The last several months I’ve been thinking about business. I’ve been thinking about my creative business and what I want to turn it into. I’ve been thinking about how. How can I create a business that is profitable, supports me, and also supports the lifestyle I want? And by lifestyle, I’m not simply talking about finances. I’m talking about freedom and creativity and time outdoors. I’m talking about supporting those non-monetary things that matter to me. I need a good balance of finances and lifestyle. And I really believe I can do that by building a creative business of my own.

Granted, I have no experience as an entrepreneur, and I don’t come from a family of entrepreneurs. So this is all new, and honestly, it’s hard for me to believe in myself.

But even though I’m scared, I’m determined. I’m focused. And I’m also really excited!

I’ve decided that this space will be the perfect place to share my business journey. It’s so easy to keep it all to myself and hide my missteps and worries (and also my celebrations), but I think there’s something useful in sharing. Like, maybe it will help someone else that is looking to build a business. Or maybe it will help me deal with the ups and downs of starting a business. Maybe it will help me connect with others doing similar things. I’m not sure. But I do think it will be helpful.

So…I’m going to be pretty transparent in this space. And I’m going to be pretty vulnerable.

I used to write on my blog nearly every day. That was a different blog at a different time in my life, but I wrote all the time because I needed an outlet about the things I was going through (lots of fun things actually – it was a big time of exploration and discovering my passions). But then I got so bogged down in the “rules” of blogging. You had to have pretty pictures. And you had to write in a certain way. And you had to always think about your audience. So I stopped writing.

But now I find myself craving an outlet, and I’ve decided…screw the rules. Who cares if I don’t have the perfect picture to accompany my post? Who cares if I don’t make the most interesting tagline or title? Who. Freaking. Cares.

And so, I’m just going to get on here and write. I’m going to write about art, and I’m going to write about business, and I’m going to write about what’s going right and what’s not going so right. I’m just gonna write. And share. And get my thoughts out.

So how about some sharing?

In the past weeks I’ve come up with some goals. Some finance goals and some productivity goals. Here’s what I’ve got.

First, I realized I need to make more money than I currently make in order to live as I do now. When planning for a business that will sustain your lifestyle, things like retirement savings, health insurance, and business expenses need to be accounted for. I sat down and crunched the numbers. I need to make approximately $84,000 a year to have a comparable lifestyle to my present situation. I’m a high school teacher. I don’t make $84,000 a year as it is. But that’s what I’ll need to make up for missing benefits, taxes, etc.

At first that number scared me. I’ve never made $84,000 a year! But then I let it sit for a bit, and I’ve decided, OK. So that’s the number. Game on.

Next, I looked at income streams. I will need more than one income stream to be successful. For 2017, I’m focusing on three basic income streams (I am, of course, open to others, but I feel keeping my focus simple as I move forward will be useful). The first income stream is selling original paintings and prints. The second income stream is creating and selling an online art course. And the third income stream is hosting in-person art retreats. I plan to focus on one thing at a time and have designated months for focusing on different things. This way, hopefully, I won’t feel too overwhelmed.

So there you have it! That’s what I’m working on.

To keep myself motivated and moving forward, I will continue to share. I find writing out my thoughts to be helpful in keeping me moving. So although I won’t be talking about these posts on social media, they’ll still be here. I don’t care if no one reads them honestly. It’s simply a way to keep myself accountable and maybe connect with some like-minded people. If you’re reading this, thanks for being interested. Maybe we can chat some day!