It’s the darndest thing. I’m getting all of these Instagram advertisements encouraging me to “make six figures from anywhere!” or “automate my small business’s communication from this one-stop-shop!”.
I set out to use this platform to write not just about painting, but in a more meta-sense about the process of setting myself up to do more painting as part of my income. This is very much a post about that: the business part of Alli Harvey Art that basically allows me to be a sane human and pay some of my bills while also bringing something into the world and doing something that I love.
My sister assures me that all of this will be a great motivational story someday. That time that I left my full time job, which was simultaneously enormously fulfilling but also driving me crazy (oh hello, mission-driven nonprofit work) and took a steep pay cut to pursue this thing that I so very much want to do. It was a dual part leap: I’m now working ¾ time as a consultant with an awesome, small Alaska-based firm, and simultaneously building and running Alli Harvey Art.
Oh, and I paint routinely. That, too!
In seeing these Instagram ads come up, I’m realizing that I’m trending more and more toward a kind of lifestyle that’s very popular right now, at least in the collective imagination of my generation. It’s the “gig” economy; or “freelancing”, and the lexicon is all over the place. It pairs well with #vanlife, and #gratitude or #blessed. I’m essentially in the process of weaning myself off of thinking I need a steady paycheck. What does it look and feel like to only work ¾ time with a firm? What does it look like to really pour myself into Alli Harvey Art and see what comes of that?
I’ve discovered a few, or a few hundred, things. One of the ones I could have told you right off the bat is that I lack hustle. Don’t get me wrong, I’m full of exuberance and life, and I’ll dive whole-hog into the thing that I’ve decided to invest myself in. But I don’t have the multiple irons in the fire, working a room, sealing the deal type of nature that I often imagined would benefit me as a business woman or consultant. I’m more of a slow and steady wins the race type gal.
I slowly invest, slowly build, and slowly decide; and once I have decided I just go and stick to it.
I think that’s my answer on how to “make my small business work for me” or “how to brand yourself to sell”. I’m working over here! Building, step by step. I’m open to input and very open to learning every freaking thing I can; but I’m also not going to chase something that’ll waste the energy that I’m trying to invest.
It’s hard to stay the course, but if reflecting on the amazing gains of 2019 alone taught me anything it’s that change happens gradually, then suddenly. I’ll keep plodding along. It’s served me well through many a race, and surely creating and running a small business isn’t SO different…is it?