Spots in Flourish are filling up--it looks like a lot of people are looking to make big changes in this new year--so I thought today I'd talk a bit about the course for those who aren't familiar with it and I'd also like to introduce Juliette Crane, who will be assisting me in this session of Flourish.
I started teaching Flourish a year ago so I could share some of my personal experiences in building a creative business. When I first quit my day job back in 2006 with vague ideas of wanting to be an artist, I had no idea where to start or what to do. The lack of information sort of paralyzed me and after blowing through my savings, a year later I was looking for a "regular" job again. I didn't give up though, I put on my determined face and started doing countless hours of research on small business basics. I worked my regular job from 8am-5pm then spent my evenings and weekends growing my little business until just a few months later I was able to leave my regular job again, this time for good.
In the past two years and a few odd months, my illustration business has flourished beyond my dreams even and it has surprised me again and again. And now through teaching this 5 week e-course, I'm hoping that by sharing the knowledge I've gained, I can help others create a road map to their own success.
For 2011, the February session of Flourish--which runs from January 31st to March 4th--will be the only session I am offering. Normally, I offer a summer session as well, but as my business has grown, my schedule has gotten a bit tighter and for the summer months I'll be offering a whole new e-course, something very creative geared towards self-taught artists.
If you'd like to learn more about Flourish now, just click the banner to be taken to the Info & Registration page. Or keep reading to meet the lovely girl who will be assisting me in the February session of Flourish.
Meet Juliette Crane
For this session, I've decided to do something special: I'm bringing in an assistant teacher. Juliette was a student of my very first session of Flourish and I'm bringing her aboard to share her own experiences with you. So let's meet Juliette.
-Tell us a bit about yourself and your work:
I’m an artist, inspired by the little things, and love wandering forests, lounging in the tall grass, and painting in flower gardens around the world. I’m also an enthusiastic cook and would be delighted to have you over for dinner…seriously!
I've always enjoyed creating and imagining wild and beautiful things exist in our everyday world. The characters in my paintings reflect and tell the stories I imagine. I combine all sorts of materials in my artwork—glitter, origami paper, vintage sheet music and wallpaper, acrylics, pastels, pencil, ink and, most recently, loads of spray paint!
I live in Madison, Wisconsin with my husband Brian and our beautiful gardens. Throughout the year, I run my own creative business, teaching workshops, selling my artwork, and telling stories on my blog. Whenever I create something, it makes me happy and my hope is that when someone sees my artwork, they feel that happiness too.
Have you always worked as artist or did you also hold down a day job at one point? If you had a day job, tell us about the transition from day job to fulltime creative girl.
I’ve always been doing something creative (making cards, jewelry, sewing, writing, gardening, baking), but I didn’t actually feel that mattered or that I could ever do anything with it professionally until the Fall of 2009. Earlier that year, I’d finished writing a novel for children, then lost my job as a landscaper (after a run as a freelance graphic designer and web developer), and I realized I was seriously burned out and unhappy.
I was very lucky that my husband was still working full-time, at that point, so I didn’t have to worry so much about making it all work at once. But I still dedicated myself to my creative business as if it were all I had.
During those first few months after I lost my job, I kept searching the want-ads, but after my first local art show and then while taking FLOURISH last February, I soon realized I could make the same amount selling my artwork as I could working part-time. I’d tried all sorts of other careers-website developer and programmer, journalist, floral designer, photographer, graphic designer-but none of them fit. I was seriously determined to never have to interview for another job I didn’t really care about, ever again.
You were in the very first session of Flourish, tell us about your favorite part of that experience?
My favorite part about FLOURISH was the overall information and background I got for starting and running my creative business. I had no clue what sort of opportunities were out there for artists (licensing, selling prints on etsy, teaching) and not only did I learn the nuts and bolts, but I learned what printer to buy, where to get paper and ink-all of the details that can often make you so frustrated, you just want to give up.
So I guess, having all of my questions answered from a reliable and super nice and friendly source was the very best part of FLOURISH (THANK YOU, Stephanie!).
Give a couple of examples of lessons in the course that you were able to apply to your creative biz.
Aside from all of the details I just mentioned, the big thing for me was learning how to market and promote myself. I was never one to be on facebook and I had an old blog, but I wasn’t posting much. In Flourish, I learned you can’t just start a blog or etsy shop and expect people to find it. You have to get out there and leave comments on other blogs, meet people online (and I’ve met so many awesome people this past year) on Facebook, Flickr and Twitter.
I also learned so much from the accounting/bookkeeping part of FLOURISH. That’s a side of my creative business that I’m not too crazy about, so knowing how Stephanie navigated it all, helped me to not make rookie mistakes or get overwhelmed.
Any final thoughts for students of the upcoming session of Flourish?
I have to say, that dedicating myself to what I’m actually passionate about has completely changed my life! I just wrote an article for and had my paintings published in Somerset Studio magazine (Jan/February issue) and will be published in Artful Blogging in February! I’m also now teaching my own workshops (How To Paint An Owl http://juliettecrane.com/workshop/index.shtml), going to art retreats (An Artful Journey http://www.anartfuljourney.com/) and assistant teaching at the Do What You Love Art and Creative Enterprise Retreat (http://dowhatyouloveforlife.com/) in Yorkshire England this May!
These are all things I never thought could be possible in my life, and taking Flourish was my initial stepping stone to knowing how to make it all happen and having some really wonderful surprises come up along the way!
Thank you, Stephanie, for having me here and for taking the time to share all of the knowledge you’ve learned along the way! I’m so looking forward to being a part of this session of FLOURISH!
Juliette Crane -- Window of Opportunity
Juliette, thanks so much for sharing!