As you may know, dear reader, this year I made some significant changes to my life, primarily giving up my job. I wanted to have a better work life balance so I could spend more time of more creative pursuits.
Getting my artistic career up and running is quite a steep learning curve. It’s going into a new world, where I don’t quite know what I should be doing or who I should be speaking to. As I meet more people and find out more, I am learning lots. At the same time I do need to keep working in familiar territory to keep paying the bills.
Of course, there many places where my existing skills and experience do come into play, particularly around technology and social media. However, I have found it very different experience promoting my art versus my comfort zone of commenting (and maybe ranting) about education, technology, shoes and cups of tea.
My relationship with Facebook and Instagram is a case in point. I have linked both these accounts, and I have a Facebook page specifically for sharing my work in progress and completed work. I really enjoy the process of creating an image, possibly more than the final image itself. I am keen to share the different stages of work more widely and social media is made for that.
Having connected Facebook and Instagram is taking me into Facebook far more than previously and in a different context. Selling “stuff” online is also something I am exploring. Again I have data concerns however I know I don’t have the skills to set up as secure online retail environment, so I have to go with a commercial provider. I’m not going to sell a lot online, but if I want to continue to eat I need to try it!
I am exploring Facebook ads (which do at times annoy me and seem to take up a lot of my stream) and wrestling with my conscience about using their algorithms and data collection for marking purposes. I am complicity evil by using their service to target people who could possibly be interested in buying some of my goods? Can I justify filling other people’s timelines with ads? The answer is probably yes to both . . .
This weekend I’ve taken my first foray into online retail, using Shopify. This service allows you to create simple buy buttons (as well as online stores). The buy button aspect appealed to me as I am very much at the experimentation stage. I don’t want to set up a full shop and lots of the big online shopping sites do take quite a hefty bit of commission. It’s serious stuff and I am not that serious – yet! Hopefully these buy buttons will allow me the flexibility to sell stuff as and when it suits me at a relatively low cost, with all the complicated stuff done for me at what I feel is a reasonable cost.
The set up was pretty straight forward and so far so good with the online ordering. However it was really nerve wracking waiting for that first order to come through. A new kind of imposter syndrome, nervousness . . . however I am hoping that this will be the first of many foray’s into online retail.