I awoke this morning with the booming question ringing in my ears of "NOW WHAT??!!" I did an amazing amount of work on the website yesterday, on the first Saturday I've had to myself in quote sometime. I got the opportunity to work for a precious 6 continuous hours and I'm proud of the progress and headway that I made.
But I was pooped at the end of it, and at my 9-yr-old's invitation, I relaxed with some college football (GO BLUE) and movies for the remainder of the day. But I paid for it this morning as I opened my eyes to the terrifying "NOW WHAT??!!"
"How do I market this thing?"
"How do I really get it going to meet my level of expectation?" (Which is pretty high, by the way.)
And then, the dreaded question surfaced: "What if it doesn't work?" I am grateful that message rose to the surface in a much, much smaller voice.
As I began my usual panic drill, I decided rather, to take a break. And I reflected.
As I navigated through the process of building this web-site, I heavily relied on the messages and inspiration from my muses as they showed me the way. I have built a website before, but never one in which I had so much personal stock. This time, it's all just me. And never have I moved with such determination and focus. I want to use the word ease here, but not in the sense that it was easy. It certainly was not. I want to say that with each day, the ideas just appeared as I sat down to compose my TO DO LIST. I believe I was guided on what to do as I tackled every component of this web-site:
- Designing every piece
- Painted samples
- Photographed and edited all images
- Wrote all descriptions/arranged collections
- Wrote all Blog Entries
- Designed Banner, Product Header and Insert
- Created tutorial videos
There are a great many moving parts to this cumbersome process. Please don't misunderstand me. Although I'm physically and mentally exhausted at achieving this goal in the midst of the previously scheduled program that is my life, I have been carried and lifted through it in a way that truly amazes me. I guess by now I shouldn't be surprised. I've tested the concept enough to understand that I can tap into the inspiration from the muses whenever I see the need. They've always been there for me and I can take comfort in the knowledge that they always will be. There's no evidence that they won't be there for this uncharted aspect of the business as well, although this is the area that generates the greatest fear in me. I've always dreamed of running my own art-related business but I had a big hang-up about the "Business Side" of things: talking to people, selling my own work and managing the finances. I felt this way up until recently, when I discovered the confidence to realize that I actually can go it alone. I realized that I am capable of doing the things that I thought I couldn't do, even if they scare the heck out of me. After all, I created this business from a concept in my own head. Who else understands it better than me and from that perspective, who can promote it better than me?
It helped me a great deal spending Sundays over the last few months at the Ann Arbor Artisans Market. If you are in the area, do yourself a favor and wander through on a Sunday. The quality of the work there is outstanding and if I do say so myself, I found that my work stands up to---and dare I say, even stands apart from--the work that is exhibited there. Countless people stop and talk to me about my work, remarking on its high quality, strong craftsmanship and graceful presence. I am thrilled and grateful to hear their heart-felt complements. I've also enjoyed spending time with my fellow artists--AKA "MY PEOPLE". It's done a world of good for me to be a part of that group, and I cherish the lessons it's taught me about validating who I really am as an artist. My only regret is that I can't be there each and every week from April to December but as I always say, I wear a lot of hats and sometimes the MOM HAT needs to take priority.
So as I embark upon this adventure, I remember to do so with a grateful and open heart. Thank you for reading this and sharing in my journey. Tackling the "Business Side" is the great unknown for me but I do believe it's time I face the Demon. Selling in particular scares the heck out of me. Online ads, starting a You Tube Channel---all unknowns and quite intimidating. I will do my best to stay humble and hopeful all the while pushing myself into areas that are well beyond my comfort zone. Buckle up....this is going to one an interesting ride.