As an artist myself, I love finding others who are succeeding at sharing their work with the world. Lesley Myrick brilliantly fuses her collage art with her well-written blog and interior design skills. She graciously allowed me to interview her this week and she shared some great inspiration and advice. If you want to check out her site and great blog, you can find her at LesleyMyrick.com.
In case people don’t know you and your amazing business, would you mind sharing what you do?
I’m a collage artist, graphic designer, and interior designer. (I know that common advice states that you should choose one area of expertise and focus on it, but for me, I love the variety and am passionate in all three areas – and I’ve found that a varied skill set is quite in demand!) I run an Etsy shop selling my original collage art, custom art commissions, art prints, and greeting cards; I freelance in graphic design and interior design; and I blog about art, being an indie business owner, and awesome things (like links to funny cats) at lesleymyrick.com.
Your blog really compliments your work. What advice do you have for makers who want to blog?
Why, thanks! There’s one piece of advice that I’m really passionate about: blog your own way. It’s so easy to get caught up in the comparison trap, or read article after article about all the things you “should” be doing with your blog to be successful – but at the end of the day, your blog is an extension of you and your creativity, and you know best how to communicate that to the world. (I wrote a post about this topic recently – it’s here if you’d like to take a peek.)
Also, don’t be afraid to customize your blog yourself! I’m not a web designer, but I’ve taken a standard Blogger blog and made it mine with a little creative Googling and some hard work. (And yes, some tears when I’ve screwed things up!) Messing with HTML code is a bit scary, but as long as you save a copy of your template before you start (which, uh, I often forgot to), mistakes can easily be fixed. It’s really satisfying to have created an online presence that represents me and my business, and also to have the freedom to change and grow my blog as I change and grow.
You have a background in interior design and art. How much has an art degree helped you in your creative business?
Oddly, not much! I mean yes, it’s handy on a resume to have a diploma in interior design (especially since I also work full time in a design gig and probably wouldn’t have gotten the job without that in my background) but as a freelancer, most of what I’ve learned about art and graphic design has been self-taught. I’ve found that clients are more interested in your skills, and what you can do to help them meet their needs than with what credentials you have. However, I wish I had taken business and marketing courses along the way in my schooling – those would’ve been helpful! It’s the non-creative side I’ve struggled with the most with my own business.
What advice would you have for someone who wants to move from a career/job to a business of their own?
I think the idea of freelancing and being totally self-employed is highly glamorized in the blog world – but it’s important not to compare yourself with others, and to really know that running your own business full-time is the route you want to take. I love the idea of being a full-time freelancer (sleeping in! making my own hours! creating more art!) – but right now in my life, it makes way more sense for me to have the stability of a full-time job, and slowly grow my business on nights and weekends. If you’re thinking about transitioning from a career to a business of your own, make sure that you’ve tested your market and seen growth and profit in the products and services you’re offering, and also make sure that it feels right. Even if it’s scary, if you feel open and expansive when thinking about going out on your own (instead of feeling tight and contracted), it’s probably the right time to take that leap. This video by Marie Forleo (I adore her savvy business mentoring!) is totally rad for helping decide if you’re ready to rock.
Your business has come a long way in the last 2 years. Was there ever a time you worried about failure? How did you overcome this fear?
Oh, of course I’ve struggled with failure! I think as a creative entrepreneur there’s an incredible pressure to succeed – you’re putting your talents, gifts, and heart on the line, and of course you want your work to be well-received and financially lucrative! The moments I’ve struggled most with failure have been when I’ve compared myself with other artists/Etsy shop owners/designers/freelancers, instead of being grateful for how far I’ve come and how successful I am. It’s easy to think that everyone else has it figured out and is wildly successful, but you never know what their journey has been – so focus on your strengths, your calling, and your own journey. And remember to be grateful – gratitude is an incredibly powerful tool for overcoming self-doubt and fear.
If you want to see more of Lesley’s art, you can find it all on her site.