Wow! Where do I even begin? 2018 has been a wild ride and explosion for my art business. Let’s get right to it!
Here are some cool things that happened chez EttaVee in 2018:
I wrote a Book
Debuted a shoe line
Signed with an art licensing agent
Exhibited at Surtex
Launched my first eCourse
Had my art picked up by Minted x Pottery Barn Teen
Worked on some fun collaborations
Developed artwork for some major dream brands that will debut in 2019!
There were countless things I learned this year, and i’ve selected a few overarching lessons that stood out and that I think you should know too!
This is the biggest lesson I learned this year! Through lots of work on myself, I’ve cultivated an abundance mindset and believe now more than ever that our ideas, tips, tricks and techniques are meant to be shared with others vs keeping everything hidden away for ourselves. Here’s the definition… Abundance Mindset is “a business concept in which a person believes there are enough resources and success to share with others”.
In 2017, I was encouraging others to create and make art, but my actions were not reflecting this encouragement, as I wasn’t sharing my techniques/ being helpful on a large scale. For example, I was very hesitant to share my techniques with others. Competitive by nature, my scarcity mindset had me feeling as if my techniques were all I had and I had to guard them, hide them away. And who was this helping? No one, not even myself! Plus, the feeling of scarcity is an icky feeling to carry around, so I decided to free myself.
How did I acquire this new mindset you may ask? By doing the work!! Writing my book, Happy Abstracts, and creating my glass painting eCourse, The Glass Class, taught me about what it means to not only have an abundance mindset, but to actionably DO it. I knew that in order for these art teaching products to be a success, I needed to give it my all! I poured all of my knowledge of each subject into those two products and it truly paid off. Hearing from artists who took my eCourse and/ or picked up the book has been the greatest gift! I simply gave them a foundation of knowledge (while still encouraging them to put their OWN original spin on it) and it has been so inspiring to see what they have built on top of my knowledge and have created on their own! By showing others how I make my art only lead to more art in the world and that’s a beautiful thing! <3
2. Take Big Risks
“If you always do what you've always done, you will always get what you've always got.” - originator of this quote is unclear, but you get the point!
This year I made a big financial investment and decided to exhibit my art and brand at Surtex in NYC. Surtex is an art licensing trade show where companies come to meet artists, view their portfolios and (if they like what they see) will license artwork to put onto products and sell in their stores (think Urban Outfitters, Papyrus etc.). Licensing my art on a large international scale has been a huge dream of mine and I knew that I needed to put myself in front of the right people in order to score licensing contracts; and that place was Surtex!
I was very nervous at the beginning to pull the trigger and exhibit, because of the expense. I was fearful of what would happen if I invested all of that money (that I didn’t really have) and left the show without any contracts. After weighing the pros and cons with those in my inner circle, I knew that i’d regret not trying and decided to do the show - and i’m SO glad I did! Not only did I manage to score enough contracts to more than pay off my investment, I made connections with other great artists in the same situation and now have a better idea of how business is done in this industry! To take a big risk, you must understand that failure is a possibility, but don’t let it stop you from taking the risk in the first place.
I know I still owe you all a blog post all about art licensing and Surtex. There’s seriously just so much to share and I haven’t had the time to really sit and hash it all out - apologies! Thinking of doing an IG Live instead :) I’ll be attending Surtex this year, not as an exhibitor, but I’ll be walking the show. My brand will be represented at the Jewel Licensing & Branding booth! If you are interested in licensing your art I do recommend walking the show to get a feel for what it’s like. Please let me know if you plan on attending the show (Surtex, NYNow & National Stationery Show), I’d love to say hello :)
3. Money is good
You guys, I cannot believe that I, Jessi, am writing to you about money! I know that this subject can feel icky for some, but stick with me! I was raised in a family of business people, where money is talked about freely (my parents have owned businesses and my brother works in finance). However, being an artsy gal since forever, I had always thought money and art don’t necessarily coexist (bad, I know!). What I quickly learned once leaving my full time job and running my own business is that money is ESSENTIAL to not only keep a business running, but to LIVE (and ya girl has student loans to pay)! In order to one day give my family the lifestyle I dream of, I knew I needed to change my money mindset ASAP!
At the beginning of 2018, I made the conscious decision to learn about money - the principle of it, how to attract it and how to make it work for me. I took actionable steps and put a system into place and have made big financial strides. Since changing my money mindset, I have multiplied my business revenue by 12 times and all while paying student loans. I’ve also learned that having more money has only made me more generous with those in my life. With the growing of women business owners it’s VERY important for us to seek out knowledge and better understand money and if I can learn about money, so can YOU!
Here’s how I got started in changing my money mindset:
Talked to a Financial Advisor - as I mentioned above, my brother is a financial advisor and he has been a great resource for making sure I set up and manage my money responsibly / Areas of focus: Saving, Roth IRA and investing.
Started listening to Profit Boss Radio weekly / Areas of focus: Saving, investing, mindset and inspirational stories from other women.
Charge appropriately for your work! This isn’t a new lesson for me, but something that needs repeating. You MUST charge appropriately for your work in order to have a profitable business. Undercharging is not only harmful to your business and livelihood, it devalues your work. Your work and time DESERVES to be valued!!
4. Learn How to Sell Yourself
This is another one of the most important things I learned this year. Learning how to pitch yourself is essential in scoring the types of big projects and contracts you want! There were a many times this year, when I needed to sell myself and my brand story in order to score dream contracts/ projects. This lesson is dense needs it’s own blog post (or ecourse), but I will share below, a few things that play into selling yourself.
Present yourself confidently
Know your elevator pitch, be able to explain your brand and concept sucintely & persuasively
Believe fully in your work, this will show to those who you’re pitching to
Show them what you can do! People don’t know what you are capable of unless you show them.
5. Busy ≠ Good
Being busy isn’t always a good thing. This is something I’ve realized about myself, but am still learning to manage. Don’t get me wrong, being busy in your business is definitely a sign that you are growing and that you’re on the right track, however I have a terrible habit of keeping myself busy no matter what. For example, during months where online sales are good, I would still find a way to find a new product to push which results in overextending myself. I believe it’s a habit left over from all of the hustle from getting my business off the ground - and don’t get me wrong, you need to keep a little of that hustle madness to keep pushing forward!
In 2019, I am working smarter and not harder. I’m in the process of implementing a workflow in order to better organize my time, project priorities and family time. I’m also looking to bring on my first team member to relieve some of the pressure, but still be able to keep up with projects.
Additional mini lessons:
Creativity is muscle. The more you use the more you have.
Keep up with your emails!! It keeps projects in motion and gets you paid quicker ;)
Hit the gym & sleeeeeeeep - your health is all you got!
Make time for art - The more your art business grows you’ll find you actually have less time to create art. Set aside time to create, because there’s no art business without ART!
Hopefully, you found some of these lessons helpful and can apply them to your own situations. Please let me know if there’s anythign you’d like to know more about. 2019 I’m ready for you!!