How I Became an Artist + Change your Mindset, Change your Business

Have you ever stood on the brink of a new adventure? Counting down the days to this really exciting new thing? You've done the research. Check. Made the plans. Check. Triple checked the lists. Check Check Check. You might still have a few tiddly things to do, but that's ok. You can totally do this!

That is how I feel right now. I realized I need to share this or I'll burst. 2017 will mark the start of something very big and new for me, because I have been working hard on prepare for this ALL of 2016. Do you see what I said there? 2017 is exciting for me, because of THE PREP WORK that took an entire year (and actually more as you'll see below)! To put another way, it takes a sizeable amount of prepwork to realize BIG DREAMS.

And not just any work will do. I have had goals and plans before, but this year was different. I made some big MINDSET changes.  I had been holding onto things that I finally let go of at the beginning of the year. Largely a blog, an etsy shop. a few extra pounds, even guilt. I took my business a whole new direction. It feels so amazing. But that dogged focus did mean saying "no" to some things too. Even good things.

But now I'm rushing things, let me backtrack a bit. See, I think that the prepwork actually started years ago actually.

When I first become a stay at home mom, I was beyond thrilled to end my chapter as an architect and begin the care of my infant. We were blessed to be able to make this transition smoothly, but I had random pockets of time while baby slept to do something. Not housekeeping, please no. So I wondered, where do I find joy if not in having the shiniest floors around?

This was a bit ago, before all the "do what you love" hype. Or at least, I hadn't noticed that yet. Ironically that is what I was tyring to figure out - what I loved doing. (To be clear, see this post. I also believe that you can and should love what you do.) I really latched onto painting. I had only painted a few times, but I remembered enjoying myself. So I started with that. Then, I opened an Etsy shop (that really didn't go anywhere far or fast). I took lots of ecourses. I really worked struggled to be the worlds version of successful and to mimic what I saw all these mommy bloggers doing.

MINDSET CHANGE 1: DON'T COMPARE

Eventually, very eventually, it occurred to me that that was silly. My version of success is going to have to look differently. My life is my life. Comparing apples to oranges, beginnings to middles to endings, is all a big waste of time. Waste of head space. Waste of heart space. DON'T COMPARE.

don't play the comparison game by katie erickson

Things went a little less bumpy at this piont. I contined to paint. But my painting styles kept changing. And then, painting got more complicated with additional little hands and multiple schedules to maintain. I kept seeing bloggers with kids totally rocking it. It made me feel so stinking behind. Again, I'm not comparing apples to apples.

Everyone's life is so SO different. Sure yes, there are similarites but yes differences too. Some moms have babysitters or use daycare. Some kids play by themselves! and some kids. just. don't. (Yes, insert arguments for mom training here, but that's not for everyone either).

So many variables. And yes, you can and should have balance, but that doesn't mean that everything is equal or consistent or regimented. Kids get sick. Emergencies occur. Meals need to be made or gotten or ordered. Everyone's everything is a little different.

So my point is. I am on my path. You are on yours.

MINDSET CHANGE 2: YOU CAN DO ANYTHING, but it doesn't mean you SHOULD.

I felt guilt. There I said it. I had put all my money into a website, etsy listings, paint supplies, ecourses. I had to break even! I was going to finish what I started, darn it. So I dug my heels in. I didn't want to be a quitter. (Ok yes, I do love taking ecourses to take them and painting to paint, but still it costs!) Again, I was researching "mentors" and "peers" and man, they were SUCCESSFUL. I've just got to put in the time, I thought.

But really - Why invest time into something you don't fully enjoy, when what you are trying to do is find something you enjoy spending your time on. Yes, ok, go ahead and re-read that. :) Are you thinking, duh, here? Yes, again I was doing the comparison game and yes, again it was doing me no favors.  Just because I could drive myself batty doing absolutely everything that this other person is doing, it doesn't mean it's right for me.

I had even realized that selling my paintings didn't make me feel better. I usually got really sad parting with my original paintings.

So I ripped off the bandaid. I did what everyone said NOT TO DO. I just stopped. Everything. I stopped blogging. I stopped painting. I stopped working on my Etsy Shop. I stopped taking ecourses. And it felt so. dang. good.

by Katie Erickson Reading is a Pleasure OK

MINDSET CHANGE 3: IT'S OK TO STOP, TO QUIT, TO SAY NO

So I finally figured out how to say NO. After taking a couple weeks OFF. I thought hard and long about what I wanted to say YES to.  I kept circling back around to kids books. I had considered this as an option forever, but kept saying "ya, ok. Later. After..." But now that I released the guilt, this hit me square in the face.

When I said YES to that, so many amazing things happened too. One of these things, was that my husband walked up to me one day and said (totally out of the blue) "I have been looking into getting you the Ipad Pro. You invest so much time and energy on our family and kids, I think we can invest a little money into your dreams." Understand, that I had never said ANYTHING about this or hinted at it even.  

You can and should NO, because it opens you up to huge things to say YES to. I could not have managed any of these goals this year without learning to say NO.

I said NO to facebook and LinkedIn and Twitter, and YES to Instagram, because I love it.  I said NO to my etsy shop (for now). I said Yes to some pricey new equipment. I said NO to reading every book in the library, sigh. I said No to self-coding my website even though I like messing with it all, hurray for outsourcing. I said NO to going it alone, and YES to online friends and crit groups! And now I'm on the edge of YES to moving forward with my adulthood dream of publishing for kids.

I wouldn't have accomplished this without major mindset shifts. I will always be improving as an artist and a businesswoman, but I can do it. I will do it. And so can you. So do it!

NEXT WEEK, I'll post about the nitty grittys of how I made this work.