My inbox is full of people asking for business advice. Things like how to set up a home-based art business to making PDF lesson plans to increasing blog traffic and even when to pay taxes. It seems people are looking for creative ways to make a little extra each month and need specific information to get them moving in the right direction. I’m happy to give you any advice I can.
Deep Space Sparkle has evolved from sharing pictures of my student’s art to the online art resource it is today. It has grown from 100 readers a day to 10,000 and earning a healthy six figures a year. I’m a little shy saying this because it’s not in my nature to talk about money. But I want you to realize how BIG the internet world has become and with a little effort and a slight shift in your thought process, you can build a creatively satisfying and income generating site.
You may think you don’t have the marketing know-how to sell online or the technical ability to start up a website that accepts online enrollment for your after-school art class, but the answers are out there. Independent work is not for everyone. Although I teach art at a public school, I love my days when I get to work on DSS. Running a business has always been a part of me…
My entrepreneurial history
Right out of art school I bought an industrial sewing machine, a few hundred yards of ripstop fabric and sewed men’s beach trunks out of my bedroom. I’m shaking my head right now. I have no idea why men’s beach trunks seemed like a worthy business venture to me. I only knew that I had to see what I could do on my own.
Within a year, I deemed my first wave of selling shorts a success and opened a factory. Yes. A factory. In an industrial park. I purchased seven machines, had my best friend’s dad make me a cutting table and ordered thousands of yards of colorful fabric. I hired my first wave of employees and hustled around Eastern Canada looking for my first buyers of PalmerBeach Beachwear.
I was twenty one years old.
And I worked hard.
Figuring out payroll taxes.
Cold calling for sales.
Pressing and bagging garments.
Doing photoshoots (fun part!)
Back then, I didn’t own a computer. Everything was written by hand or typewriter. If I wanted to get fancy with type I used Letraset. Does anyone remember Letraset?
Operating a business today is so much easier. For starters, anything you want to know about is online. And most of it is free. Like this blog post. I wish more than anything that my twenty-year old self had a group of business people to talk to. Someone to ask how to market beach shorts in the cold north or how to manage employees when you were never one yourself.
Today, any facet of running a business–small or large–is explained in full detail online. Through course, blog posts, e-books.
It’s absolutely wonderful.
One of the many trends of online businesses today is the transparency of blog owners. Just about any type of business has a few people willing to share their secrets. Just last week I discovered a food blog called Pinch of Yum. The young couple that creates the food content openly shares their monthly income report. While many might feel this is too forthright, I don’t. If you are just starting a blog and hoping to monetize it, reading through their detailed reports on traffic analytics and income breakdown is incredibly helpful and inspiring.
You can take so much away from reading how others do it.
Running an online business, no matter what your niche, requires constant learning. Our connected world changes frequently and so you must as well. That has been the most frustrating part for me; trying to keep up with social media, blogging trends and technical advances to keep DSS current and thriving all while still working my day job.
This can be challenging. I avoid burnout and the always present feeling of not doing enough by setting daily intentions. Aligning my core beliefs and knowing what makes me happy is given the highest priority in my day planner. To help maintain this mind-set, I listen to how others do it. Again–everything you need or want know is out there!
Here are some amazing resources that I absolutely LOVE that have helped me maintain not only a business mindset but one of aligning my purpose and passions with my business plan.
Podcast that I love
The Lively Show with Jess Lively This blog with podcasts is a daily source of inspiration for me. I grab my phone and earbuds and head out for my beach walks around 3pm everyday. Listening to Jess talk to her guests about living your life with intention always inspired me to not only do more but with more purpose.
She has a huge bank of episodes and to guide you to the ones that fits your needs, she sorts them into topics of interests. The episode with Pat Flynn is worth listening to. Pat has an AMAZING podcast show and site that is devoted to income streams. Some of his guests are the typical marketing guru’s but he is able to dial down the hustle and deliver an authentic, relatable approach to business. So many take-aways. I also loved Jess’s interviews with Kate Arends and Kris Carter
Monica Lee, an illustrator and entrepreneur, has been interviewing creative women for a while and just recently turned the interviews into a podcast. She is down-to-earth and funny and makes all of her guest feel like you are having coffee with your best friend. I love how she extracts nuggets of businessy goodness from each show. Her focus is on the creative side of blogging, product-based businesses and keeping the creative juices flowing.
In Space Between with Rachel MacDonald is truly divine. I discovered her site through The Lively Show podcast and spent hours on her site reveling in her easy-going charm and purpose-filled business. She offers business coaching and e-courses to help you sift through your creative dreams and goals.
What are your creative dreams?
The opportunity to monetize your blogging efforts or create a fulfilling creative business is achievable.
Where are you in this process? Do you want to know what it takes to work from home? Creative a passive income stream? Teach art out of your garage? Sell on Teachers pay Teachers?
Tell me. I want to know.
It’s not like how it was when I was twenty-one and had felt utterly alone. There is a world of information, answers and support out there.
I’d love to compile your questions and select a few to answer each month. You can add your questions to the bottom of this post or contact me privately through our email firstname.lastname@example.org.
I can’t wait to hear what lurks inside your creative heart!