Tag Archives: business

Just a Brief on What’s New

I have been fairly silent on the media front, but that does not mean I have not been busy. Toward the end of last year I did a test run of coloring books. I wanted to see if it was something that might sell. I had a pretty good response, so I am currently working on two more.  If you are interested in purchasing one of my remaining coloring books you can do so here.

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I am also working on a new plan for how I am going to market and sell my wood burning. I have been analyzing my past sales to see what sells and what doesn’t. The biggest change is that I will be doing more of the fast movers and fewer of the pieces that are slow sellers. This was a tough choice for me. In the past, my plan was to only do pieces that I would like to own myself. Over time, I learned that I was selling myself and my potential customers short. By stepping outside of my preference, I will be pushing myself and improving my art.

I’ll have more updates, tips, and pictures soon.

Cheers

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Motherhood and the Creative Process

Inspiration strikes. I rush to find paper and pencil. Lines flow from my hands and I am entering the zone. That place where the rest of the world falls away and I focus on the task at hand. Time has no meaning here.

Then the baby cries. The sound that no mother can ignore. I rush to his side, all thoughts of what I was working on fade away. My baby needs me.

I have two beautiful children. They have introduced new levels of joy and chaos into my life. Sometimes the chaos side can be overwhelming. The holiday season, the busiest time of year for my art, is here. It is also the busiest family time of year, with birthdays and family gatherings in abundance.

When I first started my business, I remember reading blogs from successful craft business moms who somehow managed to produce high quality and quantities of their craft while being amazing mothers. I thought, I can do this too. It should be a piece of cake. I only work part time at my “regular” job. That’s plenty of time to balance motherhood and both my job and my business.

The reality is that it is not as easy as it looks. Finding balance is the key. Sometime that means that my house isn’t as clean as I think it should be or that I take on fewer commissions than I would prefer. Sometimes it means splurging on a babysitter before a craft fair to make sure I have time to produce enough inventory. Sometimes it also means having a table at a craft fair that is a little sparse. Sometimes it means getting a couple hours less of sleep a night.

Working long stretches at a time aren’t possible anymore. I have to be ready to jump into a project the moment the youngest is napping. I have to be ready for the inevitable interruptions.

I’ve found that I am a mom, not a super hero. I’m human and that is ok.

Here are some of the things I have learned:

1. Don’t compare yourself to others – Every parent has their challenges. Even the ones that make everything look easy. Do the best you can do. Don’t worry about everyone else.

2. Find balance – We all know and feel that our kids should come first. But unless we are going to close down shop, we need to remember to give some time and attention to the business. Sometimes it feels a bit like juggling knives. Sometimes everything just falls into place. Honestly, to me this is the hardest thing to do. You have to find what works for you and your family. Take one day, one moment at a time.

3. Share your creativity with your kids – Inspiration can fizzle if you don’t cultivate it. Some of my best ideas have come out of what we call “special art time with Mommy.” My eldest loves to draw and paint. Nourishing his artistic spirit also nourishes my own. He has reminded me how much the act of being silly can inspire creativity.

4. Don’t be afraid to ask for help – There is this myth of the super mom. She is someone who is so together she can do anything. She doesn’t ever break down. She is so amazing that she doesn’t need help.  Here’s the thing – she doesn’t exist. Everyone needs help at some point. there is no shame in asking. People wont look down on you if you ask. That help might be what you need to succeed.

5. Don’t forget yourself – This can be said to any parent, not just those pursuing their creative business dreams. If you are over extended and worn out, you wont be able to take care of anyone or anything else.

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A Good Resource

Just a quick note today. I stumbled across a really good resource for artists aspiring to make a living doing what they love  – http://arts-careers.com/success/

If turning art into a career is something you want to do, please check this out.

Cheers!

Plans and Ruminations

I’ve been wanting to make a serious go at switching careers and making art a full time gig for several years. I have consulted books, blogs, tweets, and podcasts on how to do it. I’m ready to act now and I am going to write about the process. This will include both my successes and my failures. Hopefully, someone else out there who is thinking about making the shift can gleam something useful from journey and apply it to their own.

For all intents and purposes I am pretty much a beginner with book knowledge and a portfolio.  Here is more detail on where I stand.

  • I have a very modest presence on the web, which includes a blog, a web gallery, a twitter presence, a facebook presence, and some activity on art forums.
  • I have some sales under my belt, but not enough to quit my day job just yet.
  • I have thought about what I want to focus on and I have a plan in the works.

So what is my next step? Paperwork. I am going to take stock of what I art I have, what I feel is ready for sale, prices, supplies and equipment.I am using an excel spread sheet from the SciFiFantasyHorrorSpace_ArtShows yahoo group. There are some good resources here, particularly for anyone interested in selling art at convention art shows.

One market I want to explore is art fairs. I need to find out what equipment I’ll need and how much it (and entry fees and travel) will cost. The Boulder Creek Festival is Memorial Day weekend. I plan on going and doing some research and networking as my first step. Ultimately I’d like to do several art fairs and possibly a renaissance festival or two a year.

I also want to submit work to publishers. I have done some research and picked five to start with ( I’m going to keep you all in suspense as to which ones for now). It is a small number, but I still have a full time day job and a toddler. I need to be able to keep track of who I  have contacted. After I finish my inventory, I will be putting together submissions for these companies. I will post more about this when I get to it.

And with that, the little one just woke up from his nap. Please feel free to leave a comment, give advice, or ask questions.