It is super unlike me to do any kind of ‘product endorsement, or whatever’. But this spring I got super into this web site called Simbi that is essentially a skills-trading platform. It is honestly the best.
Starting a business from scratch is hard work. I am still learning, sometimes fumbling, and developing skills as I embark on a journey of self-employment in the arts and arts education.
There are a lot of obstacles and barriers to people who create careers in the arts. I have been told by some that it isn’t just worth it- that it would be easier in the long run to pick a path in life requiring some committed time to jumping through hoops so that when that is over, the path unrolls out in front of me. Straight, clean, clear. Nursing, perhaps? Some other kind of billable vocation wherein I will give up autonomy and find stability? The reasoning is that I can always ‘squeeze my passion in on the side’. I don’t know, perhaps it is just the stage of life I am in but that really doesn’t sit right, to have a calling shoved, between cracks, as an afterthought into the scaffolding of my life.
So for now I am doing an experiment. I am forging a path as an artist and music teacher, and it may be winding and unclear. I am learning more and more, however, that with some creativity, tools and connections it is totally possible to make my way doing what I love. Simbi has been absolutely wonderful way to connect creatively with others in a way that removes barriers to people starting their own business.
I joined Simbi in the spring of 2017 and taught my first Simbi music lesson via Skype to a woman in Quebec (I live in Alberta). It was really fun to connect with someone across the country who was so open and willing to learn, we even talked about brushing up our second languages (her English, my French, since we both speak both). I am looking forward to teaching more like this to students all over.
I have also made some deals with people from various locations all across North America. A graphic designer in Toronto, a writer from L.A., a Chicago-based entrepreneur. Even if members aren’t able to provide exactly what I need, or even if a deal isn’t struck, I have found people are still often willing to share some insights and point me in the right direction if I can. For those who have provided me with services, I feel I have a growing list of people who I can trust and come back to for the future.
I love friendly atmosphere and the eagerness to be of service to other members that exists within the Simbi community. Everyone is just so nice! It is also a really neat to browse services beyond what I know I immediately need. Sometimes I will see one and think ‘hey, that would be really cool!’. As someone who enjoys making connections and experiencing new things, I love being able to build a list of ‘favourites’.
I hope that Simbi continues to exist and grow a network of active members. I have been recommending it to many of my friends who are doing their own thing or starting up a new project. In the current capitalist climate I feel like there is often an assumption that everything someone does is primarily profit-driven.
Simbi helps shift the focus for people like myself. Of course I need to survive. But beyond that, I aim to learn, to connect, to create & to share.
So for now I’m going to keep babbling about and using this amazing tool. And invite the curious to find out more about joining here.
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