FROM BURN OUT TO PURPOSE
A history of my recent art business
phrasal verb of burn , be completely consumed and thus no longer aflame.
I had an art business since 1999.
I made mixed media polymer clay sculptures. It was a pretty successful business and I made a decent living at it for many years (at art festivals and at my studio/gallery) — until last year when I became completely burned out.
I realized 3 years ago while I was traveling around the country alone to art festivals (in my U-Haul full of art) that I had no more feeling for it — and had to stop.
I really hated everything about it.
- Driving alone with deadlines to shows (I’m super bad at maps and I got lost far too many times on dark highways in foreign cities! grr)
- Setting up the art booth and tent outside — -sometimes in rain, high wind gusts, thunder, lightning, floods and even in the dark at 5 or 6 am. ICK.
- Trying to ‘sell’ my art to customers at festivals when I had no desire to anymore.
I even began really hating my art too. Not just a little, but I loathed it to the point where I couldn’t even bear to look at it one more minute.
It was odd and scary to feel that something that used to bring joy now brought pain.
I thought, How can I sell something I can’t even look at? I was even finding myself leaving my booth instead of trying to ‘make sales’.
I lost all my zest.
Maybe it was like a 10 ‘year itch’ or something. You know how you feel you need to change something in your life but you also feel totally stuck in it and don’t know a way out?
To me it felt like hanging out with an old lover that I no longer wanted anything to do with.
So, I decided it was time to retire. I threw in the towel on my business and we sold the U-HAUL last year. I was done!
A Whole New World
It was a very odd and foreign feeling (a whole new world) because I was used to working steadily — 5 to 7 hours a day on making art, and now I had no desire to do any art, not even open my art room.
I went almost immediately into my new creative passion, writing.
I wrote almost non stop all of last year. Three books flew out of me.
Here‘s a link to my books: MICHELLE MONET AUTHOR PAGEhttps://www.amazon.com/Michelle-Monet/e/B01J5X26QS/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_1
So after publishing my books I realized I was not too fond of the marketing part of book writing. I had no real desire to do it.
It’s a reality that I didn’t write my books for money. I would bet most writers don’t. I wrote so that I could get something out of me that needed to come out.
I knew that writing books was not going to be a financially steady income source. I knew I wasn’t Stephen King or J.K Rowling. lol
I also knew that I HAD to figure out a whole new life for myself. I was longing for a way to make a living from home doing what I’m best at.
I believe we should all follow our strengths and minimize our weaknesses and do what we are uniquely gifted at.
So I did a self-assessment and it became very clear what I was best at:
- making a pile of diverse art effficiently with dedication and focus
- coming up with new ideas
- being a good kitty mom (to our 5 cats)
- creating art in a peaceful calm setting with minimal human interactions
Ok, but what art would/could I make now? Where could I go with all my creative art making energy?
Stumbled into a whole new life! SHOES?
So one day bob, my boyfriend who is a photographer and who had photographed models for many years, said he had some extra brand new shoes laying around.
He said ‘See if you can do something with these!’ — and then BAM!!
I was RE ignited. RE energized. RE motivated.
I got totally excited with all the possibilities of making these shoes. I was back in the art making saddle! WOOHOO. I loved the feeling I was getting coming up with new ideas and techniques for making unique shoes and it consumed my every thought.
That was a bit over a month ago. Now I’m so thankful because I am on a whole new exciting artistic path.
I now have a new art business called Artistic Shoes from The Sole.www.etsy.com/shop/michellemonetart
I now get to incorporate almost everything I love along with all my strengths into my art business.
Maximize strengths and minimize weaknesses.
Other strengths (things I love about my new business) are:
- My love of design
- Bright, vivid color
- Eclecticity, new ideas and diversity
- Getting to make others happy by making a product that they will love and will have fun wearing.
OH and a bonus is that I get to hang with my cats all day.
Here are two of my cats ‘helping me’ make shoes.
I’ve minimized my weaknesses too. Which are:
- traveling alone to strange cities
- setting up an art show booth on a deadline. (Not fond of rushing or feeling like I’m a contestant on the “Amazing Race’, without a partner!)
- being around a lot of humans. I’m more inspired when I’m alone than with a bunch of people
So happily I am not doing those things anymore!
Another win is that my business will now be helping a cause. I have partnered with the wonderful charity SOLES4SOULS. www.soles4souls.org
They are a national charity who help kids around the world by donating new shoes to them.
For every shoe I sell I will donate one pair of shoes to this organization.
So its an all around win win win situation now.
- A Win for the kids who need shoes.
- A Win for my customers who like their new unique shoes.
- A Win for me because now I get to stay home and do what I do best which is to create, and come up with new ideas daily.
Oh, and I also I prefer not to get dressed too often so now I can work at home and not have to worry about clothing choices.
So that’s the story.
If you want to check out my shoes they are herewww.etsy.com/shop/michellemonetart