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This empath's journal

2021 feelings so far…3 min read

I feel like this past year has been a confusing one for me.

I enjoy my work immensely but I’m often at a loss as to how to organise as a small business owner.

I tried paid ads this year. Didn’t work for me.

For all the “you should do Facebook ads” talk for small businesses, it really is designed as a pay-to-play system that won’t produce results unless you literally have thousands to throw at it.

Don’t even get me started on the irony of Facebook taking Apple to court “on behalf of the small businesses” while simultaneously twiddling their thumbs as tens of thousands of their small business customers lost access to their business hub.

I came to the conclusion that ads aren’t the kind of marketing I want to do anyway.

I’m not looking for quick sales, I want to contribute.

I don’t want incidental customers that come for the heavy discounts, I want to be able to provide you more than that.

Finding the right way to express why I make art isn’t always easy.

And more often than not, I’m at a loss.

I don’t know what people want to know about me or my work. Social media has been a huge source of frustration this year because I haven’t been able to figure out how I’m comfortable using it.

“You should do video content.”

“You should post selfies.”

You should do this, you should do that.

As I said last week, trying to figure out how to communicate online is a real challenge.

One that you just have to figure out via trial and error.

And there are no shortcuts!

Sometimes that feels like the most frustrating thing – because everybody else’s advice worked for them but it doesn’t work for you.

So, what to do?

My conclusion is that I just have to go back and rely on my own creativity.

That’s where this whole thing started, and that’s my way forward.

That’s why that quote from comedian Vir Das last week just speaks to me.

I have my skill, this one thing that I’m good at, and I just need to focus on that.

But I’ll admit it’s challenging when everyone and their dog are telling you differently.

Maybe I need to pack away all the books and courses I’ve bought on How To Sell Your Art Online.

And instead, replace them with books I love, books that inspire me and courses that teach me how to be more creative.

Maybe it’s time to just move away from other people’s advice and be me.

Pick a few new creative projects and focus on those.

On that note, I bought a couple of my own tees a few weeks ago.

Besides needing new shirts, I thought I’ll try to do some self-portraiture while wearing these tees.

And when they arrived – boy, oh, boy – they look so good!

Working on an iPad and only seeing mockups of your designs can really disconnect you from the end result.

I didn’t even have them out of their packaging before my hubby was grabbing them out of my hands, exclaiming “This is so cool!” repeatedly and gushing over how good they look.

I might have to buy more for him or live with mine being stolen.

And I have to say, making this investment in myself feels good.

I’m always the one deferring what I need so others can get what they need and want.

It’s one of those things I feel like we women in our infinite compassion just do without thinking.

But when you’re always glossing over your own needs, you end up feeling (and looking!) worn and tattered. Unkempt and uncared for.

I’m totally guilty of this. Even more so since having a kid.

But I’m making a change to that and I’m going to stop pushing those things off.

And this isn’t a New Year’s resolution, because I’m shit a those. This is just a change that is necessary for me.

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