The Power of Content Creation: How It Made and Broke My Business
There is no doubt that efficient content creation can propel your business. In fact, content creation was one of the leading factors that contributed to the success of my business within its first six months.
But as the title says, content creation definitely made my business - but it also broke it.
Now let’s dive into my journey from 2020-present day.
When I began taking ArtByLMichelle seriously, the COVID-19 pandemic was just being recognized in the US. Right before everything 'shut down', I had just quit a job and was working to begin a new job (my current job). Except, my new job (now current) was working at a school — and all schools were shut down/closed.
I was stuck at home with nothing but time to focus on creating and establishing my business. I fed into my creativity with whatever my heart desired, such as at-home photo shoots, all while capturing my process and behind-the-scenes on my phone. I had (what felt like) all the time in the world to create content, and simply put my personal and business artistry out there.
Back To Work
Fast forward a few months to September 2020, I began working again (at my current job). Although I wasn't sure how I was going to balance a business and working a full-time job - I did my best. For the first maybe 3 months, I had it down-packed! I went to work, clocked out, came home, and clocked into ArtByLMichelle. But after a while, the task of taking care of eighteen 4 and 5-year-olds took a toll. After work, I felt drained. I began taking naps when I came home, sometimes involuntarily. I did not look forward to taking the time out to create, which was something that had once brought me so much joy. Overall, I was beyond proud of myself for starting my own business and maintaining it by myself. But alas, it began to feel like a chore to simply make the products, and my content creation was practically nonexistent.
Etsy 10 - Lauren 0
During this time Etsy worked in my favor. Etsy is an online marketplace. Your work can be seen by millions of potential customers; from my experience with Etsy, there is not much you have to do to get a sale once you upload your products, it is easy! Yet, when it came to engaging my current customers – I fell incredibly short compared to my consistency before working. At this point, even though Instagram Stories was the easiest content creation method for me, I went from posting multiple times every day to maybe posting twice a week. If you were to scroll through my Instagram profile, you’d see I would post maybe five times a month.
ArtByLMichelle was a dream for me. And after doing so well, and putting in so much work — I saw my dream slipping between my fingers, quickly.
Content creation was no longer fun for me. I would come home from work, and (most of the time) immediately work on a few orders, take care of my pet rabbit, eat my dinner then go to bed. This time frame ranged from between 4:15 PM-10:30/11 PM. My weekends no longer allowed me to do a photoshoot or create something just for fun. They became dedicated to working around the clock on orders.
Now don’t get me wrong, I am more than grateful for the orders I receive. I always say I'm blessed to have this kind of stress. However, it left little to no time for the fun aspects of ArtByLMichelle, as a business and as an artist. The thought of taking the time out to set up my camera, make sure I have the proper angle and lighting, and being conscious of always being in the camera's frame was tiring itself. More so, half the time my workspace is an absolute mess due to balancing multiple tasks and hats, and I prefer to not show this on my social media. This further discouraged me from content creating, unless I was taking a quick photo for my story or a quick video of my finished products. And these content posts are fine, but remember when I said I felt like I had all the time in the world to create content? I would create videos of every aspect of my creation process and of my day. Now, instead of seeing the entire process of an item, I was only showcasing the finished product. Which may not sound like a big deal. But to me, I love to see how things are made and learn the mechanisms of how they work. I'm well aware that consumers also enjoy seeing the process as well. But alas, I was falling short.
My pre-working and post-working business/creator life began to feel like such a harsh contrast. And as if that realization wasn’t discouraging enough – when I did have time to scroll through social media on my work lunch break or right before I went to bed, I would see tons and tons of artists creating content. (Remember this is during 2021-22, the artist content creation has changed drastically now.) My discouragement turned into jealousy, anger, and the overall feeling of failure. All I kept thinking about was how at one point - not too long ago, I was doing what I always wanted to do — create art, share my art, and live off the $$ I make from my art. My social media presence was basically non-existent, and I had to change my Etsy processing time to 2-3 weeks. With all these factored in, my sales officially began to plummet – quickly. I was used to having at least 10 open orders on my Etsy, and now I was lucky to get at least one. With the rise then fall of my business, plus the situations within my personal life, I was at my wit's end.
But Lauren Michelle doesn't give up that easily.
She Came! She Saw! She. . .Failed
I began to work on developing my brand identity (color scheme, logo(s), fonts, posting style, brand voice, target audience, etc.). I attended free online seminars in my spare time and utilized Canva to (try to) batch-create my story posts and post more on my profile. I had a plan, I was dedicated, and I was giving it my all! But, this didn't last for too long as the stress from work, my personal life, and my business began to sink in yet again. Plus, as if creating for my open orders wasn't time-consuming enough, I decided to build my own website for more efficient customer optimization (spoiler alert: that website failed, and I went back to posting once in a blue moon).
I've seen many businesses and brands start in 2020, and so many of them no longer exist. I did not want that to happen to ArtByLMichelle. Again, creating is my passion and this business is a dream that turned into a reality.
Always Working Behind-The-Scenes
Before we fast forward to today, I’d like to highlight the fact that I have never stopped working on my business since 2020. Though I may not post consistently, I was and am always doing intense research, creating new items, and discovering new ways to make my business better in all aspects. Running a business is a full-time job, and I’d be more than happy to dive into that subject matter in another blog post.
Reflecting On My Journey
I admit, looking back at my journey, I could have done a much better job with telling myself 'no', cutting down on my to-do lists, and a few other things. But I must remind myself: I was doing, what felt like, the best that I could all by myself.
Fast forward to today in 2023, I am at a point where I know what direction to take ArtByLMichelle, I understand the ins and outs much better, and overall I have grown as a young woman. I am more at peace with my current status and am currently working on a format/schedule for content creation that will work for me, and allow me to build my art career and still enjoy my personal life.
Cover Photo is AI-generated.