Isn’t it always a sense of accomplishment when you get through a week without calling into work sick?
It is a constant struggle for me. Don’t get me wrong, I love going into work. It is stress free, easy, and I work with some great people. There isn’t a day that I don’t laugh about something. And every two weeks they pay me without fail.
It’s a good gig.
This week I am happy to report that nothing notable has happened in the Robbins world. Minus the fact that my leg is acting up again. However, that is just pain, and you can get through anything with enough hot showers, ice packs, and medication. And I have convinced myself that if I ride my Harley, it will shake out the nerves and they will stop acting up. It hasn’t happened yet – but I will keep riding until it does.
That is not the news from this week though!
My youngest is an aspiring artist. I hate to put it that way because he is an artist to me. His paintings are good! At least in this mama’s eyes. But he wants to move into the world of commissions for his work. Because of social media, has decided not to attend college. After seeing the interest rates on student loans and repayment plans, I am internally debating whether or not he should.
Isn’t it sad when you have to do a comparison on education vs. survival? But that is not the point.
The point is that for his first week of summer vacation, my son has spent his time building a website. He has also taken photos of his work, created social media content, and designed his brand.
He is only 15.
I am proud!
Learn the difficult lessons now my young grasshopper and you will not struggle like my husband and I have.
But that meant, as two small business owners, my husband and I needed to share with him the reality of being an artist in a digital world.
Rule #1: Sales are made through relationships.
Now for a 15-year-old, this is a daunting task. You should have seen the look on his face when I told him he would have to talk to people. He looked like I had taken away his gym equipment and his X-Box died. It was pitiful. The answer- I signed us up for craft fairs.
Here is what happened because of my ‘fabulous’ idea. I had to purchase the spot. You have to bring your own tent, chairs, and tables- which I need to get. You have to make prints of his work. Since he doesn’t have a car or license, that meant I spent four hours copying, cropping, and finding a company that would print his paintings out for me. You must be able to display your work, which I didn’t have. Since we are doing a craft fair, I might as well bring my books, so I ordered more. I had to get the plastic covering, matting, and cardboard for his copies.
Rule # 2: Be prepared for startup costs.
All this cost money. Money that I didn’t think about when I said, ‘let’s do a craft fair’. Because in my mind, my husband and I do a lot of reptile shows and I thought we would have everything. But this got me thinking about my husband’s table and how we could spruce it up. Everyone knows Amazon Prime is coming up, so it’s time to go shopping!
Remember when I said I had a stress-free job? Well, it’s more stress free when it’s Friday before a 4-day weekend. So, I had PENTLY of time to shop. I changed the whole look of my husband’s table which reminded me that I needed to get him new business cards. Which reminded me that I needed to design my updated business cards with my company name. Which then led to my son asking if he could have business cards.
Business cards for everyone!
Rule #3: Have something to sell.
I have no more wall space in my home. It is covered with photos, pictures I have collected over the years, and my sons’ paintings. I am to the point that I have to water-lock some of his paintings so that they can go into the bathroom.
There is no room.
So, in my mind, he had plenty of paintings to sell. I have only two books, so I wouldn’t take up much room.
But according to my son, that is not true. Nope. My son is doing a new collection of paintings and as of today, he only has two. He needs to create more. Okay, that’s fine. We have a few weeks- paint your heart out my child. But then he asked me what else I was bringing. Will I have bookmarks? Maybe t-shirts? A coffee mug with the book’s logo? Something to entice buyers to buy into the Raven Society fantasy?
Stop being logical kid.
No, I don’t. I don’t have that stuff. But I should have that stuff, shouldn’t I? Famous authors do. Of course, most famous authors have a marketing team, publishing team, editing team, and every other type of team there is.
I have a subscription to Canva and WordTune.
So now I need to design and order more stuff.
You see the rabbit hole of stress I fell into? I still haven’t advertised the upcoming reptile show (in two weeks). Book 3 is currently in the early stages, and is due out in December. And on top of all this- I am supposed to cook homecooked meals so we stop eating out, so I can afford my families’ side-businesses.
But what about my kid? He is on cloud 9. He is already calculating potential gross vs. profit. He has created his ‘look’ for when he gets famous.
Me? I need Botox and a weekend away.
So, there we have it. I really hope that we have some profitable weekends at the shows. In trying to teach my son the joys of business, taxes, start-up costs, and promotions- I am broke. Way broke. Like do I need to put gas in the truck to go to work broke.
But, then again, I am thrilled. I could be paying for sports equipment… and I saw how much it costs for football or tennis. I might be on the winning side.
Never mind- my kid just walked downstairs and told me he needs more paint and canvas. Shit!
Last pitch- because promotions are a thing! If you haven’t guessed… I am an author! The Writer and the Librarian and The Myth and the Monster – The Raven Society series is available to order- Just click here!
And if you are looking for a new family pet… why not look at a reptile? My husband is passionate, educated, and willing to answer any questions that you may have about snakes, spiders, bearded dragons, and everything in between… click here.
And if you are in the mood to support a young artist in his work- send me a message. I am going to upload his prints in my store front on this page this weekend.