Mouse driving wacky carThe downturn in the economy has affected millions of people in a variety of ways. We’re cutting back, simplifying and looking at ways to make ends meet.

After several years of working with small businesses on their marketing projects I’m finding they feel pressured to do without much in the way of updating their new media outreach to their audiences — putting what little they have towards keeping afloat in other ways. I feel their pain. I understand the tightening of the purse strings.

With expenses of my own that need attending to though I can’t wait for better times. So I’m in the midst of doing what a lot of people are doing — I’m having to go back a few career steps to re-launch the course of my professional life from a more foundational vantage point.

Once I crossed that bridge attitudinally the pathway suddenly seemed less about frustration and lack and more about what’s next! I have a saying I like to use to accommodate what I might otherwise have thought of as set backs in times like these:

Sometimes going forward looks like going backwards!

I haven’t done an outdoor art fair since the mid 1990’s but that’s exactly what I’m fixing to do next. Back then I went to the indoor national wholesale fine craft shows as soon as I could because doing festivals outside is a grueling unpredictable endeavor. You have to:

  • Conceive of the work
  • Make it
  • Make more
  • Design and make or assemble a portable booth
  • Get awesome photos of the work and the booth all set up
  • Find shows that will work for you
  • Apply (paying the jury fee of $35 – 65 to get people in a dark room to look at your images)

    art booth sketch

    The booth plan I'm working on for my paintings

  • Pay your booth fee ($300 – $1000 for 2 days) if you get in (Joy! Joy!) or
  • Look for a different show whose application deadline hasn’t passed and go through that process again
  • Pack up your booth and your stuff into a vehicle that will contain it all and make it to the show and back
  • Make logistical arrangements (pet care and what have you at home, hotel or other on the road)
  • Get to the show location (a day ahead if it’s far away)
  • Unpack, hand transport in and set up your booth
  • Set up your art
  • Sell! Or not <—- one of the show artist’s biggest fears that does come true sometimes)
  • Break down and store overnight – on site if there’s security or back into your vehicle if there isn’t.
  • Repeat the next day
  • Drive home
  • Make more stuff to replenish what you sold – or figure out how to pay your bills if the show was a bust (Do you want fries with that?)

This was challenging work twenty years ago – and with two decades of age on me now I’m expecting it will be taxing now too.

But there are benefits to all of this. Not the least of which I’ll get to reconnect with people who like what I do! In this online age you can’t see smiles unless someone takes the time to log in and type you one. 🙂

So while I worry the hard work is gonna kill me I think the real time positive reactions are gonna give me a  big boost. Unless my sales suck, lol. That’s the risk. But I’m ever hopeful. In fact every person you ever saw at every show you’ve ever attended is a hopeful optimist – even the sullen looking mean ones (who probably are at one of those ever present looming low points). So when you get a chance appreciate them just for that even if you don’t like their wares.