From Target to Full-time Artist: my job history story
Probably unlike a lot of people my age, I haven’t had a lot of different types of jobs. My first job was working at Target, and I was there for five years while I went to college and then graduated into a horrible economic environment, a few years after the great recession. Then I tried to find an art related job, and took a gig working for a very commercial artist, but that didn’t work out. I did what I could to find a better job, but I didn’t really know how.
Then my dad retired from the US Army after 26 years of service in 2011, the year after I graduated. Maybe I’ll go more into that in another post. He came back and decided to open up a pizza place & I was not into it. I read Kitchen Confidential and had a pretty good idea of what it was like to cook in a restaurant (I decided it wasn’t for me). By winter 2011, I was in the kitchen, cooking. Indeed, it was very much like that except my version was a lot less rock and roll. Basically no rock and roll and all weeds.
The pizza place was my first taste of small business & I realized I knew nothing about it. I started obsessing about it, as you do. I still remember the feeling of working 60 hours a week and reading about how to make it work late at night. I was so determined to make that restaurant float, but it took a lot of personal sacrifice and time away from my art, which up until that point I had really worked hard on studying seriously since the 8th grade.
I went, until I got married and then was so burnt out. I took some time to focus on new skills, but then took a part time job at Mosaic Art Supply mid-2015. So from one small business, to another. I feel like, at this point, nearly 8 years later, I’ve studied everything there is to learn about small business ownership, management and marketing, at least on a basic level. I’ve taken courses on systems, marketing, copywriting, website development, design…. Like the nerd I am.
Fast forward now, the faith that I can do this art thing, full-time is really based in that real life MBA course it was to open a restaurant, from scratch, with no franchise or corporate support. When I quit my job to go freelance, I went back to the pizza place and replaced that 6 year old chalkboard, that I had made many years ago with a fresh mural. Now, in December, I can't tell you what it feels like to be able to afford to buy Christmas presents and pay my bills through art income. Its incredible. I’m not so flush in the dough because I’m holding back a lot of my income to pay for taxes (30% of it), but it’s definitely so exciting this far to get to this point.