“I’ve started an online business” are words that evoke responses that range from one end of the human emotional spectrum to the other and every one in between. Like politics and religion, it is certainly a subject that everyone has an opinion on.
Usually the responses are positive ones. Occasionally, there are negative ones. The really negative ones are the ones that stick in your head on those days when you are wondering to yourself why did I start an online business. The positive ones are backed up by a note, email or call you will get that you made a positive difference in someone’s day. Those are the days you can enjoy the process and you celebrate that you took the steps to start an online business at all.
Baby Steps Starting an online business
Initially I had a website for years that I was using as a sort of on-line portfolio. This has been a wonderful platform to introduce my work to lots of people. It certainly beats the “old” days of schlepping work or photos of work from place to place. Eventually it generated enough interest that people would want to buy some work or carry it in their galleries. Then you would hear from folks wanting something as a gift or for their home and you’d end up directing them to your site if a gallery wasn’t a nearby option. You’d work out the details and hope everyone walked away happy, including yourself.
Computers verses traditional art
I think the most defining factor for me has been seeing how computers have been changing the world of art. While I am a traditionalist in terms of how I create my work, the rest of the world has been running at warp speed when it comes to new ways to make and produce art. Truly anyone with a computer can create amazing images. I have embraced some of this with how I have been choosing to reproduce my traditionally produced art. I do this via giclees, prints and recently with sublimation. Many artists I love and admire have not chosen to walk this path at all. They are sticking to their guns and not making any reproductions in any form.
I can respect that.
Others have totally been taken by the new technologies and tools out there and are creating images they could never attempt, let alone achieve, had they not tried something new.
This has been a part of the process that I have been enjoying more than I expected. I have spoken with and connected with people from all over the planet. We speak about art. Turtles. Diving. The weather. Travel. Cows and Cowboys. And sometimes totally unrelated things. But the important thing is we connect. And we connect about so many things.
Sometimes they purchase a painting or a print. Or perhaps they were looking for an item that is both functional and
pretty, so they will order a cutting board or a couple of luggage tags.
I sometimes get emails back either from them or from the recipient expressing their joy upon receiving their purchases. It is very rewarding and it is nice to know my work is bringing some happiness to others. Here and there you encounter a problem, usually with shipping, but I always try to tackle those issues head on and as quickly as possible.
Everyday is a new lesson
I certainly don’t know everything there is to know and everyday I learn something new. Like most things in life, the lessons don’t end when you
finish school–they are just starting. Keeping up with current trends and new technology is challenging, but again, it is rewarding too. Going to seminars, listening to others that are leaders in their industries, motivational speakers that have actually been in the trenches and always just reaching out to others walking the same path; all can offer you some insight into making not just your online business more successful, but enhance the process for you as well. Keep your eyes and ears open, but mostly, keep an open mind!
Enjoy the process and the journey
I feel truly blessed that I am able to be doing what I am doing. That’s the nice thing about art–there really is no right or wrong. It is what works for you. Unless your work is for a specific job or purpose, it is totally subjective.
And each artist is on a journey as individual as their work. Stay the course and enjoy it!!!