Over the past week I’ve taken a more detailed look at my business as part of the #CreativePassiontoProfit 5-day “Get Your Art Out There” challenge. I’ve looked at:
Day 1 – Why Do I Create?
Day 2 – What is My Business Vision?
Day 3 – Who Are My Quilting Peeps? (ideal customers)
The last question is:
What are your biggest fears around connecting and sharing your art? What is your biggest challenge about building your business?
One of my biggest fears, which is probably pretty common among most creatives, is that my work will not be good enough. I see all these amazing pictures online of intricate quilting, beautifully drawn/digitized quilting designs, inspired piecing patterns. Someone is always able to do better work than me. And why put mine out there if it isn’t the ‘best’?
I need to remember that not everyone likes dense quilting. While others can draw better than I can, some longarmers probably can’t draw at all, and they may prefer my style or subject matter. Not everyone wants to spend weeks piecing a difficult pattern, and they may appreciate something simpler and easier. Various people have different likes and dislikes, personal styles and preferences. So just because there are others who can do certain things better than I does not mean what I do does not have value.
Be the Best Banana
This reminds me of a story from a Leo Buscaglia book I read in college. I’m paraphrasing here, but it basically said that you can be the best darn banana in the whole world. Perfectly ripe, the most golden shade of yellow, no brown blemishes, plump and delicious. And yet, there are some people who just don’t like bananas. They prefer apples. If you try and make yourself into an apple to please them, it’s just not going to work. You will be a very poor example of an apple, and now you’re not a very good banana either. So you just have to be the best darn banana you can be, and wait for the banana lovers to find you. Now if I can just remember that when I’m comparing myself to other artists!
I’m also afraid of not being able to answer every question that may be asked of me – that if I have to say “I don’t know the answer to that”, I will no longer be considered a good mentor to help other quilters. But heck, I’ve been quilting as a hobby for over 30 years, started designing piecing patterns more than 20 years ago, and longarm quilting for over 15 years. So while I may not know it all (of course I don’t!), I’ve got way more experience than many quilters out there, and I should be able to help many of them, even if I can’t help them all.
One of the biggest challenges for me in growing my business is I’m an introvert, and not good at networking with others. Don’t get me wrong, I like interacting with others, helping them, I can even stand in front of a crowd and do a lecture without passing out from fear. But you know how some people seem to have the power of persuasion and can find partners and helpers in whatever they attempt? They have a network they can reach out to when they need advice or assistance in many areas? Well – I’m NOT one of those people. Which means I try to do EVERYTHING in my business, even the stuff I may not be good at.
Another problem I have is staying focused – I’m always thinking ahead to the next great idea, and tend to not follow a project through to completion. Which makes my stack of UFOs really embarrassing!
Lately, staying motivated has also been a problem. That’s why I’m thankful for this challenge – it’s helped me think more about my business and why I’m doing what I’m doing. And by writing things down, I have more clarity and a plan I can follow when I next think “Why am I doing this, and what should I be doing next?”
Hopefully if you’ve been following my posts the last few days, you’ve been thinking about your creative journey too, even if you don’t have a business. Since I shared my fears and challenges with you, now it’s your turn to share with me. What fears and challenges do you have about your art & creativity? Perhaps we can help each other overcome them.