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Beginning Where You Are

Have you ever gotten excited about an idea but over the course of thinking it through you realize you aren’t there yet and couldn’t possibly do that? What if that is because you are thinking of the “perfect” or “ideal” version of that idea? What if you could start right where you are?

Wouldn’t that be great? Nice to say, harder to do. And, honestly, it takes a lot of self awareness. We cannot do things well or even remotely perfectly the first go around. To make things happen they actually need to be pursued. Steps must be made in order to get things moving in the right direction.

So, what are the things that are getting in your way?

For me it has been this idea that, deep down, I’m not the type of person who can make this art business happen. I’m not creative enough, I’m not invested enough, I don’t have enough time. On and on. Technically this may all be true. And yet, looking at the reasons makes me see the fear behind every false start. Every idea turned to disappointment.

Turns out I was often thinking about what the level ten version of selling my art would look like. Really disheartening if you are only at negative art business levels, right? I don’t have a business plan, the fancy kind that business school is supposed to teach you…or at least that is what I suppose it should be. I don’t have a lot of customers, or a lot of engagement on my socials.

All valid and technically important concerns but how do I start now…where I am at. Let’s look at what I do have.

What I do have is creativity and investment. The healthy level of investment that doesn’t burn me out, or so I hope. The balance is hard to strike. I also have drive. I may not have all the time in the world to invest in selling my art but I am finding small ways to move towards it that are sustainable.

Starting where you are requires you to see the level at which you are at and make reasonable, realistic goals that match that level. It doesn’t mean that you are letting go of your dreams of that higher level, simply building a basis on which to then build that future level.

So, realistically, I don’t have the customer base to really make a print on demand work well right away. Realistically it seems to make more sense for me to start small, maybe with stickers. Buy them myself and see who out there has any interest. Use the envelopes and stamps I’ve got to start filling the orders I hope to see. It is a smaller investment than the unexpectedly grand ideas I had in my head and much more realistic.

Beginning where you are may sound simple but we tend to overcomplicate things with our grandiose ideas, expecting that those will be our immediate reality. I hate to break it to you, it most definitely will not be. There will be days when all you do is think about the next steps. And that is ok.

Rest is important, little steps are important. Big steps are good, but way less important than the small things. All the small things are where the magic tends to happen. The stories that make it look like overnight success happens are lies, or at the very least, not the norm. Lots of work, and lots of rest and self care go into making the dream happen. A holistic approach will get you further than burning yourself out, pushing through on anxiety and stress as fuel.

I’m working on that last bit. I’ve found that I’m very very good at motivating myself with anxiety. I’m a chronic procrastinator. I’m trying to learn better ways to motivate myself and work with my brain and body. Listening rather than barreling on through, ignoring whatever they are communicating about my physical and mental states.

So, what is holding you back? What can you do to start where you are at?

PS. The roses are blooming! I may not be much of an outdoors person but I love seeing my flowers blooming. To be honest I’m happy to see even just a few bloom but this year I’ve got even more than the last year. I must be doing something right…and that seems to be mainly leaving them to their own devices, lol. They seem to thrive unattended through the hot late spring and early summer days. The most I’ve done was cut them back to about two foot tall in the fall a couple years back. In a way I’m still starting where I’m at with my green thumb. I’m learning how to care for the plants I’ve got, and I’m grateful that they seem to be very hardy and happy without a lot of maintenance.

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