Lesson Quick Links

Stay Focused

Focus on what you love. Create and sell products you love and believe in. You’ll sell it better!

Have you ever heard the expression, “I’ve seen them come and I’ve seen them go”?  This is often true in the world of small business, and especially true of those that invest their time and money into projects they don’t personally use or recommend.

Having a small business is a lot of work.  There are a lot of ups and downs in it and many times if not on a very regular basis a small business owner is faced with the questions of, “is this worth it after all” and for many (obviously not all) it becomes evident that it’s not.  Don’t get me wrong, there are many that find their special nitch.  They are able to reach out to their target market, press beyond the struggle and end up turning their business dreams into a huge success.  But, to be honest from what I’ve seen over the years, most small businesses come and go.

I’m not trying to burst anyone’s bubble, but rather encourage you to pursue your interests with a realistic viewpoint so that if in case your small business doesn’t take off you can still keep what you enjoy whether it be business products you invest in, pricey tools to help you learn and run the business, or the knowledge you’ve acquired to get the job done well.  You can still keep and share what you recommend and believe in regardless of failure and even regardless of success.  You will always be able to carry with you confidence and experience when you are an entrepreneur for something you believe in and use yourself.  Also, you can use your failures as stepping stones to other projects and small business genre’s that fit your interests even better.

For instance, over 10 years ago my husband and I learned about auctions and the reselling potential it brought.  We eventually caught the “auction bug” as many resellers call it (although it’s more of an auction addiction than an auction bug).  We learned how to resell many of the products we bought for a nice profit online as well as in large yard sales.  Our profit was so nice that we decided to open up a brick and mortar shop in an effort to turn around more of these auction products for a higher profit margin.  Our heads and hearts were bloated with dreams and ideas of endless possibilities.  It took roughly 5 years of serious struggling to realize this investment wasn’t really worth the risk and time that it demanded from us.

Prior to closing shop I desperately sought ways to advertise the business so the people in town would know about the great deals we had.  My husband as well sought other avenues to keep the business alive.  He learned how to build and repair computers while I learned how to develop and design our first business website.  Both of us unknowing that we would soon close the business and pursue these growing interests instead.

One thing I am very glad we did even with our failing business is we sold products we really enjoyed ourselves… So when we made the painful decision to close shop many of the items we had in stock came home with us.  Some of the items we sold online, some we gave to friends and family for gifts and others we gladly held on to.  On the other hand I have seen clients invest a lot of money into products they don’t want or need and in time when they too decided to close their own shop it was sad to hear they struggled to resell their unwanted supply for lower than wholesale prices, if even at all.  So again, I couldn’t recommend enough that if you pursue a small business then pursue selling products you use and personally recommend.

The same is true when creating art projects for business purposes.  An artist can spend endless hours pursuing something they see selling well in the markets by other artists yet they don’t have a personal interest in that type of design or genre’ at all.  I’ve found that it is so much better to pursue project types I personally enjoy and believe in over projects I’m uninterested in but see selling well.  With good research and target marketing practices you can learn just WHERE to promote the products you make in order to accomplish an even better financial result.

Lesson Activity: Cut, crop and focus

In this lesson we’ll review some tools that help us to cut, crop and focus on our main objectives.  The crop tool found in Adobe Photoshop can save you a LOT of time when you’re editing and deleting unwanted background space. I have to be honest it was years before I learned about this fine little fellow so I unnecessarily wasted precious time while resizing many of my images. I hope this lesson will help save you unnecessary photo-editing time and trouble just the same.

When you use the crop tool you are basically changing the canvas size of your picture to the new desired dimensions. It’s truly a wonderful tool I use now on a nearly daily basis! Let’s give it a try!

Next is a video guide on deleting backgrounds using a few different tools in Photoshop.

Finally, don’t forget to save your image as a png image with a transparent background.  Here’s how:

Now it’s your turn!  Find some photos you enjoy, practice using the crop tool and then practice deleting your background. You’ll need these skills for the next lesson so don’t rush this step.  Try practicing on several photos and save your new images with new names and with transparent backgrounds (as png file formats) as shown in the video above.  This will help you in the near future!

Stock Credits:

Child photo by frank mckenna on Unsplash
Photo of couple on Unsplash: joao-silas-110483

Daily Activity Challenge:  Practice this same activity every day for the remaining week.

Please email me if you have any questions or if you enjoy my class. It helps me produce more classes like this and even perfect them as I chug along putting them together for you.

Stay tuned for more future courses on marketing, SEO and web design, helpful for aspiring entrepreneurs and those learning to be professional digital artists or graphic designers.

Crystal Calhoun

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