Three Entrepreneurial Lessons from Practicing Art

I was an entrepreneur for nearly 10 years before starting my life as an artist. My business as an artist is much more visible and, in my eyes, more successful than my catering ever was.  I want to share some basics that became clearer to me as I began to create.  Embracing these ideas are what push me as an artist and what have moved me forward as a businesswoman.

1. It ain't always pretty

Every project has an awkward phase, whether it’s a moment or a couple weeks, there will be a point when things don't look like they will work out the way we want it to. Keep going. Maybe it will develop into a different result, maybe it will come back to the original vision, maybe it will have to be scrapped but don't give up on that project because it's less than gorgeous.  Also, realize that your project, in whatever its current state, has zero to do with anyone else’s project.  Two chefs can attempt the same recipe and achieve different results. Your project will reflect you.

2. Show your work

Ideas that resonate and products that make an impact don’t flourish in the depths of your imagination.  Make noise about your ideas.  Get as many eyes on your product as you possibly can.  As an artist, I know that not everyone is going to love my work, not everyone will buy it.  My job is to get my work to the eyes of the person who gets it, and wants it, and loves it, and will pay for it.  That is your job as an entrepreneur, find your market, show them what you do, and don’t stop before they have had the chance to see it.

3. Down time is as important as work time

I took my first art class this past spring and we had to do a canvas over the course of 3 weeks.  The image that I left with was never the image that I came back to. There is a flow and a cycle to business and to creating.  Working 24 hours a day, 365 days a year is not an ideal flow. Taking time to turn off your entrepreneurial mind allows you to see a fuller picture.

I will leave you with the best advice I ever received.  “Be afraid but do it anyway.”

Fear is not the enemy. My meditation teacher equates those butterflies in our bellies to the fire in a steam engine. You need a hotter flame to get over that mountain than you do to stay moving on a level prairie. Use that twitching in your core to push you to the next level, to alert you when you need to pay more attention, and to guide you towards those projects outside of your comfort zone.