I don’t talk about my process of becoming an Artist very much or very in depth. I think the process of entrepreneurship is so messy and all over the place, that it’s hard to make sense of it in the moment, and doesn’t feel very inspiring enough to share.
I suppose most things are like that. Learning to ski, or the process of becoming a mom, or learning to cook better. They’re all tough processes and it’s more fun to show the finished product and make it look really good. However, I think a lot of the interesting stuff lies in the middle. In the hustle, and the grind.
I knew I wanted to be an artist since I was young. It always came easy to me and I really enjoyed it. But I don’t think I fully thought that “Artist” could be a career. And to be entirely honest, I still have some lingering doubts occasionally.
So, condensing the last 10 years, I mostly worked in Fashion Design, and dabbled with doing art here and there. It wasn’t until I moved here in Jackson Hole and didn’t have a job yet that I decided I would spend my free time creating an art show for a local cafe. I had my first real art sale there. I sold an acrylic on wood for, I think, $150. From then on, my art supplies stayed out and I continued exploring acrylics and some watercolors that I found packed in a box I brought.
It was around that time that all my friends in Ohio were getting married and so I decided to watercolor some of their wedding photos for fun. Word got around that I was doing that and I started getting some orders by email and social media. At the beginning, when your hobby brings in some cash occasionally, it’s incredibly exciting. You almost feel like you’re cheating the system because it’s so fun. And at that point, it’s good to remind yourself that talent is something that’s paid for in this world.
With that, I would add that I think that doing free projects are beneficial in certain circumstances. However, there should always be some type of tradeoff, because the energy exchange is more powerful that way. Something simple like a trade or that they’ll post on social media about it. Or, if you’re literally just starting and hardly know what you’re doing, free is okay for a while, until you get that first order.
Continuing on, I had two more art shows in Jackson and did commissions occasionally when people would ask me to while working at a Fashion Design job.
Six months ago, I decided that I wanted to step away from Fashion and put all of my energy into furthering this podcast and doing art. But it wasn’t just super simple. From there it took me a few months to realize that I actually wanted to make Art the first priority and that kind of turned my plans around in my head. What made me realize this was very simple; clients kept coming to me asking me to do work, even when I wasn’t offering anything. Sometimes we try to take a harder road that isn’t for us when what we’re meant to do is sitting right in front of us.
I have a really good time doing art. I painting and drawing fairly easy and love trying to methods. But having fun doing art and running a business with art are two very different things. I soon realized that enough money wasn’t just coming in by itself to cover my expenses. I’m not a very big fan of the money aspect, so ignoring this worked for a while until I distinctly remember a night I was driving and being really upset that my talent I was putting out wasn’t matching up with the funds coming in. I felt really sorry for myself.
Anyone with me here? When we think we’ve worked hard enough to deserve more than what’s coming to us? Well, I stayed in that place for about 20 minutes, And then changed my mindset around to I think one of the most beneficial things we can do for ourselves. First, I officially recognized that no one owes me anything and paired with that, I realized I need to go grab what I want.
So right then, I made a list of every person I could contact the next day that would help me get one step further along. Within 24 hours, I had gotten ahold of one of my favorite podcasters, Pat Flynn, and we had set up a plan to do a mural in his new office in San Diego. After that, I decided to make my art offerings much more specific. I was only going to take on projects I really loved, and let go of the ones that I wasn’t so good at and weren’t worth my time.
All of a sudden, all these amazing projects I enjoy started coming in. I, of course, am still learning in the process, about budgeting, checking my profit, seeing if things are actually worth my time, acting like a legit businesswoman, saying no, figuring out ways how to make things work, and following opportunities.
I’ve developed more of an immediate response habit to people and ideas, and most recently started hosting Wine + Paint nights to bring in a social aspect. My first Wine + Paint night, paired with 2 custom paintings brought in my first 1K day as an artist which really made me smile. And oddly enough, not because of the money, but because it showed a result from my attitude adjustment paired with hard work and putting myself out there.
So my biggest suggestions to any entrepreneurs are to get involved in your community either by hosting parties or pairing up with companies. Put yourself and your work, plus the progress, on social media. Make sure you have and keep a budget and don’t be beyond having a part-time job on the side. And always ask for people’s advice and help.
If you’re in Jackson Hole and interested in drinking wine and painting, go to my art website at HaleyBadenhop.com and the available dates are under Events.
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Have the best day of your life today!!!
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