If you read my newsletter then you know this summer I'm celebrating 5 years of Painted by Holly! I'm really proud that I've made it this far because honestly, there were lots of times I didn't know if I would. It's been a real roller coaster ride to say the least. Blood, sweat, and tears. (Not kidding about the blood. Swear I about lost a finger to an x-acto knife once. Sweating- mostly at art festivals, sitting there in the 90 degree heat, year after year, in the fall. And yeah, I've a cried a few times, or thirty. So, tears. Check.) Anyway, I thought I'd share some of the steps I took and things I've learned along the way these past 5 years. Maybe it will help someone else.
#1) Be patient. When I first started selling my watercolors I was working full time at my dad's office, teaching an art class on Thursday nights, and leading birthday parties at an art center on Saturday mornings. It was hard, but I knew I had to have a decent amount of money saved up and a plan worked out before I could just dive off into the unknown.
#2) Speaking of a plan, make one. Taking on the unknown is way less scary with a plan. I went to the Small Business Development Center for counseling (it's free by the way!), I read books, I went to workshops. I made lists and outlines and looked over my monthly expenses like a million times. I got a small personal loan from the bank and I drew up an official plan of how I was going to make this whole artist deal work. (Which totally ended up not working by the way, but what in life ever really goes as planned? Adapt or die!!!!)
#3) Go for it. Being patient and planning- super important. But you can't plot and plan forever. The timing is never going to be perfect. Eventually you just gotta go for it! Quitting my full time job was the big leap for me. I was working as a front desk clerk at a hotel. Clearly not a glamorous job, but it did consist of a steady paycheck, excellent health insurance, paid vacation days, and a retirement savings plan matched by my employer. Not exactly the easiest thing to walk away from for a job that you're just making up out of thin air. But I looked over my "Pros" list again: be my own boss, enjoy my work, flexible hours, enjoy my work, unlimited earning potential (I know, I know, but the possibility is there. Maybe one day Painted by Holly will just take off nation-wide and I'll be one of those rags to riches stories you see in Reader's Digest.) and oh yeah, there was one more thing, enjoy my work. For me, the pros were enough to give it a go.
So those are the first 3 steps. The easy ones. What comes next is the hard part. Sticking with it. Making it work. Rolling your pennies and cashing in your savings bonds. Actually living out the "Never Give Up" mantra taught in elementary school classrooms and immortalized in Disney feel-good movies. I can't really tell anyone how to do that, but I'll be back later this week with the rest of my "tip list." So stay tuned!