In this episode of the Candid Conversations small business podcast, your co-hosts Dan and Sagan interview Elizabeth Patterson of Art.ByElizabethHope.com. Elizabeth shares what life is like as an artist, how she transitioned from freelance editor to doing artwork, how she’s using her art to make a difference in the world, and her tips for how you can be an artist, too.
This episode is proudly sponsored by the Gas Station Arts Centre.
0:00 Introduction to the podcast
00:40 Update on our business
“How many more hours is it going to take you to do a project? Would it make more sense to spend the money and save yourself the time? Look at that and see, if you’ve invested in your business but it isn’t working out, it’s okay to spend money on something else or pivot and change how you’re doing things, and rework it. It’s okay to decide that maybe that wasn’t the best investment you could’ve had, and then save yourself the extra time by putting more money into it.” – Sagan
New business cards:
“We’re so excited about merging — everything’s in limbo right now with our separate businesses, so we’re looking forward to it being all amalgamated.” – Sagan
7:00 Introduction to Elizabeth of Art.ByElizabethHope.com
7:55 Why did you start your own business?
“In the beginning of 2016, I read Sagan’s book about how to start your own business; it was a combination of that and feeling stuck in my job, and I just loved the idea of the freedom I could have from running my own business; being able to travel when I want, do something I want to do. Life is too short to do something you don’t like to do, but it’s also too long to do something you don’t like to do. So I took the leap that summer.” – Elizabeth
9:30 How has it been for you to transition out of editing and into doing artwork for your business?
“It was easier than I expected. I started out with freelance editing because part of me was going towards the more ‘acceptable’ job to have; people have expectations of what a ‘real job’ is and editing fit. But when I decided to switch to art, and say ‘I’m going to do what I love doing, whether or not other people think it’s acceptable,’ all of the business admin type stuff that I’d learned from starting the editing business really helped my art business. So the transition was so easy for me, based on what I’d already learned. And now I love it a lot more than the editing! It’s something I wake up and am happy to do every day.” – Elizabeth
“This is such an important thing—sometimes as we go along in business, we realize that the thing we thought we wanted to do isn’t actually what we want to be doing after all, and that’s okay. It’s so important to experiment and try things.” – Sagan.
11:10 What was your day job before you started your own business?
“Working in that little cube every day was really draining.” – Elizabeth
12:20 What does a typical day look like for you as an artist and as an editor beforehand?
“With editing, I did a lot more marketing on a day to day basis because I was so new to it. But now, I like to start my day slowly with a lot of coffee, catch up on basic admin work, and I spend most of the afternoon or evening working on original art or commissions. Towards the end of the month, I work on my prints for my Rebel Hope series.” – Elizabeth
“It’s all about when you can find the time when those ideas come up.” – Dan
13:50 Can you tell us a little bit about the Rebel Hope project?
“Based on the way the United States administration has changed over the past year, I needed to find a way that I could actively help, in whatever way that was. I knew there was something I needed to do. Everything happened really quickly; I came up with the idea for Rebel Hope on the day of the Women’s March and implemented it within the week. Each month I draw a different pen drawing related to an organization that’s affected negatively, and a portion of the proceeds from each print goes towards those organizations. People need a lot of encouragement and support, this year especially.” – Elizabeth
“It’s so good, when we want to make a change in the world, to find ways to creatively express yourself. Even with Candid Conversations, we want to use this podcast as a platform to talk to super awesome people who do great things like this! It’s so cool that you’ve figured out a way to use your art like this.” – Sagan
“I’ve always wanted to do something I love doing. But at the same time, I know I have these things I want to do, I have these talents I’ve been blessed with, and I’ve known for a long amount of time that I want to use these talents to help people. I think that’s a lot of what life is about, is just connecting with other people and helping them. It makes life a whole lot better for everyone involved.” – Elizabeth
#RebelHope provides support & encouragement: learn how @artists_hope is making a difference with her art!
17:20 What challenges have you experienced as an artist?
“In order for this to work, to go anywhere, to reach anyone, there’s admin work that needs to be done. I have to figure out the best way to market myself. Sometimes I miss having someone manage me, who tells me what my deadline is and what steps I need to take. But when you’re a small business owner, you have to manage yourself. It’s not bad! But it’s not always easy.” – Elizabeth
“The grind is real!” – Dan
18:55 Shoutout to Gas Station Arts Centre
19:50 What do you enjoy the most about being a business owner and being an artist?
“For being a business owner, I most enjoy the freedom and flexibility I have! I can work at my own pace and schedule, which is great for me. My favorite part about being an artist specifically, aside from the fact that I love art, I love creating; it helps me process my feelings in a way that is very healthy for my mental state—but then I also like working with the people who buy my art. I love making that connection.” – Elizabeth
“Every time I wear the shirt you designed, I feel so empowered. It’s so interesting how there’s that connection; being able to actually have an impact on a person every time they look at your artwork or wear your artwork, is really fantastic.” – Sagan
23:05 How are the hours for you?
“There’s a lot of flexibility from day to day. Some days I could work 10+ hours, if I get really into a project or if I have a lot that needs to get done. It depends on where my head’s at mentally. Some days I’m in a funk, I don’t feel creating, nothing’s inspiring to me, and those days I just don’t do much. I’ve found that especially with my abstract work, it doesn’t work if I force myself.” – Elizabeth
“It’s so important to check in with yourself and be kind to yourself and let yourself take breaks. It’s so easy to work 24/7 when you work from home.” – Sagan
“So often, we think we’ll spend our time working on the projects itself, whereas especially in the beginning, our businesses have to be about marketing, admin, and behind-the-scenes items.” – Sagan
“As a biz owner, it’s important to check in with yourself, be kind to yourself & let yourself take breaks.” @Saganlives
26:00 What advice or helpful tips do you have for people getting into your line of work?
“The more prepared you can be before you put yourself out there, the better. Working through Sagan’s business book and freelancer e-course, I had the basics of my business. But at the same time, if you prepare forever, you’re never going to be ready, and you’re never going to put yourself out there. Make sure you have a good groundwork, but don’t wait around forever or it’s never going to happen.” – Elizabeth
“Love what you do. No matter what, if you’re making a lot of money or hardly making anything, if you love your work, you’re still going to be working on it and putting yourself out there. People can tell if you’re putting out work that you don’t like—it eventually shows, and people aren’t going to respond well to that.” – Elizabeth
28:10 What’s coming up next for you and your business?
29:35 Where can listener’s go to learn more about you?
31:00 Anything else you want to talk about?
“The big thing still is just, love what you do. Whatever that is. It doesn’t have to be freelance work or art, but really, it all comes back to that to me. If you don’t love what you’re doing, then life is going to be pretty miserable.” – Elizabeth
31:40 Thanks for listening!
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32:15 Outtake 🙂
Awesome Resources + People Mentioned In This Episode:
- Small Business Case Study
- The Business of Writing & Editing: Practical Tips & Templates for New Freelancers
- Rebel Hope
- Women’s March
- National Black Child Development Institute
- Bring Change to Mind
- United State of Women
- Gas Station Arts Centre
- Rebel Hope t-shirt
- Set Yourself Up For Freelancing Success
- Elizabeth on Instagram
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Thank you to our sponsor, the Gas Station Arts Centre!