Honest Talk about Running an Art Business, Creativity and Motherhood with Julie Fei-Fan Balzer

[00:00:00] Made Remarkable Intro: Welcome back. And thanks for tuning into the made remarkable podcast. Today. We are warmly, welcoming Julie Fei-Fan Balzer, a solopreneur. And small business owner joining our host Kellee Wynne for an enlightening conversation. About the world of art, creativity, and navigating the complexities of being a parent in the business world. Julie shares that achieving greatness in both art and motherhood is possible through love. Perseverance. And a dash of humor. As she shares her insights on the importance of passive income and the need for alternative revenue streams for solopreneurs. Check out the show notes and transcripts for more information about Julie exclusive promotional offers and any special links mentioned during the episode. Kelly loves connecting with listeners. So don't be shy. Reach out on social media and together let's build a community that celebrates the remarkable. If you want to be notified every time a new episode hits the airwaves, just hit that subscribe button on your favorite podcast platform. Thank you for joining us today and always remember that you are made remarkable. Destined to achieve the unimaginable. Now let's get to the good part. Introducing Kellee Wynne and Julie Fei-Fan Balzer.

[00:01:11] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Well, hello. Hello. I'm Kellee Wynne, artist, author, mentor, fiercely independent mother and wife, and the founder of a multiple six figure creative business. And I love my life, but I've been where you're at. I was slogging away at this art business thing for more than a decade. Once I finally connected with my true calling, unlock the magic of marketing and built a system that could scale, while I realize I can make an impact and make a substantial income, I'm finally running a business that I love and it makes all the.

[00:01:44] Difference in the world. My biggest dream is to help you do the same. Let this podcast be the catalyst to your biggest success. You already have it in you because you are made remarkable.

[00:01:57] Hello, Julie. Long time fan. First time getting to talk to you. 

[00:02:03] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: That's very kind of you. I'm so excited to be here. 

[00:02:09] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Thank you so much. So I think I probably first found you way back in my scrapbooking days, which I think is one of those things that is becoming a common thread for me as I meet. artists, along the way and their journey.

[00:02:25] And I'm like, Oh, I think that our paths have crossed before way back in the way back. So I would love for you to just kind of introduce yourself to the listeners, your journey, like how you got into this, some of the grand adventures. I know you've been On PBS, you've, been doing art lessons, art courses, working for different brands and products and now you're living in a fun house that you've been able to redo yourself and put your personality into and like all these things I've, been a viewer from the outside for a long time, but.

[00:03:00] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: Well, I'm so glad to share. So I would say my entire journey, if not my life is mostly based on accidents. There's very little planning and that's a problem, but that's a separate issue for another day is probably why there's no plan. Uh, but anyway, so yeah, I, I started like, I think a lot of other people do.

[00:03:19] I never really thought I was particularly creative. I certainly didn't think I was artistic because, you know, you go to school and in school, you're told to sort of draw things that are realistic. Draw this horse. Draw this. Draw that. And, some people may be luckier than I am, but I never had an art teacher who really sat down to teach us.

[00:03:37] How to draw it was just kind of like draw this and either you did or you didn't and that's always what I assumed being an artist was but you know, I liked doing creative things. So I did beading and I did crafting and I stumbled into scrapbooking at some point and absolutely fell in love with it and I'm old enough.

[00:03:56] And started scrapbooking long enough ago that it was somewhat I'm not going to say it wasn't pre internet, but it was very, very, very early internet that there wasn't a ton of Internet shopping. So, like, supplies were very hard to come by. I lived in New York City at the time and we didn't have a scrapbook store, but we did have.

[00:04:14] Art supply stores. So this started a long period in which I was like, well, I can't buy scrapbook paper necessarily, but I can make scrapbook paper because I can buy big sheets of art paper, paint it and cut it down to 12 by 12. And I can, you know, make my own embellishments because I can't buy the flowers so I can make them.

[00:04:34] And so somehow then in that I became like an artsy scrapbooker. Very much in quotes, right? But it was really, again, like, it wasn't my plan. It's because I couldn't get my hands on all the cute stuff that I saw in the magazines and stuff. And then in terms of it sort of taking a turn, shall we say, that also was an accident, which is I was reading a magazine and it, you know, said, you can be published.

[00:04:59] And I was like, Oh, I want to be published. So, I sent in my stuff and I was, of course, completely rejected many times, many times. And I was like, this is not okay 

[00:05:12] Kellee Wynne Conrad: because you didn't have all the product on your pages that they wanted to push. Right. 

[00:05:17] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: And so I also didn't realize that that's how it worked at all.

[00:05:20] Right. Like I literally complete naively was like, It's kind of like, so I used to work in the theater and I think people show up and they're like, well, I'm 24, but I can play Lady Macbeth. And it's like, no, it doesn't like, you can't, like, you're not going to get that part. Based on the fact that you're 24, no matter how good you are, like, it just doesn't work that way, right?

[00:05:40] And so, I think, like, some of that stuff, too, with the magazines happened. But what it also did is it lit a fire in me to try to figure out why other people's work was better than mine. And frankly, it might have not just been the products, it probably was a lot better than mine, right? That's the thing that's hard to accept when you begin, because you're so proud of what you make, but you're probably not that good.

[00:06:00] Right? Yeah. It's true. Takes a little time and practice. It does. And so I started to, like, really focus on design principles and, like, figuring out how to make my work better and why is this piece good and my piece is not, and I learned a lot about sort of, graphic design and all sorts of stuff like that, and it really propelled me forward.

[00:06:21] And then in the midst of that, another sort of crazy accident happened, which is I was submitting to everything. If somebody was like, there's a bug who has a scrapbook, would you like to contribute to the bug's scrapbook? I would have been like, yes, I will send in three pictures. You know what I mean? Like the whole thing.

[00:06:40] So at some point this girl had a book that was on doodling and it seemed perfect because I did a lot of doodling because I couldn't get the supply. So I was doodling a lot of things. Right. So I sent in a thing and it got accepted and then she said, Oh, the pen company that sponsored this book wants to send someone to do a TV show, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, like a little spot.

[00:07:01] And I thought, okay. So I, I thought, well, there's no way that they'd be interested in having me do it. especially since the homeland or mothership of scrapbooking is in Utah and I lived in New York and I didn't think like that would make any sense. But I wrote and I was like, Hey, I'm interested, but like, what's.

[00:07:17] The deal with it. And it turned out to be this PBS show called, um, um, making memory I think it was scrapbook memories. There you go. Very long ago. I can hardly remember scrapbook memories that was filmed in Ohio. And I went and I like did my segments and the producer came back and she said to me, who are you?

[00:07:39] And I said, Oh, I'm Julia. I was just out there and I did this thing and you know, the Sakura like segment and she was like, no, no, no, no. Who are you? And I was like, oh, I'm me. I have no idea. And so she invited me to be on some of her other shows because I did some quilting. So I got on the quilting art show and then she invited me to come back to Scrapbook Memories.

[00:08:04] And then before I knew it, I was sitting between the two hosts. And the opens and the closes and they were looking at me and I was looking at them and I had no idea what was going on. And then all of a sudden she said, I'm starting this new show and I'd like you to be the host. So again, I couldn't replicate it.

[00:08:20] I have no idea what happened, but one of the things I said to the producer, Cathy, as I said, what was it about me? What was it about me? I'm not particularly anything. I'm very average. Like, what was it about me? And she said. You have two things, which is one, your personality comes through the camera, and that's just not true for everyone.

[00:08:39] So again, that's an accident. I don't control that. It's nothing I do. I just lucked into having this thing happen, right? Some people, they have great personalities, but it doesn't translate through the camera, right? And then the second thing that she said is she said you have a, you have a really great way of taking complicated things.

[00:08:56] And making them really simple and I think that the more that I've taught, I have realized that that is one of my superpowers. It's just the way that my brain works is I'm able to break things down. It's that old thing about like, how do you eat an elephant? And somehow I intrinsically understand how to break that down.

[00:09:14] Into little tiny parts to make it so that you eat it one bite at a time, right? And so that has been a great combination for me that I'm able to come through the camera and to teach things in a way that other people can understand, right? So again, total accidental career. And then a series of complicated events led to I was, you know, more enjoying, I worked in the theater at this time.

[00:09:38] I was enjoying more working, in the sort of crafting and art side of things. I was getting a divorce. Was this whole maelstrom of stuff and I just decided to go for it. So in 2012, I founded my business. Balls or Designs LLC. Very fancy. And it has changed and morphed over the years as I have changed and morphed.

[00:09:59] And the thing is so interesting. So I remember several years ago speaking to a friend of mine who was a very recent graduate of Harvard Business School, super smart and definitely thinking about, like, how you 2x this, how you 10x this, how you, and he was like, I don't understand, how do you 10x your business?

[00:10:16] And I said to him, I was like, you know, I think this is one of the issues, which is, my business is me. Yeah. Right. And so, there are some small ways that you can grow it and change it and blah, blah, blah. But at the end of the day, The fact is I actually have two businesses, right? Because I have the business where I sell art to people.

[00:10:36] Then I have the business where I teach people how to make art. And while there is some overlap in those customers, it isn't entirely overlapped. And so it's a very Interesting path to navigate. I think for many artists, how to do social media, how to do, you know, your blog, your website, everything else to set it up for two different businesses.

[00:10:55] Because an art buyer isn't necessarily interested in hearing about your classes or your tips for making art. And someone who wants to make the art is not going to buy your art most of the time, because they want to. Make it not buy it and particularly because the audience that I serve is really people who I always say this, you're not going to make what I make.

[00:11:13] There are people who are not interested in making art that looks like my art. There are people who are interested in making their art, but they're past the beginner phase of techniques. They're past the phase where they want to copy and come close to somebody else's work. They're at the point where they are interested in getting under the hood, looking at the structure of how things are put together, understanding how to make their work better.

[00:11:33] So for that reason, again. They're not going to buy my work. One of my favorite stories ever is I had a student who was asking me, so I teach this huge class every year called Design Boot Camp, which is like a very long multi week intensive thing where you really like pull apart the principles and elements of design.

[00:11:51] And I had a student ask a question before she signed up that she said, and She said, I don't like your art. Is this class still a good fit for me? And so I swallowed my ego. Because no one likes to hear that. 

[00:12:04] Kellee Wynne Conrad: That was very bold. Wow. 

[00:12:05] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: Very bold, but it's a valid question. Right? She was like, I don't like your work, but like, I listen to you talk, and I see your videos, and I think what you say is interesting, but I don't want to make what you make.

[00:12:16] Right. And I was like, , I'm not going to teach you how to make what I make. I'm going to teach you about yourself and a strategy for approaching things by yourself. Do you know what I mean? And what's been so interesting is not only did she take design bootcamp, but she has been a very loyal student of mine now for multiple years, she took a second level design bootcamp.

[00:12:34] She's been through, my membership program at the highest level. She's coming to my house for an in person class. Like, so, I think it's so interesting because, again, accidentally, I think I have found A lot of what my niche is, which is finding a way to make these complicated ideas about learning about yourself, what you like, what you don't, how art works, do you know what I mean?

[00:12:58] Breaking that down into something that people can understand and they don't even have to like what I, they have to like me, I think they have to like what I make, or maybe liking me isn't even required, but you never know. 

[00:13:10] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Well, I think that there needs to be some sort of connection to you feeling like you're the one who has the answers that they're searching for.

[00:13:17] But it is true that we don't have to like, I don't have to love everything, that someone makes to know that they're competent and that Able to make good work might just not be my kind of work and that's probably what she meant. Hopefully I hope I love your work. If that's any help, 

[00:13:40] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: that makes me feel much better.

[00:13:42] Kellee Wynne Conrad: You've inspired me many times, but I love the idea that your work can inspire someone, but they don't have to make the work that you're making. 

[00:13:50] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: Yeah, I think, like, in my old age, I have come to the idea about how much, process matters, not because product doesn't matter, because in the end it does, that's what the buyer wants, right?

[00:14:03] But how much process matters in terms of artists being able to say, ah, this is not the only time I'll make something like this. I know how to reproduce or recreate this. I understand why this went wrong. I know how to fix this. Do you know what I mean? Those are all processes that make you confident and able to turn out work that you like.

[00:14:25] Do you know what I mean? Sort of over and over as opposed to, I think when you focus on the product. It's so hard to understand how you got to there, and you're so impatient to get to there, and you're so desperate, you know what I mean, that I think it just really messes with your head, whereas if you can focus sort of it.

[00:14:42] In the process of what you're doing, I think a little bit like an athlete, right? You're not focused on hitting the ball. They talk a lot when they train you, right, about how the swing feels, where you start the swing, how, where you're looking, like, how your body moves after the swing, so that the idea is if you swing correctly, Regularly over and over.

[00:15:02] Eventually, y'all are going to hit the ball, most of the time. And I think like the same with art, right? You've got to get into the process. Know that your process is right. I saw a YouTube video the other day, which I confess I didn't watch all of, but the first half really had me, because it was the premise of it that I really liked where she said everybody's trying to find their own Style and you shouldn't try to work to find this style.

[00:15:29] You should work to find your process. And I was like, boom, 

[00:15:34] Kellee Wynne Conrad: that's a nugget. 

[00:15:36] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: Yeah, that's such a big nugget, right? It's that it's like your style. Again, that's product. Who cares? Do you know what I mean? Because I think the product Changes as you do, as color change, as trends change, but the process can be very much the same if you're in it, if you're confident, all that kind of stuff, and also make it more pleasurable for you if the process is something that really fuels you.

[00:16:01] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Right, and, and I see exactly what you're saying now in my own making where there were so many years where it's like, I want to paint a tree. So how do I get there? Right. I want to do this thing. So how do I get there? And eventually after doing it enough, it's like, okay, I don't know what the end result is exactly going to be, but I know when I pick up this tool, my arm wants to do this motion.

[00:16:25] And then the next thing that I instinctively do is I grab this thing and like, eventually it becomes so like second nature, like your handwriting. And I love that it is, it's not just. We're in it for the process, but we become the process. 

[00:16:44] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: Yeah, and I tell people all the time, it's an unpopular opinion, but I'm going to stand behind it and take the fire that comes with it.

[00:16:50] But I think essentially that intuitive painting is a really incorrect term. 

[00:16:56] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I am going to jump on your bandwagon with you. 

[00:17:00] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: Because I think when I think like the benefit of intuitive painting Intuitive painting and I have used a stronger word than not a correct term. But anyway, the thing about intuitive painting is that It is freeing.

[00:17:12] It does allow you to feel like there are no rules, and I think that's great. The problem is, so often I feel like people who encourage intuitive painting, they have, for years and years and years, studied color theory, studied design, studied all those things. So they are making decisions which may now be intuitive to them.

[00:17:29] Because they have that history. They have all that stuff in their brains. But it's not intuitive to you. It's kind of like telling people, we're gonna do intuitive reading. Just look at the words and feel what they say. I'm like, I can intuitively read, cause I know how to read. Right? But like, Can you intuitively read if you've never seen, you know what I mean?

[00:17:53] Exactly. Probably not. 

[00:17:54] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I was kind of thinking of driving a car, it's like, I don't even remember how I got from there to here. I just intuitively do it. But there was definitely a time where I had to really learn the ins and outs of driving a car. But, I've been on this bandwagon for years, too, and it may be an unpopular opinion, but when you have a foundation set, when you understand the principles of design and composition and color.

[00:18:22] Like, then everything else can be intuitive. 

[00:18:26] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: So again, because I come from a theater background, something I always say is replace the word intuitive with the word improvisation. Because, so, Viola Spoolen is a woman who's probably the most famous improvisation teacher on earth. Like, if you go to see Second City, or any of those things where people do improv, and she says, Improvisation is the moment when planning An opportunity meet, right?

[00:18:49] It's not. Improvisation happens because you've practiced, you've thought of things, you've done things, and then the opportunity is there and you walk through the door. So if you go to see Second City or any sketch comedy show, guess what? They have rehearsals. They practice things. So yeah, you're throwing out a word, but guess what?

[00:19:06] They've practiced some ideas, some bits, some ways to go. They've practiced working together. They understand how things work. So there, it is planning. Opportunity. And that's the improvisation. And the same thing is going to be true when you're painting, right? The more that I figure out how to fix a mistake that I've made, the more often in my art journal that I make a mess and a wreck and a disaster and learn that I can come back from that.

[00:19:31] Then that's, that's the planning, right? Then when the opportunity of a huge disaster happens on a seven foot canvas, I don't feel like I have to trash it or gesso over it. I feel like. This is my moment. I have practiced for this and I am ready because I know the things I can do to fix it. 

[00:19:51] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah. Well, also I would say a couple decades worth of practicing will make that happen for you.

[00:20:00] And it's about the long haul, right? It's about doing it and repeating it and not expecting that the very first day you learn to play piano, you're going to be able to play Mozart. I mean, it takes time and practice. Right. I like the improv idea though. That is, you know, show up enough times, submit enough times to the magazine.

[00:20:22] Eventually the bug magazine will say yes, 

[00:20:25] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: right? This bug is so excited to have you. It is. Yeah, I think that that's so true. And I think that again, people, you know, I've heard many sports players say things like I wasn't the most talented guy, but I was out there throwing, you know, shooting shots and like at the gym hours before anybody else.

[00:20:44] And it is, again, the idea that work ethic can get you there over raw talent. It is unfair. There are some people who have raw talent. It is unfair. It's true. They, they can do things more naturally. It comes more easily to them. And I think that's where this idea comes from that, like somehow you're touched by the heavens above, to be an artist or you're not.

[00:21:04] But I think that in the end, work ethic always wins out, whether it's athletics or music or art, or business or anything. When you're there and you're putting in the work, you're putting in the time, you're thoughtful about it, you're honest with yourself, you're evaluating what's happening, like, you're going to be successful.

[00:21:23] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah, putting in the hours. How many times do you hear someone say, Oh, I couldn't even draw a straight line. And it's like, have you practiced drawing a straight line? And it's irrelevant to making art, whether you can draw a straight line or any of the rest of that. It is the time. And practice that makes all the difference.

[00:21:41] I was teaching an art class once. And it was a series of art classes and I required the same thing at the beginning of each of the class. We were going to mix the color wheel and it seems like such a redundant thing to do. But now that I have students that have done it enough times, taking only three colors and making the entire color wheel and and seeing the possibilities.

[00:22:05] And I had one student who wrote and she said, I'm taking your class again, but can we skip and not do the color wheel this time and well, everyone is going to be new and different. And this was like her 3rd time taking a class. And fortunately, I didn't even have to answer. The owner was like, no.

[00:22:23] This is something we do and we need to repeat. And I just was like, please let her know. It's like drills for sports. You have to repeat that same thing until it's like second nature and sorry, but practice has to happen. And I watched the students get better. The more they did it, they're like, finally on the third time, I think I'm starting to figure it out.

[00:22:44] And I'm like, okay, now do it a hundred more times. But that's what it comes down to is a repeat practice, test out a new idea, be a little, you know, scientist or alchemist in the studio. 

[00:22:57] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: I think it's so true. And I think it's really hard because listen, I'm, I'm guilty of this too. And I think a lot of us are, which is, you are asked to package a three hour class at the end of which students will walk out with a finished thing that they like, right?

[00:23:12] So you make the kind of class. It is the sort of sip and pink class. It is the kind of, you know, make this product, whatever it is, class. And so people have this idea they get to do sort of all the fun parts of it without any of, you know what I mean, that sort of legwork in it.

[00:23:29] And like that there is a time and a place for that and I think it's fantastic and it is absolutely a kind of relaxing art that people like to do the same way that like if I go to a cooking class, oh yeah, I want them to have pre chopped everything. That is so nice. I don't want to do my knife skills and I just want to like throw things in a pod and like hang out with my friends and like make something and eat it.

[00:23:50] Right? I get it. 100%. But if you're interested long term in being an artist with a capital A. Then I think what you're interested or have to be interested in is the calisthenics that can get you there in studying the principles and understanding the things and reading the books and doing the research.

[00:24:10] So I have this class of intermediate to advanced students who are coming to my house for this workshop and one of the pre class assignments I've given them is research. On a topic, right, for what they're doing. And it's been really interesting on the message board that we have sort of discussing, what to do, because even though they are intermediate and advanced students, many of them have not necessarily done a ton of research before a project.

[00:24:34] And thought of that as part of doing an art series and stuff, and so it's, it's just a good reminder to me too sometimes that, art is not just something that you, sit down and make, but it's part of, a very long process, just like writing a play, you wouldn't think that somebody would just, like, sit down and pound out a play, right?

[00:24:53] They have to do research about the time and the place and think about the characters and what, you know what I mean? So why is your artwork not exactly the same? You have to think about all of it, and I think that can feel very burdensome if what you're interested in is an art hobby, and I think an art hobby is a wonderful, fantastic thing, and just like you could be a wonderful piano player and be a hobby piano player, you don't need to go have a concert, at Carnegie Hall.

[00:25:17] You can be a hobby artist and be an amazing artist, but you just don't need to, like, You know, squeak out that extra 1 percent and that's fine. So it's really differentiating sort of what your end goal is. 

[00:25:30] Kellee Wynne Conrad: That's exactly it. Where is the path for you? Are you creating art as an outlet just for the sake of making art?

[00:25:38] Or do you have goals to become proficient? Do you want to be proficient? Do you want to sell your work? Do you want to improve? Do you want to become a master? It's a lifelong journey, but yes, you have to go through that process if that is your goal. And it doesn't have to be your goal. I would guess that a lot of people who are listening to this because this is more business oriented podcast, hopefully their goal is to become proficient and to actually be good at what they're doing.

[00:26:08] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: Yeah, well, the same thing is true about your business, right, which is you can, like, not do your taxes and not really pay, you know what I mean, and you're gonna end up in trouble down at the end, if you're not keeping up with it, but if you're gonna have an art business, I would say, like, okay, so I took my son to gymnastics this morning, and while he was running around, I was, you know, working in my notebook, and I made a list, because I was trying to figure out, like, what are the computer sort of business related tasks that I do on a daily basis versus the, like, sort of art, because I'm trying to, I'm trying to find some balance in my life.

[00:26:43] I'm not sure it's happening, but this was one of my steps and I could not believe the list just kept getting longer and longer and every time I thought I was like, no, no, no, no, no, no, this is all the business tasks. I was like, no, there's more 

[00:27:01] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I've made that list to like all the things that I have to do for my business, things that I've learned since I've been in business.

[00:27:10] Just from the business side, not the art side, and I'm like, this is a really long list everything from marketing to ads to graphic design to tech to customer service to like all the different softwares that I've learned how to implement. It is a lot. It is a huge list. It can be overwhelming. 

[00:27:33] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: Well, it makes you really think about the fact that, like, if you want art to be your business, it's kind of like opening a store, which is to say you have to like the business of a store as much as you do whatever it is you're selling.

[00:27:46] In fact, maybe more. Right. And so the same thing is true within our business. Like I do some private coaching and a lot of people come to me. Particularly for that idea of like, I want to be a professional. I want to have a business. And the first thing I always say to them, as I say, how much do you like.

[00:28:01] Business. Yes. Because that is going to be, it's unfair to say, but it really is going to be 75 percent of your time is going to

[00:28:13] be 25 percent you'll still get to like make art or do whatever in there. Or you got to have somebody in your life who's willing to do that stuff while you get to do, you know what I mean, the other part of it. So it's 

[00:28:25] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I am so glad. I just wanted to say, I am so glad you're saying this. Because so many people like and I coach people in their business and they come and they're like, well, I still want to be able to paint most of the time and I'm like, then don't make a business out of your art.

[00:28:40] Right? You really like you have to know that business takes work. And of course, once you've grown it to a certain point, you can hand tasks off to other people and get more into the art again. But if you really are looking to have your art. Pay for your life and make you money. And you're passionate about that.

[00:28:56] You have to be just as passionate about the business, which I am. Thank goodness. And it seems like you are too. 

[00:29:03] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: Yeah, I enjoy it. It to me is a puzzle. There are certainly tasks that I don't like, as I think everybody doesn't like in their business. And there are certainly days when I'm like, I wish I could just not do this.

[00:29:14] But one of the things is like, I think you have to figure out what makes most sense to you. So for instance, for me, given that I have to like, take a photo. Edit a photo, put the photo up, write a description, and then potentially, like, ship it. I don't list items for sale that are very, very cheap. Right.

[00:29:33] Because for me, to do all that work and spend all that time, right, and then to make 4 off of it, it doesn't feel like a great use of time when I can do the same amount of work. Do you know what I mean? And sell a painting or something for 100 or 200. You know what I mean? And so I think that everybody has to find, if you know you have to do the work and the business part of it, what is going to make it worth it to you?

[00:29:58] Somebody long ago told me something that really helps me understand my value. And I pass it on all the time because I think it's really good, which is so at the time I was married to someone who made the money as opposed to now where I'm the breadwinner for our family. Right? And so at that time, I didn't have to think about money.

[00:30:15] So if somebody asked me to do something for free, I would say, sure. Or if somebody offered me a really low ball, something I'd say, sure, because the money. Was nice. It was like, it was like pin money. Like it was fun. It didn't really matter. Right. And she said to me, here's the thing. If you keep doing stuff for little or no money and you're super talented, what you do is you devalue the market for everyone else who needs to support themselves, because if you're so amazing and you'll do it for very little, why would any company or any person pay me more?

[00:30:51] Right. And so that helped me to understand that when I'm negotiating, when I'm asking for money, when I'm telling people what I'm worth, it was not just for me, but it was for everyone else. Right. So really thinking about the market and not just doing it for fun, but really thinking about how that was influencing the market overall.

[00:31:09] And now that I'm the breadwinner, that money is not fun anymore. It's like, here's my mortgage. Like, I, I am so happy that I was already in that mindset and understood that those were real decisions that affected real people. 

[00:31:27] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Absolutely. And hopefully, as I think things have evolved over the last few years where people are starting to realize as we run these businesses online, that it's not like, the whole getting paid to do something that you love, look, I have bills to pay too, and so there's this whole mindset shift that needs to happen around it, both from the point of the view of the artists valuing themselves and the work they do, and being able to charge money for what they do, which is a hard thing, to the audience, the customers, the community, realizing they need to support us.

[00:32:03] I think 2020 helped shift that a little bit, I'm not sure. 

[00:32:08] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: Although I have to say I did get a DM this week from somebody who asked me if they could use a photo of mine for an article they were writing for a website and was I the original owner and would I sign over irrevocable, you know, blah, blah, blah, blah.

[00:32:21] So I wrote back and they were like, oh, we got, you know, a hundred thousand views, da, da, da, da, da. So I wrote back and I said, how much are you being paid to write this article? And how much does this website make per month? And the only thing that this person wrote back to me was, I'm going to guess you're not interested.

[00:32:33] So thanks. Right. I was like, that's so interesting. I just asked what you were being paid and how much your website made when you were trying to ask me to do something for free and you're not even going to answer. Right. It must be a lot of money. Right. 

[00:32:47] Kellee Wynne Conrad: They don't want to have to pay for what we do.

[00:32:50] Artists have to say no. They have to. I hope everyone, everyone gets that in their mind that we band together. A rising tide raises all boats. Right. So, you know, I did a lot of free stuff for a while there too, and I finally realized it's not worth my time, my energy, but more importantly, that it devalued everything else that I did.

[00:33:15] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: Yeah, and I would say like, there's still tons and tons of free content and I put out free content virtually every day. Right. You know what I mean? For people and stuff like that. But one of the things I've also discovered, and this is not a knock on anybody, but generally speaking, people who are interested in free content, you, there's 10, 000 of them.

[00:33:36] And then people who are interested in paid content, there's maybe a hundred. Right. So the question is like, who are you doing your work for at the end of the day? Because free content can lead to a lot of great vanity metrics. You can have huge numbers, huge followers, huge amounts of whatever, but you're not making any money really.

[00:33:55] And I remember, reading an article in the New York Times about influencers. And it said, one of the things is there are some of these people, they have a million YouTube subscribers. They've got a million Facebook followers, whatever. I mean, huge numbers that I can't even. Fathom, you know, but they can't make enough to support themselves.

[00:34:15] And so they're still like at Starbucks or whatever other job they have. And they get harassed because people recognize them. They're famous, right? But they can't make the money. And so long ago, one of the decisions that I made, which can be an ego crushing decision, is I need to make a business that makes money for it, like, it's that old thing about, like, build a life that feels good from the inside instead of looking good from the outside, you know?

[00:34:46] And that can be very hard to do in this social media age. not only with your life, but with your business. And so again, I think like free content is such a great way to get tons and tons of people to come to you. But at the end of the day, when you need to make the money, when you're asking them for their money, when you're asking them to pay you, it's so rarely translates.

[00:35:06] And I've had a lot of clients come who say like, Oh, I taught this class and there were 500 people in it. And I know that if it's paid. They'll all come and give me money because I'm not going to charge that much. And I'm like, honey, if you charge 5, you're still going to lose 90 percent of those people.

[00:35:22] Kellee Wynne Conrad: And this is a very sobering fact, even for those of us. Now, mind you, when we were talking about selling art versus Maybe selling an art course. I find selling an art courses easier. I have to create it once. I don't have to ship anything. I'm so glad about that. Makes it really hard to want to keep selling my art in all honesty, when I know that like the efforts and the rewards off of a course or whatnot, but.

[00:35:49] Then I have to backtrack and say, how many hours did I put into all the content that goes on to YouTube, that goes into my newsletter, that goes into a free offer, that goes on to social media, it's probably just as much time consuming as having to ship anything. And at the end of the day, you have to know your numbers, how many people came in because of that, but how many people are actually willing to financially support you and pay for the offer that you have.

[00:36:20] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: And again, like, there are a lot of people whose newsletters I'm on who I don't pay for their financial offers, but I enjoy their newsletter. So it's not like it's a good or bad. I don't think people have an obligation to support you. You're not a charity or any of that stuff. I mean, I certainly get emails from LL Bean and I'm not out there buying every thing that there is, right?

[00:36:37] I get it. But like, I think that as a business person from the inside to understand whether or not you're going to make your rent that month. Okay. You have to be realistic about your expectations for your numbers. And it's, it's that old thing, that old thing, uh, in math where they'd be like, if Johnny has 5 and there are 10 apples that cost 25 cents, what if, how much do the apples have to cost?

[00:37:02] Do you know what I mean? And it's like, you do have to figure that out. If your goal is to make 10, 000, Are you, how, are you better off charging 25? You know what I mean? And trying to get a lot more people or charging 2, 000 and just trying to get a couple people to say yeah. 

[00:37:18] Kellee Wynne Conrad: It depends on your positioning, right?

[00:37:22] It definitely depends on your positioning. So with that in mind, as an art course creator, what have been some of the biggest Challenges versus rewards of the business that you've created. 

[00:37:39] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: So, I love teaching in person. I don't love the packing, the schlepping, the setting up, but I love the sort of personal interactions with people.

[00:37:52] And I don't always feel that. With online classes, right? Because like, yes, there's comments and it's nice, you know what I mean? Some of that, I do feel like Zoom is about as close as you can get. I do a lot of live online classes and I really like that because I feel like I'm answering questions in real time.

[00:38:10] I'm seeing people's faces where they're confused because there are so many shy people who are afraid to ask a question or don't want to be a bother. But when you're in a classroom with them and you see them going... You know, furrowing their brow and you can walk over and be like, Oh, hey, you know, did you have a question?

[00:38:28] Or can I help you with that? And the same thing on zoom, which is you can sort of see people and get a sense of, you know, I can say, Oh, Kelly, you look confused. Is everything, you know, okay. And I think like that. Is really helpful. So I would say like the plus for me is that it's so easy to reach many people.

[00:38:44] Long ago when I used to travel, teach a lot, I had to go to Australia to see Australians and now I don't have to, right. They come to my classes online and that's so great. And I certainly like, as the mother of a little child, appreciate self paced because I take a lot of classes that way, just because it works for my schedule.

[00:39:01] So I mean, like, those are kind of pro cons in this sort of like a bigger realm of things. I mean, I think that the biggest thing is that I built my own classroom platform on WordPress. using a lot of plugins and a lot of Google, to figure out how to do it. But it was a huge pain at the beginning and it's had a couple of glitches, but in the long run, like that's been great.

[00:39:27] Cause I am not paying per student. I am not paying, you know what I mean? Like I created, I own it. I own all the emails. I know what, you know what I mean? And that feels really great. It's less fancy and slick than some other classrooms because of that, but I love it. I think that's great. So I love that.

[00:39:44] I would say I hate hate with a capital H hate having to promote classes. I just hate it. I dislike it. But I have to do it constantly, every day, every week, you know what I mean? Because you have to, because you need people to know. And like, every time I don't promote, somebody says something, they're like, Oh, I didn't know that you had this.

[00:40:08] And it's like, I've been talking about, you know what I mean, and I, you don't want to overblast people, but then you also know all these things that like 10 percent of people actually see your posts on social, you know, maybe 40 percent of people open your newsletter. Like, do you know what I just, I don't like feeling like a sales person all the time, because what I really want to be is an artist who makes things and makes you love art and like does that kind of stuff, but you kind of have to do the sales part.

[00:40:38] Which sucks for me. 

[00:40:40] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah. I love marketing, but I get tired of promoting and there's a total difference between the two. And I took a break this summer for a bit and it did, it slowed down the business completely. I mean, when I sent out emails. Everything's fine. But when you're taking a break from social media, it's like, if you're not always talking about it.

[00:41:01] So what are the other solutions? I love that you do something every year that talk about marketing that's fun. And that's when December comes around and you do carve December. That's, that's one thing that like, always tops out my mind about, you know, something that Julie is very well known for. Also an accident.

[00:41:22] Also an accident. Also an accident. Those are my favorite. Well, Color Crush Creative for me started as an accident as well. Can we really call them accidents when... I would say, yeah, I mean, like, it's a good, happy surprise accident in a sense, but I feel like your secret sauce is that you just keep showing up, trying everything until the right thing works for you.

[00:41:47] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: I'm like a bad penny. You just can't put me down. 

[00:41:50] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah, just gonna keep turning up. 

[00:41:54] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: Yeah, I mean, I think, like, this is, it is true, again, and probably because, as I said earlier, like, I believe in work ethic. And so I do believe in showing up. I do believe that like, I may not be more talented than you.

[00:42:08] I may not be, you know, better than you. Like I said before, like I'm nothing special, but what I am is I'm willing to show up every single day, day after day, year after year. And in the end, like that is something. 

[00:42:23] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, Again, I've known you for a long time, even though you don't know who I am, but I've known of you for a really long time, admired everything that you've done.

[00:42:35] I mean, you say Balzar Design wasn't even started until 2012, but I know that I'd seen it long before that. I even watched the journey of you meeting your partner and, and having a child. Building and remodeling a home and everything and I noticed, and I love that you're just so open and so relatable, but I noticed that it was a huge transition for you becoming a mother.

[00:43:04] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: Yeah, it has been a bumpy ride. I would say, so I got pregnant when I was 42. 

[00:43:11] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Well, okay, so that's the first surprise, because I thought you were much younger, but okay. 

[00:43:15] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: Yeah, so that's the other thing. People think I'm much younger, A, because I have, I think, a very young child, and I just look also fairly young.

[00:43:22] So people tend to think that I'm in, like, my 30s, but, you know, I'm old. When I say I'm old, like, I'm not kidding, I'm old. So it wasn't me. Why don't you think your 30s 

[00:43:30] Kellee Wynne Conrad: is old? Please tell me it's not 

[00:43:33] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: okay. When I say I'm middle aged, I mean it, I'm middle aged. So I think the thing is like, it was, I've had a life already and I understood how my life worked.

[00:43:44] And I had lived that life for quite a long time. And I sort of thought. I don't know. I think I thought that it would be easier than it has been. I would say like, A, I hated being pregnant. I hated every minute of it. I mean, first of all, I feel so lucky that I was able to get pregnant because like it was, I had no idea that that was going to be possible for me at all.

[00:44:04] So it was super exciting when we found out. But it was also like, I was uncomfortable. My body was foreign to me. I just felt disgusting for like so long. And I know some women love pregnancy and more power to you. I hated everything about it. Then like I had some serious postpartum depression that manifested itself in just like craziness.

[00:44:27] And then it just, it threw off my schedule, my life. I felt disobligation. I felt torn, you know, about all sorts of stuff. And like, I. Love my son to death. And I had like a huge crisis where I was like, I just want to be with him all the time. And I don't want to do this job anymore.

[00:44:44] Do you know what I mean? And that was also really hard. And then, you know, when you are the breadwinner and There's no maternity leave when you're a solopreneur. There's no ability to have your business float. And then this thing happened too, which is like, I have some big clients and one of my biggest clients, biggest meaning like most financially renumerative, basically halved my contract and all sorts of stuff.

[00:45:10] Right. When my son was born, so, like, right when I was in the middle, I suddenly was like, oh, wow, we're going to be taking home half of what we used to monthly. So that, like, charge the whole thing sent the business in a different direction. And I think this is where I get real with people all the time, which is to say, 

[00:45:26] You never know what life's going to throw at you. This could be a parent who moves in with you, who then ends up consuming your time. And you love the parent, it's not like I feel resentful towards my son in any way, I feel incredibly lucky, but it blasted my life open. Yeah. In unexpected ways. And, the highs have never been higher, the lows have never been lower, I've never been more sleep deprived.

[00:45:49] Oh yeah. My entire life and then it also has shifted my interests in some ways. It sounds crazy. Maybe it's a midlife crisis as after all I am middle aged. But I feel like I've become more serious, more thoughtful sort of about what I'm doing and why I'm doing it because now every minute that I spend here in this beautiful studio space that I have is time away from him.

[00:46:18] Right? Now he's perfectly well taken care of and he's perfectly happy. Do you know what I mean? But I do know that like we go to the playground and he goes up a set of stairs because I work in the attic of our house, right? And he says, mama, I'm going to work. You can't come. Right. Which is cute and heartbreaking all at the same time.

[00:46:37] And so I think because I know that every minute I spend in the business is time that I'm taking from him, and it's time that I'm taking for myself. I think I'm just more thoughtful now. About what's happening, but he's three and I feel a little bit more like myself than I have in a number of years.

[00:46:53] I think the fact that he was born and the pandemic happened kind of on top of each other. Yeah. It was just a huge. It was, I mean, everybody was going through a change then, but I felt like my world had just collapsed in on itself into, you know, just this weird, no sleep, droning around kind of thing. But, you know, I feel like everyone else were kind of...

[00:47:17] Breathing it in and coming out anew and he's at a great age where he's so delightful and so fun. And I find that I want to make a lot of work now about how I feel about motherhood because it's complicated. It's not endless Mary Cassatt paintings with, children and their mothers.

[00:47:34] It's, it's not Hallmark cards and, but I don't know how to describe it. And so I think that's why I've been trying to art it because I love him so intensely. And it has also ruined my life. 

[00:47:49] Kellee Wynne Conrad: But I get, I get exactly what you're saying. I'm not that much older than you, but I started having the kids much sooner.

[00:47:56] My youngest is now 15. And every now and then I talk to moms that are in the stage you're in or, or. Even come across some of the reels where people are talking about motherhood and I still have a little bit of that panic thought of that, that time where you love him so intensely that it's scary and almost anxiety inducing.

[00:48:20] But then at the same time, it's exhausting. I was sleep deprived. I the best I could do is do scrapbooking until they were a little bit older before I could even consider doing. Other kinds of art and I didn't have a full time career at that point. So, I didn't even have that grappling of being the breadwinner, on all the things that you're going through right now where.

[00:48:44] I don't know that in traditional roles where the husband is the bread winner, they feel guilty for having to go to work. Right. Right. Right. Which we shouldn't because we're providing something amazing because your son's always going to know that mom was able to do this. My kids do too. They watched me build it because they were older, right?

[00:49:05] My oldest is 24. So it tells you, I get to hit the 5 0 this year. But they've watched me build this. But I do think back to those times as, like you said, the highest highs and the lowest lows. And I am so much more comfortable as a mother to teenagers and young adults. That I ever was when they were young and I wanted, that's all I knew I wanted out of life was to be a mom and I have three boys, they're very spread out in age because of how hard it is to be a parent, but I totally see what you're saying and I've had to teach myself now because my youngest was a lot younger when I started working and it'll be like.

[00:49:48] Mom, you're always busy working, which I still realize that I have more time to give to him than had I gone and left the house to go work a full time job, right? And, and yet I had to remind myself, I had to always stop and say. I'm allowed to have work too. I'm allowed to have work. And yes, you're right.

[00:50:10] Being intentional so that there's time. I'm even I've designed the rest of this summer so that I'm taking several days off a week to go take him paddle boarding or go do something fun, but only because I've built the business to this point. Can I do that? There's still plenty of days where he just spends 12 hours in front of his computer because.

[00:50:28] I have podcasts to record. I have coaching clients to do, and I love that part of my job. I actually adore that part of the job, but I do see that three year old age is quite nice. I don't want to scare you off of the preteen years, but they're hard, but there's this nice period where life feels easier.

[00:50:46] They go to school, and then their interests are more interesting. Honestly, their interests are a lot more interesting when they're adults. That's just the long, that's the long journey of balancing business and parenthood. But I, I did see that you eventually, when you were coming out of that cloud was where you were able to share some of those thoughts with us through Instagram or your newsletter.

[00:51:12] And I really appreciated that you could talk about that. I think women need to be able to hear it, that we can be. Serious about our business and passionate about our business and still conflicted and still struggle with motherhood and love motherhood and also dread motherhood. It's like such a weird dichotomy.

[00:51:32] We don't talk about enough. 

[00:51:34] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: I agree. And I think that for me, being an artist is about manifesting the way that you see the world in a way that other people can see. Right? So when I make something, hopefully what I've done successfully for myself is feel like I put out my emotion, my feeling, whatever it is onto a piece of paper or canvas.

[00:51:56] And you are getting some portion of that when you look at it. So I always feel like it's incredibly powerful. Absolutely. I it's dishonest, but it, it, it, there's some disconnect for me when artists never talk about their own lives because I don't understand what the source material is. And not that I need to know every detail, certainly, you know what I mean?

[00:52:17] But it's like. My art has to be different now because I'm different now, right? So when I wrote my stamp carving book, Carve Stamp Play, which is what started Carve December back in 2012, I think, I was in the middle of getting a divorce. So when I look at that book, all of the art in it is super depressed.

[00:52:38] Like I can feel my depression in it, but I've asked a million people and nobody else has that impression of it whatsoever. And I think that's fine, but that art was me being authentic to where I was at the moment, you know? And so I think like, it's an interesting thing. I've heard a lot of people say like, if they listen to a podcast while they're making, They remember when they look at the piece that they made the content of the podcast.

[00:53:07] It's amazing, and I think for me it's, I think the same thing is true with feelings. I can look at a piece of art and I can tell you where I was in my life. 'cause I know what I was feeling, what I was going through, whether it was good or it was bad when I made that. And so I think that's kind of a gift that we, have as artists and get to give to others.

[00:53:27] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Yeah, I absolutely are just remembering a bunch of different ways in which that's shown up in my work as well. And even the work that I create from a business point of view, the kinds of courses that I create, or offers that I make, or even when, like, in 2020 was hard and I shut down part of my business as well, business, like our art and our lives, Ebbs and flows in different kinds of ways, different opportunities that come.

[00:53:56] You said that one of the deals that you had was like cut in half. So I know that you have some licensed designs with different companies, and I'm kind of curious about the different revenues, streams of revenue. So from a business point of view, it's very fascinating to me, the different ways in which we can build a business.

[00:54:21] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: Yeah, I would say, there's the old line that people say all the time that, like, your business needs to be like a table. It's more stable, you know, if it has, like, 4 legs as opposed to, 3 is better than 2, right? Because, like, the table starts to fall over. Right. So I have a 12 leg table or something like that, there are a lot of different ways and some of them are better than others, but then when something happens, you try to, push one up or know that it's always going to be there.

[00:54:48] So I am very interested in passive income as I think you are, as I think everyone who's a solopreneur or who runs a small business, you know, that's how you can not have to just trade time for money. And trading time for money is the single most burnout, exhausting thing that you can do and especially like one of the reasons you work for yourself is because you're tired of trading your time for money from somebody else, right?

[00:55:13] So you start your own business so that it's, you know, not as much true. So, passive income is stuff like royalties. I get royalties, you know, for my book, royalties from like old DVDs. Sometimes there are royalties off of, licensed products, generally have royalties of all kinds.

[00:55:31] Then, affiliate fees. So I don't do it probably as hard as I ought to, but, you know, affiliate fees from, Amazon, from Blick, from, Simon Says Stamp, from like, you know, anywhere like that where you basically include a link that costs people nothing. Right. It doesn't change the price for the consumer, but then you get a small kickback anywhere from 2%, percent occasionally a little bit more than that.

[00:55:58] then I obviously get teaching fees for in person online and, what I call sort of hybrid classes, live online classes, zoom classes, stuff like that. Then fees I get sometimes for like conventions. So you go and you like demonstrate in a booth somewhere. And similar to that is doing like people have a product and they want you to show it off or something like that.

[00:56:22] And I, I get approached a lot of times to do product videos for free. And I always say no. I think earlier in my life I would have said yes, because I like new products and I like trying things and what's the harm in trying something for free? But now that I know that time that I spend doing that is time I don't spend with my child.

[00:56:42] Yeah, I mean, I feel bad for my husband because I'm happy to spend time doing that when he was in the picture, just him. But anyway, he's a grown up. He can fend for himself. Right. So then, being paid to do videos, video demonstrations. Also, there are companies that will pay you to do, like, on Amazon when there are demo videos.

[00:57:01] You know, where it's just somebody's hands showing how like a pen works. I have, some work that's ended up on packaging and stuff like that. Then, um, my tag, my accountant really loves me cause there's a thousand. miniature streams of revenue like this. You know what I mean? But I think you, then obviously artwork sales, then I do sell some digital things like, um, cut files and, some downloads and stuff like that for various things.

[00:57:32] So then all of that makes some revenue. I do sell what, some scrap packs, which I guess is kind of like an art supply, or something like that. You know in person sales at like art fairs which again falls under the category of art supplies, but it's it's kind of like, it's not as simple as when people say, Hey, here's my paycheck.

[00:57:54] The taxes are taken out. Right. See you later. This is, I literally am not kidding you when I say I give to my accountant like the number of 1099s I hand her at the year, do you know what I mean, is like this thick and it's a list of like each tiny revenue stream because maybe you are signed up with three affiliate marketing companies so then each of them you have to sign out for, you know, or maybe you have your YouTube revenue and you got to sign that up or you got paid by Meta.

[00:58:25] Do you know what I mean? For various things. Or you got paid by, I mean, so, one company to do this, and then this company did twice, and then da da da da. You know, so it's like, and I've done weird things. Like, I did a couple videos for the Marvel YouTube channel. You know, who knew? But yes, they have crafts.

[00:58:41] On their YouTube channel and like, there's all sorts of weird stuff like that. When I did HSN, then there's money from that. When I did the PBS show, there's money from that. So it's very random. There's lots of different, areas for revenue. And then I think the thing is, in the end, what I tell people is, You have to figure out sort of what you want to do.

[00:59:03] If you don't want to teach classes because it's a lot of work, you can make tons of money through affiliate marketing. Tons and tons and tons. The next time you see free content, check the links, because they may be making tons of money off of those affiliate links. And that's great because it doesn't cost you anything, but you know, they may be picking products based on what's linkable or what has a higher link and all that kind of stuff.

[00:59:30] But it's, it's just, again, knowing that you can make the business you want to make. You just have to figure out how to financially support it, because at the end of the day, unless you're lucky enough to have a partner who supports you or a trust fund or some other way that money is coming in, this is, I'm sure you tell this to your clients too.

[00:59:51] This is always the hard talk. You have to figure out the money. Before you figure out all the rest of it, from a practical point of view, you just have to. 

[01:00:03] Kellee Wynne Conrad: And, generally speaking, I advise my, clients to focus on something, rather than trying to do all the things. And I think it's important to point out, Julie, that this is something you've built over decades.

[01:00:17] This isn't something you just woke up and... A couple of years ago in 2020 and said, I'm going to be an artist and I'm going to work on all these multiple streams. They are things that build the reason you get certain jobs is because you've worked in an industry that then can recommend your name So then it's not like you're spending all your time having to chase down every deal or promote every affiliate Like it becomes a natural part of your cycle so that you can focus on the things that actually probably bring in even more money like making online courses or your membership or Your coaching offers and whatnot.

[01:00:52] So those multiple streams happen over time. They don't happen overnight. 

[01:00:58] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: I always tell people it's again that thing like don't compare your beginning to somebody else's middle or end. You can't base your business off of how somebody else has tentacled out over time. What you need to do is like, find what you do, figure it out.

[01:01:12] I still say you need to have income coming in from at least a couple different areas to make yourself more like invulnerable financially if something falls out. But yeah, like I, didn't start affiliate marketing until part way through. And then various affiliate things came in when like, I couldn't find the supply at one place.

[01:01:29] So then I had to join the affiliate program somewhere else, you know? And I think there's a lot of stuff like that where, like I said, I, I know that there are people who make thousands of dollars a month off of affiliate marketing. I do not, I make like hundreds of dollars, which is still great, but it's not thousands.

[01:01:48] And that's my own fault, but I would need to spend my energy and time doing that and I just don't. And again, I think there's lots of stuff like that where you get to choose what to pay attention to what you pay attention to ends up defining. I mean, not only who you are as a human being, I would argue, but also like how your business ends up going

[01:02:18] Kellee Wynne Conrad: And I agree that it's nice to have a bunch of different like ways and revenues in which the income comes in and it takes time to build it. And some are more profitable than others and any one thing can be super profitable if you're putting your time and energy and focus into it.

[01:02:34] Mm-hmm. , I know people who pay their entire mortgage off of YouTube. Showing up and doing YouTube, it's the consistency and the regularity, like you said from the very beginning, when you put the time and the effort into it, things will happen, right? That's the magic in running your own business is as much as you try to get away from the 24 7 work, you're like, you know, there's going to be years where you're really working a lot more than 40 hours a week.

[01:03:05] You have to accept that if that's the path you plan to go down. 

[01:03:09] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: It is. I mean, it's true. Like, I, you know, I work all day in a regular sort of like maybe nine to five, nine to six ish kind of thing. And then, you know, do the evening with my son. And then when he goes to bed, guess what? I'm back up doing whatever.

[01:03:23] And it's the same on weekends. And it's the same on whatever. And there is no vacation. And there is no whatever. And I love it. But, you know what I mean? And I feel so lucky. But I know there are people who don't. But it's not for everyone. But it's definitely for me. 

[01:03:38] Kellee Wynne Conrad: If you love the business side of it, it's worth getting into this, going deeper into how you put the pieces together.

[01:03:46] You know, we started off this conversation with the list of things we've learned, the to do list, the tasks, the computers. I love it too. And it'll be like, it's the weekend and everybody's like, the boys are all gaming and doing stuff. And I'm like, yay, I get to work. And I'm like, what kind of weird sicko is like.

[01:04:03] Down time to themselves and they want to spend the time working, but I am that person because I have, it's such a creative outlet just almost as much as the art is itself. So, it is, I think I have a passion for both, right? 

[01:04:20] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: You have to, otherwise I don't think, I think you burn out. I think that the only way you can prevent burnout is by, if you don't naturally love it, finding a way to love something about it, because love, as everyone knows from toting around a child or an infant who has one, love will carry you through when nothing else will, you know what I mean, when your body just stops working, and so I think the same thing is true, which is if you can find something to love about business, make it a game, make it a puzzle, make it a whatever it is, then you can find a way to keep going even when you're burnt.

[01:04:57] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I agree a thousand percent. So I guess this is a good time to remind everyone to go follow you on Instagram and find you on your website and whatnot. And where would that be? 

[01:05:09] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: So I am balzerdesigns, pretty much everywhere. So it's just B A L Z E R, designs with an S. and I have a classroom website, which is balzerdesigns.

[01:05:19] com. And I have a personal sort of art website at juliebalzer. com. And I'd be happy to see you, connect with you. Let me know that you found me through Kelly. I'd love to hear from you. 

[01:05:29] Kellee Wynne Conrad: That would be awesome. We always love it when you pop into our DMs and say what you thought about the podcast episodes.

[01:05:36] It makes me happy to hear what your takeaways are as well. So make sure you're following Julie. Now I'm going to finish off with my one last favorite question to ask. Julie, what is your big audacious dream? 

[01:05:50] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: Oh, the one where I rule the earth and tell everybody what to do constantly and they do it? That one?

[01:05:57] Kellee Wynne Conrad: I love that. That's the most bold thing that I have ever heard anyone say. Well, you're gonna dream big. Yeah, that's good. Well, at least rule the world with art. Exactly. 

[01:06:12] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: There you go. 

[01:06:14] Kellee Wynne Conrad: Okay, wonderful. Thank you so much for joining me today, julie. 

[01:06:18] Julie Fei-Fan Balzer: It was my pleasure. Thanks for having me. 

If you'd like to listen to or learn more about the podcast visit https://www.maderemarkable.com/blog  for our show notes and links to the main players.