Should I start up my own art business?

Are you thinking “should I start up my own art business?”, but the thought fills you with anxiety, dread and that good old feeling that you’re not quite ready yet?

Then you’ve come to the right blog! ha ha…

Having that dip in confidence is something that creatives feel a lot, all over the world. As creatives, we tend to be super critical of ourselves, our work and that constant strive for perfection or the finished piece, taunts our everyday lives. A painting is never quite finished, a novel is not quite ‘there yet’, or I could practice the dance a little more to make it that much better.

A few things in my life along the way have led me to write this blog, most recently my newest hobby in cheerleading. Yep, you read that right, I started cheerleading at the rip age of 36, with major back and knee problems and never having done a gymnastics class or even a handstand successfully before! I thought it would be fun, and light hearted, but 4 weeks in, I was faced with performing at a major competition, in front of hundreds. It was something I felt very uncomfortable with. I had anxiety every time I thought of it, practised the dance (which I could not master) everyday, and just felt like I just didn’t have enough time, if only I had another so and so weeks. Well, I went on, performed and nailed it! Admittedly, I wasn’t great, but I did it. Nothing bad happened. We came last, but the fact that I successfully did my part was just so fulfilling and I really proved my conscious wrong.

I’ve since gone onto to perform again in state championships, coming second, and are about to go to Melbourne for Nationals! goooooo Poppy! oh, and I’ve also taken up tumbling too, just for shits and giggles! ha ha

But the same thing happened when I started my business. I spent 4 years after university, painting, re painting, changing my ideas, re painting again, as nothing was ever ready yet. And then I met a friend Mel at mothers group, from Little Orange Photography, who walked into my ‘art’ room, and just said, do it! She then booked a market stall for the next available date and we went. I had 5 prints I wasn’t happy with, anxiety in overload and that overwhelming feeling of imposter syndrome. But you know what? we didn’t die, we didn’t get laughed at. In fact we sold prints, she secured some photography clients and we went away full of energy about the next one. And I never stopped after that! I used the money from the first sales to pay for more prints and slowly, very slowly grew a little more successful.

Now, I’m not saying the road is easy. And I certainly don’t make a living from markets and selling prints. But it was an opening. She pushed me off the cliff, so to speak, and I had no choice but to fly, so I did!

It isn’t until you put yourself out there, that you can then learn what works, and what doesn’t. Someone important may see you and give you an opportunity you’re not ready for. You then take it, which leads to other things, and you grow. You don’t ever make it, unless you take that leap and learn on the go. Nothing is better for learning, than doing it for yourself, so essentially, that is what starting before you’re ready is. Its learning on the go, quicker and more affectively.

About a year into my markets, where I had met a few clients and sold a fair few prints, someone saw my work and recommended that I create stationery for an event. Of course, I’ve never done that before so I didn’t even know what files I should create it in, where to get them printed or even if my designs were any good. But, I couldn’t say no to an opportunity, so I did it. The venue then wanted me to be their wedding stationery supplier of choice and could I send them samples. Erm…. nope! don’t have them… So of course, I said yeah, sure, I’ll send them right away!

Cue working endless hours to come up with some stationery designs which were from ‘legit’ weddings. ha ha

Gosh they were awful! But, again, it took me into the world of wedding stationery which has been the main source of income for my business to date. I now work full time in my art business, and am looking to start licensing my work, and create video content on how to create the designs I do. OMG!!! am I thinking of becoming a master, a teacher. But I’m definitely not ready yet for that, I need so much more experience, and the right equipment…

Shut up Poppy! just do it!!!! 😉