In my last blog I was talking about the fact that I am in the middle of a big transformation process right now. It started a few months ago when I decided to hire someone to help me elevate the look of my face and body painting business and branding. Why? Because I was tired of working so hard yet not getting paid enough to make a living. I thought a more sophisticated and modern web site and logo would attract a higher paying clientele so I could have the things I so desperately wanted like my own studio to live in, enough money to pay the bills each month AND some left over to save and invest.
So I hired the highly recommended Kim over at Passion Project HQ.
From the first phone call I could see why so many people love Kim. She was everything I was told she would be - professional, insightful, talented and sweet. She told me about her services and how she could help me. She then came up with a one-of-a-kind package tailored just for my specific needs and sent all the information over via email. After looking it over, I signed up and we got started.
Over the next few weeks she walked me through her business branding process. First I followed the steps to create my business plan. I hated this part. It made me anxious and nervous. Then we went over branding. I liked this part more than the marketing plan. I picked out my brand colors (dark teal, deep navy blue, rich fuschia and dark plum) and then we got into the design elements like the logo and the web site.
When I first contacted Kim, I was thinking that I wanted to focus solely on body art. For the past seven years this is what I had been doing. The only problem was that 95% of the body art I did was on children's faces. Now don't get me wrong, I think kids are great, but I wanted to paint beautiful, elaborate and sophisticated things on adults and I was hoping a new look to my branding and business would attract higher paying gigs like painting on models for covers of magazines.
Kim was not the first coach I had worked with. I had worked with four others prior to her! But yet, no matter what I did, I could not seem to make a living doing body art. I thought things would be different with Kim - especially because I was getting clear on the fact that I wanted to take my body art in a different direction.
I did not want to nor have I ever wanted to paint on people just because it was fun for me or self-gratifying. From the start, I had always enjoyed this art form because I loved the fact that I could connect with the person in front of me. Body art was a way for me to love people. To serve people. To listen to their hearts and possibly bring heaven here on earth.
So after we went through the first phase and I explained to Kim that I wanted to package my body art in some way that would do MORE than just show some pretty artwork on someone's skin. I wanted it to heal people from the inside out. I wanted it to make woman feel accepted, known, understood, loved and beautiful. I wanted it to be something that would draw them to a personal relationship with God.
The problem was I had zero clue on how to do something like this and was in angst on how to make it happen. This was when I came up with the term "soul expression sessions." Because the only reason to paint someone that would make me feel satisfied and happy would be if I was tapping into my soul to bring a woman's soul and unique beauty to life on their skin so they could have a healing and transforming experience that would change them. Hmmmm. Would this even work? Would people even want something like this? How in the world would I market this? I suck at marketing and HATE SELLING things to people!
I wanted to share my story on my website too. My story about how God pulled me from the pit of despair and helped me stop drinking, using drugs, hurting myself and bulimia. Throughout the process, Kim kept suggesting that I open myself up to NOT making my website look like someone that loved Jesus so much. Or at least not put so much emphasis on my faith. She said having a lot of information about Jesus could potentially turn away certain cleints - especially potentially HIGH paying clients. Isn't this what I want? Money? Enough money to support myself? I listened and tried to be open to what she was saying but I kept struggling with this concept.
In the end I decided to listen to Kim. So she then went to work on my new "high end" web site.
Well, after a few weeks and the holidays settled down, the big reveal day came! I drove to her house so I could see what she had come up with. After sitting and catching up on how our holidays had gone, Kim asked me to close my eyes and not look at the computer screen yet. She wanted me to keep my eyes closed until she left the room so I could have some alone time with my brand new web site. Then, when I was ready, she said she would come back into the room to discuss how I felt about it.
I was nervous to open my eyes and see what she had done mostly because, throughout the process of working with her, I was discovering, more and more, that I was not 100% certain I really wanted to focus on body art at all - especially because I was going to have to NOT be myself - which is a person that is trying to do God's will and loves God.
"How in the world am I going to make this happen? How will I actually get higher paying clients to find my work and work with me?" I kept thinking. "Why did I just spend a lot of money to do something that will NEVER work? Could I really paint people for a living? And if so, why would I even want to? I mean, what is this DOING for woman? How is this helping them? How is this changing their lives for the better? I want woman to heal to the core. I want woman to live with passion and purpose. My victories in life are not just for me to enjoy. Victory is for everyone. How can I share this God? Why can't I just be myself on my own website? Why do I have to hide the things I love - like my faith and my story - just so I can attract people that have a lot of money. I don't care about stupid money. I WISH I DID! This doesn't feel fair! What do I do? I don't understand what I am feeling. Honestly and seriously, what do I do and where do I go from here?"
Keeping all my doubts inside yet feeling so sad and frustrated, I opened my eyes to gaze upon my new website for the first time. I had a feeling I was not going to like it.
And you know what?
When I saw it for the first time, I almost bawled my eyes out right there in Kim's house.
Why? Because I did not like it at all. This was hard for me to feel. I did not want to hurt her feelings by my reaction..
Is this because she did a horrible job? No! Not at all. She did great. All the artwork I had done over the past few years was plastered all over the site and she did what I thought I wanted her to do. She created a high end website for someone that thought she should and thought she wanted to reveal herself to the world as a sophisticated and classy body artist.
But it just did not feel like it was ME!!!! Not at all. So what was me?
All the questions that had been brewing in my soul for the past few weeks finally came to a head.
I have no idea what I want to do anymore!
I was afraid to hurt her feelings and show my emotions. I mean, gosh, she worked hard to create this website for me. But because living authentically is my number one value I knew, once again, I was going to have to be real and honest.
"Do you like it?" Kim asked when she came back into the room.
"Kim, you did a great job. You created something based off our conversations and thank you for your hard work. But, with that being said, I am struggling with my feelings about it and frankly, I am confused by what I am feeling. I don't understand what is happening to me right now. I have been going through a strange transformation process. Things I used to desire are no longer appealing to me. I thought I wanted to go in this direction but I don't know if I want to do body art anymore at all. Yet, I am not sure what it is I want to do. I know I want to help people. I know I want to share my story. So, if it is OK with you I would like to sit on this for a couple weeks to figure out what I am feeling and then get back to you."
"That's totally fine but just think about this..it's hard to make a living in ministry and it may just be best for you to let yourself have this website so people will be attracted to it and not turned off by what you believe, because, if they see stuff about your faith, they probably won't want to work with you and they will miss how amazing you are In this world you need money and sometimes need to play by the world's rules."
With a deep ache of sadness in my heart, I smiled, said good bye, thanked her and walked to my car.
When I got in my car and was a few blocks down the road I pulled over and started to sob for 15 minutes straight.
"God, what is going on? Where do I belong? I don't feel like I fit in anywhere anymore! Please show me what I was created for. Cuz I feel completely and utterly lost."
Hello! My name is Amanda Rita Tardif and I occasionally, infrequently but sometimes blog about amazing artists.