Shifting is a Good Thing.
Business has changed. But that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.
Over the last year, my business shifted. The change was gradual, but the shift was enough to move me from my regular scheduled programming. As a result my online presence dropped. I stopped blogging and sending my email newsletter. My social media posts and activity decreased, and eventually I stopped planning them all together. Now I post randomly and at whim, and the content is vastly different from what I was sharing earlier in the year.
Before people start chiming in thinking something catastrophic has occurred, I would like to explain: I began my year focusing on the consulting side of my business, where I worked with other artists to develop business plans and hone in on their business strategy. The goal was to help other creatives thrive on a business level, and that was all fine and great. I loved it and as a result got to work with some amazing clients and artists. But behind the scenes something was happening: I saw an uptick in my own creative practice. I started producing more work across a larger variety of mediums and naturally wanted to share it. More and more of my conversations centred around my life and work as an artist and creator, and less about what I could offer as an entrepreneur. It was both wonderful and confusing.
So often we are told in business to find our offering, niche down, look at the problems we are solving. This means consistency in our messaging and in the content we curate. When it was just my consulting work, sharing a consistent message was easy-peasy-lemon-squeezy because all I had to do was talk about what I had learned over years of being in business and apply it to the creative world. Simple. This became not so simple when I added my own art practice into the mix. Suddenly it wasn’t my experiences that mattered, but my own personal thoughts, reflections, and take on my work and why I did it. I started talking about my creative practice, and about balancing my life with my art. I realized I wanted to explore that deeper, that thread of what it means to live a creative life. I wanted to slow down and really see what was going on.
I struggled to balance this shift for a few different reasons. One, it has been mentally confusing on a marketing level. Do I talk about just one aspect of my business? Do I make multiple accounts or multiple websites? What should I post on social media? Do I show up at networking events as a consultant or do I show up as an artist? There have been so many questions so I opted in to just show up and share my life versus worry about it all, but the back and forth of this question has been hard mentally. It has meant a downturn in my online activity while I figure this out.
Two, my workload has increased, and the nature of it has changed. As I have shifted from doing mostly consulting work to creative tasks, my day to day is more in studio. Some days I paint, some days I work on photography jobs, and some days my focus has been sewing projects and other requests. It is emotionally tiring to do this in a home studio hand in hand with managing the demands of my young children. However, the benefit of it is I have helped my daughters cultivate their own art practices, and both of the older two have seen an uptick in their skill level and in their own little art businesses. It is lovely work, but is far from streamlined and is often messy. I am isolated a lot. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not complaining here: all of this has made me realize how much I value routine, having a space of my own, and the inspiration that comes when I leave the house. But like so many things in life, there are both upsides and downsides to a home studio, and as my art practice continues to grow I’m sure a shift will have to happen to safeguard my sanity.
I cannot recall where, but I read something recently stating that the result of creativity is continuous growth, which puts us in a flux of constant change. While change can be difficult to navigate, and feels scary, realizing this put me at ease. It is okay to see shifts in business, to see stylistic changes as your art develops, or as your offerings adjust. It is part of the journey of being creative. When I read this, I realized that my shift is natural, and should be celebrated. It is part of the journey that I am on, and as I lean further into my art practise, I am more and more inspired to share the road I am travelling. Already I see patterns in the many creative practices I have, and I recognize how they all tie together. At the core of this shift is a commitment to slowing down, to telling stories, and to recognize the truths in our lives that are real, sometimes messy, but always beautiful. The shift has been worth it, and I am excited to move forward in both art and business with this new clarity.
Cheers to the creative life, my friends.