things i wish i had known…

As promised, I have spent some time answering the most common questions I hear about working a creative job full time. I asked three of my close friends (also some of the most talented people I know!) to help me answer some of the questions so that you could read several perspectives & opinions. We all have different jobs, but we share a lot of similarities in terms of lifestyle and the "joys and pains" of working as an independent artist. We have been very intentional about keeping our answers completely honest. These are some of the things that I wish I would have known when I started out on this path. I would never want to discourage anyone from pursuing a creative job, but I remember how I used to envision a career in art and it's not quite the same as actually living it every day. I hope you enjoy our perspectives and a small peek into our daily lives as artists.

First, let us introduce ourselves….

Elsie Flannigan

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My name is Elsie Flannigan and I am 25 years old. I haven't had a normal job in about 5 years. I started out with a local photography business when I was 19 that I owned for three years. I started writing my first book about scrapbooking when I was 22. At that time I focused on writing for a magazine, designing fonts and teaching. I spent about a year and a half traveling and teaching workshops full time. Next, I signed an exclusive contract with my favorite scrapbooking company. I spent two years with them designing a product line called Love, Elsie. I also authored my second book with them. Currently I am focusing on several projects including my personal paintings, a couple new books and a project I have not announced yet. I am happiest when I am working long hours on things that make me feel alive inside. I connect most easily with other people who share a similar penchant for obsessive art making and late nights.

Jeremy Larson

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My name is Jeremy Larson and I am 26 years old. I am a songwriter from Springfield, Missouri.  I'm in the process of releasing my second album, which will come out at the end of the month.  I grew up playing the piano and majored in piano performance in college.  This is reflected in most of the songs that I write.  I've been writing, recording, and touring full time for the last seven years.  I have a recording studio below Elsie's loft; and this has been the most inspired year of my career so far. 

Rachel Denbow

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I'm Rachel Denbow and I'm 27 years old.  I work at home and operate two online businesses while I take care of my son, Sebastian. I own Red Velvet Kit Club, an online scrapbook kit club, as well as PonyParty, which is a vintage goods store.  I've been sewing, journaling, and repurposing since I was young and know it will always be a part of my life.  I'm currently obsessed with interior design and to-do lists.  My home has recently been featured on,, DesignSponge, and  My husband thinks I'm rad and that's all I need.

Brandon Goodwin

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Hi, I'm Brandon Goodwin.  I'm 23 years old.  I've lived in Springfield, MO my entire life.  I'm an independent film maker and freelance videographer.  I run a production company called Goodwin Films.  Over the years I have developed a love for storytelling.  Whether it's crafting stories for short films or documentary work, I love telling a story and getting a reaction.

1. When did you first know that this was the career you wanted to pursue and how did you get started?

Elsie: Well, as many children do, I dreamed of being an artist when I grew up. I don't think I really knew what that meant, I just imagined having a big studio and lots of paint everywhere. It seemed very glamorous in my mind, of course!  Although it's not an entirely accurate description of my current life, I admit that I feel very thankful to be living such a dream.
I started a photography business after I quit college and over the years one artistic job has bled into the next. It's impossible to really separate them in my mind. I allow my obsessions to lead me in terms of what big project I will pursue next.

Jeremy: I guess I didn't decide until my second year of college.  I started writing and recording some songs, mainly because I wanted to learn how to be a producer.  I needed more material to record, so I just kept writing.  I was working at a church and just started recording directly from the sound system into a borrowed computer.

Brandon: My high school had this great media program  (HTV Magazine).  I always looked up to the older kids in my high school who made these awesome media projects.  So when I got in the media class, it turned into the only thing I did.  I would literally stay at school until 9pm most nights, working of video stuff.  That's how I got started.. but I can't say that there was a single moment where I knew this is what I wanted to do… people just kept offering me freelance jobs until I was able to do it full time.

2. Tell us about some of the most exciting moments in your career, so far.

Elsie: When I was asked to write my first book I felt like I was walking on clouds for months. It was a very magical season and a memory that I keep safe. Starting work on my scrapbook product line was a similar experience. It was a great experience to see ideas become actual products in stores.
Jeremy played a concert a few April's ago, it was the first time i had been to one of his shows and it was a very beautiful collaborative project with a lot of different artists involved. It was the most inspiring moment of my life because I remember feeling so small and like I had so much work to do. The next day I started my first painting and it felt like a new part of my creative self had somehow come to life. I told my sister I wanted to become a painter someday. I look back at that experience as a turning point in my life. Everything changed.
Earlier this spring Jeremy and I spent some time in Nashville while he was recording his new album and I consider that very important experience as well because it was the first time I had shared the creative process with another person and it was during those few months that a lot of new dreams were born. 

Jeremy:  My first show was one of the best so far.  I had stayed up all night cutting out CD jackets and glueing them together so I could sell my demos at the show.  I remember thinking that I would always look back on that as one of the most rewarding things that I did musically. Another wonderful memory was when I was living in Nashville for a few months.  I was working on the new album, and Elsie was there visiting for a few weeks.  While I was writing music in the living room, she was working on a series of paintings.  I couldn't imagine a better working relationship.  We were constantly feeding off of each other's ideas; it was perfect.


Brandon: This past September I went to Vietnam with a group of artists.  We were working in orphanages, teaching art workshops.  I got to teach film making.  So, I went over all the basics with them and then told them they were going to make a movie.  They came up with the idea, the plot and the sequences.  I just ran the camera.  We then played the movie back for them in front of the whole orphanage.  The kids were laughing and cheering.  They had probably never seen themselves on a television before.  I know it sounds funny but I started crying half way through it and said to myself, "yeah, this is what I want to do with my life." You can watch the video here.

3. What do you love most about what you do?

Elsie: I love making new projects. I love that ideas and inspiration and love for the work to seem to grow and never end. I love that there isn't a goal that can be reached on a personal level because it's always evolving. It's something that I can keep reaching for and never fully have. I feel like every day of my life is full of beautiful and inspiring things. It's a wonderful way to live.


Rachel:  I love spending my days at home where I can create my own schedule and enjoy both the early years of my son's development and be a part of the artistic/creative world online.  I love being able to contribute to my family's income doing what I love.  It makes me happy to know that my jobs are bringing beauty into the lives of others as well.


Brandon: Traveling… and sleeping in on days I don't want to work.


4. What are the most challenging or difficult things about your job?

Elsie: I never get to "leave" my work. It's always with me, even in my mind while I am falling asleep. I don't mind this most of the time, but it can be very difficult when trying to make time for other important things in life.

Jeremy: Most jobs are not dependent on inspiration.  You are able to clock in and clock out without any serious consequence if you don't feel like working.  Being a songwriter requires you to force inspiration into your life on a daily basis. 

Rachel:  As others have stated, its hard to keep a balance between work time and family time.  So many days the two are carefully juggled to fit the schedule of a toddler.  Often I have to schedule in some down time to avoid burn out.  It is always a challenge to turn off the work brain when my focus needs to be elsewhere.  Prioritizing and making to-do lists has helped keep things under control.  At least for now!

Brandon: Making myself work.

5. What are some common misconceptions about your career?

Elsie: Oh man, there are so many!  People say to me all the time, "must be nice to just stay home and paint all day" or "I wish I didn't have to go to work and I could just make crafts all of the time". Those kind of statements are funny to me because they are super untrue. I have lots of friends who have normal jobs and can spend part of their working day playing on the internet and still get paid for it. Working as an artist isn't like that. Yes, you can leave and get coffee anytime you want, but you don't get paid for hanging out. I love it because I survive on deadlines and late nights, but it is a lot of work.  Working as an artist & designer is the job I have chosen and I wouldn't trade it for literally any job the world. I don't think very many people can say that, but it is also a career that is full of personal sacrifice and hard work. It's a very fulfilling job for me and I love it, but it makes me sad when people think that it must be really easy.

Jeremy:  A lot of people think that the goal is to get signed to a label.  I've gone that route before; though it has it benefits, in the end it means nothing.  It always comes back to you having to work daily to promote yourself and try to move people's emotions with your music.

Rachel:  There is a lot of research time involved in having a scrapbook kit club as well as a vintage goods store.  I have to stay on top of the latest trends in both markets and search out the unique pieces that will appeal to customers that are familiar with normal products.  I have to spend a lot of time online for both.  It may seem like starting either business takes little time but there are so many elements that are time sensitive, involve large amounts of work all at once, take up a lot of space at home, and include tedious, uncreative tasks.  Its a fabulous way for me to live right now but I agree that there are personal sacrifices that are made.  Free time and plenty of sleep to name a few…


Brandon: I shoot about 10 to 12 weddings a year.  So, there are some people who assume that all I do is weddings… there's nothing wrong with being a wedding videographer… I just
hate it when people introduce me as one… I always end up explaining… "well, I do other stuff too."

6. What is an average day like in your life? How many days per week do you work? (tell us about your schedule and what (if anything) that you do to keep in organized ect…) Do you have a set schedule?

-I wake up each morning between 8 and 10 (I usually don't set my alarm)
-I check my personal e-mail from my phone while I am still in bed (there is usually one or two from Rachel :D).
-I say hi to Brittany, who is usually already packing etsy orders by this time.
-Coffee or tea…
-Spend about an hour online answering messages, reading blog comments, etsy stuff ect…
-I work on things that are time sensitive, my deadlines. Sometimes write a blog entry during this time…
-At about 3 or 4 I get coffee and eat a meal with Jeremy. It's probably my favorite part of the day. He is very encouraging and we share our goals for the evening each day. It's a habit that really keeps me on track and makes me excited to work a little bit harder each evening.
-Next I work for 5 or 6 hours. I work on different projects each day, but this is the time of day that I do the "messy" projects.
-Around 10 or 11 I make some food & chai for Mr. Larson and I.
-Then I keep working until I get super tired. Lately I've been working until 4 or 5 am. The good news is I can fall asleep pretty much instantly after days like these and sleep feels more like a luxury and less like a habit. I like that.
I, personally, do not have any type of "set" schedule. I have lists, of course. But I don't ever really have to be intentional about making the work day begin. It's actually more work, sometimes, to make it end!
So, yes, my life is extremely unbalanced on purpose. I don't watch any T.V. shows and I only go out in the evenings about once a week. These are just little sacrifices that I am completely adjusted to. Jeremy and I have an almost identical schedule, which makes it work for us. Dating someone who works the same hours as I do has been a huge encouragement to me. 

Rachel:  My days fluctuate depending on deadlines but the general flow looks the same.  Mornings start around 7:30 with coffee/tea, checking e-mail and blogs while Sebastian watches an Elmo DVD next to me on the computer.  Split screens are great!   We walk 2 miles most mornings with him in the jogger and spend some time at the park before lunch and nap time.  I spend his nap time finishing projects I can't get done when he's awake.  This includes packing, sewing, photographing new PonyParty items, posting blogs, making projects for tutorials, etc.  Its a sweet time to spend by myself even when it feels more like work than fun.  Once he's up we have a snack and play until Brett gets home.  I spend time off and on throughout the evening answering e-mails and finishing tasks while Brett cooks and entertains Sebastian.  We get S to bed around 9pm and spend some time together before I pick up where I left off and head to bed around 12am.  I don't ever stay up later than midnight unless I have to.  I can't function the next day if I don't get at least 7 hours. 
Some days are specifically designated for packing and shipping and other days for ordering or making. Brett is a fabulous husband and father and appreciates helping with domestic chores for all of this to work.  Things that often get neglected are laundry and a clean bathtub.  I can live with that.  I've mounted a dry erase board in my studio space to keep a weekly to do list so I stay on track when I want to just veg.  It has helped my forgetfulness and keeps me motivated.  Erasing something is a little reward in itself.

10:00 am – Wake up, eat off brand frosted flakes, read whatever book it is that I'm reading.
10:30 am – Work out at the YMCA, 20 min cardio, 20 min weights
11:30 am – Shower, get dressed.
12:00 am – Go into the studio
1:00 pm   - Eat lunch at Planet Sub
1:30 pm   - Work Work Work Work
7:00 pm  -  Go home, make dinner, watch Arrested Development
12:00am -  Sleep

7. How to you keep your work vs. personal life balanced?

Elsie: I don't really skip family stuff. Even if I am in the middle of a big update or deadline I still go to my parent's for pancakes or whatever. Jeremy and I both like to work a lot, so that helps a *lot* because we are both really content with this lifestyle. I have learned (and am learning….) to say no to less important obligations in order to leave some space in my schedule for close friends and family. As long as I always find time for the people I love, I don't mind sacrificing most of my "me time" to work. 

Jeremy: I am very lucky to have friends that understand me.  They know that I work non-stop for a few months at a time without ever going out.  Then I become extremely social for an entire month;  catching up with everyone and going out every night.  A lot of people wouldn't have the patience to keep me in their "circle" with such inconsistencies.  As far as my relationship with Elsie goes, the work/personal balance is always easy to keep.  I am in love with what she does, and she is constantly encouraging me in what I do.  There is never a fight over whether either of us is working too much.  If I'm working on recording some piano tracks, a lot of times she'll come down and write in her journal on the floor beside me.  This to me, is the perfection of the balance. 

Brandon: I used to work out of my home.  I got so stir crazy and couldn't do it anymore.  So I started renting space from my good friend Sesha at her photography studio.  Frank, a graphic designer works here in the building too.  There's a really great creative energy that flows through this space… it really helps to inspire us… and distracts us.  Having an office helps me keep it separate.

8. Describe your working atmosphere & show photos if possible.

Elsie: I work from home and my loft is sort of centered around my work space. There are papers, paints and supplies everywhere! I usually have 3 or 4 unfinished projects laying around. I love it because I feel like I have everything I need to create art all day and all night.   
I have a separate room for shipping now, so that helps me to keep my creative space inspired (and sometimes very messy) and my administrative space organized.
Here are a few photos of my home studio…. 


Jeremy: There is a large room with a Steinway grand piano in the middle of it.  The walls are lined with stacks of vintage guitar amps and keyboards.  I'm kind of a vintage gear nerd.


Rachel: My dining room and studio are in the same space.   The studio space takes up about 1/4 of our house but making it pretty as well as organized has helped keep the space livable.  I love that its a major part of our house because it is a major part of our lives.  Here are a few pics.


9. Is it difficult to make a full time income as an artist? What kind of work and planning goes into that?

Elsie: The simple answer is yes, it is very difficult. I've been through both extremes over the years, being literally broke and then having much more than I needed. I think that it's extremely important for anyone interested in a career in art to be comfortable with being very poor. If you can't deal with that, at least at times, then it is probably not a good path for you. I have a lot of friends who have been very successful with their work, but I've never met anyone who was able to accomplish these things without a great deal of personal sacrifice.
That said, it's certainly not impossible to make a full time income in a creative field. Here are some specific things that have helped me along the way…. 
-I am a self starter (which, to me, means that even if I have a "day off" I work on projects for fun, because I want to).
-I enjoy moving from project to project very quickly and having a lot of different projects going on at once.
-I don't mind making sacrifices with my personal time and money for my art. There are some things about an average life that I miss out on, but it's worth it to me because I really believe in this and can't imagine doing anything else.
-I am not afraid of failure. In my opinion, you can't be. I try new things constantly and work very hard at refining the projects I am working on.
-I am not easily discouraged. 
As far as planning and stuff… I live a pretty modest lifestyle. I don't have any plans or goals in my life to own expensive cars or houses. I am very content with the lifestyle that I have and anytime I have extra money, I almost always spend it on something business related for myself or for other artists who I support. 

Brandon: It's impossible for me to make a living as an artist…. at least right now it is.  I rely on freelance projects to fund the "'passion" projects.

10. How do you compensate for the perks of traditional jobs (ie. health insurance, paid vacation ect…)?

Elsie: I pay for my own health insurance (it is about $70 each month), I also have to pay all of my own taxes which are *very* expensive each quarter. These things aren't so bad as long as they are planned for in advance. I also have do my own retirement investments. Basically, there is a lot more planning involved.

Rachel:  My husband and I pay for our own health insurance and have a few small investments.  We're not exactly able to take paid vacations but we don't mind.  We have to set aside taxes on our own and try to keep things going between the two of us when someone is sick.  Its all we've ever known so it doesn't feel unusual to us.

Brandon: Paid vacation is out the window…  but I do get to do a lot of traveling.  I would much rather be working on something when I travel anyway, so that works out great.  I pay for my own health ins. and have a Roth IRA through fidelity… so yeah, I'm a grown up.

11. What do you consider the "perks" of your job?

Elsie: The greatest perk of my job is that I am living my own dream and I can honestly say that I wouldn't trade my job for any other job in the world. I also enjoy making my own schedule. I probably work a lot more hours than someone who works a normal full time job but I never notice.

Jeremy: My job lends itself to a lot of networking with other musicians.  Whether it be seeing a lot of concerts or working in the studio with other bands and producers, I'm always surrounded by people that are into a lot of the same things as I am.

Rachel:   I can skip a shower and no one complains!  I love being my own boss and not being on a rigid schedule.  I love working in an environment that I created with company that I choose.  I love including my son in the work process.  He helps me stamp boxes and load them into the car.  It is tough sometimes to not have co-workers to have adult conversations with but I wouldn't trade this for an office job at this point in life. I love it.

Brandon: Not selling out to "the man"… except when I have to for money.

12. Has working in your creative field changed the way that you feel about your job as a "hobby"?

Elsie: This is a very important question. I think that before jumping into anything you love as a career it is important to try it out first. Photography is one of my favorite hobbies, but I do not enjoy working as a photographer *at all*. I learned that lesson early and have worked very hard ever since to keep photography strictly a hobby. I still get lots of offers to shoot weddings and other things, but I only do photos of my friends and I only do it for free because I've learned that that is the only way that I can really enjoy it. There is nothing wrong with enjoying something more as a hobby than as a job. I think it's really healthy and some of the most talented people I know have chosen to create their art as a side project rather than as a career. Those people can work on their own time line without as much pressure to produce income, which for some people is an important part of the creative process.

Jeremy:  Yes.  I realize immediately after I finished my first album that things were changing.  The first album was very much a personal musical "meditation" on my thoughts and feeling.  It was very personal, and I had the attitude of "this is just for me to enjoy, and if other people don't enjoy it, that's fine".  But then the insecurities start to set in, and you start considering, "what's going to work in a live setting, what would work for movie or TV placements" etc.

Rachel:  I've noticed that I don't scrapbook any more.  I have less time for personal projects than I did before I started PonyParty this year and I've become satisfied with recording our memories through photos.  I always enjoy flea market shopping for PonyParty.  I don't think that will ever get old.  My hobbies have shifted from season to season.  Its been a great way to learn something new and keep things fresh.

Brandon: Yes.  Work is work.  Anytime I get paid to do something it's not as fun, but it's better than getting paid to do something you hate.

13. Are you able to make whatever art you want to or do you sometimes have to make things that you aren't proud of just to make income?

Elsie: I usually make things that I want to make, especially now that I am working independently. I've definitely done things in the past because it was part of an assignment or project that I was asked to do (maybe something that I wouldn't have chosen to do on my own). Every once in a while that can be a good challenge as well, to make something my own that I wouldn't have tried otherwise. I think that's a part of it.   

Rachel: I never ever make something I'm not proud of to sell.  There are times when I have to tweak an old idea to make it new again and times when I just make something because I need to.  Thankfully, my income is not directly dependent on my creativity but the creativity of others. 

14. Are there things that are off limits to you? Anything you would not be willing to do for any price?

Elsie: Yes, lots of them. I feel like I have really learned what things I can and can't be happy doing and I try to stick to that. It's definitely a learning process though, so I'll try anything once if it sounds interesting.

Jeremy:  I won't change my physical appearance to make myself more marketable.  I gave into that once, and ended up with highlights in my hair.  You will be happy to know, that I said no to the "soul patch" they were trying to give me.

Rachel:  I've learned to set limits when I know the work won't be fulfilling to me or something I'd be proud of.  I once made a quilt for a young girl in a style I detested.  I didn't enjoy the project but I knew it was important to her so I did my best.  I've learned to set boundaries when I know my schedule will be too busy to take on something new.  However, I've taken on commissioned projects that I never would've thought I'd enjoy and later did. 

Brandon: porn and infomercials.

15. How do you handle the administrative side of things (taxes ect….)?

Elsie: I have an accountant for all of my tax stuff. I don't enjoy that part of my work so I keep it as simple as possible. Basically, I save the documents that she asks me to save. 🙂 Easy.

Brandon: I do it myself with the help of Tax Act Pro.

16. How do you market your work? Do you do this by yourself or do you have people helping you? What have you found to be the most effective ways to market yourself?

Elsie: I post on my blog and flickr regularly. I also do interviews with blogs & magazines. I've found that promoting my art in a personal way works well for me. I like to share my art and a little bit of my life as well (i always love watching the "behind the scenes" features on films and enjoy seeing artist's work spaces). I work pretty hard to maintain a balance of personal vs. professional content online by sharing peeks of my daily life along with my current projects.   

Jeremy: I have the greatest manager/friend that anyone could ever ask for.  He handles a lot of this.

Brandon: With a few exceptions all of my marketing is word of mouth.

17. Describe your creative process, workflow….

Elsie: I like to start and finish most projects in the same day, especially a new project! I like to work in large blocks of time rather than small ones. I am very unorganized and messy with my personal projects, but with my work that is mass produced (in my own little home "factory") like kits and etsy products, I like to keep them extremely organized.

Brandon: It's different every time.  I do like to stay organized, even though I'm awful at it.

18. Did you go to school? What type of schooling would you recommend for someone interested in a similar career?

Elsie: I have no training in art at all. It's not a regret of mine or something that I really think about. I sometimes wonder if art school would have been fun but it hasn't held me back in any way to not have that sort of background. If I could choose a college major based on what I know now about my career I think I would definitely have gone with a degree in business. It's practical and for anyone working independently it could really help with daily tasks.

Jeremy: I studied at SMSU for a few years as a piano performance major.  I know that my theory classes did amazing things for my understanding of music.  Plus, I was exposed to an extremely diverse library of music that I hadn't known about before.

Rachel:  I went to school but not for anything related to art.  I wish that I'd been able to get into a few photography or painting classes when I was in college but I don't think everyone benefits in the same way from art school.  I know some very talented self-taught artists that have a very strong style and some schooled artists that are still working on that.  I agree with Elsie that some business classes would have been helpful.

Brandon: Never went to film school.  I got my start at Hillcrest High School.  I would recommend practicing and practicing and practicing.  I've never met anyone who was
good a film making at first.  Also, video production has become extremely affordable.  Don't get caught up with having "the best equipment".  Get caught up in
how to tell a good story.  I'll take a good story and a crappy camera over a bad story and the best camera ever made.

19. How do you manage your time?

Elsie: Like most people, I struggle with time management. I am so busy that I literally never ever get bored. I keep things pretty simple. I try not to be online all day and I make sure to reserve lots of large blocks of time to work on creative projects. I also give myself rewards for finishing projects in certain amounts of time (elementary, yes… but it helps!)


Brandon: Bento and iCal

20. Do you prefer to work independently or for a company? Can you tell us about your experiences with both?

Elsie: I've enjoyed both. Right now I am preferring to work independently. I just have so many ideas and projects that I am pursuing that the limitations that come with working for a large company don't really work for me. The thing that is cool about working for a company is that it's more like a normal job and you may not have to do as many of the administrative tasks yourself (such as marketing, accounting ect…). The thing that's awesome about working independently is that there is so much freedom. I can dream up a new idea in my sleep and two days later it could be a real product. I can try crazy ideas that don't necessarily have "mass appeal", which is fun. To me that kind of freedom is irreplaceable.

Jeremy: Independently.  This is much more suited for my personality.

Brandon: I would rather work independently, but in my line of work you can't avoid working with companies…. which can also be fun.

21. Do you think that anyone can be successful & happy with a career in art?

Elsie: Nope. It's not an easy life. I know lots of people who love it, but I also have tons of friends who end up going back to a "regular" job for comfort reasons and continuing their art as a side project.
It's the sort of job that you really have to be "made for" and if you are you probably know it. 

Rachel:  I think anyone that imagines they can jump into it and be successful right away might be in for a surprise.  I suggest keeping your day job and expecting to work hard and long and fail a few times before you can see the fruits of your labor.  I don't think every hobby can be turned into a successful, money making job but I do encourage anyone who wants to make a little money with their hobby to try an Etsy store and set some goals.  Learn from other artists through their blogs and pay attention to trends.  Develop your own style without outright copying someone else.  Make it your own and try to make it better.   

Jeremy: It depends on how you define success.  I feel successful in a different way that most people would think of it.  I get to do what I love everyday.  That's always been my dream.  But the girls say no, so I'll go with that.

Brandon: I don't know.

22. Are you happy with your present life ?

Elsie: Honestly, I've never been happier. This has been the best year of my life, so far. It's a wonderful way to live.

Jeremy:  It's really strange how things have worked out.  I'm a full time songwriter with a studio below my girlfriend's loft right across the street from my favorite coffee shop.  Seven years ago I really wouldn't have ever believed things would be this wonderful.

Rachel:  Absolutely.

Brandon: Yes.  But not only because of my job.  I love being able to do what I love, but I really love having awesome people in my life.  They make it happy.

Thank you so much Jeremy, Rachel & Brandon. You're wonderful.
Good luck to everyone interested in a career in art!  

  • Thanks for this. I took the leap a few months ago into full-time art, and am in an extreamly dry period…it’s hard, and I’ve begun questioning what I’m doing. Not the making, but the choice to leave a conventional job to do this. Your post here has given me hope and convinced me to stick it out. It really is what I want to do, and I just need to manage my time better. Thanks for the schedules and such…that really gave me a good idea of how I can order my time in order to be more productive. I could never give up TV, though — I even majored in it in college. But tonight I managed to beat a deadline while watching tv.

    Your products are so imaginative and inspiring, as are your friends’. And your honesty when asked if anyone can do it is refreshing. All these books and sites say it can be done, but your answer’s the first that sounds realistic.

    I’m going to keep trying and failing and succeeding here and there, trying new things and generally having fun. My nieces came over to paint the other day and said, “So this is what you do when you’re not at school or work?” And I beamed when I said, “I’m done with school, and this is work!”

    I’ll try to comment more often — that’s a new goal of mine.

  • that was an excellent read for me. Thanks for putting that post together. It’s so real, and also encouraging at the same time. I super duper appreciate it. I have a TON of respect for you girl.


  • Thank you so much for this post. Looks like it took a lot of time and energy to put it together. It’s very inspiring and I love all the practical info.


  • thank u sooooo much for sharing your perspectives. Thank u for the inspiration, I was deeply enlightened.

  • I really enjoyed reading this! Thanks everyone for the input! It’s so nice to see several different yet similar perspectives! :]

  • Good questions and great answers!

    I like that you all answered honestly and weren’t just telling people to throw in their day jobs because ‘everyone can make it with their independant creative career’, which unfortunately isn’t as true as we’d like it to be.

    So many interviews on this topic just have people saying “well if you love it, you’ll make it” as if it’s just that simple – almost implying that if you’re not currently successful, then you mustn’t love your artwork as much as you think you do.

    I appreciate that you were just plain REALISTIC.

    You haven’t put me off at all, though! (And I know that’s not the aim) I’m still just as confident as ever that I’m going to make it happen 🙂 I do at least work from home – even though it’s for someone else, and I’m SO frustrated that I’m not getting the time in on my personal artwork that I need – I am at least (sort of) half way there!

    Best of luck for your future independent careers 🙂

  • Thanks Girl!

    I am a high school ARt and photography teacher and it seams my own creative projects just never get finished. I am tired at the end of each day however I am able to be around soooo much creativity throughout the day that I am contiually inspired. I am thinking about doing some photography on the side however I always feel like I am trying to please someone when I take pics……not really a fan of approval seeking!!!!

    I have introduced some of my students to your work and they LOVE you!!!!!

  • This whole interview made me smile! Thanks so much to all of you for sharing your experiences with us….your advice is so very appreciated! Giving yourself a small reward for meeting a goal? Brilliant! 🙂

  • I love, love, love this post. It’s chock full of wiggly information and I think it was a great idea to have different folks from various artsy fields along with fun pictures.

    Your work is so beautiful, Elsie. I could eat it. 😛

  • mmm…I have a few minutes to spare, I might check up on Elsie…AARRRHHHH!!!! an hour and a half later!!!

    Thanks everyone for giving us a piece of your mind…

  • Amazing! Thanks to each of you so much for sharing the intimate details of how your work! Such inspiration to me!

  • Thank you so much for this post!! It’s very informative and I love reading other people’s opinions and thoughts on this. I went to art school and thats whay my degree is in, but honestly took a break after college and worked a normal job – for almost 6 years now – I needed this time to do things just for me and to enjoy what I do. It is def a slow but steady process to have a career in Art, but I do love it!!

    Thanks for being so inspiring!! :]

  • this was everything i wanted to get out of this post. I know you said it might not be what we want to hear, but it did nothing but SPARK my want to follow my dream! Thank you for this post and your friends are fabulous as well!

  • wow. those are stellar answers to some hard questions I have been having. Thank you all so much for putting this post together!

  • Thanks for taking the time to do this fabulous post Elsie. I’m not interested in pursuing a career in art, i’m one of those people who know it’s better for me as a hobby, but it was so interesting to read. I’m sure people interested in the field would find it super informative 🙂

  • This is a terrific post. I loved learning more about all of you. It gives such insight to how you do it and I for one respect you and anyone for going out on their on and starting their own business. It takes a lot of courage and you all seem to be doing well with it.

    I love the fact that you said you wouldn’t change for anyone, esp. Jeremy and Brandon’s comments made me laugh. I don’t blame you. Be yourself, that’s what makes what you do great and personable.

    Elsie your art will always be wonderful, you have a unique style that is all your own. I know you regret not going to school for it but you shouldn’t. What you do and the happiness you bring to people’s lives with your art is a wonderful gift to have.

    Thank you for taking the time to post this. I’m going to link it to my blog.

  • thank you elsie for such an inspiring blog, interview, work, etc. This post really helps me to remember that it will take a long time for someone to be successful in pursuing art career but it’s so worth the process. you rock!

  • Loved this insightful, honest peek into your lives…Thanks for sharing yourselves and your experiences…Lots of food for thought…

  • Thanks SO much for this. Im 15 and i really want to make it in this world as an artist. I dont know how its going to workout but oh maaan i hope i can do it. This was soooooo inspiring, espesially your answers elsie.

  • Great post. Thank you for sharing what it is really like to be a full time artist. I remember as a child saying “I’m going to an artist when I grow-up.” I did not know what that would look like nor did I pursue that as an adult. You gave me a small glimpse of what my childhood dream may have looked like. Thank you for that.

  • THANKYOU Elsie and friends!!!

    I too am pursuing a career in art. I thought about studying art at university when I was in high school, and chose the safer route of a path that would provide more financial security. Although I had a keen interest in what I was doing and succeeded academically, it didn’t fill that void that not having time to be artistic had left in my soul.

    I guess I have always felt like being an artist is the only job for me, and your post has inspired me to keep trying and not give up, even though I have failed with it before.

    Thank you for never failing to inspire me!

    Love Karen xo

  • Brandon, can you share what the organization was that you went to Vietnam with? I’ve been trying to find something similar for a while.

  • Merci, Dziekuje (French, Polish)!!!

    Thank you for the amazingly inpiring interview with you 4! It gives me a lot of new ideas and helps me a little more to find my way in life.

    I work in an office in France (but I’m Polish girl) and the work is really ok, but I feel like “it’s not for me”. Everyday, since maybe 3 years, I think about some new projects, art, what I’ll do at home this evening (sewing, scrapbooking, painting, pics, etc??), I think about making with my life what I really want. But at the moment I can do this, but you all gave me a hope for the future and a big big smile at my face!

    Love you!



  • Elsie,

    I have been a long time fan of your work, and I have been following Rachel, as well. Thank you (and the others) so much for taking the time to do this. I found it to be fascinating and I love how you all have such different perspectives, yet, such real views on your lives.

  • Incredible! You guys are all incredible and this post answered a lot of questions I had and just inspired me as Elsie’s blog tends to do. Thank you!!

  • thank you elsie, for doing this. the four of you are truly inspirational and the honesty of your answers is much appreciated.



  • This is a fantastic post, thank you (all of you) for taking the time to answer these questions.

    At the moment, I’m going through the motions of finishing my A-levels and getting into University, so one day I can focus all my energy on living and working with things that I love. There are times (like these!) when I just want to press the ‘fast forward’ button, because I’ll glamorize my future lifestyle. It is something that I’m excited about, and I just feel lucky to have the time now to get that little jump-start while I finish my education.

    And I’m doing all creative subjects, so I do get to experience that obsessive art-making that you were talking about.

    I identify with this so much!

    thank you.

    love from england,


  • wow, Elsie. this was very inspiring and clarifying at the same time. i’m not living quite the artistic life as you are, but since i want to be a writer, i have came across a few obstacles that i think every artist often do. i really think that this is set for any kind of artist, because even though it is one of the most satisfying things to do with your life, there are many set backs and you may quit along the ride.

    so i thank you for this.


  • Hi Elsie,

    I’ve been waiting for this post ever since you told us that you were compiling it! Thanks so much for taking the time out of your busy schedule to do it!

    I got the same sense of ‘smallness’ from reading these interviews as you did when you went to your first Jeremy Larson concert all those Aprils ago! Making a living doing something I love is my ultimate life goal, and you have renewed my passion and drive and made me feel like I have so much to do!

    I admire you and Rachel and all your lovely friends so much and hope to make my life as magical as yours seems to be one day soon! Don’t get me wrong – I know that the grass always seems greener on the other side of the laptop, and everyone has their ups and downs in life, but your passion for life and art really shines through and is something I hope to discover for myself!

    You are such an inspiration Elsie! Don’t ever stop creating!

    Loves, Amy x

  • Great post! I was recently laid off from my full-time job and have been struggling with some of these issues in my head as I figure out my next steps. I’ve had an online sb store for the past year and 1/2 as well and some of these questions/answers gave me some great direction as to how that is going to play into my new life. Thank you…very inspirational!

  • Thanks for posting this…very insightful and thoughtful. And different perspectives…As a freelancer, I definitely go through peaks and valleys, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything! If you’re at a peak, you can’t think that that’s how it will be from then on. You’re bound for a valley eventually…you have to stay realistic! Thanks!

  • Thanks for sharing with us your insight into an art career. I have always dreamt of being an artist but never have taken the leap. I think I will always keep it as a hobby. It’s nice to follow other people’s art careers though so thanks again. 🙂

  • this post was nothing but awesome. I visit your blog quite often, but I haven’t known much about who you are or how you lead your life/lives. I couldn’t imagine the way of life for independent artists in the US(me living in norway, not the states), but this has been a major help in getting me some new insight. thanks!

  • Thanks! What great insights! I am an artist as a hobby, but I went to school for Accounting and have been an accountant for 10 years – YUCK! I live comfortably, but my creative spirit is so suppressed. I always wondered if I “missed my calling” and pigeon-holing myself into this white-collar world was a tragic mistake. Now I see the other side of it. Maybe I’m better keeping the art as a hobby and I should thank my luck stars that the universe has led me into the 9-5 arena, where my schedule is compatible w/ my hubby’s and I live comfortably and can really appreciate the creative stuff when I’m blessed with time to do it! 🙂

  • Thank you so much for this. It was so encouraging to hear about the heart and passion of other artists, and knowing you can do what you love, and that sacrificing in the end can pay off more than anything!

  • Thank you so much guys for sharing your different experiences! I already made the decision of trying to make a living with art but i’m just starting. I really want to paint and i’m taking art classes because i feel the need of having solid basis so that i could evolve personnally more easily. And i’m lucky enough to have a supporting boyfriend with a steady job. That is what obviously made the difference for me!

    Thank you again and good luck to all. Best wishes for your future!

  • Thank you so much guys for sharing your different experiences! I already made the decision of trying to make a living with art but i’m just starting. I really want to paint and i’m taking art classes because i feel the need of having solid basis so that i could evolve personnally more easily. And i’m lucky enough to have a supporting boyfriend with a steady job. That is what obviously made the difference for me!

    Thank you again and good luck to all. Best wishes for your future!

  • Elsie, since reading your blog and keeping up with your fantastic artsy life, I’ve always wondered some of those questions… Thank you so much for the insight!! (and your friends too!!)

  • Wow, i read the entire thign and it was so helpful!

    I’m currently in school for graphic design and plan on doing the independent freelance thing and feel much more informed now.

    Thank you Elsie!

  • Thank you so much for this post! It was very imformative and honest..which I truly appreciate.

  • brandon, can you share what organization you volunteered with in Vietnam? I’ve been searching for something similar to participate in as a visual artist.

  • Thanks so much for this. I don’t think I could ever be a full time artist, but I now realize more how much you have to go through to be one. 🙂 Best of luck to all four of you. And Brandon, thanks for the link to the video, and the background info – I loved it!

  • This is such a great blog post. I’m so lucky to be in the position now where I’ve been able to cut back on my working hours and I am desperate to use my creativity … this post has been very inspirational. I’m sure so many people will be bookmarking this – I have a lot to think about. Thanks Elsie and friends! x

  • I don’t have to tell you, but will anyway, this was a highly valuable and well-put-together post.

    Thank you all for your insight.

  • Elsie,

    That was truly such a labor of love for all of your “fans” out here in the art/blogging world. Thank you so much! Your post was full of really useful information. Thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you thank you!!!!!

  • this was so great, elsie! thanks for doing this. being a graphic designer, i can relate to a lot of these questions.

    & i just love hearing about your relationship with jeremy. so inspiring!

    have a fantastic day!

  • Oh my Elsie, this post has been the most inspiring post I have read in a long time from the long list of blogs that I read. I do not have a career in art at the present time but I really took your answers in terms of “careers and work” and not necessarily art related but you’ve really helped me cope and understand some situations currently happening in my professional life and still be happy at the end of the day with what I do have. This might sound like blah, blah, blah because you don’t really know my situation but all the same. Thank you for such an inspirational post. Please thank your friends as well…

  • Oh my Elsie, this post has been the most inspiring post I have read in a long time from the long list of blogs that I read. I do not have a career in art at the present time but I really took your answers in terms of “careers and work” and not necessarily art related but you’ve really helped me cope and understand some situations currently happening in my professional life and still be happy at the end of the day with what I do have. This might sound like blah, blah, blah because you don’t really know my situation but all the same. Thank you for such an inspirational post. Please thank your friends as well…

  • WOW you guys, thanks! It’s so kind of you to take the time to pass your inspiration and info on. Loved the film Brandon, so sweet!

  • What an amazing and well thought out post! Thank you so much for taking the time to do this. I love learning from other creative people, and this post was so informative. I love your work and love that you share so much about yourself here on your blog. What a treat! You are so young and talented and have so much more creative talent inside of you waiting to be let out in your lifetime. Congratulations to you for being so successful and for being lucky enough to know what you’re passionate about at such a young age! I’m only 35, but still, I’m amazed at your talent and vision for yourself. Thanks again.

  • Thank you so much for posting this, Elsie. I’ll graduate this May with a BA in Creative Writing, but my heart is really in fine art and working on my scrapbooking / card-making / t-shirt designs. Reading about your experience as well as your friends’ is so insightful and helpful. The only question you didn’t answer is: Where can I find a guy like Jeremy? Haha Thanks again!

  • This was awesome Elsie! ( I had to laugh at Smauge’s comment…about halfway up the page)

    I give you all credit for the drive you have in keeping things together. You’re all very talented and the inspirations you leave inprinted in other peoples lives is a reward in itself. Elsie and Rachel…I have learned so much from the both of you in the last 2 years. I heart you both….Keep up the Great Work… And congrats to all of you for the achievments that you have made in your lives.


  • Amazing! I’m currently trying to work out how to quit my job at the insurance company I’m slaving away at to become my own boss in a creative market (and to finally use that Fine Arts degree that I spent 4.5 years obtaining!), without totally losing my sanity. Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for the wonderful tips!


  • hey elsie, im a big fan of your art and designs! thanks for your very down-to-earth sharing. i’ve always wanted to pursue art, but have not much guts to do so. you’re an inspiration!

  • elsie, I have followed your blog since… hmmm, 2005, maybe? I appreciate the openness you’ve always had, and I think it’s absolutely amazing to have seen all the things you have done along the way on this artistic journey. Can’t wait to see what’s ahead.

    much love, girl. xoxo.

  • sigh…you are so inspiring.

    i’ve dabbled in all things arts and crafts since i was a kid, but since stumbling upon your blog two years ago, and rachel’s blog last summer, i have been yearning to break through the boundaries i’ve placed around my creativity. you’ve taught me that anything goes and that restraints are a waste of time. thank you for that.

    more recently, i’ve been entertaining the idea of becoming an artist full time. i currently “work for the man”, running a local restaurant. my husband makes more than enough money for the both of us, which makes me lucky enough to entertain the idea of working for myself, but i haven’t been able to cut my ties to the workforce just yet.

    this blog entry has encouraged me to take a harder look at my life, my heart and my soul and go with what i feel. i appreciate your insight and advice. a big thank you to you, rachel, jeremy and brandon.



  • Thanks for this interesting peek into your unique careers. I especially enjoyed Mr. Goodwin’s input. As one of the ancient HTVers, I’m pleased to see him still doing what he’s gifted in.

  • That was great to read – thank you! I pursue art as a hobby and stress relief from my full time aspirations. The message about how you all have made something you love into a major part of your lives transcends for me – work hard, make sacrafices and reap rewards.

  • Wow Elsie! This was really fantastic. A big thank you to you for putting this together and for all four of you contributing to it.

    I have always been a creative at heart and used to make collages, paint, sew and tons of other random projects just for me and just because it felt good to spend my time that way. I lost my way somehow after entering the corporate world and have felt lost. That feeling has started to dissipate with the discovery of blogs such as yours and I have begun creating again.

    Although I don’t plan on trying to turn my art into a career, this post really inspired me to work harder to open my life back up to doing the creative things that I used to get so much joy from.

    thank you!

  • Thanks for such a well thought out post.

    Your generosity is one of the most beautiful things about you and your art.

  • Elsie, Jeremy, Rachel & Brandon,

    Thank you so much for this honest and open interview about your life and career as an artist. I have often considered venturing into this career path, but have been scared to take the “plundge.” (primarily because of my current debt). I will continue to be creative and make art, and hopefully someday I will be more financially secure to make this happen. Not that I am scared of being poor and not having expensive things, but gotta get rid of the yucky stuff from the past.

    Thank you for being so transparent for us and allowing us into your thoughts.


  • Thank you for taking the time to write this and give your insightful information. I loved reading it and it is very inspiring!

    I used to have a business painting murals – I loved the idea of it but soon learned that it wasn’t fun to paint what someone else wanted… much more fun to paint my own ideas – custom isn’t all it’s cut out to be. Also, defining a price for your artwork which is so personal, is a very difficult thing. Artists almost *need* agents! 🙂

  • Great post Elsie. I loved all of your answers but Brandon’s was the best. When he let us know how he goes about his day I couldn’t stop laughing as he was so to the point right down to how long he does cardio and weights. So cute!!

    I love how all of you are so “REAL” and love what you do. Congratulations on finding true happiness and spreading it.


  • thanks so much!…that was really lovely to read & see & process…i loved the different views…& i am printing out this jem to hang by my work space “I love making new projects. I love that ideas and inspiration and love for the work seem to grow and never end. I love that there isn’t a goal that can be reached on a personal level because it’s always evolving. It’s something that I can keep reaching for and never fully have. I feel like every day of my life is full of beautiful and inspiring things. It’s a wonderful way to live.” thanks for that elsie…it is exactly what i needed to read…exactly.


  • You guys are amazing and to put all that info on the web for free is inspirational, I am not an artist or anything like that but I love reading your blog Elsie and because of you have listened to mr Larsons music and am in love with his sound, as I am in Australia Im not sure if I would have heard it otherwise…well done Jeremy. Because of your blog Elsie I love red velvet arts blog and all thos amazing people..

    From the bottom of my heart THANKYOU

  • You guys are amazing and to put all that info on the web for free is inspirational, I am not an artist or anything like that but I love reading your blog Elsie and because of you have listened to mr Larsons music and am in love with his sound, as I am in Australia Im not sure if I would have heard it otherwise…well done Jeremy. Because of your blog Elsie I love red velvet arts blog and all thos amazing people..

    From the bottom of my heart THANKYOU

  • Thanks you so much for this inspiring post. And thank you for telling it how it is and not just what people want to hear. You are such an inspiring creative, person. Thank you for just truly being yourself. You being you, helps me be me. 😀

  • This was a great post! I’m glad you went in to not only the fun questions, but also the tough and somewhat dry ones. It is a great way for some of us who love art to really look into the world of self employment. Thank you for the always inspiring blog. 🙂

  • Best post yet, I think. This was so refreshingly honest, I love it. Thank you, Elsie!

  • hey elsie, thanks for your very down-to-earth sharing. i’ve always wanted to pursue art, but never have the guts to do so.

    you’re an inspiration!

  • Thanks to each of you for your insight & honesty. I enjoyed reading this! Thanks Elsie, for taking the time to post it on your blog. Have a great weekend!

  • Elsie, these are things I do want to know as a student in design school who wants to be a designer or an artist. It’s truly amazing.. It’s really true, designers or artists don’t hang out a lot, because they spend all their time in the studio to work on their projects. What can be more true than this? But yet it’s something we know we want to do and will be really happy with what we do (: Thanks for all your inspiring posts…..

  • Elsie, What an awesome interview! Thank you guys, for sharing, its a great read & provides some hope to those like me… my fella leads the artistic life & I want to but to pay the bills i’m still working a 6 day week…

    Now i’m thinking there just might be a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!

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  • this was really inspiring for me im about to start art school in september now and i loved ur honesty, hopefully il have and enjoy as many experiences as you have <3


  • Hi, Else. Thank so much for putting this post together, and my thanks to Jeremy, Rachel, and Brandon for their candor and honesty. I’ve been contemplating making the leap myself, but times have been tough in several ways. This post is an inspiration for me to hold on to some hope, and to keep working hard.

    Keep being an inspiration to artists everywhere! More power!

  • How can I get the individual health insurance that you get? Who do you go through?

    Also, thank you so much for this AMAZING post. It was a great read and as a lot of others have said – it was so great to hear such honesty!!!!

  • Ok, I’m late getting to this article. But I wanted to say that all four artists touched upon my daily struggles.

    I work full-time, have a part-time fitness job and part-time craft job. My husband is a full-time “at home” artist and I wanna be one too!

    But it’s hard to give up the perks of my full-time job.

    Thanks goodness my full-time job almost directly relates to my craft and my daily research spills into my professional and personal life.

    Since April 2009 I’ve gotten much busier with my craft business and my husband picks up the slack around he house.

    It is a struggle and I feel like I’m working ALL of the time. My biggest fear is that I’m not paying attention to my husband. Even though we brainstorm about our businesses and help each other out all of the time I have to make myself STOP and spend some quality time with him.

    I’ve bookmarked this article so I can read it form time to time as I make my decision whether or not to make the BIG leap!

    Thank you all!!!

  • Hi. I actually enjoyed reading your current blog post!. Good quality content. I might advise you to write articles much more often. By doing this, with such type of a helpful site I think that you could rank higher in the search engines 🙂 . I also subscribed for your Rss. Keep up this excellent job!


  • wow! you work all night, which inspires me because that’s when i get creative energry (and lots of chocolate cravings)…but it sounds like you only get like 3-5 hours of sleep a night?! is that enough for you? i’m trying to create and blog and take photos, and it’s really hard with the full time bartending schedule…i don’t fall asleep til 2 or 3 and i get up at like noon…it doesn’t leave much time or energy for creativity 🙁 i’m just curious, is this still your schedule? aren’t you tired?! 🙂

  • I really want to paint and i’m taking art classes because i feel the need of having solid basis so that i could evolve personnally more easily. And i’m lucky enough to have a supporting boyfriend with a steady job. That is what obviously made the difference for me!
    Thank you again and good luck to all. Best wishes for your future!

  • This has been extremely helpful! Thank you so much for taking the time to post all of this! I hope all of you still enjoy what you’re doing as much as did in this post. And Elsie I hope you’re still just as happy! 🙂


  • Thanks for share all those things! I´m happy to know it, i feel identified!. I already read this post, but i regularly following you if you had notice! 😉
    Elsie is my creative entrepreneur inspiration!!! Thank´s for share!!! Love your bloooog! And your beautiful work!!! ♥ ♥ ♥ And your entrepreneur team too!

  • Thanks so much for this post! It has given me a much clearer and more realistic idea of what it means to work as an artist full time. As much as I love creativity, I think I’m much more suited to keeping it as a hobby. That being said, it also highlights the lifestyle of an entrepreneur, which is a great help!

  • I really appreciate this post! The genuine answers (and how they differ) make it so special. I am going to Art School next year and although I will be doing more commercial work, because of this post, I decided to use scholarship money to take some business classes at a community college as well. I really love to support local artists and I would love to be a full time artist. So in the mean time, it’s day jobs and long nights full of side projects! Thanks to all of you! XO.

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  • Wow Elsie, I can’t tell you how helpful, informative, and insightful this post is for me. Thank you so very much for sharing your experiences!

    The best part is being able to go back to all your old posts, I always wanted that from the last layout. I felt like I had to bookmark everything you both posted before just in case I couldn’t find it again.
    And both of you 🙂

  • This was so very interesting and fun to read! It would have been nice to also read the same thing but with people a bit older, like in their 30s and 40s (perhaps that’s my age group and circle of friends).

  • A couple of years ago I was very much into scrapbooking. I LOVED everything by Elsie and she inspired me big time. Through the years though my focus drifted towards other things. I had a son and explored all the awesome projects we did together. My husband is a graphic designer and together we spent many hours creating stuff just for fun. I picked up kitting and crochet, sewing, painting, oh well you get the idea. Then I discovered blogging. And man, I loved it. I set up my own website and that’s where I got stuck. No one read it. I got some advice to make a list of topics for a year and I got all theoretic and then NO ONE would read it anymore. I discovered A Beautiful Mess a few weeks ago through online Zite magazine and again, I fell in love. Today I signed up for the blog loving e-course because I need help. From the best.

    All this time I took it as a sign that again, I was inspired by someone named Elsie (and Emma of course, let’s not leave her out!). And then today I read this post and found out it’s THE SAME ELSIE!!! Duhhhh….

    I firmly believe coincidence does not exsist so Elsie AND EMMA, thank you for all the help and inspiration you provide. I can’t wait to start my course and get on the road. It will be in dutch but in time I plan to figure out how to simultaneously get an english one started.

    I love what you do and thank you for proving everything is possible when you got your heart set on it!

  • Have you noticed any changes in income or business with the state of the economy? or does the economy even affect you?

  • This was so incredibly helpful. It’s exactly what I’ve been wondering! You are all so open and honest, it’s refreshing and inspiring!! I have asked myself these questions and wondered how people ten steps ahead of me are answering. This gives me gumpsion to know that other people are out there doing what they love and don’t fit the mold either! I’m just curious-how do you refine all the inspiring ideas and pick the best to follow through on? I always have a ton of ideas; I have a blog but I don’t know how to get it rolling, I have been working on my new Etsy store but refining the products I’m making, and I’d love to do blog/magazine interviews down the road but I wonder how you go about those connections, and yea so many ideas! I’m trying to balance figuring out how to logistically execute without loosing the creative inspiration in the process. Any thoughts!? Thanks so much for posting all this great information :)~Audra

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