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Monday, April 13, 2015

The Burning Question: What Do I Have to Do to Get Business?

"Grace and Love"  18 x 36  

The other day I had a conversation with someone who was seeking out business advice around her art/craft business and one thing that became apparent within seconds of our conversation starting was how unhappy she was. Frustration, despair, anger, and negativity oozed from her lips as we talked about ideas around running a creative business.  

What was lacking anywhere in the conversation was passion.

I'm not saying she wasn't passionate about what she did, I'm sure she probably was, but it was buried so deep within, she was not conveying it.

All I could hear was how there were roadblocks everywhere.

Nothing was going well.

Business was horrible.

No traffic.

She didn't have money.

She wasn't going to sell online either.  

She didn't have a computer and wasn't about to get one, she couldn't afford it.

Collect emails and send a newsletter?  No way, I don't even have an email address, why would I do that?

The truth of the matter is, there's not one person out there that goes into business for their self, that doesn't come up on a roadblock or an obstacle to overcome, at one time or another or quite frankly, frequently in what they do.  

If you are lacking passion or drive to do what you want to do that is bigger and stronger than a monetary reward, than you probably aren't going to be successful.  Those roadblocks will trip you up every time if you are lacking drive and passion.

It's that drive to create and to put your ideas out into the world anyway you can that keeps you fueled on a day to day basis. You have to keep seeking out opportunities. You have to continue to hone your skills and improve what you do all the time.  Will you need to refuel from time to time and take breaks? Of course.  No one's well is at full capacity 100% of the time.  Ever.  Bigger than drive perhaps is  a compulsion  to do this more than anything else in the world.

When things aren't happening, you have to take a good look at yourself and  consider that part of the reason may be external factors, but also take ownership for what you are doing or not doing to the best of your ability. What needs to be changed? What can you do differently?  It's easy to get discouraged during down times. I've been there and done that too...but the important thing is to know that there are MANY things within your control that you can do to be better or more successful (whatever your definition of success is).

If there is a roadblock that you refuse to cross for whatever reason, then know that maybe that is just the thing that is keeping you from being successful.  Be open to change, because change happens whether you want it to or not. Perhaps that roadblock was put in your way by the 'universe' to force you to change directions. It could be a little bit of both, too.  Something you need to cross over, or something you need to turn and go a different way.  Thank about that for a minute.

As the conversation continued,   she fought me tooth and nail on any suggestion that I had for her.  I don't have all the answers for sure, but the lack of consideration even for a minute of anything that I mentioned showed me that she wasn't asking out of a sincere place of trying to improve her business, it was coming from a place of desperation and need to just survive.   

The passion wasn't apparent. 

Also lacking was an entrepreneurial spirit.  The fact she was in a creative business was more or less because she couldn't find a job elsewhere and this is what she knew and what she enjoyed doing.

It's very difficult to make a hobby a business if you lack drive or are working from a place of despair.  Honestly, there are a lot of creatives that aren't great business people...but you either have to roll up your sleeves and learn how to be a business or surround yourself with those that are. Hire out. Trade services. Join clubs or organizations that can provide mentorship.  

I never want to discourage anyone from creating or doing art because I think it is life changing  for not just yourself, but for those around you as well as the world at large.    My point for this post is that if you are in business or looking to be in business for yourself, make sure you are doing it for the right reasons and be willing to do whatever it takes to make it work.   But most of all, never loose the passion that drove you to do what you love. If your attitude is in the toilet,  chances are your business isn't going to be far behind. 

  The person I was speaking to that inspired this post is a good person and the interaction was a teachable moment for both of us.  I think  she knew most of the answers but was unwilling to hear them, for me..having the courage to tell someone something they didn't necessarily want to hear was hard honestly.   If someone is struggling and wanting to find a way out, if you say everything is rainbow and unicorns, and wonderful--well, that isn't helping anyone either, right?

Find your way to shine and let the world see all the good that you have to offer!  "Positivity" and belief that you can do something is 1/2 the battle...figuring out the steps to take to make it work and running after them as if there is a lion chasing you is probably the next step ;)  

Remember:  let your passion shine for everyone to see.  If it's buried so deep within your soul,   the world is going to pass by without noticing your gifts and that would be a shame. 

I've said this before and I'll say this again,  think long and hard before turning a hobby into a business...even if the start up cost is lower than say buying a software company or restaurant chain, it doesn't mean that there are no costs or no investment necessary.  Time and energy being the biggest investment of all..but of course there are other things you just have to have or do to make a creative business get off the ground.

Lastly, one has all the answers you are seeking.  The questions are always changing. The answers are always evolving. The path is winding and the starting points are all slightly different.

Make YOURSELF be the authority on what you do by never stop learning and discovering around your chosen business/art/craft.   The art of discovery is a great fuel to keep your passion going, which is at the core of how to generate business...if that is indeed what you want to do. 

Thank you for stopping by today!

Artfully yours,



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HUGE HUGE HUGE milestone hit this week (more about that later) in my Etsy shop!

Before the New Year, I had about 40 items in my shop
Art by Jodi, I topped over 100 items. I've been slowly adding on items, extending lines and just overall doing a better job at listing my work and keeping the shop updated.  I had a goal to hit a 100 items and I was going to try to keep it around that  number of offerings but I think I'm going to continue on and up that goal to 150 items before the end of the year.   I have a blog post or two about some 'aha' moments as to what has happened this year and why that hopefully can helps some of you. Stay tuned for that!

To see other items in my Etsy Shop, please click HERE. :)


Katyoparty said...

What a great post Jodi--

Tori Burgess said...

Interesting article Jodi. Good reminder to stay positive and not forget to give some love to the business side of the business. :)

Esoteric Mango said...

Love this series of posts Jodi! You are so honest and forthright about the challenges but also positive at the same time. Thanks for the time and work you put into into sharing this with us!

Chelsea *Sparks* Weiss said...

This is my experience of what you said in your post: What if what we say - happens? We ALL like to be right. What if you are right about what happens? Wouldn't you like to speak more powerful things? Or you could be right about crappy things happening...have fun with that!

Speak what you want to happen and be specific. I said I wanted to leave the house everyday to work, so I was looking for a workshop space for my tools and dirty work. I found a neighbor's basement to rent! What I didn't say is I wanted to leave the neighborhood everyday! In the end I really like the proximity to my studio at home.

Speak what you want.