The month is slipping by faster than I feel I am making progress. I do have 2 video courses all done and am slowly getting them up on teach:able. Slowly because I am trying to learn the platform and get comfortable with it, vs the numerous u-turns and detours I seem to be making. It can get very frustrating, which in turn allows those little negative imps to increase their chatter. Thus far, my excitement about the new direction has kept my energy up, this week it was hard though as it felt like not much fell in place. Hopefully, this coming week will prove to be a smooth stretch so I can get more done with fewer errors. I still have a laundry list of large and small items to finish, and my goal of August 30th draws nigh.
Sometimes you just have to dive in and start swimming. It is only important that you can swim, not that you are an Olympic class athlete. If you wait until you suddenly wake up and have perfected a skill overnight you will be waiting your whole life. As I have been redirecting my creative life I have taken that to heart by making videos and retooling my website for this next phase. Full disclosure it did take me months to weigh my options and make the choice, I am not a person to rush right in to things. I also knew I had to fit anything I did in around work and home responsibilities.
My ultimate goal is to replace my workplace work with my online work. It is not an easy shift as I do enjoy my current job, and the fact that there is a steady paycheck plus benefits to count on. However, I need to look further down the road at the impact my working outside the home has on quality of life. I get to see people and interact, but my husband by default sees fewer people and gets out less. In weighing the options of having occasional companions for him vs. me being around more, it becomes a pretty clear choice.
It is nerve wracking, but I can juggle both while things get up to speed and profitability. But the timeline is fairly tight. I have been fortunate that my daughter has been home since being laid off and starting her online masters program. It has an end date though that I need to keep an eye on. I am pretty excited about this whole process, feeling less overwhelmed than I would have expected. There are moments of “What am I thinking!?” but over all progress is occurring at a steady pace.
I think I have been busy. I have lots of notes and prep work underway, but it doesn’t feel like progress, just busy work. And while I know the journey starts with a single step, it can feel as if not much has been achieved, the end goal is over the horizon. There are so many tasks I have to tackle and figure out. Building an email list, writing content for the new site, increasing engagement etc, it can all feel overwhelming. It also feels exciting, a whole new direction to head off in. I need to let both sets of feelings have their space as I stay the course towards my goal. And calmly breathe in and out.
I am stuck in an in between place, trying to decide whether or not to rebrand my website or dump it altogether. This choice has been bugging me for months now with no clear answer. The site has never gotten me a sale or a gig, it ends up just being an introduction to my art. Last year wiped out my workshop hustle, and given my increased hours at work and caregiving, I am not sure it should be revived. Not being a techie person, going down this rabbit hole tends to get me no further along. I know this is not an uncommon problem for artists.
As I have read one business book after another, I have noticed the bulk of them tout becoming BIG, and completely ignore the idea that maybe not everyone wants a huge, intricate business. The same applies to the online business gurus. They completely bypass right sized options. I do not want employees, headquarters, manufacturing sites or warehouses to deal with. My goals are more of the cottage industry size, and thus overlooked by the “bigger is better” mindset.
In an attempt to avoid total inaction, I did get a new domain name. My original one I never really warmed to, yet I needed one when I needed it those years ago. I also touched base with someone techier than I am, who suggested leaving my site behind and starting anew. Which feels a bit overwhelming, and feels like the site was a waste of money. Rather like the way we hold onto clothes we paid a lot for that no longer fit. We know it is illogical, yet can’t let it go.
Should I make the decision to keep a web site, all it does is open up a host of new issues. Traffic being just one of them, growing my email newsletter another, and reworking it all with a new host. I know all this can be tackled a step at a time, or a least a stumble at a time. It is more about whether it will get me further along or not.
I do know artists without web sites who get plenty of exposure and regular sales. And I know those who get loads of business and leads through their sites. There appears no one right way to get your name out there. Which further muddies the water. It would seem after months of mulling over the options I would be closer to a decision than I am, which is discouraging, and causing me to swing pointlessly between options.
Perhaps I will see the map and discern the path out of all the overgrowth. I am open and looking for it, or at least I think I am. It is easy to fool ourselves into thinking that, when actually more aimless wandering and second guessing are what is really occurring. I have given myself until the end of August to figure out and implement a plan.
This year I will have tulips that don’t become deer food. I didn’t even know the color they would be as some previous owner planted them. It is one of many surprises that go with being in a different house, some good, some bad.
In these odd quarantine days I find that I am inspecting the sprouting plants with interest. Tulips, daylilies and bearded iris seem to be what to expect. To which I am adding pollinator plants, fence line shrubs and a bag of wildflower seeds. Without the press of a tree line there is empty edges to fill.
So many projects to tackle that it makes my head spin. I will need to pick and choose what I can really take on the next few months. Not easy as I want to get it all done at once. Patience is needed.
I have been doing well with my self imposed 200 images per month goal. I struggled the first few months of the year with weather and commitments that fell to me to handle. If I don’t get out and use my camera regularly, I find that my “eye” loses some of the skill I rely on. Once upon a time I would get 750 images a month, out several days a week, but now is now and 200 is what I can reach. Change is hard, it forces you to make best use of what is available in the moment.