Artist AND Business Owner?
Twelve years ago on the encouragement of an old school Italian entrepreneur, I began (in 24hrs) a graphic design business. No business experience, no accounting classes, no business management courses under my belt. Just "the balls", a successful bartending (cash is king) career and an art brain.
What is an art brain? Not really sure but it is what is in my skull. Probably the inability to weigh pros and cons, the inability to see risk, the inability to fear failure. Probably also have the ability to create new ideas, make mistakes and start all over again and the naivete to say "It'll all work out" This tilt toward the flakiness of artsy-ness would probably draw a blueprint for disaster.
Yes there were thrown toner cartridges, really funny typos (ask about the "hore and carraige rides" on a holiday trifold), not enough money to buy milk and countless bail outs by my mom and poor people high interest loans. (including a loan shark or 2) Working 2 jobs, working from 8am to 2am, and missing a huge part of my kid’s early years...12 years later it has changed often.
We have gone from a business, to a company, to a firm, to a solo operation, we printed in-house, sourced out and slept on the floor while 250 40 page color booklets printed overnight. Driven to NH at 2am to pick up coupon books for a 5pm parade and cut a nail off making wedding invitations...but I am still here.
5 years later that art brain decided that the computer art was a bit cold, a bit too neat for her taste. So the dream of playing with clay and teaching others to love it too began to be a reality.
Through my years of talking about it...people had doubts. "Really, Mel...pottery. You really think people want to do that?" Yes, Yes I do. The economy calls for it, the soul calls for it, Demi Moore and Patrick Swayze called for it.
And so the artsy brain opened in the worst winter there was...and guess what I built it and NOONE came. That is all in the past now and Madison Mud, through with its ups and downs, is a success. We have a full staff and people in every class. Now Boonton Mud is in its fledgling year and the fear should be creeping up my back. Slow start, after all I didn't serve the town of Boonton drinks for over 10 years, they had no idea who "Mel" was. But then I remembered, I own a graphic design/marketing company. Time to hire myself!
And the challenge began. Business brain kicked the ass of the art brain and the creative strategies began. Hence the MUDSPEAK. print ads, hence me cursing in a blog post and doing my stand up at local festivals.
Art brain vs business brain. I believe we all have both. In my success, I couldn't have one without the other. Anyone can do this. It IS the American Dream! Despite the political climate, and those that tell you "really Mel...Clay?" Do it. Let the artsy brain override the logical side.