Top 3 mistakes I made my first year of business

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If you are considering selling your art, offering creative services or starting a small business you probably have some sort of big idea of what it will be like.

You see others doing it and maybe you want to try it too, or you really need extra income, or you're cluttering your home with art and need to sell it. 

Whatever your reasons, you need to prepare yourself for some failure.

There's no easy way to say this, you will make mistakes, and that's OK! 

I made thousands of them before I even make one sale. And I'm still making them to this day. Everyone does, no one is perfect.



Here are the top 3 mistakes I made my first year of business



Mistake #1

Three years ago I started my creative business, well, I had this big dream of being successful really quickly. And by success, I mean making money, or at least equal amount to what I was making at my day job. And because I hated my day job I was looking for any way out.

So I stumbled on all this art that is on Etsy, and I thought to myself, I'm an artist too, I can probably sell a bunch of art if I start making it.

So I made some art, opened an Etsy shop and waited, and waited, and waited some more.

That was mistake number one. I didn't plan, I didn't research, I didn't have a following. I just posted some illustrations and thought everyone would flock to me and find my stuff. That just isn't how it works.

Lessons:

1. Research your target market.

2. Create an online presence, anywhere.

3. Make some friends and gain a following.

4. Make sure your stuff is actually good.



Mistake #2

Once I figured out a few things, I started my website, that's when things got out of hand. I have many skills, I'm a graphic designer and loved branding in school. So, of course, I offered branding services. I took many art classes, so I offered illustration and painting services. I took a few photography classes and have fancy equipment, so I offered photography. And of course lettering. Oh and let's not forget I know how to make websites, so that went on my services list too.

Can you see the problem? I was offering too much, trying to catch all the fishes in the sea which in turn made them all run away.

Ok, I did get some clients who I did websites for and hated every second of it. I did some logos and branding and hated it. Turns out I only like branding when I get to make ALL the decisions. I did some illustrations and lettering and that was actually ok.

Lessons:

1. Don't do all the things, find one or two that you are REALLY good at, and do that.

2. Don't offer things you hate doing.



Mistake #3

I made some money, very little money, and thought, "well this is going good, I should quit my job now". Plus if I was gonna quit it would have to be in the Fall. Long story short, I worked with my fiance Sean, who was my manager, and they usually laid someone off in the Fall because the business slowed down and they didn't need that many employees. So I basically volunteered. I talked him into it, and assured I would make money. Since I would have all this free time now to focus on my business.

Well, life happened, literally. I found out I was pregnant with our second baby like a week later. It was a lot to handle, physically for me. Because the morning sickness was so bad, I didn't really work on my business for the first few months. Then again when the baby was born I was too busy with two kids to do much either.

So it took a while to finally settle down and for my business to make money. I burned through all my savings. And let me tell you, I was so scared I would need to find a job. I did not want one, spending all day at home with the kids was soooo great, I did everything I could to keep it that way.

It will be three years on Halloween since I quit my job, and I'm just now starting to make the same income I used to at my old job. But now I have three kids lol.

Lessons:

1. Keep your day job as long as you can

2. Save up some money for when you do quit, just in case.

3. Don't get pregnant your first week of business haha.



I hope this helps you, and don't worry if you still make those mistakes. Life happens and you just need to push through. 

Oh, and don't compare yourself to everyone around you. They make mistakes too, they just don't post them on Instagram for the world to see.

"Mistakes are necessary for growth"