Mistakes and Victories (And a Free Art Business Ebook for You Guys)
Welcome back to the ColorByFeliks blog!
Last time, I shared some stories from the early days of ColorByFeliks in the hopes that you could see the kinds of struggles and uncertainty Andrea and I had to navigate when starting the ColorByFeliks brand, and how important it is to stay true to your passion through the hard times. I was overwhelmed by the response that the last blog post received from all of you. I read all the comments and was deeply moved to hear how some of you related to our story. Turning your art into a living is a difficult road, so I support those who are content to keep their art as a passion and nothing more. But I also salute all you who feel the calling to make a living off your art and have the courage to take a big chance on that dream.
After the last post, you know the basic story behind our business, so I would love to use today's post to go into greater detail about some of our business successes and failures. I hope that those of you considering doing art or even just starting any business will be able to get an idea of some of the challenges facing creators and businesspeople in this new online era of social media. Andrea and I are still learning every day and that's part of what makes this journey so exciting!
Mistakes Were Made
Failures are unavoidable when having your own business; especially when it's your first time like it was for Andrea and I. Speaking of mistakes, Andrea and I actually just released a new free ebook for you guys where we outline our 20 biggest business mistakes in our first year of having our own art business. This could be a great resource for you if you are thinking of starting your own art business or any online business in general! Get your free copy here →
Early on, we knew that our followers were interested in seeing a product from us but we had no clue where to start. We did some brainstorming and decided to use the round paintings from my vinyl record series (remember those?!) and print them on phone holders, which were very popular at the time. We contacted a manufacturer and they sold very well on Etsy, but our listing got removed because the manufacturer was in violation of PopSockets' copyright. We didn't know that we were in violation of their copyright until the listing was removed and now we were stuck with inventory we couldn't sell, as well as what seemed like a lot of wasted time and energy.
It wasn't wasted, though. As cliche as it sounds, mistakes and failures are a learning opportunity and this failure was no exception. Through the process, we learned how to design a product, work with a manufacturer, and operate an e-commerce website. We also got our first taste of retail success and saw that people did in fact want a product from us, so we knew we had to keep trying. And try we did: it took us three or four more products before we finally realized that what our followers wanted most from us was the paints and brushes I was using to create my artwork. As obvious as it seems looking back after the success of our paints and brushes, it took us lots of trial and error and many late nights and phone calls to work out a product that people would love and that I would be excited to make available. All those so-called "failures" gave us the tools we needed to navigate the process. Each failed product got us that much closer to finding something that would resonate with our audience.
I'm a big believer in being as real as possible with you all. It's too easy for content creators to show people a fake version of life where it looks like nothing but success, but that isn't fair to anyone. I'd much rather show you all the full story so that you don't lose heart when you encounter your own failures, because they come for all of us, what matters is to keep going through the failures and learn from mistakes. Now that we've discussed decisions that didn't work out so well, I'd like to share some decisions we made early on that have worked out great for the ColorByFeliks business and our amazing community.
Our Best Decisions
Looking back, one of the best things Andrea and I did (and still do) that has led to the successes we've seen is listening to our audience. We read the comments, we interact, and we ask questions to get a better idea of exactly what it is you all are looking for and how we can better serve you. No matter what kind of content you are creating or what kind of business you have, I can't emphasize enough how important it is to listen. Your audience and customers are responsible for your success, so the best possible thing you can do is listen to them and genuinely care to do what you can to make others lives better and add value to them. As I mentioned, that is how we arrived on the idea of creating our own products; it is also a constant source of inspiration for me. Any time I am feeling down or in a rut, I can count on my supporters to immediately boost my mood with their positivity and warm comments. I really mean it; you all do so much for me as a creator and it warms my heart to know that we can inspire each other and create side by side.
The second best decision Andrea and I have made in content creation is diversifying our business across multiple platforms. Algorithms and app popularity changes all the time; it's smart to not put all your eggs in one basket. If you're big on Instagram; try YouTube or TikTok as well. Even if you're not big on any platforms yet, you never know if your brand of content or business will do better on another app, so you may as well hit as many as you can. Have an open mind and keep testing to see where your content does best and how to adapt it for different platforms. I would recommend all content creators check out my wife Andrea's YouTube channel HERE. She has dozens of in-depth videos that cover all the social media business and marketing questions you may have, regardless of whether you're a beginner or advanced. She has successfully grown my audience to millions, so it's worth taking some free advice from her!
Until Next Time
I hope this post was helpful for all you artists and content creators out there. Even if that's not you, I hope it was an entertaining look behind the curtain of a husband and wife running a small business together. Thanks as always for dropping by, and please keep the comments coming! I love reading them, hearing your stories, and writing back.
Until next time, keep creating!