Tell me a little about you and your company.
Hi, I'm Megan Carty of Megan Carty Art! I grew up in a mill town just outside of beautiful (and inspirational!) coastal Portland, Maine. I had a whimsical childhood where art had a place in everyday life. After I earned my B.F.A. degree from Syracuse University’s School of Art and Design I spent many years doing graphic design work for a wide assortment of retail clients; but was left feeling unfulfilled and without purpose. Inspired by my life-long dream to be a full-time painter, I'm thrilled to now be focused on my purpose to uplift others through my abstract fine art work. My colorful paintings and prints reside with collectors all over the United States and the United Kingdom. My bubbly personality shows through in my colorful floral, coastal, and abstract paintings as I try to spread joy one painting at a time. When I'm not painting I run around barefoot with my sweet husband Chris and our three small children in the countryside of charming Pepperell, Massachusetts.
How long have you owned your own business?
I have been freelance-designing and selling small prints for myself since 2006. I’ve been doing only fine art painting/selling originals full-time for about a year.
What made you decide to start your own business?
I felt so unfulfilled working in a corporate design environment. I didn’t feel like I was contributing to the world in a greater positive purpose and it was really bothering me. I felt like I had so many of my own creative ideas and nowhere for them to go. I am also a natural leader and enjoy deciding what I’m going to create and how I’m going to do it. I also LOVE being able to work through my own schedule. I can be there for my family when they need me most and I can take time off to do errands or fun things when I need to.
What is the best piece of advice were you given when you started your career?
The best advice was given to me long ago by an older grad student friend of mine when I was graduating from University. He’d said to me in a tongue-in-cheek way, “Be the Bitch.” He was poking fun at the fact that I seemed timid and mousy and that people would step all over me for being too nice all the time. I took the deeper message to heart and really made sure to be able to stand up for my ideas, give my strong opinions when I had them and really speak my mind. Happily, I never had to “Be the Bitch,” but there is something to be said for being clear, succinct, and able to speak to your strengths. Being a friendly straight-shooter opened a lot of doors for me. Upper-management always trusted in me and what I had to say because I always meant it. And now, I can use that same honesty, character, and integrity with my clients.
What do you wish someone had told you when you started your business?
I wish someone had told me about the EXTENT of all the other career skills I would need to have. I have had to teach myself how to fully do my own P.R., my own marketing, my own bookkeeping, my own web designing, my own writing, and my own social-media managing. I’ve had to wear a lot of hats as an artist and creating the work is a very small piece of the puzzle. Very small. There isn’t enough time in the day to do all I’d like, but I do my best!
What are the three skills new entrepreneurs need in order to succeed?
I would say:
Tenacity. You have to be able to hold firm to your ideas and see them through all the way. And there will be a lot of bumps along the road that you will have to get through to stay on track. It’s easy to give up too soon.
Curiosity. You must be willing and excited to learn new things. You have to wear many hats at first, so you need to jump in with a “can-do” attitude and do what it takes to learn the best ways of doing things. Google is my best buddy.
Networking. When you run your own business, you need to be able to form a community and reach out to others. You must be able to help others in your own way. You must participate in groups and local business events. You must really try and collaborate with others in order to help each other succeed. I’m not the best at this yet, but some of my goals this year involve joining local art groups and business associations and getting involved in them. It can be hard when you are shy, but worth it in order to become part of something greater. It’s all part of sharing what you have to offer others.
What routines do you have in place to help your day run smoothly?
Routine? HA! I’m a work at home mother of 3. A routine is pretty much a pipe dream these days. BUT, I carve time out as best I can to focus on the top 3 things on my “to-do” list. I keep a daily planner and write down the things I need to accomplish that day. Then, I focus on doing one thing at a time. If I get interrupted a million times, then that’s ok. I just do my best and eventually the task gets done. Do I lose my mind? YES! But, I’m passionate about what I do, so I’m committed to making it all work. My husband is my biggest support; when he gets home from work he plays with the kids and keeps them busy so I can get things done. He also makes sure I get time on the weekends to work on projects. It’s definitely a team effort.
How do you find balance as an entrepreneur?
I don’t know if there is such a thing!? But I believe we can tend to the things that are most important to us. My marriage comes first, so we schedule a night or two each month with a babysitter (whatever we can afford) to go on a date night. We do it in advance so it’s on the calendar and we have something to look forward to. We also try to have time together every evening to watch a show together, play a game, etc. My family comes next, so we make sure to plan little fun things to do with the kids on the weekends and each day I do special alone time activity with each child. As for “me time,” I make sure to work in time to just go out and get a hot-chocolate and browse the bookstore. Sometimes I’ll get a pedicure on a Saturday. As for day-to-day, my husband and I divide up the tasks around the house to get it all done. To be honest, he does the lion’s share of the housework. I spend so much of my day with the kids and doing my work (2 full-time jobs at once!) that I’m often working into the evening. My husband gets home from work and folds the laundry and does the dishes or whatnot. Having him taking the lead at home really helps me accomplish things in my career. I’m very lucky. We both are also committed to attending church every Sunday, so we simply get up and make time for it (when I most want to sleep in!!!). The only way to achieve some sort of balance is to decide what is most important to you right now and then schedule it all in. Then, you show up for it and do your best.
P.S. We hire out the house cleaning once every 2 weeks.
What is your favorite thing about being an entrepreneur?
I LOVE having my own schedule and the freedom that allows. I love not having a boss watching my every paint stroke ready to tell me where it should go. I like using my own talents and passions to help others and contribute to the world. I feel my purpose is to bring joy to others and painting is my way to do so.
What do you do to unwind?
I love reading magazines like Domino, Anthology, Uppercase, Frankie, Professional Artist, and Flow. That’s usually all I have time for in a month. (I steal 10 minutes here or there). To get away, I love to hit the bookstore and browse and drink hot-chocolate. If my little ones are fussy during the day, I’ll stick them all in the car and drive to someplace with a drive-thru just so I can get a break. Ha! I’d love to start exercising, but haven’t quite committed to it yet. I’d say I’m too lazy, but it’s just that I have other priorities I want to focus on right now.
What’s a project you are working on right now?
Ooh, I’m so excited to be working on a series of large abstract paintings that are SO colorful and happy. They remind me of fields of flowers. My mission is to only use happy and soothing colors in my work. I’m painting as many as I can and would love to see if I can sell them somewhere awesome for decorating like One King’s Lane or Serena and Lily (aside from my own website).
How can people get in touch with you?
You can send questions, comments, or commission requests to firstname.lastname@example.org.
You can find my website and shop at www.megancartyart.com
I LOVE Pinterest pinterest.com/megancartyart
You can sign up for my newsletter on my website; I send one per month each with a new free printable goodie, news, and updates. I also try to update my blog on my website on a weekly basis. (another goal for this year!)