So you want to be an artist? Have your own business, set your own hours, be your own boss? make a living doing what you love? Well what is stopping you, keeping you where you are? Should you take the leap? Ask yourself what is holding you back and face the fear, ask what is the worse that could happen if you made the choice to pursue your dream? Could it be that, hey you might fail and have to find another job or perhaps move to another location? Whatever it is, once you have the answer to those questions, ask yourself another- could you live with that? If you can, then go for it. Sometimes just by asking yourself those simple questions can free you of the fear of trying.
I went for my dream in stages. First I WORKED toward it living by the principle of five. Every day I would do five things to bring me closer to my goal. It might have been research, reading and learning, writing an email, perfecting a design, taking a class, making a phone call,anything could count as long as it moved me forward even an inch! I did this for several years as I worked the 40 hour a week plus full time high stress job. When it got to the point that I needed more time to grow my business, that I had taken it as far as I could on the time that I had,I walked away from the corporate job to go after my own. I fully understand what a big step that can be, walking away from the security and benefits. It can be downright scary. I also believe that because of that you work even harder to succeed knowing you have to. The great part about that is, is that now all that hard work and long hours you were putting in for someone else you are now doing for yourself. It's a bit like having the rug pulled out from under you to find that you are standing on a magic carpet and--OH, what a ride! Exciting, fun, scary, and worth it.
All it takes is determination and WORK, did I mention WORK. Long hours, lots of research, phone calls, and WORK, did I mention WORK. There is no wasted days or hours allowed, everything must be balanced to the last degree. It is not all sitting in a studio and creating, though I wish it was. Some weeks I feel like I spend more time doing follow ups and paperwork, chasing down leads, writing emails and rewriting emails, and yet again rewriting emails- mainly because so many people do not answer emails promptly or only read part of them and do not answer all questions the first time, yet follow up is important. Sometimes it is necessary to be tenacious in order to get someone's attention. I have had more people thank me for reminding them, or calling to check to see how the product is moving than I have those who have been annoyed. Those who have been annoyed, I simply note their account as to their preference's- though I have found that these people are generally not my accounts that are that profitable to me anyhow. The profitable ones seem to be the ones who are thankful and happy to be called and asked so they don't have to pick up the phone or send me an email to order, they just order with me then and there. I can't begin to tell you of the artist that have said to me of their accounts, well they never reordered. When I asked them if they have called their accounts to ask how the product is moving, most have said no. In fact let me tell you of one artist I met at a wholesale show a while ago..... As I was talking to this girl I asked her how many accounts she had. She told me well over two hundred. As I knew it was just her and one other person making the product I asked her what in the world she was doing at this wholesale show if she had that many accounts? I knew that if they were all active she would have been hard press to service them all. She looked at me, shocked that I would ask such a question, then said "I'm lousy at follow up." Me, I am thinking, ok follow up with accounts that have already bought your product who you could resell right from home OR spending 5,000 dollars to do this show to try to get more shops you aren't going to service? It did not make sense to me. Listen up people---- in today's world, as busy as it is and as competitive as it is, there is always someone willing to take your market share. If you don't seem interested to a buyer to stay in touch and service the account them someone else will do it. The days of unquestioned loyalty to a company is long past no matter how well your product sold, there will always be someone new with something different to offer, so stay in touch! Did I mention it takes WORK? The WORK can be fun though and exciting when it is what you want to do so do not be afraid of it but embrace it, and give yourself a chance......
Until next time... when more rambling thoughts will emerge from this jammed packed brain of mine.