Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Amazing True Women in My Life

I hope this post finds you healthy, happy and blessed!
It feels like forever since I've had a free hour to catch up with you. Sorry I haven't had the time to keep my blog fresh or check in on any of you to see what's been shakin'. But... I've had some great things happening so don't give up on me just yet.
On the personal side of my life I've been healthy and happy. Even with struggles (and Lord knows I have them), by the grace of God, I still feel blessed. To top it off I lost 10 pounds, yeah me because I worked for that 10 pounds! This is so new to me, this peace. All the glory goes to Him because it really is so unlike me to feel peace in all things. Last weekend I was able to really spend some time alone with God as I attended the TRUE WOMAN CONFERENCE in downtown Indianapolis Indiana. It was an inspirational weekend, filled with 7000 amazing women. The next conference is in Fort Worth TX, Oct. 14th-16th and I would highly recommend going if you need to be REVIVED! I took pictures but for some odd reason most of them are gone, not anywhere on my camera!
Here's a couple of salvaged shots...
I won't soon forget my date weekend with God, He treated me like a princess:)
It has even sparked a trip that I'll be taking with my daughter to a PURITY CONFERENCE in November . It's in Tampa and it's being held on her birthday weekend . I can't think of a better gift to give a 10 year old and my husband looks at it as an investment in her future. We gotta let our girls stay young for as long as they are young! It saddens me deeply to see what our culture is doing to our youth, but that's another rant to be left for another time.
Speaking of youth and husband and I have recently become the Youth Leaders at our Church!! It is such a blessing for us to work with these amazing teens each week. They are truly incredible kids with a strong love for God and we are so inspired to watch God work through them. This is a labor of love for us and my husband doesn't even complain that we will have to miss the Colts play on Sundays. Now that's love!
On the art side of things, I'm plugging away and trying to find time to be in my studio more. Seems like the only time I can get in there is if I have a show coming up. Shown is some recent work I made before a show I did two weekends ago. This art show did not make for the highest sales this season, but I made some amazing contacts and some cool opportunities are starting to take shape. I look forward to sharing this with you when I know more.
Speaking of cool opportunities...(man this blog post is practically writing itself) I have been invited to an Art Retreat in Lake Tahoe by my sweet friend BEV from Bev is an amazing lady with a great love of God and I am so excited she invited me. Two of my dearest, artsy girlfriends here from Indy will be making the trip with me. Again, amazing women! They inspire me, encourage me, believe in me and I love them to pieces. As Bev puts it "it will be 4 days of art, girl time, great food and wine, and music". AND Lake Tahoe! When I get home I will get back to blogging more often but you probably won't hear from me for a week or so. I'll be thinking about you with a piant brush in one hand and a glass of vino in the other!
God has truly blessed me with many beautiful friendships, a precious daughter, and a supportive mother. I'm so grateful for these amazing, true women in my life. Say a prayer today for the TRUE WOMEN IN YOUR LIFE! My God allow us to be a truly amazing woman, radiating His love like the sun.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Dare to Share Tip #4

I apologize for taking so long getting this post out! Last week I received a healthy dose of how to prioritize my life, using those same priorities I've mentioned in previous posts. I can't help but think I may have been tested because it sure felt that way. I hope I passed! Unfortunately blogging, among a few other things had to take a back seat. I realize, yet once again, that I just can't do it all. Which brings me to this last tip on what I've done to grow my business. It is by far the biggest challenge for me, even though it has had the greatest results in my life and business.

Tip # 4 Dare to BELIEVE!




Been there...did that...didn't work!

The single best thing I have done to grow my business is turning the wheel over to God and letting Him drive. I had to invite God into my art, my marketing plan, and my feelings of not being good enough. AND as if that wasn't hard enough, I've had to learn to move in God's time, patiently trusting him in the speed He was taking me. I've had to turn my life over to Him, trusting Him to know better and do better than what I think I want for myself. As I've said, God gives us our gifts for a reason, but these gifts are given only to Glorify Him...not Glorify us!

To be honest, I struggle to give over all control to God and trust Him. Talking with some dear friends today, we agreed that this has to be the biggest challenge in growing our faith. As a Mom, I can't help but think how crushed I would be if my children told me they didn't trust me. I could even handle it better if they said they didn't love me anymore, because I know that wouldn't be the truth. But not trust me! That would cut to the bone. I wonder how our Lord must feel when we don't trust. Is it because trust is something earned, not given? Is it because trust is more easily broken than love? Sometimes it seems we can give our love easier than our trust, shouldn't that be the other way around?

I don't have the answers but through God's Holy word He tells us:

For I know the thoughts and plans that I have for you, says the Lord, thoughts and plans for welfare and peace and not for evil, to give you hope in your final outcome.

Jeremiah 29:11

Thank you for letting me share my heart today and for allowing me to speak my truth in these Dare to Share posts for my business and life. May your heart always be open to God's will and trusting that He has a great plan just for you.

Monday, September 13, 2010

Words i wish i wrote

Praise God for all His mercy and love! Praise God for the undeserved favor He gives us all each day. You are my portion Lord and you will always be enough.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Dare to Share Tip #3

Tip #3 Dare To Promote Yourself
This, by far has been one of my biggest giants!! As an artist who is creating authentically, promoting yourself just feels YUCKY!! To me it feels like "here's my heart, go ahead and pick it apart". And people do and always will. If your an artist, of any kind...writer, musician, actor, expect this and save your self lots of time spent in the corner curled up in the fetal position. Some people are gonna love ya, some are gonna Not love ya! And thank God, that allows us all the opportunity to be artist.
As you all have probably seen by now, my motto is work smarter not harder. Same holds true for marketing and promoting. Early on I killed myself and my spirit by trying to be everywhere, all the time. This didn't work for me and I had to get in touch with my priorities:
GOD, FAMILY (which includes maintaining my household), FRIENDS, and if there is anything left, MY ART WORK. At first it was really hard to stay focused on those things, then it became my freedom.
Here is what I do to market my artwork. PLEASE if you know of an easier way(sure you do)tell us!! Make all our lives easier. I do not have all the answers, just what I'm doing to simplify my life. We all want to take the path of least resistance and in this case we should. Allows us more time in the studio, playing outside with the kids, holding hands with our honeys, and living life in the moment.
My Website
I found BLUdomain through a friend who is a photographer. We were both starting out in our business and felt like we needed a website to be successful. I found and bought a terrible template from a company that had no customer service and you literally had to be a graphic designer to figure out how to use this template. I spent weeks trying to learn about mega tags and nonsense just to build this generic looking site that offered very little. I also spent $700!! Meanwhile my girlfriend found a host and template that allowed her to build her site in about 6 hours and she was live in 24hrs. She spent $100! Ok, definitely a dare to learn moment for me. Do you need a website to be a successful artist? No. But for me it has really taken my business to a new level. Without even trying, I have been featured in varies publications, invited to different art shows, and given myself a home base for my business. Even with the few pieces I have for sale on there right now, I still have a portfolio for clients to see. This has helped me get into several shows that I was supposed to be juried into through ZAPP applications without being a member of ZAPP. For several reasons I refuse to do ZAPP, call me a snob but I'm a girl with boundaries.
My Marketing Printer
How I love me some VISTA PRINTS!! Good quality, good prices, good turnaround time, and good customer service. Maybe I've been lucky , but they have been great for my business. They have come along way since I started with them in 2007 and at the rate they are going I expect them to only get better.
My blog
There are MANY free websites to help you decorate your blog. I really like this one because they have a great selection and it's an easy site to navigate.
And as you already know, I use blogger for my host. They make my life easy, love that!
Networking Groups
Again, there are a ton. Personally I network in groups that i enjoy. I participate, when I can, in varies on line groups that include Facebook, The Incrowd (an Indiana Etsy group), Create by Faith, and Fishers Handmade (another local Etsy group). I have found that Etsy forums are a great way to learn more about how to grow your business and gain awesome feedback.I also network with some of you, my blog family. I really don't care for the word network, I think of it more as connecting. So connect with people you WANT to connect with otherwise it becomes a chore.
Host workshops
I currently work with my city to give workshops in Mixed Media/Collage. Connecting with your Chamber of Commerce is a great place to start if you are looking to do the same. Also, I would recommend networking with local art galleries and boutiques to see if they are interested in offering workshops in your medium. I enjoy workshops because it allows me the pleasure of seeing beautiful people create beautiful art!!
Moving forward in my business, I'm in the process of adding three things that I believe will promote my work and grow my business.
  • Adding Prints to my line

(said I never would! eating my words)

  • Learning Photoshop
(yes, still trying to find the time to learn this software!! Anya...HELP)
  • Adding a wholesale line
( this will be a huge step for me, but I believe, today anyway, that this is the direction God is leading me)
Unfortunately marketing and self promotion is just a huge part of selling our work. Not the fun part, but key to growing your business. If you don't think your worth promoting neither will anyone else! So let your freak flag wave and sell it baby!
I hope you have a blessed weekend.
I look forward next week to sharing a final and most benefical tip for growing my business.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Words i Wish i Wrote

Be back Friday with another Dare to Share tip for growing your business.

Thinking of you. May God bless you today.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Dare to Share Tip #2

Tip #2 Dare to become DESERVING!
When I first decided I wanted to try and sell my artwork, it was a scary time for me. Putting my heART out there for all the world to see was not easy and I was more or less a 'closet artist'.
Literally a 'closet artist', here is my first work space.

Ok, now that I'm totally exposed...look at it!! This was the place I came to get inspired and create! Shameful. When I couldn't stand to work in the dungeon anymore, I started to drag my stuff upstairs to the kitchen table. This was good for awhile, but every time i started to get into a piece I would have to pack it up and make dinner ,so needless to say this was not ideal either.

It took me a long time to feel deserving of a space all my own, a whole room i could call mine.

I turned the guest room into MY OWN REAL LIFE STUDIO!! It seemed silly to have a room that guest stayed in maybe 12 nights a year while I was lugging my stuff all over the house trying to find a sunny place to create in. And I'm sad to say that i didn't do this until Jan 2010, over 2 years after I stared selling my work. CRAZYNESS! But honestly there was this part of me that just didn't feel like i deserved that space for myself. When I really asked myself why i wasn't deserving of a space to create in, nothing came. It wasn't about entitlement, it was about working hard and moving forward. It is a blessing to me every time I walk in that room. It is a shame that I allowed myself to sit in the dark for so long, down in the dungeon. By becoming deservinging of that sunlight I allowed my dream to grow.

If you are an artist, do you have a space in your heart and home for your dream to grow? It doesn't have to be a whole room, but maybe it should be. How often do you use that formal dining room or guest room? You might have a sunny corner in the office or family room that is waiting for just for you.

You deserve that and God gave you your gift for a reason.


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Dare to Share Tip #1

What a great week I had with my family from Cali in town! I honestly dropped almost EVERYTHING to hang out and visit with them. Last time I saw my sister and her family was Christmas so it was my pleasure to catch up and just "BE". It did put me behind a bit, but hey family first! We have been blessed with lots of family visits this summer and I can't wait to share some pictures with you of our visits.
This week I also had some time to really think about how I've grown my business in the last three years, the mistakes I made and what lessons I've learned along the way.
I'm so excited to share what worked for me in growing my business. My list of what didn't work would take up the remaining posts for 2010 so I thought instead I would share the 4 things I've done to help my bu$ine$$ grow. I thought long and hard on these and I hope they help you on your journeys too. I'm sure many of you will think "been there , done that" so chime in and help us all GROW.
When i first started my business in Oct. 2007 i was kinda a know-it-all. I had been an artist, though not professionally, all my life. During my professional career I was in sales and had always had an entrepreneurial spirit. As my mom often teases 'you could sell ice to an Eskimo' and I was always selling something! So foolishly I thought I would make product and they would beat down the door to get it. I had a good idea to sell handmade collage frames and do it yourself collage kits.
Who wouldn't want to buy that?!
Well not enough that's who and it was a very humbling time for me. But I really needed that because what it did was force me to reach out to others in my field and ask questions. I had to admit that i didn't know jack about running my own business and what it takes to be an artist.
I began networking with artist in my local area, taking classes, and being open to learning. Unfortunately not everyone was willing to help. A lot of artist have this competitive nature that makes them not want to share knowledge or connections. After meeting many artist like this it dawned on me that it was really insecurity and it made it easier to not take things personally. I'm thick headed and love a challenge so it took me getting slapped around and even being laughed a bit to really want to succeed anyway. It pushed me and it made me humble. It also made me passionate about helping others along the way.
I meet with a dear artist friend just last week and we discussed this. She contacted me 8 months ago, out of the blue and asked if we could meet. She lived closed by and was looking to find someone to network with and learn from. I told her I would love to and after looking over her beautiful artwork I was so excited to meet with her. We quickly became friends and she shared with me her frustration that no one would talk with her about their art business.
I was the first to accept her invite!
I have been thrilled to see her grow her business. She started a website...better then mine! (I will share more on this and the company we use in a later post. Btw, my site is being updated now thanks to my friend!). She did her first art show, setting up an amazing booth, and sold her first piece. She even does prints and t-shirts now!! I don't even have prints yet! I love it and honestly feel genuine happiness for her. At lunch she thanked me, just like she has a million times for my help. She also told me that she has been helping this young artist, who is just starting out. She told me she is paying it forward! I tried not to just sob all over her.
In giving to her I have received the true gift!

So, if you know it all, LEARN!
When you don't know jack, TEACH!