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Now What? The Dream Gets Real: Part 1

So...now what? I've been pondering that increasingly over the last few weeks (intensely over the last few days) as I am *finally*, fully transitioning to being a full-time illustrator. I have dreamed of this for a VERY long time, and now it's really here! Since January till now, the main focus of all my energy has been toward the remodel and the move. The move is of course completed, and though there are still 2 bathrooms to remodel, the main interior mobile home makeover is essentially done. Taxes and some other financial transition issues are out of my hair...that took up a fair bit of time as well as a bunch of brain cells. I've also done some decorating projects, because I can't stand blank walls, and though there's much more I want to do, I am slowing the pace of that as well...

So...back to my original question..."now what?" What exactly does a full-time illustrator do...?

So far, I'm doing a lot of this...

Lots of sketching...lots of planning...lots of list-making...
But now, I need to do lots of actual illustrating. To help keep me on track, I am kicking off a new Just Bee 'n Me feature called "The Dream Gets Real". This step is actually inspired by my first-ever blog friend Holli Conger who kept a year-long journal of all the steps she took, month to month, to kick off her own illustration career. (BTW, you can read Holli's entire journal here - it's called "Becoming an Illustrator" and it is an inspirational and very practical glimpse into the real-life process of transitioning to a self-employed illustrator, and has a LOT of good self-promotion ideas no matter what your self-employment venture may be...)
With "The Dream Gets Real" I will share, as often as I have something substantial to share, my to do lists, marketing ideas, illustration ideas, business goals, and my progress towards all of these things. What I hope will come out of this is two-fold: 1) It will help keep me accountable. 2) It will provide a realistic look at what it is like to launch a full-time creative endeavor for someone who may be contemplating that for their lives.

For this first installment, I will keep it fairly short and simple with a basic To Do List for May:
  1. Create at least 10 new designs to submit to Universal Designs, Inc. (my first and currently only licensing client)
  2. Send illustration samples to 2-3 new potential licensing clients per week
  3. Create a new illustration weekly for Illustration Friday
  4. Begin work on justbeenme.com, my new domain where I will host all of my websites, portfolio, the blog, and much more
  5. Create a downloadable seasonal clip art/scrapbooking element collection for a popular online scrapbooking showcase/e-store (to be announced soon)
  6. Launch my first foray into selling custom artwork online - although I am still working out the particulars, I can tell you that I will be offering something similar to this artwork below I did for sweet little Hope, our granddaughter, customizable to any name. I've had requests for these before and I think I've worked out an effective way to be able to do it...more to come!

Sound ambitious (or slacker-ish)...? Maybe. But I need to make a real effort to get this endeavor off the ground and I want to aim high to keep myself plenty busy...but not crazy. We'll see how I how I do. I look forward to keeping you up to date, Lord willing, on the progress week to week...that will be a great motivator for me... Thanks in advance for your support and encouragement (and nagging when needed :o)

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