It has been quite the year. I think we have all learned a valuable lesson about declaring any new year as “your year”. And I personally will be focusing on quietly, humbly working towards my aspirations, then being pleasantly, wonderfully surprised when anything turns out well.
On both the business & personal fronts, good & not so good things have happened this year.
RainyCrazePrints got a totally new print collection out this year, with WAY more options. The ridiculously high end set actually SOLD, & another framed set is on display/for sale at the outrageously awesome local salon, Hair Klaudt! The Life+Fantasy Skeleton collection allowed me to practice setups for multi-colors prints, & even develop totally custom inks for my metallic dreams.
Another giveaway was held, this time open to most countries worldwide (i.e. as long as there weren’t inane sweepstake laws & would actually receive US parcels).
An unannounced, unadvertised, largely unexpected portrait commission has been underway! I started doing color creative portraiture back in college for a project, but haven’t taken it seriously until I was approached out of the blue to create a set for some good friends. I’ve been loosely documenting my progress on TikTok, & explaining some of my methods along the way.
On top of that, I have a new niece! As far as babies go, she is the least-ugly newborn I’ve ever seen. (Typically newborns look & sound something like the crying mandrakes).
The Life+Fantasy Skeleton collection was more than six months late. This was originally slated to be a spring collection, but didn’t actually launch until November. Yikes. Yikes. A second collection had been planned (& hinted) for the holidays but the late launch means development has been pushed into next year.
The ridiculously high end set that sold resulted in much less revenue than projected. The fees from Etsy are not easy to understand, & I’m frustrated that I’ve spent so much time working out pricing, shipping, fees, & taxes, but still feeling swindled. No other sales have happened, either.
The art giveaway achieved ZERO metrics; i.e. I lost the revenue I would have earned by selling the print & gained nothing for it. The giveaways are designed to primarily grow my email list, then increase brand presence by growing social media audiences. Only one person joined the giveaway at the last minute but no email addresses, TikTok followers, Facebook Page likes, additions to the Facebook Group, nor Instagram follows came from it.
The portrait commissions are also behind schedule. I was wanting to have it done in November to arrive in time for Christmas, but that hasn’t happened. I’m very grateful that my patrons are so wonderful & generous in so many ways.
On top of that, multiple family members were hit really hard health-wise. And I learned some pretty disheartening facts about some other people, not to mention the political sphere. (Don’t worry, if you think I’m talking about you then you can be sure I’m not talking about you!)
The Ugly Duckling
This has all been a huge learning curve. Small business is like learning to lift heavy weights: if I haven’t learned to benchpress 100 pounds, then handing me 500 will kill me; I have to work my way up from 0.
In order to complete the print collection at all, I realized I needed way more supplies on hand than I wanted to believe. So I got those supplies.
In order to get people involved in the giveaways, I need to hype them up earlier, for longer, more often, & in more ways to be engaging, & then being explicit about what I want entrants to do.
In order to make full-time income, which I am far from achieving, I may need to branch out in a few ways. I can set up my website here for online orders, to distance myself form Etsy’s increasingly bizarre behavior. I can open up commissions for digital portraits (acutally I do have a dog portrait lined up next!). And most importantly, start working on the big things now so that they aren’t 6+ months behind schedule.
All in all, my WHY, why I do all this, is bigger than ever. And I have so many things I want to try to get this business really going. I can’t wait to start!