To preface this discussion, I’ll mention that I am not a professional painter. I dabble in it for fun! Painting on a canvas has taught me so many things personally and professionally. You may be asking, ‘how can painting teach me how to become an entrepreneur?’ Below are 7 ways painting can teach you how to become an entrepreneur, put into painting terms.
Before any painting is painted, a painter must first be inspired. A painter must imagine and/or find subject matter that sparks an idea. This idea will guide the painter on his or her journey. Painting can teach us how important it is to have purpose in what we do.
Painting on canvases can be a very tedious process. Oil painting specifically can take months to finish a piece as it sometimes takes 1 week or more for a layer to dry. It’s important to have passion for your idea beyond the first session. Similarly to painting with oil, an entrepreneur must have passion and determination to go beyond the first exciting few months. It’s a day in and day out process that has it’s ups and downs. Passion and believing in what you’re doing are crucial for long-term success.
An empty canvas can be intimidating, especially when it’s a large, costly canvas. Painting requires a plan. It’s important to visualize which elements to include and where to put them. It’s also important to visualize the success of how your painting will look even before it’s painted. Similarly, entrepreneurs and business owners should have a plan and goals.
Painting requires long-term thinking. To master a landscape painting, a painter must know how to paint many different specialties such as mountains, rivers, flowers, etc. To become an expert in each one of these areas, a painter must continue practicing. A painter must also recognize the long-term goals he or she has in what they want to produce. Things don’t happen overnight. The same can be said for entrepreneurs building a business. It’s important for entrepreneurs to put in place foundations that can withstand the growth that is to come in the future. In marketing terms, building a website on the right platforms and creating a SEO strategy is a great long-term play that can pay dividends later on.
Leonardo didn’t paint the Mona Lisa or Salvator Mundi as his first painting attempt. Leonardo spent many years perfecting his craft, studying proportions, anatomy, and motion. Like Leonardo, entrepreneurs need to continually practice and get better. It’s so critical to stay ahead of the curve to be the best possible version of ourselves. As entrepreneurs, we cannot become stagnant in our knowledge and must maintain a high-level of expertise in our industries. It’s a good idea to set aside time each week to brush (pun intended!) up on our trade.
When one paints, one must take risks. Starting a painting on an empty canvas can be terrifying. Even more terrifying, when you successfully create a layer of paint and begin on a layer that overlaps on top of the first. This can be scary because painters don’t want to ruin their great layer of work that they spent so much time on. But fear doesn’t stop painters from continuing their painting. Risks must be taken to complete the painting. Similarly, entrepreneurs must take risks. Simply starting a business is a risk. We must take calculated risks to advance our vision and purpose.
Painters make mistakes. Whether it’s smudges, accidental brush strokes, choosing the wrong colors, or simply messing up, painting requires much forgiveness to continue going forward. Entrepreneurs must learn this lesson, we must forgive ourselves when we make errors. Sometimes we mess up the sale, we go into business with the wrong partners (or customers). It’s critical to accept mistakes, learn, and move forward.
In conclusion, painting can provide many lessons that entrepreneurs should apply to their approach. Like painting, entrepreneurship is a beautiful thing. It takes guts, grit, and (some) grief to become successful. Apply these 7 painting principles to your business and keep on being great!
And the final product:
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