Hey sweet lovley friends.. isn't summer just freaking awesome. Holy cow! I forget how good it feels to sleep in, have lazy mornings.. walk outside and bask in the sunlight. Seriously.. 2 months of summer here just ISN'T enough!
They asked me a few questions about what success means in my business Scarlet Lime and with my Christy Tomlinson Licencing & Workshops Business. So here it goes.. :)
Warning: This is just a straightforward.. no pretty pictures.. kinda of blog post. Hope you still get something out of it :).
First off just a little info about me: as many of you know since 2007, i have had a online kit club called Scarlet Lime. A monthly kit club where we send out kits each month.. it started with Scrapbooking kits and have now grown to Mixed Media kits, Art Journaling kits and coming SOON this fall.. SMash kits! (Plus we are adding some fun new features including monthly ideas by other designers!) . In 2011, we decided to expand our kit club to also include an online Mixed Media Store.. which we now sell over 1500 products! Adding new ones all the time! All of which are products I used in my online workshops to make mixed media canvases, and art journals. In 2011 I also launch my first online class hosted on my own site (i had done several before on other websites).. and that also has grown and over the past 2 years, I have offered I think.. around 13 workshops! Crazy! With more coming this fall. We also have an Etsy store, where I sell prints, originals and other products with my artwork on it. AND lastly, I teach and host art retreats all over the world.
So that is what I DO in a nutshell. I am BLESSED and blessed to have my husband, Ben, also work side by side with me in this adventure! He runs the mixed media store and ships out the kits for the kit club. It's so awesome to be able to work with him everyday.. have him home everyday. What a blessing. We are blessed to have 6 kids.. ages 8-17.. (5 boys and one girl). ANd we are so blessed to both stay at home and work and support our family. I am also always blown away, at the amount of work I am able to accomplish while also dealing with Fibromyalgia. I wake up EVERYDAY in pain.. everyday. Like I don't want to get up and face the world.. kinda of pain. But just as always.. the Lord has blessed me with things I have learned to help that pain manageable, so I can get up and work.. play or spend time with my family. Usually an hour or so after a hot bath, using oils and my medication.. I am ready to take on the world! I do have days where I just can't go one more step and I find myself in bed all day.. sometimes frustrated and crying.. sometimes just realizing it's not the normal and tomorrow will be better. But I think that is my Heavenly Father's way of saying.. SLOW DOWN. Take time for yourself. Remember who you are and why you are here. Always a wonderful reminder :).
I also took some time in 2011 to "licence" my art designs to some major home decor companies.. and while it was the thrill of a lifetime to see my first release (which just came out last year.. almost 18 months after I started the process). It just wasn't for me. I enjoyed teaching online and in person SO much more.. and creating art solely for the licencing world.. didn't allow me to do that. I would rather see thousands of other women learn to become self confident and realize they ARE AN ARTIST.. then see my artwork on mugs, pillows, iphone covers, etc in major retail stores.While I have some wonderful friends who inspire the world that way.. i just knew it wasn't the way intended for me. Ill tell you more about that in a bit :)
And I guess that is where the success comes in. I believe success means so many different things, but for me.. the ONLY thing that matters in having a successful business is doing what matters most. Doing what feels RIGHT.. doing what I know in my heart is what my Heavenly Father, wants me to do. That is success. It's not about which opportunity makes me the most money, or what 'gig' gives me the most exposure and advertising.. its truly about listening to the Spirit and following what I know is what I should be doing at the time.
I believe success is being the true you and following the beautiful heart of yours. Your heart is a pretty amazing gift we have been given. It certainly KNOWS what is best for you.. and sometimes your mind overshadows that with thoughts of how awesome an opportunity looks, or how cool making $$$$ would be. But your heart ALWAYS grounds you, and reminds you of what humility is and why you were blessed in the first place. I swear.. just when I have it all figured out and I think I am just awesome and proud of myself.. something happens that grounds me.. and reminds me.. all of this is not mine.. but His.
Side note: (I realize this post is a pretty spiritual one.. Maybe not QUITE what Jessica and Michelle had intended.. as I refer to my Father IN Heaven a lot.. but dude.. I would be kidding myself if I didn't think for one second.. all of this comes from something greater than ourselves. it's just a given... )
To get a little more personal, in business.. FOR ME.. success is TRULY being able to help others. I can't tell you how many times I have been brought to humble tears.. by emails, or letters or even women coming up to me at art retreats or events.. telling me, how by me taking one of my online classes, or sitting on one of my retreats.. or watching my online tutorials.. has changed their lives. Not because I was this awesome artist.. but because I gave them the freedom to BE an artist and the confidence to FEEL free and take leaps! They felt lost, they felt like taking time for themselves in anyway way shape or form, was just a waste of time.. silly. But after taking a workshop, or trying something I taught in a tutorial.. they were able to connect with what was being taught and realize a new found love of creating art that could help them express what was in their heart. Art that they could share with family and friends. By Helping them build confidence to take leaps in their OWN dreams and endeavors. THAT is a HUGE factor of what success means to me.
I remember when I was about 6 months into licencing... I had already created my first line.. I had approved the samples they had sent and would be seeing them hit shelves the following year. I was working with two major companies in the home decor world.. and one of the Companies came to me, before my first release was even done.. and offered me a 2 year.. Multi-million dollar sales projection during that time. (and no.. that doesn't mean I would get millions dollars lol.. believe me.. not even close. SOunds cool.. but promise.. your cut is just a wee bit :). But even so, it was a HUGE opportunity to get my name out there, to brand myself and to create a secure future in licencing. . Basically they were saying, for 2 years. .they wanted me to create lines for their home decor items. IN Spring, Summer, Christmas, Fall, etc. They wanted to build a brand around my name and my art. They wanted to promote me as one of their top artist. I was shocked, humbled and just blown away. BUT at the very end of the email.. they asked me one simple question, something I would need to do to help make it successful for them as well. They asked me to STOP teaching my art, online, in person. Everywhere. They said that by me teaching my girls and other techniques, they were starting to see images of art that looked similar to mine, popping up everywhere on the Internet! (just google She Art. crazy how many pages there are!) And NOT of my work! Work of other awesome women who have taken my workshops and were then sharing what they had made on their blogs and online communities. The company was afraid that if I kept teaching, that my "brand" and my designs.. would no longer be unique.. because I really do give step by step video instructions on how to create the way I create. The minute I read that part of the email.. it stopped me dead in my tracks. Me? Not teach? um.. that's not EVEN an option!
I didn't and still DON'T believe, that Heavenly Father gave me this gift of creating.. to keep it all for myself.. for some.. yes! We need people who create beautiful things for us to buy.. but for me.. I knew I was intended to share it. not keep it all bottled inside.
I KNOW.. KNOW without a doubt.... that I was meant to teach what I know and not keep it in. I do Not profess to know everything there is to know about Art .. or paints, or what a medium does. But I do know how to explore and learn and make beautiful messes.. and make mistakes and turn them into awesome little unexpected layers that in the end, create this heartwarming, meaningful piece of art. To teach others that it's okay to get something wrong.. that you can always turn it into something right and something beautiful! I just knew.. that if I were to accept this huge contract with this company.. I would NOT be doing what matters most. No matter HOW awesome or cool having my name a national brand would be. Just wasn't worth it.
So.. without much thought at all, I simply replied back.. I was sorry that while I was thrilled they wanted to continue on with me, I knew what I was supposed to do and what was expected of me. That I needed to share my art with the world, but, not in the way they wanted me to share it. At first.. my agent was pretty upset. so was the company.. but shortly after, I sent them several emails with several of my friends names, images of their work and their blogs.. and suggested maybe they look at THEIR art, and contact them.. and see if that is something that would be a good fit for them. I had friends who REALLY DID want to licence, and I knew they could create some pretty wonderful things too. I felt so good about my decision. I felt at peace and happy and right. Btw.. my friends who's names I sent them? well I just got my catalog for the companies new line and BOTH have beautiful featured product in there! See a perfect fit! there always is :).
Well a few months went by.. and they sent another email.. this time saying that if I would reconsider, I could still teach my art online and in person.. and they would just take their chances with the affect it may have on their home decor lines. But by then.. I had become SOOO okay with just being a an artist and a teacher.. that I realized.. it truly wasn't what I wanted.. and the decision had been the right one all along. It had been a HUGE blessing in disguise not to take that route for myself. Success.
So for me.. that is what success means.. and that is just ONE tiny story of the many many moments that have happened to me over the past 10 years... of owning my own business. Many little "tender mercies".. reminding me of what is important for ME.. WHAT is expected of me by my Father in Heaven.. and WHY he has blessed me AND my family with this humbling opportunity and experience of being able to share my art and the talents i have been given, with the world.. and support my family as well. It's not MY talent.. it's the Lord giving me this talent, for the purpose of blessing others.. and being blessed as well in the process. Success.
So my advice to you when it comes to creating a successful business? Be open to the unexpected.. reach deep inside your heart and think about what is TRULY your goal.. and then strive for it! Sometimes our goals change.. sometimes we realize along the way that what we thought we wanted, doesn't fit into what we really need and is best for us.. and that's okay! We need to experience those things to grow and know for sure.. and not think "what if". Not everything we do will be a success, but I promise everything you do.. is meant to help us develop and grow for future opportunities. Everything happens for a reason and everything has a purpose. So Stay true to you. Another bit of advice for success. Make it your goal to have it be about OTHER people.. NOT yourself. Let it never be about yourself. Also.. Takes leaps when your heart is saying yes.. and learn to hold back when your heart is saying no.. even when your head is saying JUMP IN! THAT will be success. It might not come in the form of making a lot of money.. or having your name in lights.. or seeing your designs on iphone covers.. but it may be as simple as blessing someone else's life, in the simple things you do each day. Sharing YOU with the world. Letting others feel comfortable about themselves. Sharing your ups and down, your mistakes and your triumphs.. letting people know.. YOU are just a real person JUST like them.. no better.. no different. That we all come from the same wonderful Person.. who has made us all so perfectly different and special. If we will always remember this simple truth... success isnt about US.. and never is about us.. then we will always be successful in our leaps.
I know it is for me.
well better get to working on the house today.. more rooms to paint and things to put up :) don't forget.. as I posted tuesdasy! Huge sale this week on online Workshops and NEW things listed in the Etsy Shop! Check out that blog post HERE!