Today is going to ROCK! As of today I am no longer 'IN' employment. After 22 years of continuously working for other people (starting with South Herefordshire District Council when I was 19, The Children's Society when I moved to Bournemouth in 1997 followed by 12 years with the housing charity Shelter and, most recently, a stint with the national parenting charity NCT) I now work for nobody but me!
Self employment is a funny old thing, especially when your business is an artistic one. Being a self employed artist and a work at home mum to three happy little hooligans is especially funny, firstly because everyone assumes that you don't have a job, secondly because you literally have to fit your work in to any little slither of time you might be able to find if you want to make a go of it. I was never a big fan of inspirational quotes and memes until I started my own small business. Two years on and there are days when a well timed motivational post on Instagram can mean the difference between me wanting to jack it all in and me making plans to take on the world!
It's almost two years since I started Rock the Bump pregnant belly casting and now the time has come for me to take the bull by the horns and really make it happen. There's so much work I need to do to build and grow my business. I've set myself some goals for 2017 to help keep my focus but am also exploring other avenues and opportunities that will help to raise my business profile (networking is not my thing...) and promote Rock the Bump to a wider audience. I'm organising 'Dorset Bump to Baby Show' with the lovely Claire from Light Touch Massage Therapy, an event that I hope to use as a platform to showcase my work and looking at ways to build my audience on Social Media. Most importantly I am desperate to get back in to my own studio in 2017. To say I need more space to work is an understatement but it's not just about the practicalities, it's about my confidence and identity as a self employed artist. Rock the Bump needs a home of it's own and I need a place to go when I need to work where I can be creative, away from the chaos of home. Don't get me wrong - one of the things I love most about Rock the Bump is that my little people enjoy it and seem to quite like "mummy's bumps" all over the house. To them it's not really a job, they just see mummy getting messy, painting, creating... but I need to remember that Rock the Bump IS my job, my business, my livelihood.
I need to stay focused and keep my business on track. At times I get nervous and start looking at ways to expand Rock the Bump so I can make more money quickly but it's not what I really want to do. I really believe in Rock the Bump and genuinely think it has legs. I just need to stay true to myself and continue to create beautiful pregnant belly bump casts and belly bowls that I am proud of. I also need to recognise the value of my own work and and find it in me to better sell myself in 2017.
Rock the Bump pregnant belly casting... I'm off to go make it happen! Who's with me? If you're in a similar situation or starting up a new, creative business I'd love to hear from you.
Zoe Keeping - Artist/Owner of Rock the Bump pregnant belly casting, mum to three happy little hooligans, lucky to live with hubby and best friend Ryan in sunny, sunny Bournemouth. Love music, food, festivals, tattoos, real ale, camping, wildlife, flowers, birds, baking and art.