Call on the Copilots: Skilled Spouse

Dear Co-pilots,
My husband is currently going through training. He is supporting me financially as I struggle to set up my art business online. I feel so guilty with how much the supplies cost. I haven’t sold a single piece yet and I haven’t been accepted into any juried shows either. (As a fine artist they are required for expose) I’m very discouraged. I was hoping somebody here would understand.
A Skilled Spouse


Dear Skilled Spouse,

I think of all people, Natalee and I understand what you’re going through! In the last couple of months we’ve been talking so much about the importance of doing what we love. We’re both in the process of building our businesses (Natalligraphy for her and Donut Ever Stop for me) while running Kiss the Co-Pilot so we definitely understand your concerns.

It takes A LOT of work to run a business. I’m not saying that to be discouraging at all because I believe you have all of the passion in the world to pursue art. I say that in the most gentle and truthful way possible. I watched my parents work day in and day out for 25 years to make their business successful. Heck, they still have some difficult times to this day. There were multiple times when my dad wasn’t even able to pay himself from the business and my mom had to pay for materials, pay the employees, etc. from her hard earned flight attendant money. Looking back on all of it though, those times were SO miniscule in the grand scheme of things. All of that struggle made my parents smarter business owners with much tougher skin.

I think it’s really rare to come across a successful business that didn’t start out with tough times. This is just one of those points for you. Don’t be discouraged. Like I said, pretty much every business owner has to start from the “bottom” and build their way up from there. I’m sure as heck doing that with my blogging business and it isn’t easy by any means.

Some things that I think might help –

Create a budget for your business. Every month say x number of dollars will go towards materials, x number of dollars will go towards advertising, etc. That way, your husband will know what to expect and since you have your set amount to spend every month, I think it might ease some of your financial stress.
I don’t know much about running an art business specifically but have you thought about selling it online on a shop like Etsy? Maybe that is a dumb question but it might help to bring in a little bit of income while you’re working to get accepted into juried shows. Have you thought of sharing your art on Instagram? Again, might be another dumb question…

Another thing that Natalee and I have done is seeking the support of family and friends. They can offer plenty of resources and connections that can help get your business going and your name to the right people. For example, Natalee has gotten a lot of her calligraphy business from friends’ weddings and non-profit organizations. When people like her work at those events, the word about her business spreads that much further. Another example is that my blog, Donut Ever Stop, has taken off with the help of social media and in huge part to family and friends sharing my blog posts on those outlets. I wouldn’t have half the readers on my blog without them sharing my blog both on their social media sites and by word of mouth.

Lastly, I think it might help to set small goals that lead up to your big goal. I don’t know what those would be in the art world but let’s say for example that selling your art on Etsy is one of them. It might not be your ultimate goal but it is a small stepping stone that can help you get there.

Be persistent and be consistent. Those are the two biggest things I’ve learned while starting up Donut Ever Stop. I work most hours of the day but I have faith that in ten years down the road this time will be just a small blip in my past. Better yet, I’ll be a better person and business owner because of it.

I really hope this helps! Please remember that you are not alone in this. You WILL reach your goals! Keep pushing forward.

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