And taking the steps to move beyond
I have been working in the arts for the past 20 years. I consider myself one of the lucky ones. I’ve designed my life in a fashion that allows me to pursue my creative path. It has not always been easy. It has not always been fun. As a matter of fact, it has been a struggle a lot of the time.
The struggle is real
If I’m being honest, the struggle has primarily been in my head. I work hard. I’ve been given a ton of great opportunities in this life. Most of which I passed up, ignored, or declined because of my imposter syndrome. The struggle has continued in my mind for decades!
The layer under which all my fear stemmed was the world of online marketing.
Dun dun dun!
Yep. The World Wide Web was my Achilles heel. For years I listened to people tell me how I needed to get my business online. The entire time my gallery was open (2007-2013) I was encouraged to get an online presence. And I knew I needed to. I really did. But my excuses, that were screaming my fears took hold of every decision I made. I told myself like a gazillion times a day how broke I was. I couldn’t afford to get a website. I couldn’t afford to get an online shopping cart.
I couldn’t afford to do anything!
The truth is that I couldn’t afford to not do these things.
Oh if I could turn back time and tell myself to listen up.
Running in circles
I had opened a credit card to start my business. Then thought I could wear all the hats myself until magically the customers started to show up. And they did! A trickling effect started. I got involved in my local arts scene, started making connections. I started going to events in my community to let the people know about my gallery. I had cards made and handed them out to everyone. And what did they say to me? “You know, you really should get a website.” Ugh! Okay, I KNOW!
Yet, I did not get a website. I was working too hard in my shop. I was working hard making the connections with my art community and my city. I was working really hard to help build events that would bring people to my place of business. But gosh darn it, do you know how one gets all this awesome information out to the public? You have to get yourself online. You have to go to where the people are. And where the people are is online!
I didn’t want to sit in front of a computer
One of the greatest things about living a creative life for me has been not participating in the humdrum commute to a 9-5 sterile workplace. Answering to a Boss who reviews and evaluates me on my performance. Helping to drive profits to the company, but not me. I don’t get up to the sound of a blaring alarm. It doesn’t take me 45 minutes to get to the neon lights of my cubicle. I am not required to sit in the same place for 8 hours in front of a computer. I can’t imagine doing these things. I don’t think I’m designed for such a life. And I love that I don’t have to.
My life of luxury
I love that I wake up at ease with my own internal clock. I love that I can meditate in my pajamas while the coffee is brewing. I love that I can enjoy my morning coffee in my favorite handmade mug on my couch with my cat on my lap while reading. I love that I can go on a hike on a Wednesday afternoon without having to request time off. I love that I can get into my craft room and listen to my favorite podcast while buzzing away on my next art project. I love eating when I want to. I love helping my friends get their kids to school on a late start Friday when they can’t. I love it all.
I’m not trying to paint my life to be a dream. I’m not trying to demonize the 9-5. I’m simply saying this is what works for me, and I am very fortunate to know this about myself.
Every decision has its price
This lifestyle, like any, comes with its own set of standards and rules. I don’t have a 401k, I don’t get paid holiday or vacation time. I don’t get company bonuses or retirement. In fact, I had a side hustle for a very long time. I was a bartender for years! I loved it. I made incredible money while moving around and chatting it up with all kinds of humans. Slowly this side hustle became my regular hustle and my art advocacy became my side hustle.
All of this could have been avoided if I had just taken the steps to get fear out of the way and get myself online.
Yes, experience is the best teacher. But, I let the fear of getting online control what is now my perfect creative path. Stepping away from the service industry was hard. I’m telling you, bartending is great money. But it wasn’t serving my needs as an artist, and it wasn’t helping to keep me on my artistic path.
I finally signed up for some online 101 classes. I found out fast that I actually knew more than I previously thought. This mountain of fear, as it turned out, was more like a hill. A hill with a ton of resting points. Most of which I was able to fly by. A hill that I discovered had a beautiful view. One that has allowed me to bring all my practices together in one space. I can now easily find my clients, aspiring artists, other advocates and educators worldwide.
My Achilles’ heel had been mended! And in the end, I found it was only fear. Fear of stepping into my own power under the mask of the unknown, as the story always goes.
Now I cannot be stopped. I have continued to build my online presence and now I’m pulling it all towards me. Bringing all I have learned to the collective online, in hopes that I can inspire others to do the same.