Is It Ok To Change Your Mind?

Changing your path on creative projects and why it’s GOOD to say no, or to switch things up.

05/10/2019

Have you ever started a creative project and, despite best intentions, decided its not quite for you after a while?

Do you then wonder if its ok to change your mind or whether you’ve just spent the last week/ month/ year wasting your time?

I hear you. We all do it and in this artist’s opinion, it was never a waste of time and yes, its not only ok to change your mind, it can be a really positive thing. Let me explain why.

You Didn’t Think It Through Properly

 

This happened to me recently. Earlier in the year, I had the idea in my head that I was going to do art markets and see if my quirky Gothic/ Steampunk art sold well. My reasoning was that I was ‘different’ and it was pretty much guaranteed that there wouldn’t be any other art like it on display, so I’d have a captive audience.

Of course I thought then, it was just a matter of getting some really cute products ready to sell and BOOM! I’d make a great little income from doing a few markets.

but I didn’t think it through properly….

 

Enthusiastic as ever, I strategically booked a Christmas market that was being held smack bang in the middle of the city. Great time of year and loads of foot traffic. To be fair, my reasoning was solid. What I didn’t account for though were two things:

1. The cost involved in setting up a marketing stall

2. The fact that I’d need to spend 6-8 hours of my time manning the stall PLUS set up and pack down.

Let’s address problem #1. COST. Here’s a non-exhaustive list of some things you may need to buy to set up a market stall.

  • Marquee
  • Trestle table
  • Table cloth
  • Sign for your stand
  • A backboard to pin things on
  • Risers to give your table different levels of height
  • Containers to put merch in
  • A credit card reader
  • A receipt book
  • A float for change
  • Ornaments, bunting etc to make your stand look good.
  • Wheelable clothing rack for tshirts
  • Tissue paper for wrapping mugs etc…
  •  Signs with special prices for the market
  • Pricing stickers or labels
  • Cellobags to put prints in
  • Ribbon to tie envelope packs
  • Bags to put merch in when its bought
  • Cellotape or stickers to seal those bags so it looks professional
  • Business cards of flyers with your details

And of course, any merch you intend to sell. You will need to have it printed and ready to go, or if its handmade, enough stock to last you through the market in case you do well and sell a lot.

Do not underestimate the upfront cost of this. It can run into the thousands, just for a modest amount of stock.

If your gut says it’s not right… listen to it.

So there I was… the best of intensions aside, looking down the barrel of a very expensive investment. There’s no guarantee you’ll get a return on investment either; my art may have sold well, but it may also have been way too quirky for the Perth, Western Australia market. AND I’m trying to save for a house at the moment and have other projects that also require funds; my first solo art exhibition in January, music videos, music recording, etc..

Yep, I was impulsive and didn’t think things through.

Ok, let’s move onto Problem #2 ‘Manning the Stand for Hours’.

Let’s face it, standing there looking after your goods for hours on end sure ain’t glamorous. I worked in retail when I was in university for all of 6 hours then quit; I was so bored!

That’s 6-8 hours I’d be stuck there; hoping my mum turned up on time so I could grab a quick pee break… and that’s all without the security of knowing you’ll get a small paycheck at the end. Nope; all that work for maybe lots… and maybe nothing.

Don’t get me wrong; I love markets… I love OTHER PEOPLE who do markets. I’ve just decided that at this point in time for me, having very little product printed and other things I want to invest in… markets are not the best choice. So I changed my mind and cancelled my stall.

I FEEL SO MUCH BETTER!

Maybe markets will be a better decision for me when I’m more established. Who knows, but this is a perfect example of why its ok to change your mind.

‘Oh I’m soooo glamorous and only belong in sparkly dresses’.

You’ve Grown and it No Longer Fits

 

I remember wanting to busk. My friend had done brilliantly busking and was earning up to $900 a day selling CDs and getting coins thrown into his guitar case as he sung on the street.

Looking at his success I was inspired! I thought, well if he can do it, I sure can! So I invested in a battery that would power my amp and keyboard, got myself a heavy duty wheely trolley and gave the Government their $75 for a one month license to busk (tight-arses!) and off I went into the city.

I HATED IT.

It wasn’t that I didn’t like meeting people; that part of it was cool. It was the standing on the sidewalk in the heat, feeling grotty swatting flies away, having to wait around for another busker to finish so I could have their spot next etc… it was a very different world to the clean, dark jazz clubs I was used to.

So despite having spent a bit of cash getting the battery etc.. I changed my mind. My heart knew that I belonged in a glamorous jazz club in a sparkly dress with heels on, sipping champagne before the gig and mingling with my guests during half time.

That was my gigging life; not busking on the streets in jeans. So it was more than ok for me to change my mind.. and it wasn’t a waste either; it helped me realise who I was as a musician, what I really loved doing and where I needed to focus my attention. 

So whatever creative project you’re ditching; its ok. Just take what you can from it and use it as experience and a lesson learned. Focus on the things that bring you joy and fuel the direction you REALLY want to be going it.

I hope you found this blog post helpful. If you have had any similar experiences, please let me know about them in the comments below.

Nicola xx

 

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