Happy 2019! I hope everyone is having a great year so far. I was so excited to hit the ground running at the beginning of the year; but, as you can tell by how late in January I’m writing this, the year didn’t exactly start off the way I had originally planned. At first I was frustrated with myself for not jumping into things and getting work done, however I quickly gave up on being upset about my lack of productivity as I realized that I was in need of some rest.
I started off last year being incredibly laser-focused on making new art as consistently as possible. As a result, I was able to create 17 new paintings between January and November. I’m really proud of myself for staying on top of my goals, because it definitely wasn’t easy making as many new pieces of art as I did last year!
I also started paying to have professional art scans and styled photo shoots taken of my artwork for my website and social media (I was lucky enough to get Becca from Beckley Photo to photograph me and my work). Paying for professional art scans and photography was expensive and it was a cost that I had to invest in before I made any sales; but I knew it would be worth it in the end due to the quality of prints I’d be able to offer and it would add a level of professionalism that had been missing from my work prior. It was stressful at times due to the upfront cost, but I’m glad that I stuck with it with each new series and now have a website with beautiful photos that I can be proud of! I’m also not as stressed about the prints that I sell because I know that the quality is so much better than what I could offer before.
However, I started to get really burnt-out without realizing it. I was lucky enough to get to travel for one week out of each month from September to December to visit friends and family and I definitely would do it again if given the chance. But it meant that I ended up needing to do additional work the weeks before I left and came back from those visits.
All of that extra work trying to get ahead and then having to play catch-up, coupled with the intensity of the holiday season, completely wore me out. I wasn’t able to keep producing the amount of art that I had set out to make each month and little things started to fall through the cracks. Even so, I tried not to worry too much about it and just enjoy my holidays with loved ones because I figured I would jump back into the normal swing of things on January 1st.
Failed 2019 New Year’s Resolutions
Leading up to the New Year I had some trouble coming up with clear goals for 2019, and wasn’t entirely certain how to move forward in the business/sales part of making art. I set some goals that I thought would help me in areas I needed improvement, but I wasn’t entirely sure if those things would be helpful in the long run. I knew I needed to do something new, however, so I figured I’d start with some arbitrary goals and just course-correct if I needed to as the year progressed.
These goals included starting a daily vlog on YouTube, blogging every week here on my website, making one smaller painting that would go hand-in-hand with my normal art, and doing one interview every month. If you follow me on social media or here on my blog then you know that I have succeeded in completing exactly zero of those things.
When I arrived back in Dallas on January 1st I was so tired that I decided I wouldn’t start daily vlogging until the next day. However, the next day came and went… and so did the day after that and the day after that. It was as if the moment I was able to lay down and rest that my body shut-down. I was waking up at 10am and going to bed at 7:30pm. And when I was awake my brain was so foggy that I wasn’t able to think up new art series or compositions, let alone try to vlog my (very boring) days or write a coherent blog post. So, the first week of the year I accomplished nothing but to get some much needed rest.
New Goals for the New Year
Once I was able to get out of that fog and get back to work I realized that I needed to completely reconfigure how I operate this year. What I did in 2018 was perfect for kicking things into gear and polishing the front-end of my art and online presence; but it didn’t help me grow as much as I had hoped. The amount of work I was putting in wasn’t translating to an increase in sales or growth, but it was definitely necessary. It just isn’t sustainable to keep working at that pace while also trying to grow my the business side of things. This year I’ll only push myself to produce 1 new painting a month (which is basically cutting my production in half) while my main focus will be on cleaning up the business end.
Also! My sister is now my VERY FIRST EVER EMPLOYEE! She’s going to be helping me get my art in front of the right people as well as help me figure out how to grow my Facebook page and YouTube channel. I’m beyond grateful to have someone share the workload with, and she’s so much better at those things than I am. I was getting to the point where I just couldn’t do any more and it was effecting my growth. Now, I have someone help me out (and someone to vent to when I get frustrated haha).
I’m also taking courses by Lexi from Dynamo Ultima on how to grow my business online. I’d recommend checking out her courses if you have a new business and need help getting some clear focus on what you should be working on. She’s the sweetest woman and gives really easy to follow steps on getting things moving. You can visit her courses here.
Because my sis will be coming over several days a week to help me with business and marketing I’ll only be drawing/painting about 3 times a week. The other 3 to 4 days will be spent growing the business side of things. It seems silly to work so hard to make new art if no one is seeing it or buying it. Therefore, my art production will be going down a bit this year and hopefully once I have better systems in place on the business end I’ll be able to do more in 2020.
As far as my original goals in regards to daily vlogging, blogging, and doing interviews go, I would love to put out a weekly recap video where I just show bits of my week and give you a more detailed view of what I’m doing to grow as a small business, and occasionally an art tutorial. I’ll continue to make the process videos for each piece because I love making those. And I’d like to put out a weekly video that goes hand-in-hand with the blog. So that would translate to 2 to 3 videos a week as well as a weekly blog post. And if my sister can get me more interviews that would be great, but it’s not something I’m going to be seeking out for now. I need to get the rest of these things up and going before adding more to my plate.
Basically, I’m going to try to slow down a bit on production and be a lot more thoughtful and intentional about the work I produce while not worrying as much about the quantity of art. Obviously, I’ll still be putting out at least one painting a month otherwise none of this is worth anything. But, in regards to artwork, I want to be focused more on making art that I’m proud of that is made with more intention. And more than that, I wan’t to understand better what I’m doing in business.
Also, I do want to get better at YouTube. My goal isn’t to be a YouTuber, but I’ve had a feeling for a long time that it would be really valuable to put out behind-the-scenes videos for other artists. A lot of artists share how they make their art, but not necessarily how they market and sell it. Learning from someone else and being giving some direction is something I would love to have access to for myself, so it will be cool to share my own experiences (and failures) for other artists to learn from. Not to mention, it’s just another way for people to find me and hopefully become a supporter of my work or connect with other creatives so we can help encourage each other.
Anyway, I just wanted to let you all know what happened this month and also what you can expect from me as the year progresses. If you just want to keep up with my artwork then please follow me on Instagram @shaylenereynolds or if you’re also interested in process videos and tutorials then checkout my YouTube channel . I’m really excited and nervous about this year! It’s probably going to be a crazy storm of events and learning experiences and I’m sure it won’t turn out how I plan whatsoever, haha. None the less, I know I’m going to learn a lot and grow and that’s all I really want out of each year. Wish me luck and I’ll talk to you guys soon!