Adam & Allie Lehman own The Wonder Jam, they offer a myriad of creative services, real fine folks...and they're the cutest couple around!
Hart & Honey: Memories of being creative as a kid?
Adam: I grew up on a hog farm in Indiana and was the oldest son. At age 9, I took out a small business loan and converted an unused barn into my own to raise 80 hogs a year to sell. For my dad and I, every problem was met with some DIY, maybe-this-will-work concoction. It was equal parts imagination, logic, resourcefulness and common sense.
I built up the confidence in myself that I could tackle anything, even if I had no clue what would happen. For me, creating was always tied to hammering, welding and building and it was always for a purpose. What some people called "art projects," I called "work on a Saturday."
As a person who's not a very skilled with a pen, pencil or paintbrush, it wasn't until later that I learned I'd actually been "creative" my whole life.
How do you take your coffee/tea?
Allie: Black! No sugar or cream. Unless it's bad coffee :)
Being your own boss can be tricky. What is your favorite thing about being self-employed?
Adam: I get to fix whatever I want, however I want. For years, I'd worked in jobs where I couldn't fix the problems because I wasn't the leader. I'd suggest changes, I'd advocate for progress and even fight to help make things better. In each place, changes happened so, so slow or didn't happen at all. I absolutely LOVE that there is nobody to blame but myself.
If a client isn't paying on-time, it's my fault. If a client isn't happy, or expected something they didn't receive, I can make it right.
What has been challenging and how are you overcoming those challenges?
Allie: Managing my meetings + email inbox. When you create for a living...those two things are huge obstacles. I try my best to keep my inbox under control by using a system that works for me. I use the multiple inboxes feature in gmail to tag emails as "Need to respond," "To-Do," and "Inquires." It allows my main inbox to stay uncluttered.
I also limit meetings to 2 days per week. I can then create during the remaining 3!
How do you unwind from the busyness of daily life?
Allie: I've been trying to stop staring at some type of screen earlier in the evening. I have also found that a bubble bath, a glass of wine and Netflix does the trick too.
Adam: Sometimes people mistake creatives for needing to go frolic about in a meadow and sketch and dream and play to refresh. I've found the opposite to be quite. My creativity is blue collar. It's long days and working on the weekends, so the amount of time I do get to unwind is invaluable if I'm going to sustain myself.
I've actually found a magical little formula for myself which involves a lot of prayer throughout the day as well as intentional times of imagination. I'd say it's a weird cocktail of meditation, prayer and iPhone reminders. It's all based on Dr. Chris McAlister's book "SightShift: Identity." As a business owner, I need to be able to heal on the run, I don't have time to take weeks, months or thoughtful, contemplative retreats. This daily practice allows me to experience deeply restored and energized in what takes others a weeklong vacation.