Being a full-time female artist and running your own business is a tough enterprise, being a woman on top of that comes with its own set of challenges. I feel incredibly privileged for the career that I have and the opportunities that I have gotten along the way. They have all been a result of hard work, determination and ambition.
Whenever I am approached for advice by a budding female artist or entrepreneur who is trying to make it out there, I have a lot to say as I end up reflecting on all the lessons that I have learned over the course of my career. This blog is going to be a retrospective one, as I look back and list down 5 invaluable lessons that I would like to pass down to all the women creators and entrepreneurs out there.
So, let’s get going…
Lesson 1 – Stop apologizing
Okay, I understand. As women, we are programmed to constantly apologize for wanting things, for being ambitious. Well, no one got anywhere by being sorry or cautious about upsetting people. You cannot get everyone to like you regardless of what you do or don’t do, so stop over-apologizing and obsessing over the opinions of people that you might never see again.
Embrace your ambitions and dreams like a coat of armour and wear it proudly, with your head held high.
Lesson 2 – Work-life balance is key
I know, I know… You have invested all your time and effort into this craft and business, the desire for it to get off the ground is immense. So, you spend every waking moment obsessing over every single detail and idea to a point where you are spending countless hours working and never really finding the time to destress and recharge.
You know, what that does?
Yes, you end up burnt out and with zero motivation for not only your art but also your family and friends. Therefore, have boundaries between your work and your personal life. It is only when you have this clear healthy divide, you are able consistently create and have the energy to face all kinds of professional challenges.
Lesson 3 – Mistakes are okay. Learn from them and move on.
We all hate making mistakes.
I know, I did.
It is the way, we are raised and taught in schools to avoid making mistakes because a mistake means that we have failed or that our shortcomings have been exposed. This is the mindset that we need to change and approach everything from a place of growth and learning.
Every mistake presents you with an opportunity to learn and grow from it. This is how we get wiser, as we get older by making mistakes and hitting the bumps on the road. When it comes to running a woman-led business, it is impossible to not make mistakes because you are creating and managing something from scratch. So, don’t be too hard on yourself and take your mistakes as invaluable lessons.
Lesson 4 – Ask for help and delegate!
Yes, asking for help can be the most vulnerable thing to do when you are a perfectionist like I am. However, the fact remains that you can’t do everything yourself.
It is literally impossible.
Even if you try to micromanage and control everything, you will end up with same outcome that I had outlined in Lesson 2: burnt out, tired and out of motivation. If you are struggling or facing a challenge in your work because of a knowledge or skill gap, then ask for help. I am sure there are plenty of people and resources out there to assist you.
Also, at a certain point in the growth of your business, consider hiring people who can be delegated with tasks that are a time suck for you. Conserve your time and energy for things that actually matter to you and your growing business.
Lesson 5 – Surround yourself with people who actively support and encourage you.
This is a lesson that I cannot stress on enough.
A flower cannot bloom, if it does not have the right environment which provides it with enough sunshine and water. It’s the same way with us.
We need a support system of people who stand by us and support us, when we are combating self-doubt and our insecurities. This support can come from spouses, siblings and friends. I would also suggest networking and finding yourself mentors who are female entrepreneurs running profitable businesses similar to yours and were in your position at one point. These mentors provide crucial guidance and advise to not only help you grow and thrive, but also take your business to the next level.
There you have it: my pearls of wisdom for you to ponder over and implement. Doing art full time and running an art business can be a challenging and alienating experience, please know that you are not alone. Take a deep breath, consider what I have discussed in this blog and let’s get going!
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