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When Most People Don’t Believe in You (EVEN the People You Love)


Hello friends,


Thanks for being here. It has been a while since I posted a blog - I hope you’ve all been doing well. 2024 is around the corner and I am so excited for the new year. I have so many big dreams, goals and aspirations and I am ready for the journey of building my own art business from scratch. I’d love to take you along the ride - the ups and downs, the highs and lows. I am thinking of writing a quarterly series called “Big Dreams, Tiny Steps” where I talk about my tasks, goals and the journey. I hope it will be a series that is both inspiring and informative to others.


The topic I wanted to touch base on today is such a heavy topic for me. Something I have been dealing with ever since I decided I wanted to start my own art business.


When I entered this space there were two groups of people I encountered. The group of people who believed it was possible to be a Full Time Artist, that the creative industry is one of the fastest growing industries and that there is room for ALL of us to thrive while creating the beauty we want to see in the world. And sadly, the larger group of people who still believe in self-limiting beliefs re: being or becoming a Full Time Artist. That most, if not all artists starve. That you can’t make a sustainable living from your art. That the industry is saturated and that there is no room for new artists to enter the space. That if your art isn’t making money from Day 1 then it isn’t worth pursuing and that it is better to just give up on your dreams.


From my upbringing, I grew up also being a part of the second group. I believed I had to be either a doctor, lawyer or engineer to make a living and sadly left my art and creativity behind me for 10 years. I convinced myself over the years that I was not creative and could not draw. But that was until I rediscovered my creativity and fell absolutely in love with botanical art and learnt about the numerous possibilities and income streams that artists could delve into including art licensing, teaching, commission work and print on demand.


When I rediscovered my creativity and love for botanical art it reignited something in me that I had never felt before. A strong passion, purpose and drive to live a life doing something that I loved and to make it sustainable. I have felt so strongly in my body and soul that becoming a Full Time Artist is my path and I believe so strongly that this dream of mine is possible, not only for me, but for all other artists out there in the world.


A common thing I hear among other aspiring artists is that their loved ones still believe in these self-limiting beliefs surrounding the art industry and was not supportive of their dreams, passions and goals. I had no idea how difficult it was for these artists to experience this until I experienced it myself.


For me I was constantly told I was not “working” and just doing “nothing” because I wasn’t making any money from my art and that I should go and get a "real job". I was constantly asked how many followers I had on Instagram or asked how much money I was making while I was just starting out and learning how to setup my own art business and figuring out what I wanted to offer to the world. Whenever I spoke about or showed my art I was shot down with “I think you should just give up”, “the industry is saturated”, “artists aren’t in demand there are too many of them”, “anybody can draw/paint what you’re drawing/painting”, “there’s nothing special about your art”, “your art just looks the same”, “no one likes those colours anyway” and so forth. And if I’m being honest - it hurts so deeply to share about your dreams and passions only to be shot down over and over again.


But over time I found this to be an opportunity to be proactive and take action instead of being reactive. This is still something I am working through at the moment, and I wanted to write this blog and share two things that have helped me along the way in hopes of helping others who are also going through a similar situation.


Find The Right People and Communities to Support You


I know it may be difficult to refrain from speaking about your dreams to the people you love but after numerous times of doing this I found myself constantly hurt over and over again. And not only that, I felt at times I started to also believe them and also felt discouraged to pursue this dream. Regardless of all the research I had done with regard to the art industry and all the opportunities I had come to know, no matter what I said I was always met with the same responses.


People don’t change overnight but the thing is, people don’t need to change. What we need to do is change the people with whom we share or talk about our vision to.


Surrounding myself with or talking to people/artists who share the same vision or believe it is possible to be a Full Time Artist changed everything for me. I felt so motivated and driven and it picked me up again when I felt discouraged. I felt I was in a community that I belonged to that also saw a need for artists and their work. A community that believed artists have a big role to play. To leave behind the world a more beautiful place, to help others remember that they are also creative and to also lead by example and show others it is possible to lead a life doing something they loved. For me, Botanical Art is also about showing others the beauty of nature and to bring attention to the world we live in in hopes of creating a world that is more caring and nurturing of the nature around us. Being around other artists or people who share this same vision has been so incredibly inspiring and motivating for me.


Surrounding myself with people who share the same vision also came in the form of listening to podcasts and interviews by other people who had gone through the same journey; pursued their dreams and setup their own sustainable and successful businesses. Hearing about their journey and hearing them share their knowledge about the industry while encouraging their listeners continues to teach me that success is not an overnight process, that big dreams are accomplished by a series of small steps and most importantly, to enjoy and cherish the journey no matter how long it takes us to get there. As Eckhart Tolle says, “You are present when what you are doing is not primarily a means to an end (money, prestige, winning) but fulfilling in itself, when there is joy and aliveness in what you do.”


Great people/artists/podcasts to listen to include:

  • “The Professional Creative” Podcast by Bonnie Christine

  • “Startist Society” Podcast by Laura Lee Griffin and Nikki May

  • “The Make It in Design” Podcast

  • “The Mel Robbins” Podcast

  • "The Jamie Kern Lima Show" Podcast

  • Ali Abdaal

  • "Working Hard, Hardly Working" Podcast by Grace Beverley


See It as An Opportunity to Take Action


This was something that I didn’t realise for a while - that the responses I was getting or lack of belief in my dreams were actually blessings in disguise. It was actually fire/fuel for me to take action instead of something to get upset about. It made me want to prove to myself that I was capable and if this dream is possible for others, it is for me too. It is important to not let the fire or fuel turn into “I’ll show you that you’re wrong” which would mean I would be pursuing this for all the wrong reasons. This journey is about me and for me, not what others think of me.


Seeing this as an opportunity to take action pushed me into making a large plan that was broken into achievable and manageable steps which I will share about in my “Big Dreams, Tiny Steps” series. It pushed me into finding a daily routine that was productive and pushed me into making sure I did something every day that helped push the needle towards my dream. It is constantly a reminder and opportunity to be proactive not reactive. This continues to encourage me to be and act like the successful future version of myself and to take my dreams seriously.


I hope the two things I have shared about above are helpful in some way. I want you to know that you are not alone and if you are going through something similar, there is an entire community of artists out there looking to connect and support other artists.


Thank you so much for reading. Until next time.


Love,

Wendy

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