I started my business by opening an online shop. But I didn’t list my paintings.
I’d just lost my job and had to heal my heart, so I’d been painting in my backyard all summer (my favorite thing to do as a kid). But I was nowhere near ready to start selling my artwork. I’d just started painting my whimsical characters.
I also began making these handmade feather hair clips. So I listed those clips in my Etsy shop (I don’t think I actually sold any, just gave them as freebies to friends and family). But it was my place to start.
For me, making the feather hair clips was an easy (and safe-feeling) way to gain confidence. It eventually led to me feeling confident enough to show people my paintings (and to keep painting).
By the end of the summer, I’d so many paintings hanging all over the house that when friends came over, they’d see them and say I should have a show somewhere. I asked at the library and in a few months hung my paintings and hosted an opening. It was mostly friends and family, and I sold a few prints that I’d printed at the local UPS store (not super professional, but, again, a place to start).
But a few friends of friends also came to the opening and I ended up selling a few original paintings (for the first time… to people I didn’t know!).
That got my excitement going, so I registered for an online business class, which gave me the details I needed to buy my own printer, paper and shipping supplies, start a blog, and get on social media. I began reaching out to other artists and makers, mostly online, and eventually I gained the confidence to list my paintings in my online shop, show in local galleries and sell prints, lockets, calendars and cards too. Then in 2011, I submitted my artwork to a magazine and ended up launching my first online class, How To Paint An Owl.
Now my business has supported me for ten years, and in my third year I reached the celebrated six figures a year.
Along the way, I’ve focused on what I enjoy doing most, which has led to thousands of customers and students around the world, press in Glamour Magazine, Somerset Studio and Oprah.com, being published in multiple books, having five books of my own on Amazon, launching eighteen online classes, opportunities to teach in-person and sales in galleries and shops around the world.
Most importantly, I’ve built a lifestyle I love that allows me the freedom to travel, paint, write and share my passions with you! Selling my artwork and sharing it with you for a living is something I never thought possible. I wish for you to live your dreams too (without making all of the mistakes I did along the way).
Following your dreams and being a full-time artist doesn’t have to feel overwhelming or impossible — you’ll learn, step by step, how I’ve grown and currently run my creative business and life as a full-time artist in my Business For Creatives online workshop.
I hope that all helps to keep you inspired!