Summer 2018 Edition , Purposeful Entrepreneur Magazine [click for original article]
What Am I Doing? This is a question I often ask myself. I am at a time in my life that I could be slowing down and taking it easy, but I find myself busier than ever, learning new things and taking more chances. Why? I have always enjoyed keeping busy and being creative, but sometimes this is ridiculous and daunting.
It is the typical story, I was a creative kid growing up. You name it, I did it. So it seems only natural that I chose a career in a creative field. First as a formally educated interior designer and then into visual communication design. For 20 years I owned and operated a successful design, marketing and communications firm. I thrived in working with different clients and within a variety of industries. Even though I had wonderful clients and constant creative projects, I decided to step away from that world and recharge. So, I took an extended sabbatical. I travelled extensively, undertook multiple major renovation projects, took some exciting courses, but I needed something else to be more fulfilled and challenged. My husband would say, “You cannot keep still. You are always wanting to create something.” He is right. I needed to look within and really think about what my heart aches for doing.
The result, I needed to pursue one of my long-time passions – art. It may sound silly, although some of you may be able to relate to this, but it really was an ache inside of me that needed to be creatively expressed outwards. Today the bold and lyrical movements of the music inside me flow out on to the canvas or paper. It is such an emotional process. It is being fierce and living life out loud.
Now three years later, I am a professional artist but the story does not end there. Being an entrepreneur, I naturally turned my art into a business. Before I knew it I became not just an artist, but a mentor, creative consultant and once again, a business owner. I feel like I am starting all over again. Why am I doing this? I am on a roller coaster ride of being overwhelmed with learning all about the art business, social media and seeing so many different opportunities and options for this new creative chapter in my life.
How do I choose with all these options? I went through the stage of feeling lost because I purposely stayed away from social media, being a very private person. But, I knew if I wanted to succeed, I needed to change, especially if I wanted to reach collectors and sell my art. I decided to focus on one social media outlet and I chose Instagram. I was, and still am, learning about how to capture an audience which changes so fast in the technology world. Facebook, Pinterest and Linkedin are now in the mix, but mostly for a presence.
I also ask myself why am I putting myself in such a vulnerable position? My artistic endeavours are exposing me, my emotions and my passions for everyone to see and judge me! Scary right? No where to hide. I am no longer working behind the scenes for clients as in my previous company. As an artist, I am my own client, which is a different mindset. I was far more objective with others. It has taken a lot of practice, which is still ongoing, to step back from myself and my art and see what is good in my business. A friend recently said to me that I am exposing more of myself with my art than I am with a photo of me. She is right. I realize how expressive and personal this had become to me. But, I still do not have many photos of myself on my website or in social media. Add that in the long list of things to do in this ongoing journey. The list is another stage of growth to discover what I am supposed to be learning. It does get to be so much that sometimes I want to take a break from learning, but then I get another idea and have to pursue it. Balance and passion are always playing a game of tug of war.
Regarding being an artistic entrepreneur, I have the best of both worlds – the creative brain and the analytical brain. I can switch from connecting with my artwork to the other side of logically researching and putting a proposal together, and confidently presenting it to an executive board. It is now what I do instinctively.
To me, having an artistic mind is being passionate about things. I love to see the big picture idea, yet dive down and figure out what the process is to achieve it. An artistic mind is a curiosity about life. It is looking at things differently. How can a product be used in a different way. What is an end result and work backwards. I thankfully grew up with parents who were not satisfied with the concept of “it has always been done like this”.
Helping people is something I enjoy. Because of my extensive business background I have become a coach and mentor to others in their creative pursuits who may find that the logical and analytical business side of the brain needs some help, especially when getting started or at a place of needing to gear up to take one’s career to the next level.
As a creative consultant, using my interior design and visual communication design experience, I have opened up a whole avenue of possibilities with collaborations with other industries or teaching people with non-artistic careers to use the creative side of their brain. Thinking creatively is necessary in the workplace to inspire, be productive and innovative, and to move ahead of the competition. It is problem solving from a different perspective.
Just remember, the outlet for creativity has no limits. The only restriction should be happiness. What makes you happy? John Lennon said: “When I was five years old, my mother always told me that happiness was the key to life. When I went to school, they asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up. I wrote down ‘happy’. They told me I didn’t understand the assignment, and I told them they didn’t understand life.”
What am I doing? Seeking happiness through my passion… creativity.
Purposeful Entrepreneur Magazine is a magazine created by women entrepreneurs for women entrepreneurs. The theme of the Summer edition is ‘CREATE’ which focuses around the importance of creating and creativity in business. I am grateful to Anita Kemp to allow me to express my thoughts with the desire to help others.