Turn Your Creative Skill into A Business (Part 1)

Artist and workshop leader Amelia Critchlow has turned her art into a business.  She has very kindly agreed to share the ideas and strategies that have worked for her, so over to you, Amelia!

Returning to art a few years back – I always had a yearning to study art – and finally honouring that calling has been one of the best decisions I have ever made. I am mother to two children: one teenager and one seven year old who has special needs and only myself at home working and parenting. I have a lovely partner, but we don’t live together.

This year I have fully committed to making my passions my income streams too.

Whilst doing my degree in art, I also took a teaching qualification to become an art tutor and workshop leader, and after having spent time teaching, finally decided to write and run my own on-line art course, geared toward those desiring to fulfil their creativity or reach their creative potential, and parents who can’t always afford to go ‘out’ to art classes because of childcare or financial constraints (or those who lack of confidence artistically).

The experimental art e-course was launched this year as an accompaniment to my already existing art practice and website. I added a blog to my website last year too which I feel has been key to creating a successful on-line creative business.

You might benefit from sitting back with a nice glass or cup of something and a notebook to hand – I am always one for ‘capturing’ ideas when they pop into my head!

Here goes with my ‘top 20’ list:

  1. Confidence: confidence is key. How you get that confidence will be down to you. It may be studying a little more to get that level of confidence you need, or develop your skill. It may be having a show, or just telling some-one your idea, but only you will know when you ‘feel’ ready.
  2. Write out or collage your dream work scenario, and how a working day would look like and feel – revel in that feeling. Clear intentions are crucial
  3. Step past the fear and make a personal commitment to your art
  4. Take it seriously – if you don’t take you and your creative business idea seriously, no-one else will either (they will forever think it’s a whimsical ‘easy’ hobby – it isn’t!)
  5. Carve out time dedicated to pursuing your dream job – an hour an evening/week, an afternoon when kids are at nursery/school. LEAVE the housework whilst you get going on this
  6. Buy yourself some time: if money is an issue save up enough money to live on for a few months without having to do any other work and ‘buy’ yourself some time to launch your business (I did this by saving up, getting some-one to cover my other job, and taking a cut in income). Or work part time and cultivate your own business in the evenings (I no longer watch TV as I prefer to do my own art related work)
  7. Research: research those who are making it ‘work’ in your eyes. look at their websites, research their CV’s and/or ask them out to lunch to pick their brains – I did this and it was the best research and fun day out too! I grabbed ideas from this book: The Four Hour Work Week.
  8. Keep an ‘ideas’ book with you at all times, starting from NOW. I sleep with a notebook next to my bed, and I carry a notebook in my handbag, you never know when you will read, see, hear or get an idea for your art or business
  9. List out your current resources: think of all the things you have right now that you can use to start up that cost you nothing: the web (website, blog or network forums), people, your own hands/voice/personality, printer, phone, computer, camera, knowledge, skill, pen, paper, ideas etc
  10. Action: action is so key to starting off. One action always leads to another one. The minute I graduated from my art degree I applied to do an open house art show (at home) with my local borough. I didn’t think. I filled in the form, paid the cheque and made art for a few months. I was so nervous, but so glad I did it. Doing leads to new ‘happenings’: I met people, got invited to participate in shows, sold work and more. Other actions: start a blog or website. (My art website is with www.clikpic.com and my blog with www.blogspot.com the first is cheap, the other is free). Have a launch party at home, send an editorial to a magazine, make enough stock for an etsy shop: www.etsy.com

Amelia continues with Turn Your Creative Skill Into a Business in Part 2.

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