How my business ideas changed over time

My passion of business was sparked by a liberal arts class in college. Our instructor got her BFA and then started her own business teaching kids art in the Kansas City area. I liked the possibility of working to make my creative lifestyle sustainable. The business model was like a clear working path to follow. It was unlike the idea of waiting to striking it rich when and if I was ‘discovered’.

Iterative work is a core part of any creative process. Development of an image, concept, or process evolves to take new shapes over time. My own personal business concept started with “OLI” or Outside Living Inside in 2004. This concept was about creating indoor gardens for city living or cold climate environments. It was strongly influenced by my own desire for more nature, having grown up in the garden on Santa Barbara, and not being used to the Kansas City lifestyle. This concept is still of interest to me, but I’m not a sculptor and I never got very far beyond the images and the idea.

..the 2nd idea…

My next idea came out of a WEV workshop in Santa Barbara around 2006. This course included a more detailed approach using the Kauffman Foundation Fast Track workbook to create a business plan. Now that I was living back in the garden of Santa Barbara I was more concerned with environmental education. My second business idea was Eco Echo, a mobile sustainable presentation vehicle. Over the years I have continued to research mobile art cars, rv’s, and prefab buildings. This business idea also requires a significant up front investment and has been sidelined for the future.

By 2008 my career had advanced and I had acquired more graphic design skills. Through my own interest in business and my day jobs I suddenly had people asking me to help them out with logos and business cards. So I turned away from trying to put together a more complex business plan and started to market my art and design skills. The first website I created was with iWeb. I got my first few clients and started to think of myself as a designer.

the 3rd idea…

My personal skills and my business ideas evolved over time. For 5 years I worked on freelance commercial projects for large and small businesses. Much of the work featured on this site reflect that process. However, after several years of increasing sales I reached a block. I could no longer make more money becasue I did not have enough time in the day to do everything that needed to be done.

Original Odyssey, the 4th idea

I went back to thinking and working with professionals to figure out what would help me grow my business into something greater than myself. This means looking beyond a single service model of freelance design and considering the sale of a mass-producible product. I cam up with Original Odyssey. It combined a set of cards and a lesson plan to teach some basic depth psychological concepts of active imagination therapy. I took this idea to production and did market research only to decide that it was not possible for me to make money on it for a variety of reasons. I documented the process on this blog if you are interested, in a series of 6 posts, starting with How to Create and Sell a Product Online.

Mermaid Love Letters – the 5th idea

My next idea for a mass-producible product came unexpectedly. I started to draw mermaids and they turned into letters and then the letters turned into an alphabet. This became a website shop with digital and print on demand items for sale. I also have an art show where actual art is up for sale. This 5th idea combines many of the lessons that I have learned over the years. While it is not taking off with record sales, I did have a better response from consumers. I also have been offered the opportunity to teach this alphabet process to a group of students who are creative entrepreneurs. The rest of this story continues at >>>