The Painted Playground

A few years ago, Heather Freeman started a paint party business.

She set up painting workshops in local restaurants and created an artistic experience for those in attendance. Then, about a year ago, she dove into creating her own art and realized how much she loved it. She decided to become a full-time, professional artist.

As she shifted to a new business model, she realized that she needed to learn how to sell her art. She reached out to the SBDC and was connected with Bert Carder. “He was so willing to sit down with me, and he helped me focus on the things that would make the most impact. There are so many things to do as an entrepreneur, and it’s easy to spend a lot of time trying to do them all at once. Bert helped me realize that to be successful, I needed to sell. Together, we created a plan do that.”

Based on her meetings with Bert, Heather began to focus her efforts on showing up where prospective clients were ready to buy. She set up an Etsy shop and started a Google Ad based on people searching for the type of abstract art that she makes. In just a short time, she started seeing an increase in followership.

In addition, she was able to let go of some forms of advertising that weren’t bringing in paying customers, such as social media. “After our first meeting, I got right to work,” Heather says. “At our next meeting, Bert assessed what I had done, what was working and what wasn’t, and helped me tweak a few things. At each meeting, he gave me more than I could ever have imagined.”

Looking forward, Heather still plans to make some changes to her website, and the future is bright. She’s doing all of her own artwork and feels inspired to keep creating. “I’m having such a blast painting my own stuff that I don’t want to stop! I’m really excited to make beautiful, colorful, fun art that inspires others and makes them feel good. We all deserve to be surrounded by beauty. Living in Durango, we have so much beauty around us. Everyone should be able to bring that beauty into their homes and offices as well.”

Currently, Heather sells locally out of her studio in The Smiley Building and online to people across the country.

Her tips for other aspiring artists? “As artists, we often feel we need to figure things out and do everything ourselves. My advice is to reach out and ask for support. You don’t have to be a ‘starving artist.’ A lot of people want you to succeed and can help you do that!”

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