Who doesn’t dream of staying on an exotic tropical island and just paint all day!
“I said to myself. ‘When you make a change, make sure that it is a lifestyle change this time’. You can always change locations but not all of us are capable of making a lifestyle change”.
For me, it was the freedom to determine my own success or failure, to be the boss of my own time. To live in a safe place which is pretty at the same time. Mauritius was all of this and more. “I call it, ‘Living the dream’.”
My challenge was finding a means to make my dream into a reality. I was 56 years old when I decided to make this lifestyle change, I am now 59 years old and I am exactly where I envisioned my life to be when I started on this journey.
“I also said. ‘If you are not willing to fail you will never succeed. You might fail and fail again but only those who get up and continue will succeed”.
Just look at Colonel Sanders.
It wasn’t until the age of 62 that Sanders, with a $105 social security check in hand, pitched his chicken recipe to restaurants.
According to reports, some 1,009 people rejected him.
Instead of giving up, he hit the road and began trying to sell his franchise-model chicken restaurant, eventually finding success with a restaurant outside of Utah.
It became the first Kentucky Fried Chicken, and the restaurant tripled sales in a year, mostly from the colonel’s chicken.
“I said to myself. ‘This is my five-year journey and I knew that I might fail before I succeed. Success is never guaranteed in life'” My ideas had to evolve from month to month. My first idea was to paint my story as an ex-pat living on the island and make that into a coffee table book. This way it will be in plain sight everywhere and I can build the notoriety I had a need for people to take me seriously as an artist and by publishing you can accelerate this process. But I soon realized that people are more into their mobile devices than physical books. So I decided not to do the coffee table book at the moment.
I then started a Patreon page where people can participate in my journey and contribute to my daily cost. Patreon is this amazing space where you might pick up patrons that will support an artist. You might make Patreon only content. Or early release info just aimed at your patrons. But alas that idea never got off the ground for me. I made 3 youtube videos a week and paid a princely sum to have them edited. My videos were about the places I visited and also how I do my art and the idea was to share certain stuff only with patrons. I might get back to this idea later. It is a great way to build a tribe of like-minded people.
I started a Youtube channel and want a lot of followers who sees me and follow my ex-pat journey. This is an evolving part of my life, it can take a lot of my painting hours per week. The positive side is that I get the opportunity to discover the island and take photos that as of today I use as reference material for my paintings. So who was I fooling in trying to become a youtube celebrity? I say all of this tongue in cheek. Well, my wife and my cat are my biggest supporters, although I have a bunch of followers on Youtube. It is a huge platform to use with a lot of potentials.
Ok, the next platform I tried was Instagram. I aimed at getting 10000 followers. But Instagram takes time and dedication. Not everybody follows the artist. I can say that I now have some genuine followers on Facebook and Instagram. I learned that many of those that have zillions of followers have used means that are not so kosher and basically bought or paid someone to get them more followers. But I am like the tortoise. Slow and sure will surely get me there.
But at the end of the day, you have to make great art for people to notice you and appreciate your art and want to invest in your artwork because it beautifies their surroundings. After 19 months on the island, I am getting traction and I have people visiting my studio and commissioning me to make custom-made paintings for their interiors.
I will share more of my joy and experiences in the next episode. This will definitely help you to avoid the same mistakes I made, but sadly you might have to make them before you can pass the school of life. Your comments are treasured. I am here to advise you if you need help.