photo credit: Steffens-Colmer Studio; Vancouver Archives
Painting is a good way to make an honest living, especially so if you have your own business. You learn all sorts of real world skills that help you create value for your clients and your family. When it's hot, you work indoors or in the shade. When it's cold, you work inside. There is plenty of work available and there is no danger of the trade becoming obsolete anytime soon. The barrier to entry is quote low, as you don't need a lot of tools and equipment, nor do you need much schooling and ticketing. And the sky is the limit if you want to grow your business.
The main problem with painting is that it can consume your two greatest assets. Assets that are far more valuable than mere dollars. If you let it, painting will soak up most of your time and the best of your health. It may come for your family too. Once these critical assets to your well being are gone, they are irreplaceable. The moment you stop applying liquified colour with a fuzzy-tipped stick, that's the moment you stop making a nickel...
If you let it, painting will soak up most of your time and the best of your health.
Don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with a hard day's work to earn a fair wage. It's just that you are using and depending on a finite resource. You only have so much time and so much health. Eventually they will both run out. Then what? Painting isn't the most physically demanding job out there but the regular exposure to all sorts of air-borne contaminants, chemicals, dust and mould, place painting among the most dangerous occupations for indoor air quality. Add in regular fall exposure and repetitive strain issues and your body will one day not be happy with you. Once that day comes, your options will be reduced.
It might be prudent to consider painting as a great way to reach the next step in your work life. You can always apply the principles of hard work, attention to detail, project management, and customer service to other fields. And you can always fall back on painting down the road if you need to - it can be like an insurance plan, a plan B. Maybe you stick with painting, but transition towards working on the business more, working in the business less.
One good tip I'm learning from Stephen Covey's book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People is the principle of starting with the end in mind. Will painting lead you to your mid-range and long term goals? Will you ever be able to retire from it? Will you use painting to get to the next thing you want to achieve?
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