I haven't forgotten about or stopped my anti-racist education.
The Anti-Racism daily newsletter continues to be my primary source of enlightenment on this issue. I am also listening to How to be an Antiracist by Ibram X. Kendi, who does an excellent job of combining education, re-education, and personal anecdotes into a really compelling narrative. Check them out.
The First Week
I've been at this thing for two weeks now. My first week as a self-employed person was a blur—but a good one! All in all, I sold 15 prints and 2 original drawings and lined up 3 special prints and 3 commissions. That far surpassed my expectations for the week, the month, or maybe even the rest of this year if I'm being honest. The outpouring of support from family and friends has been amazing! Thank you all, truly.
I learned a lot. Budgeting time has been interesting. I spent a LOT of time fulfilling orders that first week. A lot. Obviously I'm not super efficient yet, but I started to realize that the print-sales process might eventually end up being more work than profit. Anyone who tells you print sales are a form of passive income is a liar. So I'm going to try to limit print fulfillment to twice per week for balance. I should be able to ensure that every order is postmarked within 3 business days of purchase without having to spend my entire life fulfilling orders. We'll see how it goes. I'm either going to do it on Monday/Thursday or Tuesday/Friday. Since I write blog posts on Mondays, maybe I'll do it on Tuesday/Friday to try to spread out weekly commitments.
I did not draw at all my first week. I spent so much time fulfilling orders, setting up sales, and doing other business chores that I didn't spend a single minute doing the thing I'm supposed to have time for now: art. Some of this was burnout recovery, I think. Some of it was the novelty of the MYOWNBOSS flash sale. But a small portion of it was just a lack of prioritization.
For better or for worse, these three commissions have forced me to get my ass in gear over the last few days. Last week was weird and fractured because I was in Jersey with family on Monday/Tuesday and Thursday was my birthday, but I finally picked up a pencil (stylus) on Thursday night when I couldn't sleep and have been drawing daily since then. I'm settling into a little routine. I begin by watching some SVS Learn videos to keep my skills progressing, then I do a bit of homework/skills practice to get my arm moving, then an Inktober 52 drawing as a warmup, and then commission work when I'm fully ready to go. Some days, this process is slow and fractured. Some days, it's a little more seamless. Some days, there are hour-long gaps between each segment. The point is that there is a ritual and it appears to be working. This week, since I'll finally be working a full week without a flash sale or vacation, I'd like to try to keep this ritual going—completing the entire process before I allow myself to get sucked into some business chore. I eat business chores like potato chips; I know that I'll get to that stuff eventually. The discipline has to come with the art practice because it's challenging and the internal resistance to it can be strong.
If all goes according to plan, by the end of this week I should be finished with a large, complex commission. It's a gift for my client's wife so I'll probably wait to post it until he gives it to her. I don't think either one of them follows me on social media but better safe than sorry. In the meantime, stay tuned for more Inktober 52 sketches and the beginning of some cool new personal projects!
Other Things I'm Thinking About
- Some people say the time of day you post to IG has an effect on engagement. I'm going to experiment with auto-posting at 6:15am ET to see what happens. Building a larger following is #2 priority for me right now (...right after building an art habit. Thankfully these two priorities play nicely together.)
- I'm having a hard time preventing myself from multiplying every week's income by 52 to see what my "salary" would be at this rate. Dangerous thing to do this early; it's not encouraging haha. I'm going to give up this habit for a bit.
- Taxes taxes taxes taxes. Sales tax, income tax, self-employment tax. All my money goes to the government.