Although my blog has suffered greatly this year, which is something I'm sorry about and intend to work on in the new year, my business has otherwise gone from strength to strength! I've managed to go from earning a part time wage on the side, to a pretty decent full time wage all from my living room, it's safe to say this year has been a game changer for me. My business is pretty much design work, art and blogging, but included in that I create my own children's books, make small gifts (featuring my art) and sell card and fabric designs. Every day can be a little different which I love and also if I don't feel like doing something one day I can do something else or have a break or day off if needed, very useful with young kids especially with covid and unpredictable days off and childcare needed!
There have been a few things that really helped this year which has been my first 'proper' year of self employment, so I thought I'd share some of the things that really helped me move forward.
1. Getting an iPad pro
This for me has made the biggest difference to my business, you can read all about it in my post by clicking here, but basically everything is quicker, easier and looks better than before. This has meant I can produce more work in less time but also have more confidence in my work and do most things from the one device. I'd recommend this to all illustrators and artists of any kind that want to apply some digital mediums to their work, it's an absolute game changer!
2. Ditching my part time job
At the time, this felt a little reckless and scary, but my £400 a year part time school job ended up dominating my life and although I loved working with kids, it wasn't the role I wanted and caused me a lot of frustration as my face just didn't fit and it wasn't going to lead anywhere. I always felt I needed this extra money, which we did, but when I realised that using that extra time and mental space on my business would bring in the same but usually a lots more money after a few months, it was definitely the right choice. I figured I could always get another job, but if I really wanted to work for myself then I needed my time and stress to go into that work instead of a part time job that made me feel crap and tired from walking back and fourth all day. I'm not suggesting everyone go quit work and work from home, but if you're trying to make a home business work and have a crappy part time job that drains you in every way, then it's worth getting that balance right and seeing what you can change. I figured I'd rather have less money for a while and give being happier a try, luckily it paid off.
3. Not craving perfection
I watched a video by one of my favourite YouTubers Struthless, who talked about working to the 70% rule where if you're a bit of a perfectionist and constantly procrastinate and avoid sharing work because it's not perfect, then to aim for 70% perfection instead. This sounds simple, but knowing it doesn't have to be the unachievable 100 percent perfect, makes life far easier! So now I know nothing will ever be 'perfect' to me because it's my work, but to everyone else that 70% is far good enough!
4. Less social media
As sucky as it is, there's no doubt that social media massively helps businesses nowadays, and for small business owners like me, it's often the only way if reaching your potential customers without forking out for other marketing measures. Unfortunately though, there is also the time spent procrastinating when you should be working but instead spend hours scrolling or liking in the attempt to be seen. This can often be fruitless and actually your time can be far better spent producing more or greater quality work so that you're seen organically. Slower, maybe, but less time spent on social media means better productivity and less chance of seeing other people's work that may make you feel inadequate etc. Although keeping up to date with socials and staying in the loop is still important, obsessing over numbers of followers and posting times etc isn't.
5. Believing in myself a bit more
I know this is a cheesy one, but having always felt my work was never good enough, that I was useless etc etc, I finally decided that actually, if other people like my work and pay for my work, then it must be ok. So, instead of setting myself up to fail again and again, I decided to just keep working, putting out artwork and designs and seeing what works and what doesn't, what sells, what doesn't. This has been a big change for me, I've posted things I never would have before that people have loved. I've sold things I wouldn't have thought would sell and I've had amazing feedback in all areas of my work which feels good.
So there we have it, five things I've embraced in 2021 that have turned my business from a part time more hobby like endeavour, to a fully fledged full time business that I actually enjoy turning up for every day! A lot of this comes down to my own poor attitude to myself, so if you're someone that struggles with self confidence too, it's definitely worth taking a punt and seeing what you can do!