the moment, I have 729 days till the alarm on that clock goes off. I hope when it rings I will be closer to where I want to be than I am sitting here January 1st 2018 freezing my tail off (it is 7 degrees outside at the moment!)
Thank you for reading this! Currently this blog is available through my website and at the moment I think I am the only one reading it. Who knows maybe after my site is redone (that is one of my goals) and with some effort this blog (or maybe someday a podcast – another goal) will be heard and read my more than little old me!
Cheers to a New Year!
Big Joe 🙂