I'm in the Dominican Republic with my husband for the summer and it has been so inspiring to be out of the city and enjoying nature.
That is why I get so excited to keep learning and growing. The perks are soo worth it!
If you’re like me and you like to learn from the success of others, this How She Did It series is for you.
The purpose of this series is to give you access and insights to female entrepreneurs who in 8 brief answers will let you learn from their businesses and mindset.
What I love about today's guest is that she is not only a very well-accomplished artist but she has also artistically built a phenomenal business. Her creativity has helped her teach her passion successfully and build a life that allows her to masterfully live out her dreams.
How Miriam Schulman Did It
Please share with us what you do and who your business helps.
In case we haven’t met yet, I’m a watercolor and mixed media artist. My art has been featured in numerous publications such as Somerset Studio, and I’m the founder of The Inspiration Place where I give my students stepping stones to create beautiful art as well as the emotional support they need to stay inspired. See the art I create at schulmanArt.com or learn how to paint with me at TheInspirationPlace.net
How did you go from “idea” to an online business?
I remember in the fourth grade my teacher said I was “a good artist” and I believed her so I have been calling myself an artist ever since.
Although I initially pursued a career in finance on Wall Street (many famous artists like Gauguin, were once stock brokers) I left the glamour and paycheck of my Wall Street job behind after the birth of my second child. This maternity leave from finance became permanent after witnessing the devastation of 911 which I took as a sign from the universe to do something else with my life.
Returning to art was the most logical choice.
As an artist and small business owner, I am always crafting plans for my business. When I first started in the professional art world, I worked mainly in traditional portraiture doing commissioned watercolor portraits of children. Although I still occasionally take commissions and teach watercolor painting techniques, I have greatly evolved my art making business.
Now I focus on spreading the joy of what I learned to others through online art classes.
In your opinion, what is a hard-to-spot pitfall that is critical to avoid in entrepreneurship?
I see a lot of small business owners and artists focusing too much on “being popular” rather than being “profitable.” They worry about likes and shares on Instagram rather than reaching out to their ideal customers through traditional email and phone calls. It's better to spend 20 minutes on the phone with your ideal customer learning about them than crafting a complicated social media challenge or contest.
At the end of the day, it is still about the authentic relationship which can only be gained though quality connection not playing with filters or making the most noise on the internet.
In your opinion, what was the #1 thing that helped you experience a breakthrough in business?
Cracking the code on how to sell online classes was a huge breakthrough for me but it didn't matter how well I marketed until I gained the courage to raise my prices. When I look at my competition I simply ask myself how I can do it better, not cheaper. I still give away a lot of information for free on my blog and through free video series but my higher price points allow me to focus on delivering the best service to my customers and take care of my team.
What is one thing you’ve told yourself that kept you going during your darkest hour?
Since my father passed away when I was only five years old, I grew up in a single parent household and we never had much money growing up. I learned at an early age that in spite of the hand that life gives you, you still can control your destiny through hard work and education.
You know, people think artists are born with a special talent, but that's simply not true. The truth is I worked really, really hard for years, and I still do to this day. I made a lot of mistakes along the way, and I've learned an enormous amount about what works and what doesn't, and these are the lessons that I now share with my students at the Inspiration Place.
What's your best advice for entrepreneurs who are frustrated and overwhelmed?