It's been a few weeks since I published a blog post and that has annoyed me as I was finally getting consistent with publishing a post a week. But I have legitimate reason for being quiet, I was giving my website a complete overhaul.
Why the Overhaul?
The simple reason for the overhaul was that I was never happy with my original website, to me it was too clunky and I didn't feel it represented me or my business.
The more complicated reason is like all people I and my business have evolved over the past year. The best businesses (in general) are the ones that are started with a greater purpose in mind, not for the money. Well I came to realize recently that I had started this business for the money, not because I have aspirations to become a millionaire but I wanted money to pay for the lifestyle I want for myself and my daughter.
As those of you that have followed me for a while will know 2019 was a bit of a rough year for me.
But for anyone who is new here let me give you a quick recap, back in 2019 my daughter and I were within 2 hours of being homeless, the place we were given by the council had no water, gas, electricity, flooring or window covering. Our main belongings were with homeless storage so we had to wait almost 2 weeks to get our beds, sofas and a couple of other bits back. And once we were in we realized we had been placed above drug users who left both me and my daughter feeling scared. Along with this my gran was diagnosed with vascular dementia and despite being almost an hour away I am the only family involved so it's myself who gets the calls from doctors, social services, careers, and the odd phone call from the police when she has reported my late grandfather missing. Though thankfully the later has stopped now (touch wood). Along with this I was on universal credits as when my marriage ended the pervious year I only had a little cleaning job which I worked about 4 hours a week so no where enough to pay all my bills and raise my child with. Although many of the staff I dealt with in the job center were friendly and realized I wasn't there through choice and I was trying my hardest to get myself on my feet there were some that looked down their nose at me and wrote me off because I was a single mum on benefits.
I suspect by now you'll have worked out why money was my reason for starting my business but it's probably not fully what you think. During the summer of 2019 I was able to get off Universal Credits due to my divorce settlement coming through. Which although wonderful there was a problem, although by that point I had a different cleaning job with more hours it still isn't enough to cover all my bills. So I've been fully aware that with every passing month my settlement in getting lower and lower. But I am determined to never find myself back on Universal Credits, so that was the reason for starting this business.
In hindsight probably the worse reason for starting a business that there could be but to be brutally honest with you it's why I did.
So what has brought about this brutal honesty and subsequent change with the website and even slightly with the business.
Well to be honest I had been feeling a little lost in what to do with the business for a few weeks, then I had the pleasure of speaking to Gabriela Blandy. She helps creatives in business and after a few messages sent over Twitter she offered to give me a free consultation. I decided for 30 minutes it wouldn't do me any harm and I am so glad I did it, although she tends to work more with writers what she had to say resonated with me. She pointed out practical things like my pop up box I had was just asking people to sign up to my mailing list but it wasn't telling them what they would be getting by signing up. But also got to me to think about my bigger picture, coming off the call I realized what I had in honestly knew for quite a while. I know where I am, I know where I want to be in 10 years time but in all honesty I didn't have a scooby how to get there.
So I started writing things down in a note pad, it's often what I do when trying to sort my thoughts out or work out what I'm doing. And I wrote two things in particular that will maybe show how confused I was feeling. The first thing I wrote was "What is my business" and the second which was written while looking at my website with a mind to improve it was "if I don't know that I'm doing then how can my customer know".
Although in some ways writing these statements down made me feel a little despondent but after a couple of days pondering this, and a trip out with my camera I started finding my clarity. Not only this also started finding my real reason for starting or maybe more accurately my reason to remain in business, the reason I should have had to start the business with to begin with.
And my reason is I want to bring joy to others through my photographic art.
It's that simple, I love seeing people smile because of my art, even when someone has had a bad day to know my art has raised their spirits a little makes me smile.
So what have I changed? Well I'm not got a website that is much more heavily focused on my art as opposed to the blog which it was before. It looks more uniformed while still clearly being a creative website. Where as before there was no clarity if I was a lifestyle blogger, photography blogger, artist or something else all together.
And along with this more streamlined website I am going to focus on being an artist offline as well as online. Although on the website I will still be posting on the blog. Unlike before where I was trying to be a blogger and an artist and promoting affiliate links on my Twitter account. Although yes I will still occasionally promote the odd affiliate link it will more likely be on my blog. And although I will still blog about mental health/mindset topics I will be trying to focus more on the photography side. Although we will have to wait and see how successful I am at that😂
But my focus will be on my art and making a living as an artist.
Where Am I Going Next?
So, although I now know where I am going to focus my business and I am feeling a lot happier with my website, I am still working a few things out. I've always been good at sort of big thinking and knowing where I want to get to. But the finer details I struggle to nail down, that has always been the way for me. So I still have some strategic planning to do for my business but I feel that I am slowly getting there.
I am planning on still blogging regularly although this will more than likely not be every week as it was before although I will be working to get back to that again. And you'll still be able to find me on social media, in particular Twitter where I am most comfortable. Although I am working on my other social media platforms as well.
Well now that I have explained to you why I have been AWOL over the past wee while, and hopefully not bored you in the process, I shall finish this post here and shall see with the next post.
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Until next time here is one of my pieces of photographic art, a stunning Scottish Thistle.