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DEAR JENNI EARLE,

hey y’all.

it’s your pal jenni earle here, comin to ya from child’s pose on the floor of the studio b/c my uterus is being such an asshole… why does the child’s pose feel so good to the angry uterus?…

anyhoo, i wanted to answer some of your questions today! i LOVE getting your questions. so let’s dive right in:

question no.1 comes from san luis obispo, california:

this trailblazer writes, “as an artist, where do i start learning the rules of business so my art can pay for my life?”

this is a question SO close and dear to my own heart, as i struggled for years, starting and failing at creative businesses because (1) i didn’t know what the flip i was doing! and (2) i didn’t take myself seriously/i was waiting on someone else to assign value to my work.

let’s start with that second issue, you MUST take yourself and your work seriously!

no one will set your value higher than you set it for yourself. EVER. think about that really closely. if you try to take your art into the world and let some jackass that knows nothing of handwork or creative process tell you the value, you’re already sunk! YOU know what it takes to make your art, YOU know that it feels like scooping little bits of your soul out and putting them onto paper or into clay or into metal, YOU know how much time it takes and what the materials cost and why you choose those materials. MORE importantly, YOU know how long it took you to learn the skill of the art and what it feels like to use it.

value your work honestly and confidently.

if someone walks up to you as you are selling and makes a face about your pricing or has the gall to say something along the lines of, “this is $54 dollars?!” say “why yes it is!” no other explanation is needed. you may want to clarify that it is made by hand, but beyond that, hold your tongue… it is your art and you get to set the value, period.

that said, there’s a method to it, cost of goods (time and materials that it takes to make the art) X 2 is a great place to start. value your time correctly and when your goods start selling, you will begin to make the rate you deserve.

back to the first point… i didn’t know what i was doing! on this note, you really just have to start educating yourself by plowing through business books. there’s not really a shortcut. most of them are pretty dull and talk mainly to businessmen, but things are starting to coming around as more and more women take hold of the business world and are showing up to the publisher with mindblowing content and real support!

i suggest you go to the library first or dedicate some time to being IN the bookstore. pick out a wide selections of books and flip through them, look at the table of contents, read a few pages and see if the author is talking to you. this is also a time to get your confidence high! if you are going to put your work out there for the world to criticize, be prepared with an army of supporters, and sometimes the best ones are in paper form… some of my favorites for this are big magic by elizabeth gilbert, the war of art by steven pressfield and #girlboss by sophia amoruso.

podcasts are another way to start to learn what it takes to make your art ready for market. some of my favorites for this are, being boss, this one i binge!!, the get paid podcast, she really digs into the numbers and make it happen, she’s british and therefore makes me smile just listening to her say whatever! but she has really good content.

so start here; listen, take notes, get excited as your dream starts to take shape, but don’t think that any one thing will be THE thing.

be sure you are letting all the content you take in wash over your authenticity filter. does it feel right and true for you? does it make sense for your art or product?

no one can tell you exactly what to do, but all the suggestions you take in and consider can start to carve out a path that feels right to you.

lastly, but not certainly not leastly, look into your city’s resources for creative entrepreneurs! find a mentor or a group of other creative business people that want to meet a few times and brainstorm or share tips and ideas. there just so happens to be a creative business accelerator in my hometown, called Velocity, that was a HUGE boost to my understanding of business theory and how to grow my idea into a valid business. research to see what your town has to offer or consider traveling to do some of this work. another big boost to my understanding was the Maker Summit in greenville, south carolina.

hope this helps, cali!

 

question no.2 comes from raleigh, nc:

this trailblazer writes, “hey jenni, people keep talking about inner dialogue and how it is a powerful factor in what happens in our lives. what are your thoughts about the role your inner dialogue plays? do you think it actually can make you more or less successful?”

oh my… short answer is hell yes it plays a powerful role! our thoughts are like the seeds and our lives are the garden. if we plant shit seeds and water them with low expectations and apathy, our garden is gonna look pretty scraggly and we are gonna feel ashamed… but if we make the intention to plant positive, rational, healthy seeds and water them with confidence, what might happen?

the gold standard of inner dialogue is talk to yourself like you’d talk to someone you admire and love.

picture that person in your head when you catch yourself talking shit to yourself! imagine saying what you just to said yourself to that lovely person that you adore and smile just thinking about. it’s terrible, right? so stop talking nasty to yourself. no one deserves that.

talk nice to yourself. talk with love and acceptance. talk with patience.

i think it’s super important to remember you are not the same person day after day after day. allow yourself to ebb and flow; be that motivation, productivity, focus, etc. the more mindful we are about what we are like on this specific day, we can act with kindness and do tasks that feel right for that day! we can actually be more productive when we are mindful about our inner life. but asking yourself to show up exactly the same each day is a pipe dream for a robot slave. and you aren’t a robot slave. you’re a wild, magical, brave, sparkly badass of a human.

talk to yourself like you are a treasure! and the universe will respond by showing you a reflection of that.

i promise.

chin up, tits up, spine straight and tall.

“i am a golden unicorn.”

this change in my inner dialogue has helped me stay confident when the wind fell out of the sails. It has helped me become a much stronger and braver person than i used to be. it, most importantly, has helped me drown out the bullshit that others and myself have told me over my life. you hold the remote to your head space. turn down the volume on the haters. you have that power! turn up the volume on the logic, on the “i am exactly where i need to be” and the “i am enough”. turn that volume up on “i am brave and powerful!” and “i am capable of hard things!”

i KNOW i am where i am now because of which messages i chose to turn down the volume on and which ones i chose to turn UP.

let me know what questions you have for me, trailblazers!
with so much love and gratitude,
be brave,

jenni earle