Every time my art is brought in discussions I hear the same phrase from friends and colleagues:
“You should become a painter!”
“You should be selling your art !”
Meaning that painting should be my primary source of income.
The one that would bring “food on the table” and pay the bills of the precious lighting power company.
I take these comments as a compliment for my art, and it feels important thanks to my insecurity for being self-taught.
Same time I used to feel defeated from my “luck”.
Instead of creative work, I spend my days dealing with numbers, contracts and regulations as I am working in the corporate world from nine to five.
I also believed that I should be working in a creative field.
I thought I should be doing something that I genuinely love.
I should be selling my art so to have an income.
This belief was dominating for enough years but some experiments in the business world, made me believe that :
One should not do what they love as a business!
And I have my story to share:
About 6 yrs ago,since I was always a crafter, I had the idea of a side-business. I would design and sell diaper-cakes and paint the walls in children’s rooms!
I was so thrilled about the ideas I had, that I never did the maths!
So, I thought of a business and never considered:
-Pricing the time that I needed to make each one of them, beside the cost of the materials.
-How would I store all these supplies?
-Promoting the project, taking photographs of my work, listing the products’ charcteristics and a bunch of other things…
All these seemed minor subjects since I would do something creative that I loved. Right?
After making about 30 to 40 diaper cakes – (that customers really, loved, I admit it)
– I was feeling I wanted to vomit (!)…even on the idea of making another one diaper cake.
Yes, it was a side business!
Yes, I was working at nights and afternoons and in my spare time.
Yes, I was giving so much affection to each one that used to take me 3 to 6 hours to finish –
a cost I never have considered adding to the price…because it would become unacceptable!
1ST huge lesson learned :
A job is something you will have to do over and over again.
There are highly chances to get bored of doing it!
And there is no joy in boredom!
But here is something that you love!
So you will probably sacrifice something that you love, AND you will stop making money if this crashes on…
Next. It was the site of my “shop”.
I used to call it The amazing things.com and I was so amazed myself drawing the design of my business cards, logo n colors that I never minded the site service built my site on, was a coupon present of 20€ in Great Deals…
I wasn’t able to upload not a single photo!!
It was back in 2013, and I had no idea about web design, sites and platforms.
I kept taking lessons, meeting developers and try things in order to do a simple thing just like listing a new diaper cake…
But meeting I.T experts was not what I was supposed to do.
I was supposed to do what I love, remember?
I was kind of blind as an entrepreneur and the only thing I was considering, was that I wanted desperately to craft and paint things.
This was my 2ND lesson learned:
Your digital platform is your shop. You have to have total control over it.
What I did was like if I was renting an actual shop, but I was never given the keys to enter.
Every time you have to look for somebody else to help you upload just a new picture or write a product description, that will not float in the page but ‘ll go under the product, you ‘ve got a problem!
Not so good planning for a business!
Along with the diaper cakes, I would paint and children ‘s rooms.
(Remember… I only want to paint!!)
But for this …activity …
You have to deal with people, take into consideration their desires and of course you have to visit their place (how else would you paint their wall?)
You should be very careful not to spill all the black paint over their floor (has happened to me, thank God I had taken precautions !)
Probably you will have them around you,happily discussing the details of the picture, asking questions about the medium and the procedure…
but after 4-5 hours up and down the ladder, you will need NO ONE around you, not even the music in order to finish the painting.
But how else could this happen?
You would expect to be given the keys to their apartment ?
if you made it for a friend it would be much easier to ask for a private date …with the wall!
But here you want a business and this is not how it goes.
To make the long story short:
I enjoy so much painting big surfaces like walls, honestly, I still do.
It takes just me and the mural in order to create and for that relationship no social skills needed.
My 3RD lesson was there:
I underestimated my need to create at my own place and time.
So If I love creating Art for children’s rooms I better make my designs as stickers or wallpapers!
-No need to visit somenone’s home!
-Better efficiency regarding cost and productivity
How did I not think of that in the first place?
Sure, I wanted so desperately to paint I could not think of the details!!
When you love something, you tend to underestimate the negatives and overestimate the positives.
Measuring precisely pros and cons is difficult and here we talk about a business not a hobby.
That is why, aspiring entrepreneur, starting a business and thinking only what you truly love doing, is not always the best guarantee for a sustainable business!
What you love, like painting for me , does not need to be loaded with such a burden as paying for all my bills!
I don ‘t say that your job should not be something that you like.
I just distinguish “like” from ” love”!
What you absolutely love is the shelter for your soul.
And this is a place that you would never want to put it on sale or expect to feed you.
In order to take the best business decision you need clarity!
But when you are in love, you see only the things you want to see!
One could read and say that this post is no “optimistic” !
And for all the romantic creatives that may refuse to accept this, I am sharing this with you:
Supposing I would do what I loved made me to forget all my economic background!
So my prompting is not to load the weight of your survival on your passion.
This is a far too heavy load for something so ethereal!
Businesses need math as long as passion.
When the same person deals with both, you may lose control.
So, go ahead and experiment a lot, try new things and chase your dreams
but never ever look forward to the results or depend your survival on those experiments!!
A day job that you do not hate, can be your safety net !
Leave creativity free…
P.S I made a little something for you…
One book I consider my Bible for creativity, is BIG MAGIC from ELISABETH GILBERT.
I loved this quote of her, that I made this so that you can use it as a desk top for your PC or MAC ( download for free HERE).
For you, that you find time when there is no time, in order to do your passion!