5 Things I wish I knew before starting an art business…

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I know you… you’re a dreamer and a DIYer, a big sky thinker and a bit of a hermit, you’re hungry for change and ready to get started on 50 projects all at the same time, you would rather stay home and paint on a Friday night than almost anything else, and you know that you’re crazy to think it just might actually work…

I know you, because I’m the same way… and I’m here to tell you that crazy is beautiful, and the bigger the dreams, the better. My name is Brooke, and I’m a graphic designer turned full time artist who turned $100 from a painted fraternity cooler into a six-figure business in three years.

Here are 5 things I wish I knew before I got started chasing my dreams to pursue my artwork as a career.

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  1. Stop comparing yourself to everyone else. No two people have the same journey in life and how boring would it be to walk down a path that someone else has already carved. We are all on our own beautiful journey that is worthy of appreciating and celebrating every step of the way! So, stop letting comparison rob you of the joy that you so deservedly should feel at this exact moment in your life! Whether, you’re just starting out or you have been working your art biz for the past few decades, I’m cheering you on and giving you a hug from afar, because I know how hard it is! And, you, my friend deserve to feel so proud for being brave enough to begin!
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  2. Being an artist is not all about instagram. This one has been tough and to be honest, I’m still working on it. It’s so easy in this day and age to get caught up in the belief that our work is only as good as how many ‘likes’ it gets and our worth can be summed up by the amount of followers behind our name. Being an artist and let’s be honest, a human being, is about so much more than a silly app on our phones. Yes, Instagram is important and yes, it is a super valuable platform for visual artists… but no, it is NOT the most important thing that you should be focusing on every day.
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  3. Work on improving in your craft and the rest will fall into place. It seems so simple, but it really only hit me about a year into my business. I was getting so caught up in social media, giveaways, styled shoots, blog posts, cutesy captions… I didn’t even realize that my attention was slowly shifting from why I even started my business in the first place. The best thing you can do is invest in yourself and what is going to make you a better artist, photographer, writer, videographer… and the rest will fall into place and grow as you do!
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  4. Just breathe. Stop telling yourself that you don’t have enough time and stop falling into the lie that someone else is going to beat you there if you don’t run a little faster. Take a minute to breathe and actually enjoy the practice of pushing paint across canvas. I promise the stress will be evident in your work and people can see straight through a frazzled Instagram post. Slow down and allow yourself to be fully present in your work and don’t fall into the temptation of creating simply for the purpose of posting. It’s okay to have a day in the studio where everything turned out to be a total mess… chances are a set of fresh eyes the next day will bring breakthrough… and if not, paint over it and move on!
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  5. Set goals and celebrate every milestone. The longer I have been doing this, the more I’ve realized that success is a moving target, time goes by faster than you can believe, and you never really know what you’re doing. Take time to write down attainable goals and what you’re going to do to celebrate when you achieve them… and when you do, enjoy it! Don’t rob yourself of that victory by thinking, “but, what’s next”… “it’s great, but”… “I’m not quite there yet” or “I’ll be happy when…” The downfall of us goal driven, dream doers is that we will never feel like we have actually “arrived”. Try to remember that the journey is truly the destination and never miss an opportunity to celebrate! Because living the dream, is all about enjoying every minute of it! 🙂
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