Mindset Shifts

What I Wish I Knew Before Starting My Business

November 12, 2020


I'm a full-time artist and online educator. You can find my watercolor designs on products all around the globe. This blog is where I share all of my latest art business tips for you!


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As the year is coming to a close, I thought I’d focus on a big picture topic this week. I always like thinking about the year ahead around the holidays, even though it’s such a busy time. It’s worth it to take an hour or two to reflect on how far you’ve come!

It’s been a little over 5 years since I left my previous job to run my creative business full-time. Although, I did first register my business name while in college about 10 years ago. I can’t believe I’m saying that! It has truly been an adventure. 

Thinking back on these last years, I wanted to share with you a few things I wish I had known. But still, I have no regrets! It’s all part of the adventure. Let’s dive in. 

It’s ok if it takes time for your business to grow. 

You might have an expectation that right out of the gate, your business will work exactly as you envisioned it. Or maybe you just really *hope* it will (like I did!). The truth is it does take time, sometimes years, to provide a sustainable living for yourself and your family.

You may have to make it work with other jobs in the meantime. You may have to have a big chunk of savings ready to fallback on. Or maybe you’re the adventurous type and starting it off with a loan. However you do it, it will take patience and hard work no matter what. And that is the typical experience, and does not make you a failure. 

You don’t need to rent a fancy office space right from the start. 

Okay, pretty office spaces are dreamy and you likely already have a Pinterest board going for yours. It is absolutely ok to dream ahead for that office space or art studio that is probably going to happen for you one day!

But in the beginning (and always!), try to keep your expenses lean. In most cases in the creative business world, you don’t *need* an office space outside of your home. Carve out a corner in your home or your dining room table. Try out a co-working space for a day if you need that interaction with other people. Bring your laptop or watercolors to the coffee shop. 

You will relieve a ton of pressure from yourself in the beginning if you don’t have office/studio rent to pay on top of all of your other biz and personal living expenses!

Support and a like-minded community is crucial. 

Ideally, your family and friends support your new venture and are willing to be there for you. I know, however, that for some people that is not always the case. 

At the very least, I suggest finding a community of like-minded business owners who can truly get you and be there for you when you need it. Yes, you can seek out a mentor of sorts who may be ahead of you, but I actually suggest finding others who are at the same stage as you are. 

Look for friends and allies who are trying to grow a creative business (it doesn’t have to be exactly the same type as yours, but it can) and ask them if they’d like to join a private Slack or Facebook group with you. Around 5-8 people is usually a good group number. It’s also important to make sure they are willing to be active in the group with you, so you can set some loose ground rules if it helps – maybe ask for a commitment to a monthly Zoom meeting or something like that!

I believe that doing this will not only help you grow your business, but also help keep your mental health in check, too. 

Give yourself grace and patience. 

The most important aspect of your business is YOU! Take care of your mind, body, and spirit because your business and art needs you and your talents most of all. 

If you can always remember that, you are setting yourself up for success!

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  1. Angela says:

    hey Id love to get in touch with another person who might like to mentor me on my business can you suggest someone for me to contact heres my website in case they’d like to see where im at before contacting me
    Thanks Angela Broadbent

  2. Roxanne Steed says:

    So true!! and I’ve been doing this for almost 30 years…and it’s still true!! 😀

  3. Marieke Mertz says:

    I like the idea of setting up a private FB group with a few other artists. I think I might look into this as a goal as we head into a new year. 🙂

  4. Pearl says:

    Thankyou soo much for your tips and inspiration. Was very helpful. I’m not necessarily wanting to have a big business as I’m an older person, but I would like to have a small hobby business that brings in more income to make things a little easier financially. I’m just in the process of turning my bedroom into an office in the day and bedroom at night. Only have a tiny two room apartment but it’s amazing what you can do with such a tiny space when you get rid of all the clutter.
    Have a lovely day.
    Pearl 🌸

  5. Kiki says:

    Hello Juliet,
    Yes, sometimes a “reminder” like your blogpost is very helpful. Stay save, stay healthy. Happy creativity, happy painting!
    Have a wonderful and successful day!

  6. Emily T Ennulat-Lustine says:

    This is exactly what I needed to hear right now. I have pivoted a number of times with my art business…and surface design is a whole new ball game…but at 55…I am a bit impatient…and dream of a studio\workshop…but right now…ESPECIALLY right now…I know it is the wrong time. Just trying to be patient , do something everyday that will move my needle forward, and keep on keeping on. Thanks for all the tips…very helpful!

  7. Phyllis Chua says:

    Hello Juliet,
    I totally agree with you, because many times I forget to take care of my health. Thanks for your reminder, I will pay attention to my health.

    Phyllis Chua

  8. Andre says:

    Hello Juliet,

    thanks for all the tips, reading this post was really helpful for me as I am starting my artistic career… and I wish things went faster but I guess all good things take time 😊

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