Setting Up My Little Art Business and How I Stayed Sane
Ok, I’ve had enough! Trying to set up an art business, or any other type of business is a bloody minefield. I know what I want to do – paint pictures and sell them, that’s it. Well actually, what I want is to be happy and to make other people happy.
But oh no, its not that simple is it!
I’ve got to do this, and then that, and then the other 1001 things that OTHER people are telling me I should do! So, I’ve started to do what the other people are telling me I should be doing and what’s the outcome? NOTHING. I’ve just been going round in circles, collecting information to the extent that that I am so OVERWHELMED that I have achieved feck all! And the midst of all this confusion I have managed to create no paintings cos I’ve been so bloody busy reading other people’s stuff about how to do this and then how to that and then how to do the other! And of course, they are all so flippin’ important that I am sure to fail if I don’t do as told.
I am no nearer prepared than the UK is on leaving the EU, grrrrrr.
So what have all these people been telling me?
Oh, to start a successful business you need to have great social media presence, Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, and that twatting Twitter – ENOUGH! Then, you need your selling platform, you need to be on a pre-made market like eBay, Etsy blah blah blah. Or, No, you need to have your own website so you are in control – it’s not that difficult, they say! Well let me tell you my dear deluded friends, IT IS. And what’s more, all these people who are telling me what to do, they are not my friends or people who know me and how I do things, how I live my life and what I want to achieve, it is all about them and what they can flog (sell) you. Oh yes, they always start off with a freebie, be it a fact-sheet, cheat-sheet, planning sheet – the only bloody sheet I need right now is one in a dark room where I can go and hide and let my poor frazzled brain cool down.
Because as soon as I have taken the hours to read their info (and it’s not just theirs is it, oh no, their spiel is full of ‘useful’ links that are like golden carrots, leading me astray into yet another couple of wasted hours learning how this other ‘expert’ has another and better way of doing what they tell me I should be doing. And they know, that I will be so distracted by the catchy phrases, sleek photos and promises of success that I will click on their ‘free trial’ and that’s it, they have landed me, the fool, like the floundering fish out of water that I am! Don’t do it, save your time, save your energy and save your sanity.
I’m guilty, I was told that I needed a website – that the website had to have fantastic pictures (if one more person tells me to get a light box I’m gonna stick it where the sun don’t shine, at least that will illuminate all the shit they’re full of!); you need to have great content! WTF, I am an artist, I paint pictures, I just want to sell them. Do I really need to spend all my time checking that I have all the right keywords, the tags, metadata, alternative text for images?? Then I need an About Me page, apparently that’s the most visited and most important page of the website, REALLY??!! Do people really want to read about my mental meltdown at trying to get where I want to be, NO they bloody don’t. Then you need a BLOG, well dear friends, this is it, I have not followed the ‘rules’ that people have told me – such as put in key-words, put in loads of back links (apparently that makes Google find you – OFFS if I can’t find myself Google’s got no chance!) make it interesting and DON’T forget to put in the all-important Call to Action – what’s that, well apparently it’s the trap, the hook that leads to the line and sinker.
Fish out of water, yep that’s me and so this is my first (and probably last) blog. I just learnt that the word came from web log, like a diary or journal that you publish online so that other unfortunate people who may find it have the luxury of reading what a crap time you are having in trying to set up your little business (yeah, there I went again, getting distracted, looking to see how to write a blog and make it successful.. FFS it’s all too much) All I want is to paint, sell my pictures and be happy. And you know what, I know how to do that, and you know what, you know how to do what you need to do too.
The best bit of advice I ever had (it didn’t come from some online guru who knows sweet FA about me) it came during a lesson in school when I was about 15 years old. My English teacher, Beryl Jones, said two simple and important things; things which I go back to at times like this when I’m distracted, confused and worn out with too much stuff that I’m overthinking to the extent that I make no progress. What did she say? Well this;
You can do anything you want to, you just have to get off your backside and do it
Don’t think about it, do it
Lots of you would have heard similar things or had the same thing said to you. Well let me tell you, what they say is true and it works for me. So I am going to stop procrastinating, stop sitting here being overwhelmed with all the crap I’m trying to sort out in my head, I know what I need to do! I’m going to stop thinking about it and get off my backside and do it!
I’ve decided to put aside the mountain of information I have gathered and for today, to save my sanity, I am going back to MY way of doing things. And once I’ve got to a more manageable place, in my head and in my work, then and only then, will I even consider trying to add in some of the myriad of things that those other well-meaning people are telling me I need to do to be successful.
Here is what I am going to do...(I am not telling you what you should do – I’m telling you what I am going to do)
I call it...
I have a ‘to do list’ (which has been growing like the bags under Teresa May’s eyes)
Every morning, I take three things from the list (my list isn’t just about what I need to do to get my business off the ground, it includes daily chores and other things that just need doing) such as:
Sewing on that button – you know, like the one that popped off your blouse months ago (and since then you’ve been wearing a scarf to hide your boobs that are trying to escape through the gaping material)
Cleaning the cutlery drawer – how the hell does that drawer get so dirty!! I mean, you put things in clean, you take them out clean but still, it looks like every crumb (and the odd hair too) has taken up residence between the knives and forks – baffling, I’m sure there’s a research paper in that phenomena!
Sorting out business receipts – if you’re organised this will be a doddle, if like me then sorting this one out means looking through all those carrier bags under the sink for the elusive piece of paper proving you spent £1.99 on some piece of string, paint, paper whatever – or worse still, searching through all the rubbish under your car seats to find them.
Anyway, you get the idea. From my extensive ‘to do list’ I choose just three, these are my Three Little Things for today. I then make an ‘appointment’ with each of them: I write down what time I am going to do each one and how much time am going to spend (never any longer than 45mins if working by time, or I will set a top target of ‘items’ like when I am ironing it will be say, 10 items – this is to keep me working fast and to prevent me losing my motivation!) I then set an alarm for each three, just so I don’t forget – because I am probably distracted by following the endless links on other people’s websites/blogs etc!
When the alarm goes off, I stop what I am doing, turn off any distractions like phone/computer and GO FOR IT – I do that little thing.
When the little thing is done, I cross it off my list – that in itself gives me so much satisfaction and makes me happy.
And that’s it. That is what I am going to do.
Now then, nothing I have written here is new or ground-breaking, it has all been said before by thousands of others and they will probably have a bundle of stuff for you to download, click on etc etc and I am not saying that my Three Little Things is what you should be doing (you are probably doing something similar anyway).
I’ve written this just because I had to stop procrastinating, getting bogged down with all the stuff I have to do and I needed make a start!
So please don’t waste your time leaving comments about the fact that nothing I’ve said is new, or others say it better and more eloquently, and they give ‘free’ stuff out too. That wasn’t the purpose of this ‘blog’. I just had to get if off my chest and let people know that its ok to feel overwhelmed and stuck in an avalanche of information, BUT it is not ok to stay there. Do something about it, however or whatever you do, just do it!
I’m making no promises here, but it may be the case that now that I’ve got this one little thing (this initial blog) off my list, there is a possibility I might, just might, write some more blogs, why? Because actually, doing some quick free-thinking/writing has been rather therapeutic!
Now, I’ve gotta go, two more little things are still to be done…
Good Luck and Best Wishes
P.S (and just in case it works, I’d better put a link in somewhere…) I have to be honest, the most helpful group/source of information I have found to date has been the Facebook group Creative Hive VIP – great for hints and tips, feedback and some solid information by other art/craft people.
And if you want some great info about how to set up a blog I found Blog Tyrant east to understand.