Feb 02, 2020
4 mins read
It is the beginning of February 2020 and my business is approximately six months old and this is my third 'Buy me a Coffee' post (if you missed the previous two, scroll down...) Now seems a good time to take stock of how the first few months of setting up a business has gone for me.
Where did it all start..?
Although I started Boleyn Art in the summer of 2019, an initial seed of an idea started back in 2012 when I went on a picture framing course and then somewhat impulsively invested in some picture framing kit. My dream was to get back into painting and to frame and sell my own artwork. I made a few frames, started (but didn't finish) a few paintings but then when I became pregnant with my son, all my kit went in the garage. And there the kit - and my dreams - stayed, until summer 2019.
Fast forward to 2019...
I was having a challenging year, struggling with migraines and generally poor mental health. My son was now 6, I was well into my forties and a single parent (with, I should add, a very supportive 50-50 co-parenting arrangement with my son's dad. Even so, it's not easy - I'm in total awe of single parents who do it 100% of the time and/or don't have a good relationship with their ex. You are kings and queens in my book).
Sorry, I digress.
One day, in the midst of feeling pretty low, from somewhere I got a flash of creative inspiration and knew I had to paint something before the urge went away. It was the first time I had painted for many years and I was not even sure if I was still any good at it. Fortunately, I found I was still OK at it. In addition, while I was painting was really the only time I could switch off from all the things that were stressing me out - it was very therapeutic. I have since found that picture framing and making jewellery are similarly mindful experiences for me - as well as very satisfying and rewarding.
So, here it is... the painting that reminded me how important creativity is in my life - and how lacking my life is without it. It's not perfect and I can see flaws, but I am very proud of it and it'll always be a special painting to me.
I dug out my framing kit so I could frame the painting - I felt such a sense of achievement. I was a bit rusty, but I could still remember how to do it. I honed my skills by framing the many things I'd promised to frame for family members and my own growing collection of artwork.
I started intermittently taking picture framing orders during Autumn, mostly for family and friends and I started experimenting with making jewellery.
It was around this time I decided that I would try and make it into a viable business and gave it a name. You can read my post about where the name came from if you're curious).
I set up a website, Instagram and Facebook page - but was really bad at promoting them.. Why do I find it so hard to do simple things such as invite all my Facebook friends to like my page...???!!
I ordered business cards, but I have hardly given any out... I started setting up this page months ago but chickened out of launching it... Why? Is it because I'm an introvert? Is it because I'm scared? If so, what is it I'm scared of.. Perhaps I'm scared of actually being successful and not being able to find time to do the work if I suddenly got loads of orders..?
Anyway, during January, I decided I just had to go for it and be more proactive at trying to get new business.
So I thought I'd list what I have managed to do over the last couple of weeks:
- I have FINALLY taken the plunge and invited my Facebook friends to like my Facebook page
- I've started regularly interacting on Instagram and am beginning to grow my followers (still small numbers but we all have to start somewhere!)
- I booked myself in to do four craft fairs to sell my jewellery (oh, yeah, I've barely mentioned the jewellery - I think that obsession deserves a post all of its own)
- I put some stock of my jewellery into the Who-Ray shop in Stockton on Tees (run by a friend of a friend)
- I made an Etsy shop to sell some jewellery online, promoted the Etsy shop via my Facebook page and Instagram - and made my first sale the same weekend
- I re-engaged with my Buy Me a Coffee page and actually started to write posts. I don't know if anyone will read them - but it feels like a good thing to do
- I completed another framing commission - the third for the same customer, and they were very pleased with it
That's probably a long enough list for now.. I'm a long way off making a living, but we all have to start somewhere!
On reflection, I feel I've achieved quite a lot in the first month of 2020 - can't wait to share with you my future achievements!
Bye for now,