I loved hearing Bridget Bernadette Karn’s story at the last Ladies Who…Connect (previously known as Ladies Who Network) back in November. Bridget shared how she has known she was an artist since she was 4 years old. 4 years old, when most of us still can’t colour inside the lines! Little Bridget knew that art was her vocation, her calling. But like what happens to many of us when we have a dream, our family think differently and persuade us down a different path, one that is often more aligned with their beliefs, their dream for us or (how many parent want their child to be a highly successful *insert professional title here (doctor/lawyer/banker)*.) Or out of financial necessity your path veers away from your dream.
Faced with the illusion of ‘starving artist’ and the need for a ‘proper’ job Bridget embarked on a journey that started in banking passed through nursing, detoured to Canada for some WWOOFing (World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms)and touched down at home caring for sick relatives.
At every station stop on the journey that veered away from the artistic path she wanted to follow Bridget felt an itch in her hear heart to do what she loved. That gut instinct that tells you you’ve gone off piste.
Have you ever had that feeling when you are out of your passion zone where you just feel trapped and depressed? You really want to follow your heart and do that thing you love but the naysayers and their false assumptions put you off. It’s times like this you need to listen to your heart, be guided by what feels right. Listen to the universe and take the opportunity it gives you. Sometimes these opportunity come disguised and you find yourself called home when family is sick, or fall ill yourself, and these times can sometimes be the universe giving you the opportunity to opt out for a while. Get off the train and forge a new path.
And so we come to the part of the story where Bridget’s passion and determination to be an artist come to fruition. Being guided by what felt right Bridget turned her hobby into a business.
Bridget turned her hand to felting in 2010 and a mere 5 years later makes the most stunning and intricate felt pictures. When I say felt I don’t actually mean using felt – those brightly coloured squares of felt you used at school – felting is the process used with wool, Bridget uses wool to blend colours together like you would with paint and then the felting process…erm does something…and the end result is magical. Bridget shares her passion through teaching felting workshops including felt pictures and felt accessories (you can make your own felt hat!)
But as lovely as that sounds, turning your hobby into a business isn’t easy, the roller coaster of business cycles, all the admin tasks of running a business that take you away from doing the thing you love. The need to ramp up production to create profitable product lines can all leave a creative person feeling deflated as the production line saps all creativity as the conveyor belt process churns out at a volume.
It’s not just artists and product creators that feel these constraints, massage therapists and others offering a service often feel like the commercial aspects of running a business take them away form their zone of genius. Being part of a supportive network of other entrepreneurs facing similar problems, worries or constraints as you, can help keep things in perspective and stop you from feeling like the world is out to get you.
How do you outsource and pay someone to do the things you don’t enjoy to release your time back to the creative side of the business if you aren’t turning a profit in your business? If you have high overheads or high material costs to give you the best quality supplies? You are not alone with these questions.
Art is personal, it speaks to you, or it doesn’t, people buy art because they can relate to it, it evokes an emotional response. Monetising art by producing giclée prints can give your customers a more accessible price point (and the print doesn’t fade like other printing methods).
I’m inspired by Bridget’s passion and determination, and came away with these inspiring thoughts:
Put faith in yourself.
Ignore the naysayers who don’t know you.
Connect with like-minded people, search out other people who share your passions.
Ask yourself what do you need to know to feel I can do this?
Don’t regret not following your heart
If all you need is someone to put faith in you to make that option work, if all you need is some support then joining a group of supportive business women like Ladies Who (or Winning Women or any of the many groups out there) is taking the first step towards your dream.
The next Ladies Who Connect is Thursday 21st January with guest speaker Lisa Walker Tickets are available here. Unfortunately I don’t know anything about Lisa, what her business is or what she is going to talk about, so you’ll have to come along on the 21st to find out! I can tell you that you will meet some lovely people and enjoy the hospitality of the staff at Hotel Du Vin.
Another inspiring story from Ladies Who...Connect. This month we were talking about life lessons with Lisa Walker from White Apple Thinking, which follows on nicely from October’s post “Every event ... Read more