Being a self-employed furniture painter can be incredibly rewarding but also extremely hard work.
If you ever feel unmotivated or overwhelmed when running your business, read on for some tips on staying motivated and driven and keep going.
Find a Balance
Find a balance between keeping motivated and allowing yourself to have time off.
If you feel like you're always running but never getting anywhere, then it might be time to take a mini break from your business and treat yourself to some much-needed self-care.
We all need to stop sometimes, and it's important to remember that that's okay. In fact, it's more than okay.... it's vital.
So plan to take regular breaks throughout the day and week.
These can be as simple as setting aside time each morning to do nothing whatsoever business related.
Instead, take care of yourself first, and set yourself up for the day ahead.
Try putting the kettle on, tuning the radio to your favourite station, picking up the cat/dog/guinea pig/rabbit for a cuddle (perhaps leave the goldfish where it is), and relaxing for half an hour, preferably away from your workspace.
Try and clear your head of anything to do with work and relax. If you're struggling with this concept, or your brain keeps jumping back to what's next on your schedule, why not download a mindfulness app. There are hundreds available, and they may help you focus on nothing.
Prioritise and Plan Breaks
If you want to be even kinder to yourself, make sure these breaks are prioritised and scheduled in advance so they don't turn into an afterthought and allow yourself enough time (30 minutes or more) so your breaks are actually relaxing, rather than stressful or frustrating.
With some simple planning, you can take more extended periods away from your business: maybe even a weekend.
Bear in mind that, ultimately, a few days off here and there simply isn't enough.
If you're going to survive running your business without burnout, you need at least a solid week off every few months where there's no expectation for contact between you and your customers.
So "plan to ban" live phone calls, emails, or texts about work matters under any circumstances whatsoever. But that doesn't mean you can't be "present". You can schedule social media, emails, blogs, etc., ahead of time, meaning that when you're on holiday, you're on holiday. However, you don't appear absent; you're still connecting with your customers.
Try New Things
Keep inspired, and don't be afraid to try new things.
We all know that feeling, don't we? The artist's equivalent of "Writer's Block". Creative inspiration is a fickle thing. You can't rely on it, and you can't force it, but if you keep your mind open to new ideas, chances are that they will come to you when the time is right (and when the stars align).
If you're going through a dry patch, why not try using different tools and techniques than you've been using before. Try new materials and mediums just for fun.
Take on a project with a new process or style; perhaps even change your signature style completely... you never know what might happen. Being prepared to pivot and hone your offering is crucial to finding your creative voice.
Start small by taking old projects and re-doing them from scratch and seeing what happens. Let your creative juices run riot.
If you need help or support, just post a question in the group. You'll find a wealth of advice and expertise from other members.
Buckle up for an Emotional Rollercoaster
Be prepared for the emotional highs and lows that come with running a business.
Whether you've been running your own business for years or are a newbie, it's important to remember that you will have good days and bad days.
The key is to not let the bad days bring you down. Try to keep positive, remember why you opened your own business and always remember how talented you are.
There will doubtless be times when you feel like giving up because of a lack of motivation or confidence in yourself or your business's future. This can be especially true at first when there are many unknowns around and as you navigate every stumbling block for the first time.
But bear in mind that these feelings and doubts are normal, and they should never stop you from working towards achieving your goals.
While they may not always be easy to handle, these emotions are an essential part of being independent and forging a career path on your own terms—so don't let them get the better of you!
Delegate and Outsource where Possible
Get help when it's getting too much, but don't lose sight of your goals.
You can't do it all yourself. You can do many things on your own, but if you can delegate or outsource responsibilities and not worry about them, take it.
Let someone else take the children to school or pick up the shopping. You are not the only person in the household who knows how to use the iron or the washing machine.
Despite what you might think, nobody is looking at your skirting boards, and I doubt anyone cares if the windows have been cleaned this month.
Learn to Say No
Bear in mind you only have as much time as the rest of us. So you need to get really good at saying no —even if it means turning down an opportunity or project if you haven't got time to do it justice.
Taking on something you're not entirely comfortable with is likely to end in disaster. Your heart won't be in it, you'll be stressed about the time you're taking doing it, and you'll be less motivated. And that will inevitably reflect in your work.
This might come as a surprise when starting out but remember saying no is a critical skill in any business situation. This is your business, and you get to make the rules.
It is possible to run a successful online creative business without burnout and without giving up, but only if you remember it's essential to find a balance between keeping motivated and allowing yourself to have time off. So, enjoy the journey and always keep the destination in mind.
I promise you it will be worth every ounce of effort needed to get there.
Do You Want to Know More about how to build a business that makes you happy and makes you money?
Then you might like to learn more about The Furniture Artist’s Collective Membership and Mentoring Program. Individually, we produce some of the most beautifully restyled retro and vintage furniture available on the market.
Together we promote and spread the word about the eco-friendliness and sustainability of our wonderfully creative industry.
Our membership shows you the exact techniques to start, grow, and successfully scale your creative furniture painting business whether you’re brand new or have been in business for years.
Download the guide here