The worst part of my week used to be Sunday nights. That’s when I’d sit in my pajamas in front of the TV, a pint of ice cream in my hand, and desperately try not to watch the sun set outside my window. To me, that great orange fireball descending behind the mountains felt like sand in an egg timer bringing me closer to going to work on Monday.
For five years I was a public school art teacher in Phoenix, Arizona. People would tell me how lucky I was to have such a fun job. But it didn’t feel fun. I felt trapped. Trapped in a system that rewarded its teachers with longer hours and shorter pay each year.
So I did what felt natural…I started a blog called Dirty Footprints Studio.
What began as a way to meet kindred spirits and share my art, in a year transformed into a doorway to escape the chains of full-time employment.
Blogging became a way to teach things that the public school system frowned upon, but set my own heart ablaze. I called it FEARLESS® Painting and all of a sudden I was receiving emails from readers all over the world asking when I would be offering online workshops.
After purchasing a Mac and taking a crash course via YouTube on how to make decent videos, I started creating my very first online workshop.
And a year after I launched it…I quit my job.
It’s now four years since my first online workshop released—and three years since I quit dreading Sunday sunsets. I am making three times as much as I made teaching and I only work 20-25 hours per week.
I support my family by sharing my journey as an artist online through blogging, online workshops, an annual retreat in Sedona, and even a teacher training program I developed around FEARLESS® Painting. Around 2,000 people sign up for my online course every year.
But you know what the best part is?
I finally have the freedom to live life in alignment with my own heart’s values…and a big part of that is fueled by traveling!
My husband is Costa Rican, and nestled in a hammock under two mango trees in Santa Teresa, Costa Rica is one of my satellite offices that I’ve been spending a lot of time at this year.
The beauty is that the more I choose to live life authentically and share it online, the easier it becomes to support our lifestyle. When I soak in the sunshine, enjoy hours of chasing my son on the beach, and then report back about it on my blog, sales always go up and up.
This is a far cry from what I learned about supporting myself as an artist in my days of being in art school. Deep down, I knew that there was more out there than just the starving artist myth…or being forced to teach in a system that didn’t nourish or appreciate the artist’s gifts. Sharing online has changed my life and helped me to be the artist I was born to be.
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