My last day as someone else’s employee was just over three years ago – March 31, 2016.
You can read the long story about why I quit here.
I reported in after the first year and again last year. I’m doing it again for year three because, well, I need to know whether this being an artist thing is working. And a lot of you want to know whether it’s working and artists a few steps behind me want to know whether they can do it.
It’s working. You can do it. And it’s not easy.
I am thankful every day for each one of you – whether you simply take a few seconds to comment on an Instagram post, show up at one of my events, hang my postcards on your fridge or buy multiple paintings per year, I couldn’t do it without you. So, in a shareholder-type way, I feel I owe you this annual report.
Here’s what’s up…
All numbers are April 2018-March 2019.
- Revenue growth: 8%. In year two my year-over-year growth was almost 100% -- I feel like I was still getting up to speed then, so perhaps maintaining and then some is something to be happy about for this past year.
- Paintings sold: 91 + 30 daily paintings on paper. Last year I sold 104; I sold 78 in my first year of self-employment and 18 during the year leading up to quitting my job.
- Clients that bought more than one painting during the year: 10
- Repeat customers from previous years: 10
- Commissions completed: 13 (I did more than 30 the year before, which wore me out. I decided to not take commissions for much of last year.)
- Shows and events: 10
- Studio visits hosted: 9
- Employee’s names I know at my closest USPS: 5
- Hours I’ve spent loading paintings in and out of the truck: Wait, this isn’t all I do?
- Wholesale accounts: 2
- Additional stores carrying my work in Wichita: 1
- Instagram follower growth: Um, lots – I think close to 400%
- Months-long professional development classes taken: 2
- Website visitor growth: 45%
- Email list growth: 47%
- TV appearances: 2, both on Wichita’s ABC affiliate’s morning show; here and here.
- Speaking engagement at the Wichita Art Museum: 1 (!!!!)
- Solo gallery shows and residencies: 1 (my second!) Read about it here.
- Donations to charitable organizations: 3
- Classes taught pro-bono to children: 2
- Freelance/consulting hours worked: 22. I worked 78 in my second year of self-employment and 428 in my first year; my original plan was to freelance half-time, but being an artist has gone better than forecasted.
If you read the long story of why I quit my job, you know that quality of life was a big reason. Success on all the business metrics is what enables all of the following, which are much more important.
- Evenings spent not working: Almost all of them. While I love working and could probably work all the time, this is a very intentional decision to support the health and longevity of my marriage.
- Bunnies and fireflies counted on my evening walks with my husband in the summer: 143
- Days spent not working and not traveling over Christmas: 7? 10? I don’t know but it was amazing.
- Week-long trips home to see immediate and extended family: 3. We have to live in Wichita for my husband’s job, so me having flexibility to travel home is significant.
- Family birthdays I was actually home for: My dad’s, my mom’s, my aunt’s and my nephew’s
- Duck blinds built with my dad: 2
- International trips: 1, Spain
- Additional, short trips with friends: Kansas City, Washington DC area
- Times we have been to Elderslie Farm (our favorite restaurant in our new home of Wichita) for their monthly tasting menu, a three-hour affair: 4
- Times I want to go back: Every month (every new menu)
- Workouts: I haven’t been working out as much as last year, but I work out every other day and more often add a workout than skip one. I’d like to be slightly more active.
- Meals cooked for friends because we like entertaining: Lots
- Meals cooked for friends because they needed a helping hand: Lots
- Times I made this cobbler: Too many. It really is the easiest and absurdly delicious. I add cinnamon and ginger, depending on the fruit.