Michelle Myrick-Olsen, Artist, Notteroy, Norway
What were your challenges as an artist?
– Find my market. Who are my tribe? That was one of the things that I really wanted to focus in on this year, because I did have a successful first year and I didn’t really know anything, you know? About running a creative business.
– You said you had a successful first year as a full-time artist, you mind sharing what your sales were in your first year?
– I sold 99 paintings.
– My first year.
– What was the dollar amount? Do you mind sharing that?
– I made over $6,000 in sales, but obviously my prices were too low for that volume of work. Another challenge that I had is that I sold mostly in Canada. Not in Norway. I sold in the Middle East and I sold in India as well. All online. But most of it didn’t come from where I actually live. So that’s another issue for me is that the market that has been buying from me is so far away from me.
What were you doing wrong?
– I don’t know if that actually matters, but being able to do customer appreciation parties and things like that would be a real challenge for me. Trying to push too hard. Trying to sell. And I was putting discounts on, which I should never have done. I should never have done it.
– Are you gonna do it anymore?
– Never, never. I swear, I swear. Because I understand that this service–
– Put your hand up to the screen to swear.
– Oh my hand is up. I swear. I did a disservice to myself.
What is stopping most artists?
– So what happens is that artists want something, but they have a hard time believing they can actually accomplish it. Because they have self-limiting beliefs embedded in their subconscious mind undermining their ability to believe. So I’m really proud to say that I’m good friends with a very famous performance psychologist named Dr. George Pratt, who is one of our guest lecturers in the program. He gives a four minute daily exercise, which is so doable. You can do four minutes a day. And students who do well in the program read his book and they do the four minute daily exercise. They do three things. They schedule their time to learn at their own pace ’cause this is all at your own pace.
Number two they find study partners, they make friends that they meet with on video calls just like this. And then number three, they do the exercise. And that’s the formula for success in the program, it’s really not any more complicated than that. If you do those three things, there’s no way you’re not going to experience results.
What has Michelle learned so far?
You will. So Michelle writes, The Code to Joy, wow, I’m about 40% in and I’ve bells and whistles ring all over the place. Has anyone felt compelled to complete the book before moving through course one segments? I’m beginning to think that I’m a lot more messed up than I thought I was. Although, that was already a lot. I know you’re not actually. What you’re doing is you’re just uncovering the beliefs that were self-limiting that you were unaware of. And now you get to clean them out. And then she writes, it’s kind of scary and exciting at the same time to go back there, but also to finally to resolve so much. So tell me about that. Can you just tell what was one big bell or whistle that went off so far?
– Oh my goodness. Well under each one of the limited beliefs, I related to something. I had a major tragedy happen in my personal life in my family. I lost my father and my brother, and my uncle, all at the same time.
– When I was 21, but I also lost my sister, my younger sister, when I was only 6 years old. So I’m old enough to remember that and the very first thing, the feeling of being abandoned, that really resonates very deeply with me. Because it goes way, way back. And as I was reading through all of the different limiting beliefs, I was also bullied as a teenager for about five or six years. yeah, some of that stuff runs really deep. Now I’ve been aware of it, but when is tarted going through all the beliefs and I was like yeah, I got that, yeah I got that, oh god, I got that too. It was like oh my god. I’m more messed up. When you see it all together. it was oh, this is kind of good, but it’s also kind of scary.
– Right. But you can also see that that’s the first step is to become aware of the specific belief that’s running the background, that’s running the show. Because as soon as you shine a spotlight on it, then you can take very practical steps to remove it.
Artists need more than a business course.
– Yeah. I was really meant to meet you, Ann. I was really meant to find my way to you and to this course. Because from everything that I’ve watched and all the other videos, people that have completed the course and the people I’ve met, study partners on the group, they say that it’s life changing. And that’s so encouraging. Not just for business, but for your personal life, your relationships, your relationship with yourself. That’s everything, isn’t it?
– Well thank you for that, first of all. That makes me even more motivated when I hear that, because it’s not just a business program. It’s not. It actually does have a positive ripple effect on the rest of your life. And that’s because remember what our product is, our product is emotion. So it can’t not have a positive ripple effect on the other aspects of your being. And if you do the work, you gotta do the work.
– It doesn’t come with you sitting their passively, you have to do the work and you have to trust the process. And in order to trust the process, you have to trust yourself. And if you don’t trust yourself, you do the Code to Joy exercise.
Why do your emotions have to do with your art?
– I read so many self-help books and different things like this, and I never connected, it sounds so strange now when I say it out loud, the art and all of that stuff. I knew my art was relating back to that, but the clearing bit, the work, doing the work, I just never put those two pieces together. Really. Until I started reading that book and I went like holy crap.
– Wait until you get into course number two and you start to see specifically how your most painful moments are actually a gift.
We do not succeed alone.
– I’m trying to build community, but I feel now like I walked into the right community for me.
– Yeah, I’m very proud of the community, I really, really am. I’m very proud of them. So one of the reasons that I put together the study partner program was because a lot of artists live in isolation, they operate in isolation. And if they do try to join an artists community, so many of them are competing with one another and when you’re competing with other people, what comes up? Competition. Competition yields jealously and even snobbery. And so we don’t have any of that.
– It’s important. Community is very, very important. To me, it is anyway.
– It is to any human being. We don’t succeed alone. And if you’re trying to sell your art by yourself, I’m telling you, it is too hard, it’s too lonely, and it’s no damn fun. You guys get to celebrate with one another.
How does Michelle feel?
– I feel like this is the right step for me to take right now. It’s very encouraging feeling to hear all the positive feedback from people that have completed it as well. Yeah, it’s a good investment in ourselves as artists I feel.
Should other artists apply to enroll?
Well I’ll say this with all honesty, I am not even two weeks in and already I’ve gained knowledge that I would not have otherwise.
– And I mean I’m just started. I have done like five segments of course one. And I’ve learned so much already that it’s been valuable enough to warrant a tuition fee.
– And I’m just getting started. You have 130 or something lessons.
– You’ve done half of the first of eight courses and it’s worth the tuition investment already.
– There you go. It’s not me saying it, I’m not saying it.
– To learn about not devaluing your work, to learn about not entering these art contests because that was one thing I was considering. I’m so glad I haven’t gone down that road. But all of these things, I’ve just learned from being part of the community and a couple of segments of your course, the first course. I mean, that’s valuable stuff.
– Right. And it’s very highly specialized knowledge and highly specialized vetting process, this program is not for every artist.
– No. I will tell you, ’cause I questioned myself. For me what profit I had in my business in my first year, I spent on my tuition. And I do believe I’m gonna get that back.
– You have to if you wanna graduate.
– The one question that I asked and answered myself was if I don’t invest in myself, who’s going to?
– Why would anybody else invest in me if I’m not willing to invest in myself?
– Exactly. It is the best investment you can make is in yourself.
– That’s what Warren Buffet, the billionaire investor says, the best investment you can make is in yourself. And here’s the thing, there’s no damn risk. I’ve got a 30 day, no questions asked, money back guarantee. I don’t want you in there if you’re not happy, so I’ll give you your money back. You got 30 days. But if you don’t do anything and you keep doing the same damn thing over and over again and it’s just not working, that’s a negative decline. You’re gonna continue to get diminishing returns. And the thing of it is you’re gonna eat up your time and that’s an asset you’ll never get back.
– That’s right.
– You can’t restore time. You can maybe get your money back, buy you can’t restore time. And you don’t know how long you have. None of us are getting out of here alive. I don’t mean that to be scary or threatening, it’s just a fact. We really should examine our mortality. If you’re not happy–
– It can change on a dime. Trust me, I’ve lost enough of my family suddenly that I know that. Your life can change in a second.
– [Ann] Right.
– In a second.
– So do what you want to do. Do what you want to do.
– Be happy for god’s sake. We’re put on this planet to be happy.
– Do something to be happy.
– And if you can make a living from it, well that’s even a thousand times better, isn’t it?
– Exactly. And here’s the thing, if you wanna make a full-time living selling your art, great. If you don’t wanna do that, you just wanna do it part-time, great. It’s all up to you. You do what you want. I will support you either way. Well I know it’s late in Norway, it’s not late here in San Francisco. I’m gonna let you go to bed. And tell you I really appreciate you taking the time to speak to me so late at night and to share what you have already gained in one half of course one.
– 11 days.
– 11 days. I started on New Year’s day.
– Oh, how perfect is that? Awesome. Okay, well I’m looking forward to you graduating, I have no doubt you will. And I look forward to hearing more progress. Keep sharing ’cause every time you share a new insight, a new progress, it helps you, it helps it affirm it in you. But it also inspires all your fellow students. Please keep doing that.
– Thanks for having me, Ann. I really appreciate getting to speak with you in person.
– You’re welcome, my pleasure. I love speaking to my students. And I get to highlight them. I get to show you guys off when I do this, so it’s my pleasure.