Today we are introducing you to Samantha who started a small business, Art by Samantha so that she can spend more time with her daughter and have a job that she loves.
Samantha started to paint as a hobby when she was pregnant and began to receive requests for commission pieces. When she went back to work as a nurse, her workplace wasn’t very flexible for her to balance working with being a mum, and she found it hard to spend time with her young daughter. Eventually, Samantha made the decision to leave her job and pursue an art business full time. Now she rarely completes commission pieces and focuses on the NDIS funded art classes and kids party art classes. She is able to prioritise being a mother first in her own business and is enjoying a better work-life balance.
“Gina has changed my concept of money. I felt like I was always chasing money, but I get it now. I am allowed to charge what I want to charge, and I am worth that. People are willing to pay good money for a good service.”
Read more about Samatha’s business journey to date.
My business is Art by Samantha, and I have been operating for about two and a half years. My business was coincidental when it started. I had some family challenges while I was pregnant, and I started drawing as a hobby. People started asking if I did commissions, and I thought I better get an ABN. They were very adhoc. Some people asked me to run some kids holiday programs, and it wasn’t anything big, but I was getting around by word of mouth. I came across Many Rivers on Facebook, and I was looking for a business mentor. I knew that my business had potential, but I didn’t know how to run a business. I had a chat with Gina, and she is really great and keeps me grounded. She shows me my potential but keeps me grounded at the same time. I started to do NDIS funded art classes and kid birthday art parties. We have a good mix of services. I have gone from maybe getting a commission once a month to getting regular income.
I used to work as a nurse but found this hard after I had a baby.
Starting Art By Samantha
When I was a nurse, I’d have to pay for a babysitter so that I could go to work, and my dad would drop my daughter off. I could only work a few days a week, and with childcare costs I wondered whether it was worth it sometimes.
I couldn’t go to my daughter’s first birthday because I was told that I had to work, and I had to negotiate spending time with her on Christmas and Easter. I didn’t want to do this anymore. I realised that I didn’t want to miss out on these things anymore. That is when I left nursing, and I decided to turn the odd commissions and classes I did while pregnant into a business. I wanted to design my own lifestyle. I had a lot of PTSD from a previous relationship, and it took me a while for me to realise that I could choose how I live my life. One day I made a choice to live my life on my own terms, and I decided I wanted to work for myself.
I have designed the business around how I want our life to look. For example, every Thursday is written off because that is mum-daughter time. I only work when I am available. If I must cancel classes because my daughter is sick, I don’t feel bad about cancelling. I always tell my clients that I am a mum first. I realised that everyone is totally okay with this. When I was finally okay with identifying with being a mum, I was suddenly attracting a lot of mums. A lot of my clients have kids, and they just get it. There is a mutual understanding that we are all parents and that kids get sick. That is the target market that I focus on now.
Working with Many Rivers
Gina would tell me that I was worth more than the prices I was charging. I didn’t think I had a lot of self-worth, and I didn’t see my own value. As we started increasing the price, I didn’t think I would get any bookings, but people kept booking. Gina has changed my concept of money. I felt like I was always chasing money, but I get it now. I am allowed to charge what I want to charge, and I am worth that. People are willing to pay good money for a good service.
Maths! I love a good spreadsheet, and we did a lot of business planning and looking at how much it costs to run your business every month. I’ve always tried to do this but wasn’t very good at it. She reminds me to plan things before I do them. She has given me the tools so that I can now do it on my own. It is a transition going from her showing me how to do it, giving me the tool so that I can just tell her this is what I’m planning and show her what I’ve already done. The Many Rivers business coaches really give you the tools to be able to run your business on your own. My long-term goal is to have my own art school and art brand. She makes me feel like that is possible. She is like my personal cheerleader; you can celebrate with her. Gina is really invested in my outcomes.
Gina and I have been talking about looking at employing someone soon.
Understanding your value and that you and your work are valuable. It is a big intrinsic barrier to overcome. Also learning that marketing takes time was a big learning for me. You can’t just put one post on Facebook and expect that customers will come flooding in. Marketing is consistent, and you must build up branding and trust, and relationships. There is this whole other side of marketing that isn’t just social media and print ads. You need to have a human factor about your business. Now that I know this, I have relationships with all sorts of different people. Again, this doesn’t work without being supported by ads. It all works together. There needs to be a holistic approach.
The NDIS clients for kids with disabilities. I think it is because I have a nursing background, and I get what people need. I think it is a unique combination of skills, and people get really excited by that. That side of my business has grown nearly overnight. There has been no payment of marketing.
Biggest Change since becoming a Small Business Owner
The biggest change is having freedom of choice. If I want to go on a holiday, I can do it. I have decided to not open my business on public holidays. It might be a good business decision, but I don’t want to do it.
Also, I think that it has really taken me a while to get my head around it, but in the last few months I have been able to set up a bit of routine. Once you know your value, there is work-life balance. I don’t think I could ever go back to being an employee again.
Short term, I am aiming to have two staff on and extend my services to Wagga Wagga and Wodonga. Having a physical space to operate my business from would also be nice. Gina and I think it would make more financial sense to purchase a commercial space, and it would be a bit more stable.
Thank you Samantha for sharing your Art by Samantha business journey. We look forward to working with you as your business journey continues.
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